5 The one who mocks the poor[a] has insulted[b] his Creator; whoever rejoices over disaster will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 17:5tn Or “A mocker of the poor.”sn The parallelism helps define the subject matter: The one who “mocks the poor” (NAB, NASB, NIV) is the one who “rejoices [NIV gloats] over disaster,” where the disaster resulted in the poverty of others. The topic of the parable is the person who mocks others by making fun of their misfortune.
Proverbs 17:5sn The Hebrew word translated “insults” (חֵרֵף, kheref) means “reproach; taunt” (as with a cutting taunt); it describes words that show contempt for or insult God. The idea of reproaching the Creator may be mistaking and blaming God’s providential control of the world (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 337). W. G. Plaut, however, suggests that mocking the poor means holding up their poverty as a personal failure and thus offending their dignity and their divine nature (Proverbs, 187). Cf. Prov 14:31.
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