Proverbs 17:10

Different Forms of Correction


1. In this proverb, Solomon speaks about two different kinds of men who have sinned: a wise man and a fool.

2. He also speaks about two different forms of correction: reproof and stripes.

3. And he speaks of two different responses to correction: a lesson learned and a lesson not learned.

10a A reproof entereth more into a wise man

1. Reproof:

a. Strong’s: rebuke; reproof.

b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: to speak words that show what another has done wrong; a threat or verbal warning.

c. Strong admonitions

d. A reproof is usually verbal. It’s not a beating or imprisonment… but a warning… a word of rebuke… scolding.

2. Wise men need to be reproved.

a. There is no such thing as a wise man who demonstrates wisdom 100% of the time.

b. Sometimes wise men make bad choices. Sometimes they make foolish decisions. Sometime wise men sin and do things they KNOW are wrong.

c. All men are sinners—including wise men.

d. Abraham was a wise man—but he made some poor decisions (going in unto Hagar).

e. Moses was a wise man—but he got angry and broke the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. He was doing too many chores by himself and had to be admonished to get others to help him with the load. He listened to his father in law.

f. David was a wise man and he too committed sin (counted the troops; Bathsheba).

g. Peter was a wise man—and he too needed to be reproved on occasion. (Not so Lord!—Lord, I’ll never deny you!)

h. No wise man is wise 100% of the time.

i. This proverb implies that even wise men need to be reproved from time to time.

j. And an important part of that wisdom is recognizing that need.

3. Entereth:

a. Strong’s: to go down; to go into; to pierce; to penetrate.

b. To impress; to pay close attention and respond appropriately.

c. This word is rarely used in the Old Testament, but it is used 2 times in Psalm 38:2 – “stick fast” and “presseth sore”.
• In this psalm, God was chastening David. David was being reproved or rebuked for his sin.
• God knows how to get His point across. He can cause the message He wants us to hear to ENTER IN… to penetrate our minds and hearts… so that we pay close attention to what He is trying to teach us.
• Both times they speak about the EFFECT of God in his life. The arrows God “stuck” in him worked.
• They got his attention and he PAID attention. God’s hand pressed sore upon him…
• God made his point known…
• He applied enough pressure to get David’s attention!
• God knows how to get our attention!
• God knows how to make His reproof ENTER in so that what He is trying to teach us is unmistakable.

4. Reproof ENTERS the heart of a wise man.

a. Words of rebuke pierce his heart.

b. A verbal reproof penetrates into his mind and heart and accomplishes its purpose.

c. When his sin or failure is brought to his attention, it ENTERS into his head and heart… and he RESPONDS to it in an appropriate manner.

d. It penetrates into his heart and becomes life transforming.

e. He does not dismiss it. He doesn’t ignore it.

f. He doesn’t see himself ABOVE correction.

g. This implies a certain amount of humility in a truly wise man.
→ You cannot separate wisdom from humility… they go hand in hand. So too, pride and foolishness go hand in hand as well!
→ A fool gets a little bit of knowledge, and it can produce pride.
→ A believer may begin to understand some important Bible doctrines… and begin to think he’s got it all figured out…
→ That pride keeps him from becoming wise!
→ Once you’ve got it all figured out—who needs to learn any more? Who needs to listen?
→ This kind of pride prevents a man from growing in wisdom.

5. Wise men are sensitive to their failures and shortcomings and genuinely WANT to be corrected and to learn.

a. Prov. 1:5 – a wise man will hear! That is the first step in the direction of wisdom – an ability and a desire to hear instruction and correction.
• Truly wise men are wise enough to know that they don’t know everything.

b. Hear = to hear; listen to; to hear with attention or interest; obey.
• This is a close kind of hearing… attentiveness… interest…
• This is the kind of hearing that really sinks in…
• It implies more than simply hearing a sound; it implies the proper response to what is heard. (obedience)
• It might be translated “hearken” – because that is more closely associated with obedience.
• To the Hebrew mind, to hear God was to obey Him. For a parent to give a command to a child in his hearing meant that it would be obeyed.

