Proverbs 19:28-29

Scorners and Justice

28a An ungodly witness scorneth judgment:

1. Ungodly:

a. Worthless; good for nothing; unprofitable; base fellow.

b. One who is a lawbreaker and unruly, and rebellious.

c. The Hebrew word is “belial” which means a worthless person.

d. This term appears in Greek form in the New Testament as a name or title for the devil… the worthless one. (II Cor. 6:15 – what concord hath Christ with Belial?)

2. Witness:

a. This term means exactly the same as in modern English: a witness; a testimony.

b. It refers to a person which gives verbal testimony and provides information about a situation… sometimes used in a courtroom situation.

3. Ungodly Witness

a. A witness is to testify to what he knows… to provide verbal information…

b. In a courtroom situation, someone’s life could hang in the balance!

c. A good, honest witness could cause you to be justified.

d. A worthless witness, an ungodly witness who lies… could result in your incarceration or death.

e. Ex 23:1 – an honest, accurate witness was required under the Law… but it didn’t always happen… just like today.

f. Many men go to jail, and sometimes for long periods of time, for crimes they did not commit—because of a worthless witness… an ungodly witness who was covering for a friend.

4. Scorns judgment

a. Judgment:
• Justice; deciding a legal dispute or case.
• II Sam. 15:4 -Legal action taken in court.

b. Scorns:
• Mock; make a mockery of; show no respect; make fun of.

c. Solomon’s point is that an ungodly witness (one who lies; one who is not in truth; willing to perjure himself) makes a mockery of justice.
• This is the kind of person who would mock when he hears that God is holy and will judge the hearts of men one day. He laughs that thought to scorn! He mocks divine justice.
• But it is likely that Solomon had earthly justice in mind here.
• This man would mock the judicial system in the land.

d. I Kings 3:16-27 – Remember that Solomon was a king, who also functioned as a JUDGE on occasion.
• Recall the account of the two women who came to him, both claiming to be the mother of the living child—one was a boldfaced liar! A false witness.
• Solomon knew firsthand about witnesses before the judicial system who were liars.
• One of the mothers lied to his face as she stood before his throne.
• I’m sure he caught many other false witnesses too… ungodly witnesses.

e. Solomon’s assessment was that they made a mockery of justice.
• To them justice was a joke.
• To them truth didn’t matter.
• To them the judicial system of the land meant little.
• But Solomon knew that the stability of a nation depends upon everyone having a sense that they will get a fair shake in a court of law.
• Without justice—there will be rebellion and insurrection.
• As a king and a judge, Solomon saw making a mockery of justice as extremely detrimental to nation of Israel.
• Their lies undermined the stability of their national institutions (like the judicial system; the monarchy). That caught the attention of one who was both king and judge.

28b And the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.

1. The mouth of the wicked

a. Wicked: guilty one; criminal.

b. Deut. 25:1 – Judges were to condemn the wicked (same term = guilty criminals).

c. Prov. 18:3 – When the wicked (same term) come, then comes contempt. (Contempt = attitude of disrespect and scorn toward persons.)

d. Solomon is describing the person who has no respect for authority, for the law, for the judicial system…

e. We shouldn’t expect good things to come out the mouth of this person.

2. But Solomon isn’t speaking here about what comes OUT of his mouth.

a. He is speaking about what he puts IN his mouth.

b. Devoureth: To gulp down; to swallow; consume.

c. Solomon states that these contemptuous wicked men (or women) DEVOUR iniquity… sinful things.

d. Devour is obviously used in a figurative sense.
• They don’t literally EAT iniquity.
• But they do “take it in” and make it theirs.
• You are what you eat. You devour it and it becomes part of you.
• Figuratively, it means to “embrace” or to “partake of.”
• This implies that he likes it… he delights in it. We eat food because we ENJOY it. He partakes of sin because he enjoys it. There is a pleasure to sin.
• Prov. 1:22 – Scorners delight in their scorning. It makes them feel good… superior… smarter than everyone else
• It also implies that he has an appetite for iniquity… an insatiable appetite for it.
• Job 15:16 – this man drinks iniquity like water!

3. Iniquity: Wickedness; unrighteousness; morally evil and corrupt.

a. Sin, and moral corruption, have a corrupting effect on a nation.

b. Prov. 14:34 – Sin is a reproach to any people.

4. Solomon writes about the DANGER of such a person.

a. Out of the mouth of this man comes a mockery of justice which undermines a land.

b. Into his mouth he puts iniquity, which is a reproach to the land.

c. As a king and a judge, Solomon was determined to deal with this kind of individual.

d. The next proverb speaks of that.

29 Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.

Vs. 29 – Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools

1. Here Solomon speaks about what he has in store for such scorners and fools.

2. Judgments are prepared for the scorners.

a. Judgments = a different word for judgment than appears in the previous verse.

b. This word means “punishments” – “inflicting pain or suffering on a guilty party, either to improve behavior, or for strict justice.”

c. Stripes – Whipping done on the back. It too inflicts pain.

d. This man devours iniquity, but he doesn’t realize that he has swallowed a hook along with the bait… punishment accompanies the iniquity he devoured.

3. In other words, Solomon was determined to PUNISH those who scorn the legal system by lying as an ungodly witness… or attempting to obstruct justice.

4. Solomon’s answer: they will be punished and beaten!

a. Those who scorn judgment will not escape judgment!

b. And even if they don’t learn the lesson from their punishment, they would STILL be punished for the sake of strict justice… because it is the right thing to do.

c. Prov. 19:25 – As previously mentioned, even if the scorner doesn’t learn, the punishment is right because OTHERS might learn from it… and beware…

5. Such punishments have been PREPARED (ordained; appointed; set in place).

a. Prov. 13:1 – Scorners don’t learn from a rebuke. It takes something much more severe and serious to get their attention.

b. Rom. 13:4 – God designed human government such that they are equipped to execute justice.

c. They have judgments PREPARED for scorners…

d. They do not bear the sword in vain.

6. There ought to be a healthy sense of fear both in a home and in a nation—a fear of the sword for evil behavior. That kind of fear is GOOD. It prevents evil behavior from becoming commonplace.

7. And this sends a good warning to young people too.

a. If you have friends who scorn justice and righteousness, find some new friends!

b. Those friends who scorn God’s justice and sacred things will not escape the punishment.

c. And those who STAND with them are in danger too.

d. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Ps. 1:1)
• Don’t walk with them; don’t stand with them,
• Because eventually you will be sitting with the scornful and become one OF them!
• And you will find punishment prepared for you too!