Let’s jump into one of the most controversial topics of parenting – spanking. I am specifically thinking of passages that relate to “the rod”. We are living in a day when child abuse is rampant, so why would I let it be known that I advocate spanking? Won’t I be considered an archaic caveman who wants to beat his child? Probably. But I want to be biblical more than I want to be admired. Let’s jump in…
The Hebrew word is: šēbet. . And interestingly enough, it is used for the first time to refer to the Messiah’s reign in Gen 49.10 as the “scepter” will not depart from Judah. It is used six verses later to refer to a tribe. Therefore, the word has two functions: a literal and a metaphorical – both of which denote authority or a derivative of authority.
The first time it is used related to discipline or physical harm inflicted on someone is in Exodus 21.20 when a master beats a slave so that he dies. Thus, there is a responsibility to the one wielding the scepter to not do so to the destruction of the one receiving.
What to draw from this? When the rod is used for discipline and correction, it must be used with restraint (the master is not supposed to beat the slave until he dies). It must be used with a purpose in mind. The amount of affliction given must be equivalent to the degree of transgression.
Right now I do not want to draw the connection yet between parents and these passages. I merely want to set up a biblical understanding is of the rod so that when we get to Proverbs we will already have a biblical import for the word.