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Unprepared for Parenting (Ezzos, Pearls, Etc.) *Public* Support and information for those affected by the Ezzos, the Pearls, and other punitive and adversarial methods of child-rearing.
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Old 03-24-2005, 07:53 PM   #1
Cindy
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Default Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Yeah I know we've heard these verses ad nauseum from spanking advocates, but I realised something about them today...

Quote:
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;

if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.

14 Punish him with the rod

and save his soul from death. [c]
What can a parent do to save his child? He has about the same chance as he does to save himself. But this "rod" whatever it is has the potential to save the child's soul from death. It can't possibly be spanking because that would be something the parent can do to save his child. Only God can save our children, and the only thing we can do is lead them to Him.

In light of this, what do you think the rod could mean? (I only know for sure what it is not...) I have been reading "A Shepherd's Look at Psalm 23" which presents the rod as the Word of God - which would definitely fit in well with these verses... is there any scriptural basis for this interpretation?

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Old 03-24-2005, 10:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

I still think the rod is referring to authority here, and I agree with your point that if these verses *did* refer to spanking, it would take salvation out of God's hands, and put the power in our hands as parents.

The first thing I noticed was the word "punish" being used. Granted, most of the English versions (I checked a bunch of them online and haven't found any exceptions yet) use either punish or beat.. as in "If thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not surely die. Beat him with the rod and save his soul from death."

I know Crystal has discussed in some of her writings the word "beat" used in this context. It is the same word that is used when the sun "beat" down on Jonah, and indicates a constant presence, or perseverance.. like the sun was bearing down on him. If you consider that, and then also read the "rod" as meaning authority, It could significantly change the way these verses read.

If we are a constant presence of authority in our children's lives, they will not surely die. (although they might whine and protest and pitch a fit.. ) BE a constant presence of authority, and save their soul from hell.

Now, having said that, I personally do NOT believe that any person's actions can *impart *salvation either to themselves or anyone else, including their children. However, God might use my "constant presence of authority" as a mechanism in my child's life to save him from death. (Not sure if that makes sense.. ?)

It's also important to remember that Proverbs is a book of wisdom sayings, and many statements are figurative, not meant to be taken literally.

It's not an easy passage to deal with, IMO. Crystal might be able to clear up any more questions, or correct my explanation if necessary, and there is a very detailed discussion of these verses on her website. Here's the link http://www.aolff.org/sfpunishlr.htm
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Old 03-25-2005, 05:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

I have no problem with the word translated as "beat" or "punish" (or "blazed" as in Jonah) My husband and I looked it up in our concordance and found that it means to "oppose" or "go with". You can "beat" the clock, you can "beat" somebody in a race, etc., Here I think it simply suggests a proactive approach to parenting.

Of course my people would still read "spank" into this... I have to find a way to show them that they are beginning with a conclusion and going back to the Bible for support...

Anyways, I was excited about this line in these verses because my pastor has a Calvanistic bent and is very ADAMENT that there is NOTHING one can do to save themselves... I think I may have an argument here if you ladies can help me develop it
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:36 AM   #4
Chris3jam
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. "

"Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

The way I see it is this way ------ we "beat" (constant presence) our children with the authority of God ("rod"). It's the authority of God that we are "beating" them with that saves their "soul from hell" (the constant, pro-active application of the Word). The rod was a symbol of God's authority, but to the shepherd, it is also a tool. It is a tool used to redirect the sheep, as well as to remove destructive and dangerous things out of the path. It is also a symbol to the sheep. They know that that rod will save them from danger. So constantly following the authority of God, and applying that correction, is the way I see it.

Another good book to read is "The Song of our Syrian Guest" by William Allen Knight. The rod and staff was for "protecting care" of the sheep.

Anyway, trying to type this in a hurry, sorry if it doesn't make too much sense. . . .
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:49 AM   #5
TulipMama
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Quote:
It's also important to remember that Proverbs is a book of wisdom sayings, and many statements are figurative, not meant to be taken literally.
I think this is an important point to remember. Yet, it's a point that some of us who are naturally conservative about the Bible and theology sometimes here people using to "dismiss" the importance of something. "You can't take it literally. . ."

But it is very true, especially in the Wisdom literature. (As conservative Bible teachers are also quick to point out!)

One of the things I find funny is that those who want the rod verses in Proverbs 23 to be taken "literally" to mean "spank," easily read the first two verses of that chapter as figurative. I mean, I haven't heard of anyone advocating throat-slitting for gluttony lately. . .
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:37 AM   #6
ArmsOfLove
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

here's my article on the different Hebrew words all translated "rod" in English http://www.aolff.org/wtd.htm and if you cruise around the Spanking Files at my site you will see all of these verses and ideas discussed.

Essentially, the "rod" verses all refer to the "Shebet" which was one of three things: a king's sceptre, the walking stick held by the head of a family (that a guest would look for to know they were talking to the person in authority), and a shepherd's staff. None of these rods were designed for hitting--that was not their intended purpose. And as we learn in the book of Esther (how appropriate as today is Purim ) if the Shebet is withheld it leads to death, if it is extended (not withheld) then it brings life. And let's remember that Solomon, who wrote Proverbs, was a KING! Of all three possibilities for Shebet, he would most likely be referring to the sceptre (he was instructing his son who would someday--hopefully to him--become king). Sceptres were not for hitting.

and another reason this verse can't be taken literally is that you *can* beat a child to death with an implement--or even your hand. You can't guarantee their salvation by doing it, but you might kill them. Since Scripture doesn't lie, it can't be intended to literally mean what we read in the English. But we can learn a lot from the idea actually expressed in the original Hebrew which is that the Word of God and the authority of a parent will raise a child well--as a constant presence in their lives we can keep them on the path and lead them towards right living and salvation.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by TulipMama
One of the things I find funny is that those who want the rod verses in Proverbs 23 to be taken "literally" to mean "spank," easily read the first two verses of that chapter as figurative. I mean, I haven't heard of anyone advocating throat-slitting for gluttony lately. . .
But spanking is not a literal translation at all... the rod is takes as a symbol for corporal punishment.

