continued from Part 1
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
(Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV)
Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
(Proverbs 13:24 ESV)
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
(Proverbs 22:15 ESV)
Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.
(Proverbs 23:13-14 ESV)
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
(Proverbs 29:15 ESV)
Rod-Strong’s Concordance #7626 from an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, i.e. (lit.) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (fig.) a clan.
Dicipline-Strong’s Concordance #4148 chastisement, reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint. Used in Prov 3:11, 13:24, 22:15, 23:13.
Reproof-Strong’s Concordance #8433 chastisement; fig. (by words) correction, refutation, proof (even in defense). Used in Prov 3:11, 29:15
Son- Strong’s Concordance #1121 a son (as a builder of the family name). Used in Prov 3:11-12, 13:24
Child-Strong’s Concordance #5288 Na’ar a boy (as act.), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by impl. a servant; also (by interch. of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age). Used in Prov 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. I highlighted the age because many anti-spankers use the word incorrectly to say that all the above verses are referring to an older child. Exodus 2:6 is referring to the baby Moses in the basket. Isaiah 7:16 is referring to a child before he shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good. Genesis 21:20 refers to Ishmael shortly after he was weaned. 2 Samuel 18:5 refers to Absalom being a child during his uprising against his father. These are just a few of the examples that show this word covers a vast age range.
What does discipline in the book of Proverbs give: it brings honor (Proverbs 1:8-9), life (Proverbs 4:13) and wisdom (Proverbs 8:33). Ignoring instruction results in death (Proverbs 5:23), poverty and disgrace (Proverbs 13:18), hating one’s self (Proverbs 15:32).
I quote Matthew Henry below for two reasons. One is I have seen an anti-spanker quote at length from Mr. Henry so I am assuming anti-spankers have respect for the man. The other reason is to explain many of the verses above because I have seen terrible explanations of them from GCMers/anti-spankers. To which I must say what R.C. Sproul says:
“Although tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If upon reading a particular passage you have come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for two-thousand years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation.” – R. C. Sproul (emphasis added)
Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 22:15:
“We have here two very sad considerations:—1. That corruption is woven into our nature. Sin is foolishness; it is contrary both to our right reason and to our true interest. It is in the heart; there is an inward inclination to sin, to speak and act foolishly. It is in the heart of children; they bring it into the world with them; it is what they were shapen and conceived in. It is not only found there, but it is bound there; it is annexed to the heart (so some); vicious dispositions cleave closely to the soul, are bound to it as the cion to the stock into which it is grafted, which quite alters the property. There is a knot tied between the soul and sin, a true lover’s knot; they two became one flesh. It is true of ourselves, it is true of our children, whom we have begotten in our own likeness. O God! thou knowest this foolishness. 2. That correction is necessary to the cure of it. It will not be got out by fair means and gentle methods; there must be strictness and severity, and that which will cause grief. Children need to be corrected, and kept under discipline, by their parents; and we all need to be corrected by our heavenly Father (Heb. 12:6, 7), and under the correction we must stroke down folly and kiss the rod.”
Here are other commentaries on Proverbs 22:15
Geneva Study Bible: Foolishness [is] bound l in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (l) He is naturally given to it.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible: Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child. That is, sin, the greatest of all folly; this is naturally in the heart of man; it is in the heart of a child, it is in him from his infancy; it is bound in his heart, it is rooted and riveted in him, being conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; it is what cleaves close to him, and he has a strong affection for and desire after: the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, ( Genesis 8:21 ) ; so that he is not easily brought off of sin, or becomes wise; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him; the rod used by parents, for the correction of sin and folly, is a means of making children wise, and of restraining the folly that is bound up in them; and of reclaiming them from those sinful ways, which the folly of their hearts leads them to, and so in some measure of driving it far from them.
Wesley’s Explanatory Notes: Bound – Is fixed and settled there, as being born with him, and rooted in his very nature.
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible: 15. is bound–or firmly fixed. Chastisement deters from crime and so leads to reformation of principle.
The following quotes are all from Matthew Henry. They are lengthy so to sum up: A parent is to instruct his children in the Scriptures. Foolishness is in the heart of children. Although it is not pleasant but grievous at the time, it is for the child’s good when a loving parent rebukes and reproves and uses the rod of correction to show them the seriousness of sin and hell.
