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ESAU som sålde sin förstfödslorätt och Isaks välsignelse av JAKOB – vad hände egentligen?

jacob esau

Här nedan kommer händelsen om den berömda förstfödslorätten baserat på 1) Bibeln, 2) Den redliges bok (the book of Jasher) samt 3) the book of Jubilees. Författarna till de två sistnämnda böckerna gör inget anspråk på att skriva under inspiration av Gud, utan det handlar snarare om sekulär historia. Även sekulär historia kan förstås innehålla sanningar upp till en summa av 100%, men vi kan förstås inte vara säkra. Den redliges bok är omnämnd vid ett par tillfällen i Bibeln (2 Sam. 1:18 och Joshua 10:13).

Bibelns information till oss läsare är fullt tillräcklig, men om vi även läser i de två andra böckerna så framkommer ytterligare några detaljer som ger oss intressanta upplysningar om vi vill gå på djupet. Ingen av de tre böckerna motsäger varandra och det finns som sagt en chans att alla tre källorna ger oss den sanna bilden av vad som hände. Något att tänka på är att ”förstfödslorätt” inte är synonymt med en sista välsignelse över sin son, men i Esaus fall ledde det ena till det andra.

Först Bibelns berättelse:

1 Mos. 25:22 Men barnen bråkade mycket med varandra i hennes moderliv. Då sade hon: ”Om det blir så här, varför drabbar det mig?” Och hon gick för att fråga Herren. 23 Herren svarade henne: ”Två folk finns i ditt moderliv, två folkstammar skall ur ditt sköte gå skilda vägar. Det ena folket skall bli starkare än det andra, och den äldre skall tjäna den yngre.”—27 Pojkarna växte upp, och Esau blev en skicklig jägare som höll till ute i markerna. Jakob däremot blev en stillsam man som höll till vid tälten. 28 Isak älskade Esau eftersom han hade smak för vilt. Men Rebecka älskade Jakob.29 En gång när Jakob höll på att koka soppa, kom Esau hem från marken, alldeles utmattad. 30 Han sade till Jakob: ”Låt mig få äta av det röda, det röda du har där, för jag är helt utmattad.” Därav fick han namnet Edom31 Men Jakob sade: ”Sälj då din förstfödslorätt till mig.32 Esau svarade: ”Jag är ju nära att dö. Vad har jag då för nytta av min förstfödslorätt?33 Jakob sade: ”Ge mig din ed på det.” Han gav honom sin ed och sålde sin förstfödslorätt till Jakob. 34 Och Jakob gav honom bröd och linssoppa. Esau åt och drack, steg sedan upp och gick sin väg. Så litet värdesatte Esau sin förstfödslorätt.

