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Proverbs 9:7

ESV Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
NIV Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
NASB One who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And one who rebukes a wicked person gets insults for himself.
CSB The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt.
NLT Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
KJV He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

What does Proverbs 9:7 mean?

Solomon begins to note the differences between those who sincerely seek truth and those who will only listen to what they want to hear. The "scoffer" depicted here is unteachable, defined by a Hebrew word meaning "mocker, inflated, scorner." These are the people who hate any attempt to change their mind, preferring to continue along their current path. They respond to other views with arrogance and ridicule. This is the same person as the "wicked" man, coming from a different Hebrew word, who lashes out violently at the person who tries to tell him the truth. This lashing out includes slander: the term translated "injury" implies stains or slander. Well-meaning people have often suffered backlash from those who respond to criticism with hateful anger (Proverbs 9:8).

This unhappy response to truth happened to Jesus. When Christ came to earth, He came to His own people, the Jews, but they rejected Him (John 1:11). Often, Jesus offered the kingdom to Israel, but the nation spurned His offer.

This rejection also happened to men like Paul. At a synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia, Paul reviewed Israel's history and spoke of Jesus' death and resurrection (Acts 13:13–30). He identified himself and his coworkers as witnesses to the Jews and identified the good news of salvation as the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel (Acts 13:31–41). At the request of the people, Paul spoke again the following Sabbath, but hardhearted Jews reviled Paul (Acts 13:42–45). In turn, Paul and his companion Barnabas said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46).
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