We have translated the words at Proverbs 13:24 as saying:
‘Those that don’t spank them, dislike their sons,
While those that love them give careful correction.’
We realize that the words actually say:
‘ος φειδεται της βακτηριας μισει τον υιον αυτου ο δε αγαπων επιμελως παιδευει,’
‘The/one sparing the rod dislikes the son his, but the loving/one carefully corrects.’
So why haven’t we stuck with the common translation of ‘sparing the rod?’
Well, the word rod (or staff) in English implies a large, hard object that can be used to maim or cause injury, while the text obviously implies something more like a switch or a stick that can be used for a spanking.
However in modern society, even this mild action is found to be offensive and can result in criminal prosecution in some places. For some would choose to have Solomon say:
‘Those that don’t give their sons a time out don’t care for them.’
But that’s not what Solomon said. For you can see that careful correction is what Solomon was talking about, and the text shows that he was saying this might require a spanking.
That such corporal punishment is meant can be found by reading a similar verse, Proverbs 23:13-14:
‘Don’t avoid correcting the young…
For if you spank him, no way will he die.
And if you give him a spanking;
From death, you may rescue his soul.’
Also note that God speaks of Himself as ‘whipping’ those whom He loves at Proverbs 3:11-12, where we read:
‘Never take lightly the instructions of God
Or be upset when He disciplines you.
For Jehovah loves those that accept His correction,
And He whips those whom He welcomes as sons.’
Why is God such a disciplinarian?
Because He knows that what we will turn out to be is an eternal life and death matter, which faithless humans only begin to understand after a life is ended prematurely… Or after a good life has been ruined by not having been taught the difference between right and wrong.
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