1 Mos. 27:1 När Isak hade blivit gammal och hans ögon var så svaga att han inte kunde se, kallade han till sig sin äldste son Esau och sade till honom: ”Min son.” Han svarade honom: ”Här är jag.” 2 Då sade han: ”Jag är gammal och vet inte när jag skall dö. 3 Tag därför dina jaktredskap, ditt koger och din båge, och gå ut i markerna och skjut något vilt åt mig. 4 Laga sedan till en välsmakande rätt åt mig, en som jag tycker om, och bär in den till mig så att jag får äta och sedan välsigna dig innan jag dör.5 Rebecka hörde vad Isak sade till sin son Esau. När Esau gick ut i markerna för att skjuta något vilt att ta hem, 6 sade Rebecka till sin son Jakob: ”Lyssna! Jag hörde din far säga till din bror Esau: 7 Skaffa något vilt och laga till åt mig en välsmakande rätt, som jag kan äta. Sedan skall jag välsigna dig inför Herren innan jag dör. 8 Hör nu på mig, min son, och gör som jag säger. 9 Gå till hjorden och hämta två fina killingar, så skall jag laga till en välsmakande rätt av dem åt din far, en som han tycker om. 10 Den skall du bära in till din far så att han får äta den och sedan välsigna dig innan han dör.” 11 Men Jakob sade till sin mor Rebecka: ”Min bror Esau är ju hårig, och jag är slät.12 Tänk om far rör vid mig. Då blir jag en bedragare i hans ögon och drar förbannelse över mig i stället för välsignelse.” 13 Men hans mor sade till honom: ”Den förbannelsen skall komma över mig, min son. Hör bara vad jag säger och gå och hämta killingarna åt mig.”14 Han gick då och hämtade dem och förde dem till sin mor, och hon lagade till en välsmakande rätt, en som hans far tyckte om. 15 Sedan tog Rebecka fram sin äldste son Esaus högtidskläder, som hon hade inne hos sig, och satte dem på sin yngste son Jakob. 16 Med skinnen från killingarna täckte hon över hans händer och den bara delen av hans hals. 17 Sedan gav hon sin son Jakob den välsmakande rätten och brödet som hon hade gjort i ordning. 18 Han gick in till sin far och sade: ”Far.” Han svarade: ”Vad vill du? Vem är du, min son?”19 Jakob sade till sin far: ”Jag är Esau, din förstfödde. Jag har gjort som du sade till mig. Sätt dig upp och ät av mitt villebråd, så att du kan välsigna mig.” 20 Men Isak sade till sin son: ”Hur har du kunnat finna det så snart, min son?” Han svarade: ” Herren, din Gud, sände det i min väg.” 21 Då sade Isak till Jakob: ”Kom hit, min son, och låt mig få röra vid dig och känna om du är min son Esau eller inte.”22 Jakob gick då fram till sin fader Isak, och han rörde vid honom och sade: ”Rösten är Jakobs, men händerna är Esaus.” 23 Han kände inte igen honom, för händerna var håriga som hans bror Esaus händer. Han tänkte nu välsigna honom, 24 men så frågade han: ”Är du verkligen min son Esau?” Han svarade: ”Ja.” 25 Då sade han: ”Bär hit maten, min son, så att jag kan äta av villebrådet och välsigna dig.” Jakob bar fram den till honom och han åt. Och han räckte honom vin och han drack. 26 Sedan sade hans fader Isak till honom: ”Kom hit och kyss mig, min son.” 27 När han då gick fram och kysste honom, kände han lukten av hans kläder och välsignade honom. Han sade:”Doften av min son är lik doften från en mark som Herren har välsignat.28 Gud skall ge dig av himlens dagg och av jordens fruktbarhet,säd och vin i riklig mängd.29 Folk skall tjäna dig och folkslag falla ner för dig. Var en herre över dina bröder. Din mors söner skall falla ner för dig. Förbannad vare den som förbannar dig och välsignad den som välsignar dig!”30 När Isak hade givit Jakob sin välsignelse och Jakob just hade gått ut från honom, kom hans bror Esau hem från jakten. 31 Också han lagade till en välsmakande rätt och bar in den till sin far och sade: ”Nu kan far sätta sig upp och äta av sin sons villebråd och sedan välsigna honom.” 32 Hans fader Isak frågade honom: ”Vem är du?” Han svarade: ”Jag är Esau, din förstfödde.” 33 Då blev Isak mycket förskräckt och sade: ”Vem var då den jägare som bar in sitt villebråd till mig? Jag åt av allt innan du kom och jag välsignade honom. Välsignad skall han också vara.” 34 När Esau hörde vad hans far berättade, ropade han högt och bittert: ”Far, välsigna också mig!”35 Men han svarade: ”Din bror kom med svek och tog din välsignelse.” 36 Då sade Esau: ”Heter han inte Jakob! Och nu har han bedragit mig två gånger! Min förstfödslorätt har han tagit och nu har han också tagit min välsignelse.” Och han frågade: ”Har du då ingen välsignelse kvar för mig?” 37 Isak sade då till Esau: ”Se, jag har satt honom till herre över dig, och alla hans bröder har jag gett till tjänare åt honom, och med säd och vin har jag försett honom. Vad skall jag då göra för dig, min son?” 38 Esau sade till sin far: ”Var det den enda välsignelse du hade, far? Välsigna också mig, far!” Och han började storgråta. 39 Då svarade hans fader Isak honom: ”Se, fjärran från jordens fruktbarhet skall din boning varaoch utan dagg från himlen där ovan.40 Av ditt svärd skall du leva och din bror skall du tjäna. Men när du blir bångstyrig skall du slita hans ok från din nacke.” 41 Esau fylldes av hat mot Jakob på grund av den välsignelse som hans far hade givit Jakob. Han sade till sig själv: ”Snart kommer den tid då vi skall sörja vår far. Då skall jag döda min bror Jakob.”

