A Lesson in Child Psychology and Corporal Discipline (Proverbs 13; Proverbs 14)

Scripture reading – Proverbs 13; Proverbs 14

We began a two-year chronological study of the Scriptures last January 1, 2021, and today’s devotional is the 319threading of the year! I would count it a pleasure to hear from any who have followed me in this daily spiritual discipline. You are invited to email me at HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com. Today’s Scripture reading is Proverbs 13 and 14, and our devotional commentary will focus on Proverbs 13:24. [Words and phrases in brackets are those of the author.]

Proverbs 13

Proverbs 13:24 –“He that spareth[refuse; restrain] his rod [branch; staff; rod of discipline] hateth [detest; hate as a foe] his son [child]: but he that loveth[have affection; shows love] him chasteneth [instructs; reproves; disciplines] him betimes [diligent, early discipline].”

Does the Bible teach corporal punishment? Yes, and Proverbs 13:24 is a lesson in loving, biblical discipline. In fact, it teaches it is unloving to fail in chastening a child for wrongdoing. Remember, a shepherd would employ his staff in guiding his sheep, and a rod to protect his flock from danger (Psalm 23:4). Parents are to guide their children, and employ physical punishment as the last resort in their methods of instruction.

Nevertheless, I fear some parents might react negatively to this proverb; however, it is teaching a practice in discipline that is a reflection of God’s loving discipline of His people. Consider the following proof texts on the subject of loving discipline.

Deuteronomy 8:5 – “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.”

Job 5:17 – “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”

Proverbs 3:11-12 – “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12  For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”

Hebrews 12:5-8 – “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

Loving discipline and instruction are not only advised, but the Scriptures mandate corporal instruction as a tool for education and character development. 

Proverbs 22:15 – “Foolishness [silliness; arrogance; stupidity] is bound [knit together; leagued together; conspired] in the heart [mind; desire; understanding] of a child; but the rod of correction [instruction; chastisement; warning] shall drive it far [remove; distant] from him.”

Proverbs 23:13-14 – “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest [strike; punish; smite] him with the rod [staff; stick; family sceptre], he shall not die. 14  Thou shalt beat [strike; punish; smite] him with the rod, and shalt deliver [rescue; pluck; save; preserve] his soul from hell.”

Consider today’s proverb in relation to the matter of parental training, and corporal discipline.

Proverbs 13:24  “He that spareth [refuse; restrain] his rod [branch; staff; rod of discipline] hateth [detest; hate as a foe] his son [child]: but he that loveth [have affection; shows love] him chasteneth [instructs; reproves; disciplines] him betimes [diligent, early discipline].”

Closing thoughts – Knowing the dangers of sin, and the penchant of an undisciplined soul for destruction, a loving parent will faithfully discipline his child. In fact, a parent that is unwilling to inflict temporary pain and sorrow for sin and wrongdoing, in effect abandons that child’s soul to a lifetime of pain and sorrow.

Without boundaries and parental instruction, a child will grow up to become an undisciplined adult. Such a child will be a heartache to parents, and will inevitably bring them “to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).

A closing admonition, especially for fathers: Biblical discipline is loving, and instructive, but never abusive. Paul warned:

“Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [disciplines] and admonition [warnings] of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith