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Proverbs and Ecclesiastes
#4
Dear Gergely, thank you for your questions.

(1) In Chapter 9 of Proverbs (Mishley in Hebrew), King Solomon is writing about how these issues are approached from the perspective of wisdom. The classic explanations from Malbim (Rabbi Meir Leibush Malbim) are very helpful for understanding the verses of Proverbs. This edition in English is published by Feldheim:

https://asknoah.org/books/malbim-on-mishley-proverbs

On verse 9:7 Malbim explains (quoting from the cited edition):
"Here, wisdom distinguishes between naive and undisciplined, unrestrained persons on the one hand [in verses 9:4-6], whom it is good [!] to try to redeem, and scorners and wicked men on the other hand, who will not respond to any moral appeal. The scorner requires empirical evidence before he will accept an idea; he therefore lacks the principles of morality, which cannot be demonstrated empirically but rather rest on 'fear of G-d' - on a direct emotional apprehension of moral law and its sanctions as they operate in the world. This is the implication of 'he who CORRECTS [chastens] a scorner': trying to impress such a skeptic through fear of retribution, for instance, will be worse than useless. [However, rational argument might be effective for some scorners.]  The wicked man, however, is on a lower level of degradation: he is no longer open even to rational argument ('reproval'). He sins with open eyes, willfully, and simply heaps abuse and calumny on anyone who tries to argue with him."

But in the next verse 9:8, King Solomon gives further advice and caution: "Do not reprove a scorner, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you." So the criteria hinges on whether or not the scorner has retained any wisdom. Quoting again, Malbim explains:
"With a further turn of the screw, wisdom advises against even trying rational argument with the scorner, the intellectual skeptic whose world view is professedly [!] entirely rational. Even if we try to fight him with his own weapons [rational arguments], the result will not be good; he may not mock us, but he will "hate" [!] even the rational opponent who speaks for morality. Such skeptics, implies Scripture, instinctively recoil from any contact with an absolute morality, however rationally justified; the skeptic will keep his distance from moral wisdom and its arguments..."

How true this has proved to be in our day and age!

(2) That being said, it doesn't sound like your Non-Jewish friend is either a "scorner" or a "wicked man", as defined by Malbim. The reconciliation with the explanation by Rashi is that Rashi identifies a "wicked man" who is to be avoided as someone who actively entices (missionizes) others to worship an idol. So he is not content to leave alone those who have accepted the Truth of the Torah of Moses which is from the One True G-d. Instead, he tries to push his idol worship onto them as well, G-d forbid.

(3) If you wish to turn your Jewish friend into the right direction, you should encourage him to start observing a Jewish mitzvah. Please feel free to write to me through our Contact Us page, https://asknoah.org/contactus for more information.
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Messages In This Thread
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes - by Finch - 10-04-2010, 01:39 PM
RE: Proverbs - by Director Michael - 10-06-2010, 12:17 AM
RE: Proverbs - by Gergely_Hungary - 08-29-2012, 06:25 AM
RE: Proverbs - by Director Michael - 08-30-2012, 02:28 AM
RE: Proverbs - by wonjoon3 - 08-27-2014, 05:54 PM
RE: Proverbs - by Director Michael - 08-31-2014, 11:47 PM

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