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Proverbs 28:9 & meaning...


who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

Proverbs 28:9


Proverbs 28 [5.] Evil men don’t understand justice;

    but those who seek Yahweh understand it fully.

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity,

    than he who is perverse in his ways, and he is rich.

Whoever keeps the law is a wise son;

    but he who is a companion of gluttons shames his father.

He who increases his wealth by excessive interest

    gathers it for one who has pity on the poor.

He who turns away his ear from hearing the law,

    even his prayer is an abomination.

Proverbs 28 [10.] Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way,

    he will fall into his own trap;

    but the blameless will inherit good.


This proverb offers a sobering reflection on the relationship between our receptiveness to God’s commands and the efficacy of our prayers. It highlights the importance of obedience to God's law and suggests that disregarding His commandments has serious implications for our spiritual lives. 

The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings primarily attributed to King Solomon. These proverbs cover a wide range of topics, including wisdom, morality, and the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 28 focuses on themes of justice, integrity, and the consequences of righteous and wicked behavior.

  • Turning Away from Hearing the Law:

 Deliberate Rejection: The phrase “turns away his ear” indicates a willful and deliberate choice to ignore or reject God’s law. It suggests an active decision to avoid listening to or obeying God's commandments.

The Law: In the context of Proverbs, “the law” refers to the Torah—the teachings and commandments given by God to Israel. It encompasses God’s instructions for righteous living and maintaining a covenant relationship with Him.

  • The Consequence for Prayer: “…even his prayer is an abomination.”

Ineffectiveness of Prayer: The term “abomination” is a strong word used in the Bible to describe something that is detestable or loathsome to God. This suggests that the prayers of those who disregard God’s law are not only ineffective but are actually offensive to God.

Connection Between Obedience and Prayer: This verse underscores the intrinsic connection between our obedience to God and the acceptability of our prayers. It implies that a heart that is closed to God’s commands cannot expect to have its prayers received favorably.

Theological Implications

Obedience and Relationship with God: This proverb highlights that obedience to God’s law is foundational to a proper relationship with Him. It echoes the sentiment found in 1 Samuel 15:22, where Samuel says, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” God values our obedience more than our religious rituals.

Hypocrisy in Worship: The verse warns against the hypocrisy of living a life that ignores God’s commands while expecting God to respond favorably to our prayers. This hypocrisy is addressed by Jesus in Matthew 15:8-9: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

God’s Holiness and Justice: God’s response to the prayers of the disobedient reflects His holiness and justice. He cannot be manipulated by mere words or rituals; genuine obedience and a heart aligned with His will are essential.

Practical Applications

Listening to God’s Word: We are called to be attentive and responsive to God’s word. This means regularly engaging with Scripture, seeking to understand God’s commands, and applying them in our lives. Psalm 1:2 describes the righteous person as one whose “delight is in Yahweh’s law, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Integrity in Prayer: Our prayers should come from a heart that seeks to honor God through obedience. This calls for self-examination and repentance. If we find areas where we have been turning away from God’s commands, we should confess and seek His forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Holistic Worship: Worship involves more than just words or rituals; it encompasses our entire lives. True worship is demonstrated through a lifestyle of obedience, justice, and righteousness. As Micah 6:8 reminds us, “He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”


Isaiah 1:15-17: “When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well. Seek justice. Relieve the oppressed. Judge the fatherless. Plead for the widow.” This passage emphasizes that God rejects the prayers of those who live unjustly and calls for repentance and righteous living.

John 9:31: “We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God, and does his will, he listens to him.” This New Testament verse reinforces the idea that God listens to those who worship Him and do His will, aligning with the message of Proverbs 28:9.

James 5:16: “Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.” This verse highlights the power of prayer from those who live righteously, contrasting with the ineffective prayers of the disobedient.

Conclusion: Proverbs 28:9 serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of obedience to God's law and the impact it has on our spiritual lives, particularly our prayers. It challenges us to examine our hearts and lives, ensuring that we are not turning away from God’s commands while seeking His favor in prayer. By aligning our lives with God’s word, engaging in sincere and obedient worship, and fostering a lifestyle of righteousness, we can approach God with confidence, knowing that our prayers will be heard and valued. This verse calls us to live with integrity, honor God’s commandments, and maintain a genuine and obedient relationship with our Creator.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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