What does Proverbs 14:9 mean?
ESV: Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.
NIV: Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.
NASB: Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is goodwill.
CSB: Fools mock at making reparation, but there is goodwill among the upright.
NLT: Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
KJV: Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
NKJV: Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor.
Verse Commentary:
Those who reject God (Psalm 14:1) and godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) think it is laughable to seek forgiveness for sin. In most cases, this is because they are indifferent. Perhaps the guilt offering mocks them too; God would not accept it if they offered it with a light attitude (1 Timothy 4:2; Psalm 51:17). Fools call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

Making light of sin insults the Savior, who paid the ultimate price to redeem sinners. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:3, "Christ died for our sins." The apostle Peter points out that the price of our redemption was the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18–19). The righteous take a far different attitude toward sin; they abhor their sin and humbly seek God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9). As a result, they find acceptance with God (Hebrews 4:14–16). Like the prodigal's father, God welcomes every repentant sinner with open arms, and rejoicing in heaven takes place as a result (Luke 15:7, 20).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 14:1–10 continues a long series of short, general-case, common-sense statements of godly wisdom. This section focuses on personal diligence, relationship to the Lord, conversation, witness, prudent behavior, and private emotions. Once again, the spotlight focuses on what is admirable versus that which is disgraceful.
Chapter Summary:
This continues a series of literal "proverbs:" short statements of general-case wisdom. The first ten verses of this chapter contrast positive and negative traits related to work ethic, self-control, and seeking wisdom. Then come several verses contrasting the fate of the righteous with that of the wicked. The rest of this passage provides statements on a broad range of subjects.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs 14 continues King Solomon's wise sayings. In this chapter he discusses a variety of topics such as wisdom and folly, honesty and dishonesty, righteousness and evil, national security and national disgrace, personal security and destruction, the fear of the Lord, generosity, and wise servanthood. This series of astute comments will continue for several more chapters.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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