Hebr. 12:15 Se till att ingen går miste om Guds nåd och att ingen bitter rot skjuter skott och vållar skada och många smittas. 16 Se till att ingen av er är otuktig eller oandlig som Esau. I utbyte mot ett enda mål mat lämnade han ifrån sig sin förstfödslorätt.17 Ni vet att han avvisades, när han sedan ville ärva välsignelsen. Isak såg nämligen inte någon möjlighet att ändra sig, fastän Esau under tårar sökte få välsignelsen.

Vi förstår från berättelsen att det förelåg en profetia angående pojkarna och Gud själv förklarade innan födseln för Rebecka vad som skulle komma att ske. Den äldre skulle komma att tjäna den yngre, men inte nödvändigtvis som individer eftersom Gud också förklarade att det var två folkstammar som fanns i Rebeckas mage. Nu rådde det lite osäkerhet vem som egentligen var den yngre respektive äldre eftersom det handlade om tvillingar (Esau föddes dock först), men från Rebeckas synpunkt fanns ingen tvekan om vem hon föredrog skulle räknas som den yngre och som borde få den stora och avgörande välsignelsen av fader Isak. Kärleken till Jakob växte förmodligen fram med åren då Rebecka upptäckte vilken from man som han kom att bli, tvärt emot Esau som visade den totala motsatta sidan och t o m var en mördare. Rebecka var alltså mycket motiverad att pusha för Jakob, och kanske såg hon en chans att själv försöka få profetian att gå i uppfyllelse när det skulle kunna gå att utnyttja Isaks svaghet och dåliga syn. Jakob lovade att lyda sin mor.

När det handlar om den här typen av välsignelse och framtidsprofetia över sin son så kan man inte ändra sig och ta tillbaka det man just profeterat över hans huvud. Isak var en from man liksom sin far Abraham och det han profeterade över sonen kom direkt från Gud. Visserligen insåg inte Isak att det var Jakob och inte Esau som han profeterade över, men den profetiska välsignelsen i sig kom från Gud och den handlade bl. a. om att den äldre skulle tjäna den yngre. Det här var inga allmänna välsignelser och lyckönskningar inför framtiden utan gudomliga välsignelseprofetior direkt från Gud och som ingen människa kan ändra. Detta insåg Isak så han kunde givetvis inte senare ta tillbaka dem och ”hitta på” profetior som skulle gå stick i stäv med de autentiska profetior han just uttalat. Det hade ju inneburit att de första profetiorna inte var sanna trots allt eftersom de kunde revideras och göras om till den motsatta innebörden. Men det som Isak uttalade över sin son var sanningen från Gud. Isak visste inte vem han hade framför sig, men Gud visst det definitivt och förmedlade det profetiska budskapet över Jakob genom Isak.

