Proverbs 15:12

The Scorner


1. Here is yet another proverb that deals with the subject of receiving or rejecting correction.

2. 15:10 dealt with the same subject… with a slightly different emphasis. This proverb emphasized the fact that the one reproved had “forsaken the way” and as a result would “die.”

3. 15:5 also dealt with the same subject. It too had its own emphasis. This proverb emphasizes the fact that a foolish child hates his father’s instruction… but a wise or prudent child regards the reproof.

4. 15:12, while speaking about the same subject of responding to reproof, this passage emphasizes the attitude of the one being reproved.

12a A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him:

A. Scorner Defined

1. Strong’s: talk arrogantly; to boast; to mock; deride; to be inflated; scoff.

2. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: speak words which show no respect for the object, and make fun of the object.

3. Usage:

a. Prov. 14:9 – fools make a mock at sin. (scorners treat sin lightly—no sense of holiness or purity)

b. Prov. 22:10 – cast out the scorner and contention is gone. Scorners are by nature troublemakers. They stir up controversy and trouble.

c. Prov. 1:22 – Scorners delight in their scorning. (Scorners make a game out of mocking and making fun of sin and holy things. They not only do such things, but delight in it… in the mockery or in stirring up trouble.)

4. The particular KIND of scorner mentioned in 15:12 is one who talks arrogantly and mocks REPROOF.

a. When a person is a big mouth mocker… who treats sin lightly… and delights in his arrogant mocking… he is in NEED of reproof!

b. Solomon speaks of reproof, but he does not mention WHY the person is being reproved.

c. Rather, he speaks about the KIND of person who is being reproved: a scorner.

d. One might assume that the reproof is on account of his scorning… mocking… arrogance… big mouth.

e. BUT—the reproof could be given for ANY kind of behavior.

f. Usually arrogant big mouths who make light of sin have other issues too.

g. Thus, the reproof Solomon had in mind here could be for anything.

h. This proverb emphasizes not so much the REASON for the reproof, but the TYPE of person being reproved… and what to expect.

B. The Scorner Loveth Not the Reprover

1. First of all, this is a warning to all well-meaning reprovers.

a. This proverb really has meaning for BOTH parties: the scorner and the reprover.

b. To the reprover comes this warning: WATCH OUT! Be careful! The one you reprove isn’t going to like it.

c. We have seen this thought before. People do not like to be reproved or corrected.
• 15:10 emphasizes the correction – the correction itself is grievous to him.
• 23:9 – he will hate the words of wisdom you speak.
• 15:12 emphasizes the person giving the correction.

d. Love: affection; human love for one another, includes family, human appetite for objects such as food, drink, sex, sleep, wisdom; the act of being a friend.

e. The scorner will have no affection… no appetite… no desire for the one reproving him. He will have NEGATIVE affections… he will HATE the reproof AND the reprover!

f. So if you see a person who needs reproof: BEWARE!
• Before you begin to reprove him, think about what you are getting into!
• If the person is a fool and a scorner, he will not only hate the reproof. He might hate YOU too!
• He might even take out his anger on YOU.

g. Prov. 9:8 – here Solomon says NOT to reprove a scorner lest he hate you!
• Note the different reaction from a wise person. He will love you!
• The wise man will see that you are concerned about him and will take heed to the correction, change his ways, and will appreciate you!
• Ps. 141:5 – it shall be received by a righteous man as a sweet anointing… an excellent, fragrant oil… that causes his face to shine.
• The same reproof to a scorner results in hatred. He might even turn on you… strike back… make trouble for you… gossip about you…
• Prov. 9:7 – Here’s WHY Solomon says in vs. 8 NOT to reprove a scorner: if you do, you will receive SHAME and a BLOT.

» This reprover receives shame and a blot because he is disregarding Solomon’s advice: DON’T reprove a scorner!

» The advice here is DON’T constantly nag a person for their behavior. A fool will quite likely NEVER change his behavior.

» If you disregard Solomon’s advice here and continually reprove a person—he will turn on you. You will earn a bad reputation.

» I have heard Christians nag unbelievers because they smoke or drink… or the music they listen to at work.

» Solomon’s point is that constant nagging… continual reproof is only going to work against you… and it may embolden the one reproved to action against YOU!

» You may receive shame and a blot from the person being reproved… he may pick a fight over the issue… or strike back…

h. This is a warning to the one giving the reproof.
• The warning is this: if you feel the need to reprove a person… be careful! Be wise! Be discerning!
• Not everybody is going to respond to reproof in the same way.
• Some will love it and appreciate your concern and thank you.
• Some will hate what you say and despise YOU for saying it!
• Matt. 7: 6 – Jesus said, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn and rend YOU!”

» This means that we need to size people up a bit before we seek to help them.

» Some people are like dogs or swine.

» Jesus said DON’T cast your pearls (gospel message; or words of wisdom; or reproof) before them.

» Jesus gives the same warning as Solomon.

» Not only will mockers and scorners (dogs and swine) hate your words … they will then vent their anger on YOU!

» Prov. 13:1 – besides, “a scorner heareth not rebuke.” There are times when it is best NOT to rebuke a man who needs rebuking. If he is a scorner, he isn’t going to listen anyway!

i. Be discerning. Think about what you might be getting yourself into. Is that really the route you want to go?
• You may NEED to rebuke the person (especially if it is your son or daughter!)
• But if it is a co-worker, it may not be the best idea.
• Try to discern the TYPE of person you are dealing with… before you offer advice or reproof.
• If he is a genuine scorner and has proven himself to be… or if he has demonstrated himself to be a dog or a swine, you may want to think twice!
• The situation may be uncomfortable, but you may find yourself jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
• God says to be discerning. Not every person who could benefit from reproof or needs to be reproved… SHOULD BE.
• Here, God is taking care for the one who wants to be helpful and offer reproof or correction.

2. This is also a word of warning the scorner.

a. The scorner is described as one who does not love (hates?!) the one who rebukes him.

b. Perhaps the scorner reading this verse ought to reconsider his scornful attitude! I think Solomon intended that to occur because of this passage.

c. Perhaps a scorner ought to RETHINK his reasons for not liking rebuke or reproof. (Could it actually be for my good?)

d. Perhaps he should think about the CONSEQUENCES of his actions… (Cf. 15:10c – he could die!)

12b Neither will he go unto the wise.

1. The scorner will not go to the wise.

a. WHY? Because he loves not… (he hates!) those who rebuke him!

b. If a scornful fool goes to a wise man, the wise man is going to point out his folly… point out his faults… correct areas that need correcting.

c. John 3:20 – For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
→ Sinful men don’t want the light to shine on their sin.
→ Foolish men don’t want their folly pointed out to them.
→ Scorners don’t want to have their faults displayed either.
→ Hence, they stay away from wise men… lest they hear words of wisdom that makes them feel uncomfortable!

2. This also seems to be designed as a warning to the scorner.
→ The average scorner will not go to a wise man.
→ But perhaps there are some scorners who are reconsidering their scorning and mocking of holy things.
→ Perhaps this passage could serve as a slap in the face to such scorners… a wake up call!
→ If you remain in your scorn… bitterness… anger… and mocking of holy things… and you refuse to go to a wise man… you may end up being a scorner FOREVER!
→ Prov. 3:34-35 – 34Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. 35The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.