c. II Tim. 3:16 – a simple scripture passage is all that is needed to correct a wise man. He responds.
• The wise man is teachable. He does not insist on doing all the talking. He is willing to listen.
• Readiness to learn is characteristic of a truly wise person.
• Anyone can be a wise person—young or old—male or female! Wisdom is characterized by the capacity to listen… and really hear what is being communicated.
• This is a priceless capacity—for the husband to be able to hear his wife… for the wife to be able to hear her husband—for the children to hear their parents! For a worker to hear his boss… and the boss to be able to hear his employees… etc.

d. Ps. 19:11 – by them thy servant is warned.

e. Prov. 15:30 – wise men hear reproof… and thus gain understanding. But some men (fools!) refuse instruction and do so to the destruction of their own soul (life).

f. Prov. 28:23 – he understands the value of reproof and appreciates it… even if it hurts at the time.

g. Prov. 18:15 – he even SEEKS after knowledge… instruction.

h. Prov. 9:8 – reprove a wise man and he will LOVE you for it.

i. Prov. 15:5 – regarding reproof IS wisdom. Rejecting it is folly.

6. We too should allow reproof to ENTER in to our minds and hearts.

a. Reproof and rebuke are for our good—when administered properly.

b. Divine wisdom tells us here that we should LISTEN… learn… appreciate it… even if it hurts at first.

c. Divine wisdom tells us that it requires humility on our part to receive reproof. It requires a sensitivity to our failures and a genuine desire to change… to correct those failures.

d. They may be relatively rare traits, but that’s what true wisdom is all about.

7. The main point of the first part of the proverb is that reproof is EFFECTIVE in the life of a wise man.

a. Sometimes just one word of reproof is all that is needed to bring about correction.

b. Wise men respond well to wise words.

c. We would do well to respond to words of wisdom…
• When we hear them taught in church…
• When a spouse, parent, teacher, or boss reproves us… or even a stranger!
• When we are reading the Scriptures on our own and the Holy Spirit rebukes us by shining the light on a particular area of our life…
• Honestly examine the reproof… compare it with Scripture. If it is correct—then let it ENTER IN!

10b Than an hundred stripes into a fool.

1. A word is enough to correct a wise man.

a. Sometimes even a LOOK is sufficient. (Luke 22:61-62)—Peter…

b. But it takes 100 stripes to get the attention of a fool—and still there is no guarantee that he will respond.

c. The Law of Moses allowed no more than 40 lashes (Deut. 25:2-3).

d. Hence, this reference to 100 lashes is probably hyperbole – an exaggeration to make a point.

e. Almost nothing can change a fool bent on folly.

2. Stripes on the back of a fool don’t necessarily reach his heart.

a. If the heart is hard and stubborn and self willed—then no amount of punishment or beatings will suffice.

b. If the heart is like a stone, NOTHING can pierce it.

c. But if the heart is tender… a tiny needle can pierce tender skin…. While a sword cannot pierce a stone.

d. Solomon’s point here is that the real difference between a wise man and a fool is not so much their heads, but their hearts.
• If the heart is tender and sensitive to God, then a word will suffice—even a look.
• If the heart is hardened and stubborn—then 100 stripes won’t bring about repentance.

3. Both the wise man and the fool make mistakes; do things incorrectly from time to time. We ALL do.

a. This proverb does not deny that wise sometime take the wrong route in life.

b. But the proverb does state that there is a HUGE difference in the way the two men receive correction:
• The wise man listens, learns, and changes.
• The fool doesn’t listen—may be beaten 100 times—and will still refuse to submit and learn. Therein lies his folly.


1. Notice that BOTH the wise man and the fool make mistakes and do things incorrectly from time to time.

2. This proverb does not deny the fact that wise men sometimes take the wrong route in life.

3. But the proverb does speak about the difference in the way the two men receive correction.

a. The wise man listens, learns, and changes.

b. The fool doesn’t listen—and has to be beaten 100 times… for the same infraction—and still doesn’t learn!