1. To the education of children in that which is good there is necessary a due correction of them for what is amiss; every child of ours is a child of Adam, and therefore has that foolishness bound up in its heart which calls for rebuke, more or less, the rod and reproof which give wisdom. Observe, It is his rod that must be used, the rod of a parent, directed by wisdom and love, and designed for good, not the rod of a servant. 2. It is good to begin betimes with the necessary restraints of children from that which is evil, before vicious habits are confirmed. The branch is easily bent when it is tender. 3. Those really hate their children, though they pretend to be fond of them, that do not keep them under a strict discipline, and by all proper methods, severe ones when gentle ones will not serve, make them sensible of their faults and afraid of offending. They abandon them to their worst enemy, to the most dangerous disease, and therefore hate them. Let this reconcile children to the correction their good parents give them; it is from love, and for their good, Heb. 12:7 – 9.
Here is, 1. A parent instructing his child. He is here brought in persuading him to give his mind to his book, and especially to the scriptures and his catechism, to attend to the words of knowledge, by which he might come to know his duty, and danger, and interest, and not to think it enough to give them the hearing, but to apply his heart to them, to delight in them, and bow his will to the authority of them. The heart is then applied to the instruction when the instruction is applied to the heart. 2. A parent correcting his child. A tender parent can scarcely find in his heart to do this; it goes much against the grain. But he finds it is necessary; it is his duty, and therefore he dares not withhold correction when there is occasion for it (spare the rod and spoil the child); he beats him with the rod, gives him a gentle correction, the stripes of the sons of men, not such as we give to beasts. Beat him with the rod and he shall not die. The rod will not kill him; nay, it will prevent his killing himself by those vicious courses which the rod will be necessary to restrain him from. For the present it is not joyous, but grievous, both to the parent and to the child; but when it is given with wisdom, designed for good, accompanied with prayer, and blessed of God, it may prove a happy means of preventing his utter destruction and delivering his soul from hell. Our great care must be about our children’s souls; we must not see them in danger of hell without using all possible means, with the utmost care and concern, to snatch them as brands out of everlasting burnings. Let the body smart, so that the spirit be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 3. A parent encouraging his child, telling him, (1.) What was all he expected, nothing but what would be for his own good, that his heart be wise and that his lips speak right things, that he be under the government of good principles, and that by those principles he particularly maintain a good environment of his tongue. It is to be hoped that those will do right things when they grow up who learn to speak right things when they are young, and dare not speak any bad words. (2.) What a comfort it would be to him if herein he answered his expectation: “If thy heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, shall rejoice in thee, even mine, who have taken so much care and pains about thee, my heart, that has many a time ached for thee, for which thou shouldst study thus to make a grateful requital.’’ Note, The wisdom of children will be the joy of their parents and teachers, who have no greater joy than to see them walk in the truth, 3 Jn. 4, . “Children, if you be wise and good, devout and conscientious, God will be pleased with you, and that will be our joy: we shall think our labour in instructing you well bestowed; it will be a comfortable answer for the many prayers we have put up for you; we shall be eased of a great deal of care, shall not need to be so strict and severe in watching over you, and shall consequently be the easier both to you and to ourselves. We shall rejoice in hope that you will be a credit and comfort to us, if we should live to be old, that you will bear up the name of Christ in your generation, that you will live comfortably in this world and happily in another.’’
Verse 15 Parents, in educating their children, must consider, 1. The benefit of due correction. They must not only tell their children what is good and evil, but they must chide them, and correct them too, if need be, when they either neglect that which is good or do that which is evil. If a reproof will serve without the rod, it is well, but the rod must never be used without a rational and grave reproof; and then, though it may be a present uneasiness both to the father and to the child, yet it will give wisdom. Vexatio dat intellectum—Vexation sharpens the intellect. The child will take warning, and so will get wisdom. 2. The mischief of undue indulgence: A child that is not restrained or reproved, but is left to himself, as Adonijah was, to follow his own inclinations, may do well if he will, but, if he take to ill courses, nobody will hinder him; it is a thousand to one but he proves a disgrace to his family, and brings his mother, who fondled him and humoured him in his licentiousness, to shame, to poverty, to reproach, and perhaps will himself be abusive to her and give her ill language.
…to be continued.