MOCK, MOCKING. The Heb. behind the common Eng. VS has some seven different roots for mockery. They vary in meaning from laugh and play through jest, mock and insult, act ruthlessly. The three Gr. words go from play the child to turn up the nose and to sneer.
Mocking may be harmless teasing, as the boy Ishmael with baby Isaac, whose very name means “he laughs” (cf. Gen 21:6). Or it may be a lover’s complaint, as of Delilah with Samson (Judg 16:10, 13). It may be ridicule, as of the Jews rebuilding Jerusalem (Neh 4:1; cf. Ps 80:6), or when one scorns a parent (Prov 30:17). The innocent may scoff at adversaries (Job 22:19).
Mocking may be biting sarcasm, as of Elijah against the prophets of the fertility god (1 Kings 18:27), or the Lord through Isaiah against Sennacherib’s Assyria (2 Kings 19:21). Jeremiah felt such scorn against him (20:7; cf. Ps 119:51).
Israel’s record of mocking God’s messengers and prophets brought His wrath in the Babylonian captivity (2 Chron 36:16). The mockery of the OT is not confined to man! God made sport of the Egyptians (Exod 10:2; 1 Sam 6:6). The psalmist says He holds all nations in derision (59:8), esp. when they rebel against Him (Ps 2:4). God scorns scorners (Prov 3:34).
In the NT, mocking may be public laughter at a failure, as in the parable of the unfinished tower (Luke 14:29). In the wise men’s attitude toward Herod the Great it may mean “trick” (Matt 2:16).
Unbelievers mocked when the apostolic band at Pentecost spoke in tongues, saying they were drunk (Acts 2:13). The Council of Areopagus, Athens, likewise mocked by gesture and word the message of the resurrection that Paul brought (17:32). Dedicated Christians will constantly meet scoffers (Jude 18), esp. when they speak of the Second Coming (2 Pet 3:3). Mockery may even advance to derisive torture (Heb 11:36). Sinners, thinking they can “get away” with their sins, turn up their noses at God and His laws, but they cannot outwit Him (Gal 6:7).
Jesus foretold His own mockery by the Romans (Matt 20:19), and it came to pass (27:29). Jesus also was mocked in the Jewish trial (Luke 22:63), and it was repeated with Herod’s men (23:11) and by the soldiers at the cross (23:36).