Chapter
Verse

Proverbs 30:17

ESV The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.
NIV The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.
NASB The eye that mocks a father And scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it.
CSB As for the eye that ridicules a father and despises obedience to a mother, may ravens of the valley pluck it out and young vultures eat it.
NLT The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.
KJV The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

What does Proverbs 30:17 mean?

Proper burial was an important part of ancient culture. Especially degrading was leaving a body to be slowly eaten by scavengers. This is the fate predicted by Agur (Proverbs 30:1) for those who show no respect for their parents. In this context, his reference is not narrowly reserved for that sin. Nor is the gruesome image meant to be taken as a literal prophecy. Rather, the mocking, scoffing attitude is associated with those who are rebellious and stubborn. Those who constantly reject authority set themselves up for dire consequences (Proverbs 1:8; 13:1; 19:26). A similar sin was mentioned earlier in Agur's wise words (Proverbs 30:11).

Natural consequences for sin—basic cause and effect—can be severe. Beyond that, God punishes sin. Romans 6:23 assures us that "the wages of sin is death." Consider the death of Absalom, David's rebellious son. Second Samuel 18:9–15 reveals that Absalom's mule went under the branches of an oak tree. Absalom's hair got tangled in the branches and he was suspended above the ground. When Joab, leader of King David's forces, heard this, he went to Absalom and threw three javelins into Absalom's heart. Then Joab's armorbearers surrounded Absalom, struck him, and ensured he was dead.
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