27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
29 Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.
It is a dangerous thing to stop listening, to assume that you know everything you need to know. Even if that were true, though doubtless it is not, there is more to listening than mere learning. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Just as food is a daily need; so also we need to be regularly reminded of our identity, purpose and direction. Those who stray may not have forgotten these things, it is only necessary to have lost touch with them.
“A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.” It is foolish enough to mock justice in word, but the corrupt witness also mocks in deed. All folly is self-destructive, and this is no exception. Though he assumes his lies will benefit him, they will serve to enslave him. The wicked may have reasons for gulping down evil, which may or may not prove to be true – but surely it is poison, and they will pay the price of having swallowed it.
“Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.” Though the inherent consequences of folly – self destruction and loss of freedom – are reason enough to abandon such paths, outright punishment is in store for those who persist. The mocker and the fool have delusions of grandeur, but they convince only themselves. “Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are.” Let their examples be a lesson to deter us from pride, or we too will learn things the hard way.