I spoke with a friend of mine today whom I admire for his insight and desire to be biblical. He raised some doubts as to where I was going with my last two posts. Particularly, the word study of sebet gave him pause. I clarified to him and I am sure that I need to do the same for those out there who may be wondering the same thing.

I want to make clear that I am not making a 1:1 correlation between physical discipline (spanking) and sebet as used in the Old Testament. What I have been trying to show is that the sebet is representative of authority – God’s sovereignty when it is in his hand and man’s ruling under God when in his hand. That is, one of the marks of a king is not only his crown, but the scepter of authority in his hand.

The real application to parenting and discipline comes when Proverbs uses sebet. We have seen that it signifies authority…Let’s look at the context of two passages in Proverbs:

Prov. 10:13 – On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
Prov. 26:3 – A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.

So the rod is meant to be used by the one with authority in order to bring the fool into correction. In 10.3 the purpose of bringing the rod to the bak of the fool is so that they might be wise (notice the parallelism between the fool who lacks sense and wisdom being on the lips of the one who has understanding). In 26.3 the purpose has to do with bringing the fool into line with what he was meant to do – glorify God. This comes from the relationship between the whip for the horse and the bridle for the donkey.

Next we are going to draw the connection between the rod of correction and the child…