The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"The rod" defined

As part of a lengthy comment, one commenter at The Scriptural case for spanking asked a great question: "Do you really think the rod referred to in Proverbs was a literal rod?" (You won't be able to read his full comment for yourself since he later e-mailed me asking me to delete it.)

Here is my reply.

You asked if I truly believe these Scriptures are referring to a literal rod. Yes, I do. In a moment, I'll give you the Strong's Concordance definition for the particular word that is translated "rod" in the verses from Proverbs.

Before I do that, one other reason I believe this was a literal rod is not only because of the numerous references to a literal rod throughout the Bible but also because the Bible talks about the stoning to death of a man who cursed (Leviticus 24:10-23)as well as the scourging of Jesus with a whip that historians believe to be a cat-o-nine tails designed to rip flesh from bones. Keeping in mind the culture, I absolutely believe the rod was literal and not at all figurative. I'm also positive that if people from that time were transported to our time, they would quickly be jailed for "child abuse." Additionally, I believe that Israelites in those times had a much greater fear of transgressing than people generally have today. In Bible times, consequences were much more severe than we would consider humane today. Knowing you could consequently lose your life would be a great deterrent to breaking the law.

Now for the definition. Quoting from The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:

"(literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan"

The figurative definition comes nowhere near to being applicable. And this definition clearly states that the literal definition can refer to many wooden implements, including a plain old stick (or "switch" as your grandparents' generation probably called it), ruler, walking stick, writing implement, etc. That's not so far-fetched now, is it? How many people today can remember having had to cut their own switches for the spanking they were about to receive? Or how about the stories of children whose teacher rapped their hands with a ruler when they misbehaved? Today, our freedoms have been taken away to such an extent that we no longer feel that we can choose such means of punishment for fear of having our children taken away from us.

Again, I do believe Proverbs is referring to a literal rod.


TulipGirl said...

For another perspective on "the rod" from a taking-the-Bible-seriously viewpoint, I invite you to read this conversation.

Grace and peace,