Proverbs 15:12

A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
– Proverbs 15:12

The scorner is at the hard end of folly. His obstinacy keeps him from wisdom (Proverbs 14:6). He hates reproof, and therefore will not go to or with the wise (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:1). He refuses two primary means of receiving wisdom—reproof (Proverbs 3:11-12) and having wise companions (Proverbs 2:20; 13:20).

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Proverbs 14:6

A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
– Proverbs 14:6

The scorner is a special type of fool in Proverbs. The word means to mock and includes the idea of arrogance. His disdain of correction is a chief obstacle in finding wisdom (Proverbs 9:7-8), and it is why he will not go to the wise (Proverbs 15:12). He fails to find wisdom, not because it cannot be found, but rather because he despises instruction and does not fear the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). Ultimately, the scorner comes to judgment (Proverbs 3:34; 19:29). The word for easy in the contrasting phrase means lightness and trifling. To have understanding is to have discernment. Here it is to find, or acquire, knowledge (Proverbs 8:9; 17:24).

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Proverbs 13:1

Chapter 13 continues the first section of the Proverbs of Solomon. The proverbs in this chapter mainly have a two-line antithetical structure. The proverbs in this chapter touch on words, or speech, wealth and poverty, pride, parenting, and wisdom generally.

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
– Proverbs 13:1

Training in wisdom begins at home with one’s parents. The word for instruction means discipline and so includes correction. A wise son is characterized as one who receives instruction and correction, which sets him at odds with a fool (Proverbs 15:5). The contrast is with a scorner, which is the hardest form of a fool, or the final progression of the fool. A scorner despises correction and hates those who try to correct him (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:12). The word for rebuke means a chiding and is stronger than in the first phrase. The tenor of the proverb is that a son who chafes at the discipline of his father at home is on his way to becoming a scorner. Scorners ultimately find themselves scorned by God at the last (Proverbs 3:34).

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Proverbs 9:12

If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
– Proverbs 9:12

Verse 12 concludes the section on the two responses to wisdom’s call. It is an individual and personal application of what has gone before. The verse emphasizes the individual benefit or detriment of either receiving wisdom or scorning wisdom. The point is not that your choice has no effect on others, but rather the primary effect is to your own life and soul. Wisdom can be neither received nor scorned by proxy. You must encounter wisdom and seek and receive or else scorn and suffer the consequences of folly. While your choice will affect others (Proverbs 10:1), your own soul is in the balance (Luke 9:25).

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Proverbs 9:8

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
– Proverbs 9:8

Since scorners only respond to wisdom with mockery and abuse, wisdom passes by such. Scoffers and scorners put wisdom far from them because they will not receive reproof. Reproof is a correction and a necessary part of wise instruction. We are born into the world without wisdom and must attain it. However, if we will not abide our foolish notions beings corrected, we will never attain it. Wisdom passes the scorner because wisdom is not scattered like seeds on the pavement, but rather is stored up for the righteous who will heed the wise rebuke (Proverbs 2:7; 13:18). That the wise will receive rebuke and love the corrector shows that human never hold wisdom infallibly. We may always grow wiser and that is a mark of being wise (Proverbs 9:9).

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Proverbs 9:7

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
– Proverbs 9:7

Verses 7-12 give the two responses to wisdom’s invitation—the scorner’s response and the wise man’s response. Verses 7 & 8 speak of the scorner and verses 9-11 speak of the wise man. Verse 12 summarizes both. The scorner, or scoffer, is one of the foolish characters in Proverbs. The word means to mock or make mouths at. It captures the foolish character as a problem of attitude and not ability. They take “delight in their scorning” (Proverbs 1:22). Scorners despise correction (Proverbs 13:1) and thus do not find wisdom (Proverbs 14:6). Reproving and rebuking such only gains trouble and abuse for the effort. Scorners despise the corrector as much as the correction (Proverbs 15:12).

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Proverbs 3:34

Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.
– Proverbs 3:34

The lowly is one who bends himself and so it means the humble. It is the humble who receive favor from God. Proverbs has much to say in condemnation of the proud and so the scorners receive scorning. God resists the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5) and does not show them favor. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and bends oneself to receive her counsels.

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