25 ¶ Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.
Here’s a Proverb about justice as a deterrent. Punish a scorner (a wicked man; Proverbs 9:7, a proud and haughty person; Proverbs 21:24, a contentious person who causes strife and reproach; Proverbs: 22:10) and this will get the attention of the simple (inexperienced persons like the young who lack knowledge and discretion as well as understanding; Proverbs 1:4, Proverbs 7:7, they’re loud and obnoxious and know nothing; Proverbs 9:13, they are gullible; Proverbs 14:15, they are easily misled by false teachers; Romans 16:18) but if you correct a person who does have understanding he learns from it.
Here are some words that have previously been said on the matter.
Proverbs 14:6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
Here is an upcoming parallel verse that gives more meaning to the Proverb about which we’re talking.
Proverbs 21:11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.
It’s important, in order to understand the Bible, to compare verse to verse for meaning rather than going to a lexicon or dictionary first.
1Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
For an application to the Christian and not as a reference to Hebrew civil law I would refer you to this verse for Pastors in congregations today.
1Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Some Baptist congregations call that being “churched” as when a meeting is held and a couple involved in adultery are rebuked and told they must cease or not return to the church assembly. In the early church Paul refers this to turning someone over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1Corinthians 5:1-13). Back then people were more able to experience shame so this had the desired result (2 Corinthians 2:1-11). Today, I’m not so sure. Americans don’t accept much correcting or know much shame.