1 ¶ He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
This Bible idiom, “harden the neck”, refers to refusing to hear something, to accept it, and obey.
2Kings 17:14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.
2Chronicles 36:13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.
Nehemiah 9:29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.
Jeremiah 7:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
To reprove is to correct or admonish just as reproof is correction. Note again parallel phrasing which provides meaning;
Proverbs 15:10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
Here is one use of reprove in Job.
Job 13:10 He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
The simple statement in this Proverb is that the person who stubbornly refuses to hear when they are corrected and shown the error of their ways will be destroyed without any chance of being saved from the calamity in which they have put themselves.
To be destroyed usually carries with it the meaning of being killed.
Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Genesis 9:15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
God often talks about the judgment of the wicked coming suddenly on them like one who slips and falls quickly, out of control. Here are two verses prominent in Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
Psalm 73:18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
The Babylonian empire falls overnight as the Persians and the Medes conquer the unconquerable city.
Daniel 5:30 ¶ In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Virtually the entire Assyrian army is killed by an angel of God while asleep.
Isaiah 37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they (the men of Jerusalem) arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
When the Christian hardens his neck against God’s reproof and correction he can be brought down in an instant. There are a million ways that you can die in this world; from an aneurysm to that car you didn’t see coming. Don’t think that all your plans and all of your worldly accomplishments can’t be erased in a moment. And when that happens there will be no remedy, no one to save you, and then you will face Christ Himself at His judgment seat for those who belong to Him.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
The Christian is not in any danger of losing his or her salvation but may face the shame of his stubbornness and foolishness in the wake of all of God’s tender mercies. Don’t harden your neck as a response to God’s word of reproof in the Bible. God plucked you out of the depths of Hell itself. Do you not feel that He is worthy to be heard? And how do you hear but by allowing Him to speak to you through His words in His Book and through sound, solid preaching and exhortation on His precepts and statutes? How many times does He have to correct you before He has to take you out of this world because you won’t hear him?