Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.
Fools and scorners deserve one thing – a beating. It is the only thing they understand (Pr 26:3). Only other fools try to protect them from a whipping or give them honor. Good men stand with God and despise fools and scorners. Unless they repent, they should be severely punished. Giving them honor or kindness is rebellion against God and wisdom.
Wise men do not need punishment, for correction and instruction are enough. They hear the reproofs of truth, and they reform their lives to match it. They listen to instruction and gain understanding (Pr 1:5; 9:9). They benefit from teaching, unlike fools and scorners. “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool” (Pr 17:10).
Fools are stupid; scorners are rebellious. Fools are stubborn; scorners are malicious. They both deserve to be punished, because they flagrantly violate laws of an orderly society. Therefore, authority must deal severely in punishing them – especially civil government, which should impose harsh punishments on civil offenders (Deut 25:1-3).
Stripes come from flogging on the back. Flogging was once the chief means of discipline in homes, schools, the military, and society. Check any old encyclopedia. Of course, this confused and effeminate generation treats even violent criminals tenderly. Flogging is now thought abusive, inhumane, and Neanderthal, though it was common just a few years ago. Let God be true (Pr 10:13; 13:24; 18:6; 19:18,25; 22:15; 23:13-14; 26:3; 29:15)!
The wise man, King Solomon of Israel, knew better than this generation. He understood that certain men only respond to one thing – pain. Therefore, he knew the value of a strict penal code. It was the only way to communicate with fools and scorners. Their ignorance and arrogance preclude them from learning by instruction, so they must be punished.
Ignorant sentimentalists protect and honor fools and scorners, but punishment will deter their crimes (Eccl 8:11). And it provides a warning to others (Pr 19:25; 21:11). Reducing punishment promotes pride and rebellion. Most nations are reaping the bitter fruit of what they have sown. Current youth have no fear for their folly and scorning. Honoring a fool or scorner is wrong (Pr 26:1). They should be avoided, rejected, and punished.
From parenting to voting for elected officials, a strict criminal justice system and severe penal code effectively promote wisdom and righteousness in homes and society. The horrible pain and suffering caused by rebellion and violence today could have been avoided by following this simple proverb, which your grandparents understood clearly. Events many wring their hands about today hardly ever occurred in previous generations.
Israel had no prisons, for God’s justice system did not have a need for them. The Law of Moses put capital offenders to death immediately, used flogging for other crimes, required heavy restitution for others, and sold you into slavery if you could not pay. Not a dime was spent on a prison system, where depraved fools and scorners can come together for three squares a day and mutual encouragement in wicked thinking and planning.
Where are fools or scorners in your life? In your home? In your place of employment? In your church? In your nation? By whatever authority or influence God has given you, choose a harsh and severe response to folly and scorn in order to follow the wisdom of this proverb. If more would do their part, fools and scorners could be reduced for peace.
Fools and scorners who are not punished due to weak parents and/or an effeminate society should remember there is a God in heaven, Who sees every act of arrogance and rebellion; He will punish without compromise or mercy (Num 32:23; Ps 5:4-6; Pr 29:1; Eccl 12:13-14), and the righteous will rejoice when they see the just reward (Ps 58:6-11).