Proverbs 29:8

ESV Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.
NIV Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.
NASB Arrogant people inflame a city, But wise people turn away anger.
CSB Mockers inflame a city, but the wise turn away anger.
NLT Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger.
KJV Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

What does Proverbs 29:8 mean?

"Scoffers" are those who arrogantly laugh at godly truth (Proverbs 1:7). They don't merely reject it—they consider it ridiculous. They refuse to consider it, or to discuss it fairly (Proverbs 29:9). The "scoffer" is the person who treats godliness as a joke and doesn't even attempt to understand it (Proverbs 9:8; 13:1; 21:24). This proverb notes that such attitudes lead to chaos (Proverbs 11:11). The original Hebrew uses phrasing related to blowing on the embers of a fire to make the flames grow. Ridicule for morality and order can turn tragedy into catastrophe. Both spiritually and tangibly, being a "scoffer" instead of a peacemaker (Proverbs 15:1; Romans 12:18) spreads misery and strife. This is part of the pattern seen in the book of Judges (Judges 21:25).

Wise persons refuse to enable mob rule, join a riot, act as vigilantes (Romans 12:19) or sneer at law and order. Instead, they provide a calming presence that is more likely to result in actual justice being done (Proverbs 14:34; 21:5). They obey the call to pray for "kings and all who are in high positions" in hopes we can "lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" (1 Timothy 2:2).
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