What does Proverbs 21:24 mean?
ESV: “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
NIV: The proud and arrogant person--'Mocker' is his name-- behaves with insolent fury.
NASB: 'Proud,' 'Arrogant,' 'Scoffer,' are his names, One who acts with insolent pride.
CSB: The arrogant and proud person, named "Mocker," acts with excessive arrogance.
NLT: Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.
KJV: Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
This statement provides a handy reference for other proverbs where Solomon refers to a "scoffer" or "mocker" (Proverbs 9:7; 13:1; 15:12; 24:9). This person is conceited and overconfident, with behavior betraying a smug type of egotism. The scoffer doesn't necessarily brag or flaunt their attitude. However, they think and act as if their opinion is as good as fact; as if nothing, even God Himself, is sufficient to change their mind.
Attitudes associated with a "scoffer" mock others, including God. Asaph describes wicked men as scoffers who "set their mouths against the heavens" (Psalm 73:9). These people have a high opinion of themselves, presuming themselves more important than others, including God. Genesis 11 relates the story of a generation so arrogant that its people thought they should be remembered forever. They planned to build a city with an immense tower, probably as a way of claiming they were immune to another great flood (Genesis 11:4). Despite their egomania, God judged the arrogant builders by confusing their language and scattering them over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:7–8). Humility will come to all people, either by submission to the Creator or because of His judgment (Matthew 23:12; Proverbs 3:34–35).
Proverbs 21:17–31 continues the recorded wisdom of Solomon (Proverbs 10:1). He contrasts the wise person with the foolish person, the righteous with the wicked, the lazy person with and the diligent, and human wisdom with the Lord's sovereignty.
This chapter begins and ends with a declaration of God's sovereignty. He alone judges the heart; the Lord considers intentions just as important as physical actions. Other comments include statements about unpleasant spouses, proper perspectives on wealth, work ethic, and the essential nature of godly wisdom. Human wisdom is no match for the sovereign Lord, who alone is ultimately responsible for victory in battle.
This is part of the second major section of the book (Proverbs 10—22) featuring nearly four hundred statements. Most of these are two-line comments presenting common sense and general wisdom. The vague theme of chapter 21 is God's control. Man may believe he is in control of his circumstances, but God superintends everything. The chapter begins and ends by assuring the readers that God holds ultimate sway over all things.
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.
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:31:38 AM
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