I am very conservative about the Bible - i take every word of it very SERIOUSLY - but not necessarily literally

Okay now I am going to read what Crystal said...
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Cindy,

I don't think it's *just* the word rob. A lot of translations use the word "beat" instead of punish, which I think contributes to the idea people have about striking their children.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Thank you for bringing up this subject. This was something I've been wanting to know more about lately too. I've always heard "spare the rod, spoil the child" or the idea that if you do not spank then you are not raising your children in a Christian manner.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

I have read most of your articles... and am looking forward to your update of Hebrews 12

Clay Clarkson also presented an interesting view as a literal rod, but the child (na'ar) denotes a young adult. He is proposing strong physical discipline to save his young (gluttonous, drunkard, rebellious) adult son from being stoned at the city gates (physical death). What are your feelings about this interpretation? I feel like I am on shifting sand with all these interpretions... I am comfortable with the meaning for myself, but as I said, I will be presenting an argument to my pastor very soon...

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Old 03-25-2005, 09:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by palil
Cindy,

I don't think it's *just* the word rob. A lot of translations use the word "beat" instead of punish, which I think contributes to the idea people have about striking their children.
Well this is true... but then you have the problem of "..save his soul from death." Can any parental action ensure a child's salvation? Where are my Lutheren friends on this one?
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Quote:
Can any parental action ensure a child's salvation?
I strongly believe the answer to this is NO.

I do not believe that we contribute to our salvation in any way. If we did, we could take partial credit for it, and I think it's clear in scripture that salvation is "not by works of righteousness which we have done... " and that "by grace are ye saved through faith, and that [e.g. the faith] not of yourselves, It is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast."

(just to let you know where my comments are coming from..)

I believe that God can and does use different means to draw His sheep into the fold, and that my "constant presence" of authority and the way I model God's love for my child can be USED by God as a means to my child's grace (salvation).... thus the exhortation. Again, I think the genre of the book of Proverbs is such an important piece of the argument you are making... it is symbolic, poetic, "wisdom sayings", etc.

I really think this verse is painting a word picture of just how *important* our disciplinary presence is for children... trying to impress upon us just how vital a role it can play in the spiritual journey of our children.. I don't think it is a literal command with a literal promise attached to it. e.g. "Hit your kid with a big stick, and I promise they'll go to heaven when they die."

I don't know many Protestants, much less Calvanists, who would take that last part literally, so maybe you can just ask him if he thinks it is meant as a literal guarantee from God, and then go from there. If he's willing to concede that the last part of the verse is not literal, you have a strong leg to stand on when making the point that the preceding phrase/words is not meant literally either.

Also wanted to add a different spin. I am Reformed PCA now, but I grew up Independent Baptist, and I wanted to add some thoughts about how this verse was understood in my old church. I hesitated to include this, b/c I don't want to derail the point of the OP, offend anyone, or start a discussion that would be more suitable for Theological issues. However, it seems relevant to the verses we are discussing here. We can start a different thread if need be. So.. to all reading. This was my experience:

Even though all pastors and teacers and members would vehemently insist that salvation was by grace, through faith, not of works, etc. and that we couldn't save ourselves, they *actually* believed there was one exception to that rule (although they wouldn't have qualified it as an exception) That was choice. They believed we had the power to reject or accept Christ, and that power of choice was the exception. God's grace couldn't overcome our choice to reject him. Christ's blood didn't atone for the sin of unbelief (though no one would have phrased it quite that way) Our choice was necessary in order to obtain salvation. They didn't consider it "saving ourselves" but they stressed the importance of that choice. This led to a subtle belief that we also had some power regarding the salvation of those around us. If only we convinced them effectively enough... if only we persuaded them eloquently enough.. if only we prayed hard enough, pressured long enough, set a good enough example, etc. Many parents, while giving lip service to their children being in God's hands, still held to the belief that if they only raised their children "right enough" they were bound to become Christians. Imagine the weight of guilt experienced by the parents whose children did not proclaim Christ!

This verse was often used to support that thinking... "Do not be afraid to spank them! You won't kill them with a spanking, and your strong discipline will keep them on the straight and narrow path! If you let a tender heart sway the hand of your discipline, you are condemning your child to hell... " and so on. M. Pearl makes similar statements in his writings. The very strong implication, of course, is that you--by way of your parenting choices--are saving your child from hell if you DO spank or discipline them.

Don't know which direction your pastor is coming from, but I just thought you might want to consider the logic from both perspectives: the we-don't-do-anything-to-save-ourselves POV and the our-choice-is-the-last-essential-ingredient-in-our-salvation POV.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:35 PM   #13
ArmsOfLove
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

I have a lot of respect for Clay Clarkson's study of this and mostly his willingness to challenge his previous understanding. Where I disagree with him is in his apparent need to take this passage literally--considering the meaning of Shebet. There is no parameters put on the interaction with the Shebet--IOW, Solomon doesn't say "if you've tried everything else" or give us any other guidance. And because of what the Shebet is (it's even used in one prophecy to mean Jesus!) I choose to fall on the side of not intended to mean actual striking.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmsOfLove
(it's even used in one prophecy to mean Jesus!) I choose to fall on the side of not intended to mean actual striking.
Where is this?
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:27 PM   #15
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Default Re: Proverbs 23:13-14/Q's about the rod

Jeremiah 10:16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.
Jeremiah 51:19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.
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