I came upon this blog today and want to quote a few of her words here, as well as encourage you to visit her entire post, and the continued posting of the same subject.
I believe this Mommy has an exceptional ability to discern and communicate regarding the subject of Bible based arguments for spanking/striking/physically punishing children. She has a much more eloquent ability to address this side of the issue than I do and I hope you’ll take a moment to review her thoughts.
Let me begin by saying that each and every one of us parents before the Lord. Read what I say with open ears and a grain of salt, bring it before God, study the Bible for yourself. In this post, I will discuss what my husband and I have learned through our study of the Bible. In later posts, I will discuss other reasons why my husband and I have decided never to use spanking as a tool.
Proverbs 23:1-2 reads: “When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you, And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite.” I would ask you to ask a few questions about these verses:
- Is this verse meant to be taken literally? Or are we supposed to gain a tidbit of inferred wisdom from reading it?
- Is this how we as Christians are told to deal with sin in our own lives? Are we to hold a knife to our throats, literally or figuratively, when confronted with temptation? .. . .. .. …
… Let me get a little more technical. The passages in Proverbs that Christians hold to as advocating spanking (Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 23:13,14), are not talking about a young child, but a young man!! The Hebrews used specific words when referring to the different ages of children. I am going to quote from a book by Samuel Martin, who has a BA degree with a special focus on Middle Eastern studies, and who has worked closely with two Hebrew professors in Israel on an excavation trip and a survey trip. That is to say, he has studied Hebrew culture and language extensively.
Here, I would say that hitting a teenager isn’t any better advised than hitting a child, but the point is that if you’ve done your job guiding and building up the child from birth, as a last resort to keeping them from being stoned for their insolence as a teenager or young adult, you could try beating them with a large stick first. Then, after their bruises heal, if they’re still hell bent on doing whatever it is that the community is against, then it’s the community’s problem. And if they end up stoned to death, I guess that’s that.
So what has been my husband’s and my conclusion? Proverbs was written in the Old Testament. That means that its writer was writing as one under the law, and we need to be careful to read Proverbs with that focus in mind. If you are going to follow the Proverbs explicitly as a believer, you had better hold a knife to your throat, or at least threaten yourself, when you are eating with a ruler! Furthermore, if you are going to follow the book of Proverbs as though it is a book of commands for believers, you had better also follow the other laws in the Old Testament. Let me quote one here for you. Deuteronomy 21:18,19;21a: “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown…Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death…”. When I read this, I wonder if that is perhaps what Solomon meant when he said that if you beat your son with a rod, you will save his soul from Sheol (or death). Perhaps he had in mind a rebellious teenage son (his sons certainly were!), and he was thinking of beating his rebellious sons to keep them from being stoned to death!! Source
The Shebet is not a small instrument. A shepherd’s staff was a thick, long rod. If you were to literally beat your child with this, on the back (as this is what is literally indicated in the Proverbs), you would likely kill him/her. Recently, a little girl was killed because here parents spanked her with a small switch over and over again. Her internal organs failed, and she died. These were supposed loving, Bible-believing parents! I will post more on this story later. If a small switch can kill a child, imagine what a literal rod could do!!
Exodus 21:20 warns about the use of the rod: “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.” This verse is speaking about an adult being smitten with a rod, not a child. And an adult smitten with a literal rod could die!
One more thing I would like to address: Proverbs is a book of Hebrew poetry. This is an important contextual fact to look at when you are interpreting those pesky “rod” verses. If you look at Proverbs as poetry, you will see that the “rod,” or the “shebet,” is a symbol of authority. When the Hebrews read the term “shebet,” they would have had in mind the leader of a tribe, a shepherd’s rod (which, incidentally, was never used to beat the sheep. Sheep are very timid creatures, and will not trust a master who raises his hand against them), a king’s sceptre, or the shaft of a spear. “Shebet” would have meant authority to them.In the New Testament, believing parents are encouraged to nurture, admonish, train, correct their children: clearly, they are to be in authority over them, so this is a New Testament principle as well.