Vad gäller de moraliska aspekterna för de inblandade så kanske det råder delade meningar, men Bibelns budskap är åtminstone på det klara med att Esau handlade otuktigt, oandligt och klanderligt när han så lättvindigt sålde sin förstfödslorätt för ett mål mat. Vad gäller Jakob så kan vi se att han valde att lyda sin mor, och därmed valde han att ljuga inför sin far. Svårt att se hur det skulle kunna vara något annat än synd eftersom det handlar om en medveten lögn – vilket förstås gäller även Rebecka som kom på idén. Vad gäller hennes delaktighet så kan man förstå att hon drevs av en iver att låta Guds gamla protetia slå in, eftersom det ju skulle leda till att den rättfärdige Jakob skulle få ikläda sig den positiva delen av profetian, medan den orättfärdige Esau skulle lämnas utanför som han förtjänade. Det är inget dåligt resonemang i sig, men hon borde ha låtit Gud själv ordna saken i stället för att försöka hjälpa Gud på traven och blanda in en lögn. Rebecka insåg förmodligen att denna sista välsignelse skulle innebära en realisation av profetian, då Isak förmodades be Gud om andlig ledning och där han skulle profetera Guds ord över sonen.

Om man ska försöka hitta förmildrande omständigheter så finns det förstås grövre och hemskare synder i världen än att ljuga om sin identitet för att försöka få Guds väg att slå in. Tanken var god hos Rebecka och Jakob, men de borde ha förstått att Gud inte behöver deras lögner. De kanske upplevde att det verkligen var Guds vilja att Jakob och inte Esau skulle få välsignelsen, och kanske de tänkte på vilka framtida olyckliga beslut som orättfärdige Esau skulle kunna åstadkomma om det var han själv som skulle få välsignelsen och därmed pga sin makt bli tjänad av andra folk (enligt profetian) och vara Herre över sina bröder? Esau skulle då kunna ha styrt mångas liv rakt in i en värld av orättfärdighet och strider. Esau hade t o m gift sig med kananitiska kvinnor, helt tvärt emot Guds vilja, och kan mycket väl ha blivit influerad av destruktiva kananitiska traditioner. Det fanns alltså mycket att vinna på att placera en gudfruktig och rättfärdig man som Jakob på den ansvarsfulla platsen, samtidigt som en ondskefull man som Esau skulle kunna isoleras från makt och därmed göra mindre skada.

Det är osäkert om Isak hade problem med senilitet under det här tillfället, men han var tillräckligt alert för att förstå att hans tid var ute och att det därför var viktigt med den sista välsignelsen/profetian.

Den redliges bokjakob

Även den här boken beskriver Jakob som en mycket rättfärdig och andlig person, medan Esau beskrivs som en mycket ond man utan intresse av att leva heligt.

Jasher 26:11 And she also asked Abraham to seek and inquire of the Lord about all that had befallen her.12 And they all inquired of the Lord concerning this matter, and they brought her word from the Lord and told her, Two children are in thy womb, and two nations shall rise from them; and one nation shall be stronger than the other, and the greater shall serve the younger.—17 And the boys grew up to their fifteenth year, and they came amongst the society of men. Esau was a designing and deceitful man, and an expert hunter in the field, and Jacob was a man perfect and wise, dwelling in tents, feeding flocks and learning the instructions of the Lord and the commands of his father and mother.28 And Isaac answered his father and said unto him, That which my Lord has commanded that will I do, and I will not depart from the commands of the Lord my God, I will keep all that he commanded me; and Abraham blessed his son Isaac, and also his children; and Abraham taught Jacob the instruction of the Lord and his ways. 

När det handlar om tillfället då Esau sålde sin förstfödslorätt, så kan vi läsa att han just återvänt hem efter att precis ha mördat tre personer i skogen – inklusive ingen mindre än kung Nimrod!

Enligt Bibelns text och the book of Jubilees får man intrycket att det är Jakob som initierade ett utbyte mellan sin röda måltid och Esaus förstfödslorätt (som inte är ett olagligt förslag men som den oansvarige Esau personligen borde ha tackat nej till), men enligt Jasher så skulle det snarare kunna vara Esau som först kom med förslaget. Båda tolkningarna passar. ”12 And he said unto his brother Jacob, Behold I shall die this day, and wherefore then do I want the birthright? And Jacob acted wisely with Esau in this matter, and Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, for it was so brought about by the Lord.” Jakob köpte även, till fullt värde, Esaus del av den begravningsplats som deras farfar Abraham en gång köpt.

