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The one who mocks the poor[a] has insulted[b] his Creator;
whoever rejoices over disaster will not go unpunished.

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  1. Proverbs 17:5 tn 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.
  2. Proverbs 17:5 sn 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.