Proverbs 9:7
He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
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(7) He that reproveth a scorner . . .—Wisdom does not address the scoffer, nor the godless: this would be “giving that which is holy unto the dogs, and casting pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). (Comp. our Lord’s own plan of teaching by parables, that His hearers might not understand (Luke 8:10).

Getteth to himself shame.—Or, insult.

Proverbs 9:7. He that reproveth a scorner — “This and the following verse supply us with a reason for the conduct of wisdom, in addressing herself only to the simple. She invites not the pretendedly wise, those who think they are ignorant of nothing; to invite them to the feast of wisdom, would be to expose herself to their insults and censures. They would receive the invitation with disdain; they would despise the lessons of wisdom; they would reject with disgust her wine and her viands. The scorners admirably represent the genius of libertines and professed infidels.” — Dodd. But Solomon may also be considered as showing us, in these verses, whom he meant by the foolish, Proverbs 9:6, even scorners and wicked men; and here he presses the advice last given of forsaking them, because there was no good, but hurt, to be got from them. He that reproves such a one, he says, getteth to himself shame — Namely, both from the scorner himself, who will revile and deride him; and from others, because he is frustrated in his design and hope, and hath, by his imprudence, brought an inconvenience upon himself. He that rebuketh a wicked man — A man wilfully, obstinately, and determinedly wicked; getteth himself a blot — Censure or reproach. Instead, probably, of convincing or reforming such a one by his reproofs, he will find himself accused of the same, or of similar iniquities, by the person whom he endeavours to amend. “A scorner,” says Lord Bacon, “only makes us lose our labour, but a wicked man (that is, one obstinately wicked) repays us with a stain of dishonour; when a man instructs a scorner, his time, indeed, which he thus employs, is thrown away, and others deride his pains as a labour ill placed; and the scorner himself also despises the knowledge which he is taught; thus a man is put to shame. But the matter is transacted with greater danger in the reprehension of the other; because he not only gives no ear to the advice, but turns his head against his reprehender, now made odious to him; whom he either wounds presently with contumelies before his face, or traduces afterward to others behind his back.” — Advancement of Learning, 50. 8. chap. 2. par. 9.

9:1-12 Christ has prepared ordinances to which his people are admitted, and by which nourishment is given here to those that believe in him, as well as mansions in heaven hereafter. The ministers of the gospel go forth to invite the guests. The call is general, and shuts out none that do not shut out themselves. Our Saviour came, not to call the righteous, but sinners; not the wise in their own eyes, who say they see. We must keep from the company and foolish pleasures of the ungodly, or we never can enjoy the pleasures of a holy life. It is vain to seek the company of wicked men in the hope of doing them good; we are far more likely to be corrupted by them. It is not enough to forsake the foolish, we must join those that walk in wisdom. There is no true wisdom but in the way of religion, no true life but in the end of that way. Here is the happiness of those that embrace it. A man cannot be profitable to God; it is for our own good. Observe the shame and ruin of those who slight it. God is not the Author of sin: and Satan can only tempt, he cannot force. Thou shalt bear the loss of that which thou scornest: it will add to thy condemnation.These verses seem somewhat to interrupt the continuity of the invitation which Wisdom utters. The order of thought is, however, this: "I speak to you, the simple, the open ones, for you have yet ears to hear: but from the scorner or evil doer, as such, I turn away." The words are illustrated by Matthew 13:11 ff. 7, 8. shame—(Compare Pr 3:35).

a blot—or, "stain on character." Both terms denote the evil done by others to one whose faithfulness secures a wise man's love.

He that reproveth a scorner: the connexion may be conceived thus, Having invited the simple, he forbids the invitation of scorners; or thus, He showeth who he meant by the foolish, Proverbs 9:6, even scorners and wicked men, as they are here called; and he presseth his last advice of forsaking them, because there was no good, but hurt, to be got by conversation with them.

Getteth to himself shame; partly from the scorner, who will revile and deride him; and partly from others, because he is frustrated in his design and hope, and by his imprudence hath brought an inconvenience upon himself.

A blot; a censure or reproach.

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame,.... Intimating, that though the simple, and such as want understanding, and of whom there is hope of doing them good, are to be invited into Wisdom's house; yet not the haughty scorner, the abandoned sinner, the scoffer at all religion, who walks after his own lusts, and is quite irreclaimable; it is but casting pearls before swine, and giving that which is holy to dogs, to reprove and exhort such persons; though the Gospel is to be preached to every creature, yet when men despise it, and make a mock at it, they are to be turned from, and no more is to be said to them; as the Jews of old, they were the first invited to the Gospel feast, the same that is described in the context; they made light of it, contradicted and blasphemed the word, and so judged themselves unworthy of it; wherefore Wisdom's maidens, or Christ's ministers, were bid to turn from them, and go to the Gentiles, and preach it to them; for it is to no purpose to address such persons; "shame" is the sure consequence of it, because a man is disappointed of the end he has in view, which is doing good;

and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot; this shows who is meant by a scorner, a very profligate man, bent on his wicked ways, and quite incorrigible; to rebuke such an one is not only labour lost, and in vain, but the rebuker getteth himself an ill name, and is sure to have the dirt of reproach and scandal cast upon him; though this a man might patiently bear, if there was any hope of doing good.

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a {g} blot.

(g) For the wicked will contemn him and labour to defame him.

