A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.
This wise saying is about how we respond when others say or do things to us that we don’t like. Two very different people are the case studies here – “a discerning person” and “a fool.”
The “discerning person” is frequently translated “one with understanding.” They grasp the cause-and-effect of life choices. Such people can be “impressed” (the term for a literal physical “impression”!) by the strong words of warning from another.
This “rebuke” may be justified or not – but a “discerning person” will gain some benefit from it, either way.
“A fool,” on the other hand, will not get as much benefit — even from “a hundred lashes!”
Two things come to mind from this lashes-to-a-fool scenario. The fact is, they may be only nominally successful in dealing with a fool.
While true punishment might be important and necessary for this person, what they really need is to change on the inside and those 100 lashes may not be the most effective means in bringing that to pass.
It’ll be the change in his or her thinking — on the inside — which will, in turn, make a significant difference in their outward behavior.
We can all change and get better. But it’s always going to happen from the inside out!