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"Spare the rod, spoil the child"...maybe not what you think it means

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xray s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:34 PM
Original message
"Spare the rod, spoil the child"...maybe not what you think it means
This LTTE appeared in my local paper. The next time you hear a "Christian" advocating beating children, tell them this...

Bible says guide kids, not beat them
In an article on the debate about spanking, which appeared March 8, a school administrator from a private Christian school is quoted as saying, in regard to corporal punishment, "The Bible teaches it." The article does not provide any Scripture that he may have offered to back up this claim, and I am wondering if he is thinking of the oft-quoted "Spare the rod and spoil the child" taken from Proverbs.

In what context is the term "rod" used in this, and other, Proverbial quote(s)? Is it the same "rod" that is found in the Bible's 23rd Psalm: "Thy rod and staff, they comfort me"? How can it be that the same item - a "rod" - is mentioned as both a tool for punishing (striking) a child and then also gently spoken of as a reassuring source of comfort?

To understand this, consider what type of "rod" is being discussed in the first place, which is a shepherd's rod/staff that is used when guiding and caring for sheep. Throughout the Bible, the comparison is made that the relationship between God (and Jesus) and his followers is similar to that of a shepherd caring for his sheep.

Since this text originated during a time, and place, when the people were very familiar with the care of sheep, it is an analogy that provided an understandable frame of reference. A shepherd carried with him a tall wooden rod/staff that was curved at the top.

How was this used in regard to the sheep? When a sheep would leave the flock and stray, did the shepherd use the rod to beat the sheep back into place? Hardly. In fact, the curved end of the shepherd's rod is used to go around the errant sheep and guide it back into place, or even to grasp the sheep and pull it up from where it may have fallen while straying.

A shepherd's rod is used to open gates and brush off, fend off attackers of the sheep, and to guide and steer the sheep along the right path. It is not a tool of pain used to beat the sheep as punishment or something the sheep fear.

If you consider this - the actual use of a shepherd's rod/staff - it is easy to understand that when it comes to children, the Bible teaches guidance and bringing children back to the right path through vigilance and care, in the same manner a shepherd continually guides his sheep along the right path, as opposed to the justification of striking children as form of punishment and to keep their behavior in line.

H. Lyjak


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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. thanks
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Bellamia Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wow! Someone agrees
with me that "spare the rod, spoil the child", means exactly what you said, i.e. guidance, and not spanking. Great post, enjoyed reading it.
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Verve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. Wow! Never knew the historical uses of a shepard's rod. It makes much
more sense to guide and protect your children (or sheep) than to beat the crap out of them.

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Zerex71 Donating Member (692 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. The tool in question is called a cruikshank.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. very true - and something that needs resaying :-)
:-)
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
6. Actually the Bible says
Edited on Fri Mar-18-05 04:49 PM by wtmusic
Old Testament Proverbs 13-24 - "He that spareth his rod hateth his son".

The modern phrase more likely comes from Piers Plowman (1377) by William Langland: 'Who-so spareth the sprynge (switch), spilleth his children.' The exact wording of the modern version was quoted two centuries later in John Clarke's 'Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina' (1639).

So though the modern version probably does mean a switch, it doesn't have a whole lot to do with the Bible.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/8/messages/276...
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Verve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Thanks wtmusic. So the bible is saying if you don't guide your children
Edited on Fri Mar-18-05 04:58 PM by Verve
you're doing them a disservice. (and of course thanks to xray)

I have more respect for the Bible knowing this now. This little bit of info should be included in the next DaVinci Code along with all the other misinterpretations the evangelicals are preaching.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
7. I like this. I'm going to remember it.
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knowbody0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-05 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
9. i have explained this to many parents
can you imagine beating a lamb?
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Tux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-19-05 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Yes
I heard of parents beating kids since the Bible said so. Great book.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-19-05 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
10. I like your reading, but ...
From Proverbs (King James Version):

23:13
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

23:14
Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

"if thou beatest him with the rod ..." certainly sounds like it's condoning physical beating.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-19-05 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Yeah, it pretty much has to be.
It's nice to be revisionist, but Proverbs isn't exactly a "children are inherently nice and sweet ... and generous, too!" kind of book.
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-19-05 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. thanks
I never understood the desire to re-interpret the bible to mean things it clearly doesn't mean.

Instead of picking apart individual verses, why don't people ask the big question - should the writings of an ancient desert tribe bind us today?
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-05 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. It depends on the quote
Some of the quotes clearly endorse beating; some just refer to "thy rod and thy staff", in which case it's the shepard's staff, which was used to tap the sheep.

On the other hand, most Rabbis, who have been reading this part of the Bible since it was written, have come to the conclusion that the idea was to correct one's children, and that the beating part was optional. Problems of translation have also been cited.

Since most Fundies have a doctrine that Christians are "above the law", I don't know why they are so enthusiastic about whipping but eat pork and shellfish without a second thought.

Why is it important to pay attention to a 4000-year-old religion of a small desert-dwelling tribe? Because their mutant successors gained control of half of the world in the name of a rabbi who had been tortured to death by crucifixion.

--p!
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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-19-05 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
12. The modern equivalent would be a dog's collar and leash
The leash is used to guide the dog (or cat) in case he tries to stray. One tug on the leash, attached to the collar, is usually enough to guide the doggie or kitty who has decided to bolt into traffic (if you can leash train the cat) back to the sidewalk where the animal can be safe. What dog owner would let his or her dog rush into oncoming traffic knowing it would risk the animal's life?
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_TJ_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-05 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
15. Why should this argument be necessary?
Anyone who beats a child is clearly an evil and pathetic person.
I doubt any logical argument would correct them :(

TJ
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-05 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
17. Well, that's great, but lets not forget these Biblical Gems...
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son ... Then shall his father and his mother ... bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.
-- Deuteronomy 21:18-21


Let's not forget the women either. They are good for war booty...

"Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them.... "Now ... kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
-- Numbers 31:1-18


Maybe what God needs is a little burnt offering...

God did tempt Abraham, ... And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest ... and offer him there for a burnt offering...
-- Genesis 22:1-2
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