Proverbs 29:8

Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.


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National security requires humble wisdom. Political prosperity depends on discreet and wise rulers. King Solomon’s proverbs cover every aspect of life. Learn political science here to apply to your life for success. God’s divine library, the Bible, is quite a treasure!

Scorners are dangerous to themselves, and they are dangerous to those near them. Their arrogance and rebellious spirit provoke the wrath of both God and men. If they are in authority in a city, a nation, or any organization, they will cause unnecessary fights.

But wise men, by humility and discretion, pacify the anger of God and men to keep or restore peace and tranquility. Wise men will carefully avoid and reject scorners (Pr 22:10); they will instead be peacemakers with God and men (Ezek 22:30; Jas 3:17-18).

Scorners are arrogant fools. A fool is a man without wisdom or desire for it. He is ignorant, lazy, and stubborn. He is a stupid loser. A fool is bad enough, but a scorner is worse (Pr 26:12; 29:20)! A scorner is a conceited fool. He is so puffed up in pride he despises teachers; he is so profanely belligerent he welcomes fights. He angrily resents any correction, instruction, disagreement, or opposition by others (Pr 9:7-8; 21:24).

Men by nature are hateful, malicious, and selfish (Titus 3:3). A small offence can start a battle. If no wise man is present to turn away wrath with soft words, then fighting will likely follow (Pr 15:1; 25:15). But if a scorner is present, his haughty and offensive manners and words will escalate the smallest differences into violent conflict (Pr 15:1).

When Gideon and his three hundred men were pursuing the Midianites, he called on the cities of Succoth and Penuel for food for his hungry troops. They scornfully mocked him as being too small and weak to defeat Midian. So when he was done securing the victory, he returned and severely punished the scorners of those two cities (Judges 8:4-18).

The men of Jabesh offered to be servants to Nahash, king of the Ammonites. But he scornfully demanded to put out the right eyes of their men. What an inflammatory request! These are called fighting words! The previously submissive men of Jabesh raised an army from Israel and thoroughly defeated Nahash and his people (I Sam 11:1-11).

One lesson from this proverb was not enough for Ammon! Later, their King Hanun scornfully treated ambassadors from David, so he sent Joab and Abishai with his mighty men to destroy them. Though David and Hanun’s father had enjoyed a good relationship, Hanun’s scornful spirit cost him a crushing military defeat (II Sam 10:1-14; 12:26-31).

However, a wise man or woman can save a city from wrath. The scorner Sheba, who rejected David’s restoration to the throne after Absalom’s revolt, was holed up in the city of Abel. Joab explained the reason for his great army surrounding the city, and a wise woman cut the scorner’s head off and sent Joab away peacefully (II Sam 20:1-22).

Consider how the townclerk of Ephesus subdued a riot in his city over the apostle Paul’s preaching by discreet and prudent words (Acts 19:23-41). Though Demetrius had inflamed an angry mob with his violent rhetoric, a wise man was able to save the city from either self-destruction or Rome’s severe punishment for the civil unrest.

The examples so far deal with the wrath of men against a city, but scorners also bring the wrath of God. Scornful kings like Manasseh brought God’s wrath on Israel (II Kgs 21:9-15; 23:26-27; II Chr 36:16-17; Is 28:14-22; Jer 36:23-32). But humility and submission by wise kings deferred His anger and brought His mercy (II Kgs 22:11-20; Jonah 3:5-10).

The Scriptures are filled with examples of wise men that discreetly and prudently turned away God’s wrath from His people. Consider Moses, Aaron, Phinehas, Elijah, Amos, Job, Daniel, Samuel, and Noah among others. Rather than scornfully responding to judgment from God, they humbly besought His mercy and delivered those with them.

The lesson and warning applies to families and churches also. A scorner in a family or church brings it under the anger of God or men by his arrogant rebellion. Parents and pastor must expose, punish, and reject such scorners (Pr 19:25,29; 21:11; 24:9). When a scorner is identified and cast out, contention, strife, and reproach will end (Pr 22:10)!

Since scorners first show up at home, parents must severely punish words, attitudes, or expressions that reveal poison in the heart (Ex 21:15,17; Deut 27:16; Pr 30:17). The flippant, irreverent attitudes allowed today in most homes cannot be tolerated. The haughty and profane disregard for authority or correction must be totally eliminated.

There are several lessons for you. Thank God for humble and wise rulers; pray that your leaders will not be scorners (I Tim 2:1-2). Hate being a scorner so you do not endanger others. Avoid scorners like the plague – make sure none are among your friends. If you are in authority, punish scorners and get rid of them as soon as possible (Pr 19:25; 21:11).

It is by kissing the Son – the Lord Jesus Christ – that wrath is diverted (Ps 2:12)! But the wicked Jews scornfully defied Him, which led to the utter destruction of their nation (Matt 21:33-46; 22:1-7; 23:34-39; I Thess 2:14-16). They derided and mocked Him, which brought on their city the greatest tribulation ever (Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-22).

What about you, reader? Are you a scorner or a wise man? Do you humble yourself before God or do you provoke Him? Will you scorn the warning of Paul, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (I Cor 16:22)? Do you live peacefully with all men as much as you are able, or do you have bitter envying and strife in your heart and life (Rom 12:18; Jas 3:14-16)? Your sin will find you out!