Proverbs 3:34

ESV Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
NIV He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
NASB Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the needy.
CSB He mocks those who mock but gives grace to the humble.
NLT The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.
KJV Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

What does Proverbs 3:34 mean?

The English verb "scorn" or "scoff" or "mock" comes from the Hebrew word yā'lis', referring to the behavior of one who sneers at others. The noun "scoffer" is from the word lē'sim, meaning one who is derisive or arrogant. Those with overly inflated opinions of themselves will be humiliated in the face of a supreme God. In contrast, those who admit their own weakness and limitations can find mercy and grace in God (Hebrews 4:15–16). This concept is often repeated in teachings of the New Testament (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

Even a self-labelled "religious" person can scorn God's grace and mercy by proudly relying on his own righteousness. This is illustrated in Jesus' story about two men who entered the temple to pray (Luke 18:9–14). One man, a proud Pharisee, recited his religious deeds and compared himself favorably to other men, including the tax collector. But the tax collector's humility found favor in God' sight. The tax collector stood far off, would not raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his beast and prayed humbly, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner" (Luke 18:13). Jesus said the publican went home justified rather than the proud Pharisee. He concluded the story by saying, "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14).
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