Scripture reading – Proverbs 13; Proverbs 14)

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Dedicated followers of www.HeartofAShepherd began a chronological, two-year journey through the Scriptures on January 1, 2023.  According to my estimate, today is the 320th Scripture reading of this year. (For those who enjoy a little trivia with your coffee, this is the 46th week of 2023, today is the 55th day of Fall, and there are 35 days left before Winter officially begins.) Today’s Scripture reading is Proverbs 13 and 14, and our devotional commentary will focus on Proverbs 13:24.

Proverbs 13 – A Lesson in Child Psychology and Corporal Discipline


Proverbs 13:24 – “He that spareth [refuse; restrain] his rod [branch; i.e., the rod of discipline] hateth [detests] 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. The proverb teaches that failing to chasten a child for wrongdoing is unloving. The mention of the father’s “rod” might give cause for some to jump to the conclusion that Proverbs 13:24 is advocating abuse (which it is not). Remember, a shepherd employed his staff to guide his sheep, and he had a rod for protecting his flock from predators (Psalm 23:4).

What was Solomon teaching his son? Parents must guide their children and employ loving, physical discipline as a method of instruction. Nevertheless, I fear some parents might react negatively to this proverb. Please don’t allow your preconceived notions or our culture’s attitudes to tempt you to overlook the fact that Solomon was advocating that a child needs to be taught in a way that reflects God’s loving discipline of His people.

Please take a look at 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: 6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

Regardless of one’s attitudes or personal opinions, it is inescapable that the Scriptures mandate that loving discipline and instruction may include corporal instruction as a tool for education and character development. (The following are similar passages that enforce that point.)


Proverbs 22:15 – “Foolishness [silliness; arrogance] is bound [knit together; leagued together] in the heart [mind; i.e., nature] of a child; but the rod of correction [instruction; chastisement; warning] shall drive it far[remove foolishness] 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], he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat [strike; punish; smite] him with the rod, and shalt deliver [rescue; save] his soul from hell.”


Closing thoughts –


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


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


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 © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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