“The Most Hardened Apostate”

by | Aug 2, 2016 | Bible Study | 0 comments

In the introduction to Bruce Waltke’s commentary on Proverbs he offers some short studies on some of the characters who occur most often in the book. His section on “the mocker” (often translated, “scoffer”) is especially helpful. Reading this and looking up the verses could make for an excellent study. (Unmarked verse references are Proverbs, and I lightly edited this for readability).


In the Proverbs, the most hardened apostates are the mockers, a word that occurs 14 times in Proverbs and twice outside of it (Psalm 1:1, Isaiah 29:20). The noun for “mocking” occurs three times in the Old Testament (Proverbs 1:22; 29:8; Isaiah 28:14).

The mocker is the antithesis of the wise (9:12; 13:1; 20:1; 21:14), whom he hates (9:7-8, 15:2), and of the discerning (14:6, 19:25), and is lumped together with fools (1:22, 3:34-35, 14:6-7, 19:29), the gullible (1:22), and the proud and haughty (21:24). His spiritual problem is rooted in his pride (21:24). His arrogance blocks him from wisdom (14:6).

He has genius for invective [that is, insulting or highly critical language] and denigration [that is, speaking damagingly or criticizing in a derogatory manner] that impresses the gullible as long as he has his way (19:25, 21:11). He opens his big mouth and, unleashing the tensions and strains in a community, he sets the whole community at loggerheads (that is, in head-on dispute see 22:10, 29:8) and destroys it (21:24, 22:10, 29:8). His bad influence is plain to most (24:9). “No man earns more universal detestation or deserves it more than he who wears a perpetual sneer, who is himself incapable of deep loyalty and reverence and who supposes that it is his mission in life to promoteĀ  the corrosion of the values by which individuals and society lives.”

To restore order he must be driven out of the community by force (22:10). In any case, God himself ultimately scoffs at him, and so he, too, will disappear (Isaiah 29:20).