It’s unfortunate that these verses have been used as justification for things like spanking.

It’s unfortunate that these verses have been used as justification for things like spanking. Traditionally, these things are interpreted in an allegorical or metaphorical context.

The rod is a shepherd’s staff: leading the sheep. Guidance. Authority. If you’re in a position of authority, use it wisely. Guidance. Temperance.

Some get more specific from the anti-spanking movement and give a very solid defense for these verses and applying them properly.

I remember reading some stuff from Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic stuff that give even better illustrations of the allegorical value of these, going back for centuries even before Protestantism started taking things “at face value”.

But this is a good start:


Yeah, KJV, which was a pretty amazing, international, multicultural, collaborative work _for its day_,.. and even would be for today — still – has flaws that other translators have worked on correcting since then.


Well, a lot of it depends on the group one is with:

Not all Christian groups are Bible literalists. Roman Catholic for example, calls “Sola Scriptura” (“bible only”) an error, because it takes the books of the Bible out of context away from the body that formed the interpretations through the centuries.

For example: Is the Bible a law book? In a law book, each phrase stands alone.

If it’s NOT a law book (and, according to the Gospels or maybe it was Paul? I don’t remember now – it’s not, because Jesus fulfilled the Law, replacing it with Love), then even if individual verses seem problematic, you have to view things in the entire context to properly understand them.

This is why from early Christians onwards, the Bible was read metaphorically and allegorically: because it has to be treated in light of Love. Without the Love, it’s just words on a page.


Raised in the Methodist church, these “child friendly” verses were given a HUGE focus. I saw Christianity as anti-discrimination. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I first started to encounter the “other” viewpoint, which seemed (and seems) very alien to me.


Here’s a Talmudic interpretation of those verses; fascinating stuff here!
The interesting part is here: The period of time that such a punishment could POSSIBLE ever have been carried out would be three months in most interpretations, or in another six months. And… there’s no evidence that it was ever actually carried out by anybody apparently.
“Interpreting every single word of the biblical text restrictively, the talmudic jurists reduced the practicability of this law to nil. The “son” must be old enough to bear criminal responsibility, that is 13 years of age (see *Penal Law), but must still be a “son” and not a man: as soon as a beard grows (“by which is meant the pubic hair, not that of the face, for the sages spoke euphemistically”) he is no longer a “son” but a man (Sanh. 8:1). The period during which he may thus be indicted as a “son” is three months only (Sanh. 69a; Yad, Mamrim 7:6), or, according to another version, not more than six months (TJ, Sanh. 8:1). The term “son” excludes a daughter (Sanh. 8:1; Sif. Deut. 218), though daughters are no less apt to be rebellious (Sanh. 69b–70a).”


So, there’s about a three month period, somewhere around the middle of 7th grade, that they could be stoned to death by the community. The rest of time? Nope.

I think it was a way to scare naughty 12/13 yr olds into compliance. Here’s a law they can’t carry out, but they *seem to be able to*, which might be enough to be a kind of “warning tale”.


That makes sense. Yeah I think that’s what they did. It was a kind of “scared straight” – long enough for them to behave to get to their Bah Mitvah.

I mean think about it: They have pubic hair. They’re 13. But they haven’t had their Bah mitzvah yet. They have their Bah mitvah at 13 as far as I know.

So how long could be they still “sons” and not yet “men” (Bah mitvah”? Not very long at all.

I think it’s the equivalent of “there are trolls under the bridge so don’t go under bridges” type of tale, just for a long ago era.



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