Proverbs 24:25

But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

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It is very wrong to excuse or protect the wicked, especially for civil rulers or judges. Citizens and nations will curse and despise such leaders and their government (Pr 24:23-24). King Solomon in this context taught you how civil rulers must punish evildoers.

In this proverb before you, Solomon encouraged leaders and judges to rebuke wicked men to receive the delight and blessing of God and men. It is the holy duty of righteous men, especially in positions of authority, to judge righteously and rebuke all evildoers.

The proverb is primarily for rulers, as Solomon the king addressed his son, the future king (Pr 24:21-24). Great rulers must govern justly, which includes rebuking sin wherever they find it (Pr 16:12; 20:8,26). It is a calamity and travesty when rulers compromise with wickedness. Jesus Christ is the only perfect ruler (Heb 1:9; Rev 19:15).

But the proverb also applies to all men, especially in their lesser offices of authority, for righteous men have a duty to rebuke sin and warn unruly men. Allowing any you know or meet to continue in sin without a rebuke is an act of hatred (Lev 19:17). If you are an employer, husband, or father, you have a duty to punish sinners to enforce righteousness.

If righteous men do not correct or rebuke sin, how will fools be instructed and warned or saints taught and perfected? If the wicked are not rebuked and punished, what will restrain them? You have a duty to live and speak in a way to reprove evil (Eph 5:11). From top to bottom, all men should rebuke sinners to send the right message (Eccl 8:11).

You are your brother’s keeper (Gen 4:9), no matter how much you dislike the duty. “Iron sharpeneth iron,” Solomon said (Pr 27:17), and reproving sinners can be a beautiful thing (Pr 25:12). Church members are to warn the unruly, and every church has them (I Thes 5:14). This is how churches grow spiritually (Gal 6:1; Jas 5:19-20). Even fools and simple men can learn and improve by seeing scorners punished (Pr 19:25; 21:11).

Pastors have a great duty and role to rebuke sinners, like when Elihu rebuked Job for foolish words (Job 32:1-2) and John the Baptist rebuked Herod for his unlawful marriage (Matt 14:3-5). A minister is at war every time he steps in the pulpit – war against the foolish notions of his hearers (II Cor 10:4-6). Public sinners should be rebuked publicly, even other ministers, to get the attention of the whole church (I Tim 5:20; Gal 2:14).

Pastors must lift up their voices like trumpets and show churches their sins (Is 58:1). The work is so harsh at times that they have been described as hewing people in pieces with their words (Hos 6:5). They are to preach the word, whether the people want to hear it or not (II Tim 4:1-4). And they should mock any efforts to despise their authority (Tit 2:15).

They must avoid preaching smooth things, which sinful generations crave (Is 30:8-11). The word of God properly preached is a hammer and fire – it breaks in pieces the rocks of stubborn hearers (Jer 23:28-29). The people were astonished at the authority of Jesus Christ, for He rejected the mealy-mouthed compromise of their preachers (Matt 7:28-29).

The proverb here is primarily for civil rulers and judges, but it also applies to each person in a position of authority, especially gospel ministers. Be attentive and faithful to rebuke the sinners God brings to your attention to obtain the delight and good blessing described here. If you exercise your authority well, you will also improve your part of the world.