7. shame … a blot] because his failure convicts him of unwisdom in the attempt. Comp. Matthew 7:6.

7–9. There is some abruptness in the introduction of these verses, which seem to interrupt the even flow of the invitation given by Wisdom. The majority of commentators regard them as the justification offered by Wisdom of her own course, in confining her invitation to the simple, and not extending it to the scorner and the wicked. This explanation, however, leaves us still to enquire why any such justification should here be called for. But if the cry “forsake” (Proverbs 9:6), be as it were the key-note of the appeal, then these verses shew cause alike why Wisdom should not reprove the scorners herself, and why the simple should not linger in their company in the delusive hope of winning them with themselves to Wisdom.

Verses 7-10. - These verses form a parenthesis, showing why Wisdom addresses only the simple and foolish. She giveth not that which is holy unto dogs, nor casteth pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). Verse 7. - He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame. He who tries to correct a scorner (see on Proverbs 1:22 and Proverbs 3:34), one who derides religion, loses his pains and meets with ribald mockery and insult. It is not the fault of messengers or message that this should be, but the hardness of heart and the pride of the hearer make him despise the teaching and hate the teacher (Matthew 24:9). He that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot; rather, he that reproveth a sinner, it is his blot. Such a proceeding results in disgrace to himself. This is not said to discourage the virtuous from reproving transgressors, but states the effect which experience proves to occur in such cases. Prudence, caution, and tact are needed in dealing with these characters. Evil men regard the reprover as a personal enemy, and treat him with contumely, and hence arise unseemly bickerings and disputes, injurious words and deeds. To have wasted teaching on such unreceptive and antagonistic natures is a shameful expenditure of power. St. Gregory thus explains this matter: "It generally happens that when they cannot defend the evils that are reproved in them, they are rendered worse from a feeling of shame, and carry themselves so high in their defence of themselves, that they take out bad points to urge against the life of the reprover, and so they do not account themselves guilty, if they fasten guilty deeds upon the heads of others also. And when they are unable to find true ones, they feign them, that they may also themselves have things they may seem to rebuke with no inferior degree of justice" ('Moral.,' 10:3, Oxford transl.). Proverbs 9:7In what now follows the discourse of Wisdom is continued; wherefore she directs her invitation to the simple, i.e., those who have not yet decided, and are perhaps susceptible of that which is better:

7 "He who correcteth a scorner draweth upon himself insult;

   And he who communicateth instruction to a scorner, it is a dishonour to him.

8 Instruct not a scorner, lest he hate thee;

   Give instruction to the wise, so he will love thee.

9 Give to the wise, and he becomes yet wiser;

   Give knowledge to the upright, and he gains in knowledge."

Zckler thinks that herewith the reason for the summons to the "simple" to forsake the fellowship of men of their own sort, is assigned (he explains 6a as Ahron b. Joseph: הפרדו מן הפתאים); but his remark, that, under the term "simple," mockers and wicked persons are comprehended as belonging to the same category, confounds two sharply distinguished classes of men. לץ is the freethinker who mocks at religion and virtue (vid., Proverbs 1:22), and רשׁע the godless who shuns restraint by God and gives himself up to the unbridled impulse to evil. The course of thought in Proverbs 9:7 and onwards shows why Wisdom, turning from the wise, who already are hers, directs herself only to the simple, and those who are devoid of understanding: she must pass over the לץ and רשׁע dna , because she can there hope for no receptivity for her invitation; she would, contrary to Matthew 7:6, "give that which is holy to the dogs, and cast her pearls before swine." יסר, παιδεύειν (with the prevailing idea of the bitter lesson of reproof and punishment), and הוכיח, ἐλέγχειν, are interchangeable conceptions, Psalm 94:10; the ל is here exponent of the object (to bring an accusation against any one), as Proverbs 9:8, Proverbs 15:12 (otherwise as Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:4, where it is the dat. commodi: to bring unrighteousness to light, in favour of the injured). יסר לץ is pointed with Mahpach of the penultima, and thus with the tone thrown back. The Pasek, placed in some editions between the two words, is masoretically inaccurate. He who reads the moral to the mocker brings disgrace to himself; the incorrigible replies to the goodwill with insult. Similar to the לקח לו here, is מרים tollit equals reportat, Proverbs 3:25; Proverbs 4:27. In 7b מוּמו is by no means the object governed by וּמוכיח: and he who shows to the godless his fault (Meri, Arama, Lwenstein: מומו equals על־מומו, and thus also the Graec. Venet. μῶμον ἑαυτῷ, scil. λαμβάνει); plainly מומו is parallel with קלון. But מומו does not also subordinate itself to לקח as to the object. parallel קלון: maculam sibimet scil. acquirit; for, to be so understood, the author ought at least to have written לו מוּם. Much rather מומו is here, as at Deuteronomy 32:5, appos., thus pred. (Hitzig), without needing anything to be supplied: his blot it is, viz., this proceeding, which is equivalent to מוּמא הוּא ליהּ (Targ.), opprobrio ipsi est. Zckler not incorrectly compares Psalm 115:7 and Ecclesiastes 5:16, but the expression (macula ejus equals ipsi) lies here less remote from our form of expression. In other words: Whoever correcteth the mockers has only to expect hatred (אל־תוכח with the tone thrown back, according to rule; cf. on the contrary, Judges 18:25), but on the other hand, love from the wise.

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