Jasher 27:7 And Nimrod and two of his men that were with him came to the place where they were, when Esau started suddenly from his lurking place, and drew his sword, and hastened and ran to Nimrod and cut off his head.8 And Esau fought a desperate fight with the two men that were with Nimrod, and when they called out to him, Esau turned to them and smote them to death with his sword.9 And all the mighty men of Nimrod, who had left him to go to the wilderness, heard the cry at a distance, and they knew the voices of those two men, and they ran to know the cause of it, when they found their king and the two men that were with him lying dead in the wilderness.10 And when Esau saw the mighty men of Nimrod coming at a distance, he fled, and thereby escaped; and Esau took the valuable garments of Nimrod, which Nimrod’s father had bequeathed to Nimrod, and with which Nimrod prevailed over the whole land, and he ran and concealed them in his house.11 And Esau took those garments and ran into the city on account of Nimrod’s men, and he came unto his father’s house wearied and exhausted from fight, and he was ready to die through grief when he approached his brother Jacob and sat before him.12 And he said unto his brother Jacob, Behold I shall die this day, and wherefore then do I want the birthright? And Jacob acted wisely with Esau in this matter, and Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, for it was so brought about by the Lord.13 And Esau’s portion in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham had bought from the children of Heth for the possession of a burial ground, Esau also sold to Jacob, and Jacob bought all this from his brother Esau for value given.14 And Jacob wrote the whole of this in a book, and he testified the same with witnesses, and he sealed it, and the book remained in the hands of Jacob.

Vidare får vi veta här nedan att Jakob fortsatte att bli vägledd av Guds ord, medan Esau inte var villig att vandra på den vägen. I stället gifte han sig med kananitiska kvinnor, trots deras destruktiva traditioner och trots att det var helt emot Guds vilja.

Jasher 28:18 At that time Isaac sent his younger son Jacob to the house of Shem and Eber, and he learned the instructions of the Lord, and Jacob remained in the house of Shem and Eber for thirty-two years, and Esau his brother did not go, for he was not willing to go, and he remained in his father’s house in the land of Canaan.19 And Esau was continually hunting in the fields to bring home what he could get, so did Esau all the days.20 And Esau was a designing and deceitful man, one who hunted after the hearts of men and inveigled them, and Esau was a valiant man in the field, and in the course of time went as usual to hunt; and he came as far as the field of Seir, the same is Edom.21 And he remained in the land of Seir hunting in the field a year and four months.22 And Esau there saw in the land of Seir the daughter of a man of Canaan, and her name was Jehudith, the daughter of Beeri, son of Epher, from the families of Heth the son of Canaan.23 And Esau took her for a wife, and he came unto her; forty years old was Esau when he took her, and he brought her to Hebron, the land of his father’s dwelling place, and he dwelt there.

Här kommer tillfället då den blinde Isak välsignar ”fel” son. Rebecka förstod att det var dags för den sista välsignelsen och att profetians innebörd stod på spel:

Jasher 29:1 And Isaac the son of Abraham became old and advanced in days, and his eyes became heavy through age; they were dim and could not see.2 At that time Isaac called unto Esau his son, saying, Get I pray thee thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, rise up and go forth into the field and get me some venison, and make me savory meat and bring it to me, that I may eat in order that I may bless thee before my death, as I have now become old and gray-headed.3 And Esau did so; and he took his weapon and went forth into the field to hunt for venison, as usual, to bring to his father as he had ordered him, so that he might bless him.4 And Rebecca heard all the words that Isaac had spoken unto Esau, and she hastened and called her son Jacob, saying, Thus did thy father speak unto thy brother Esau, and thus did I hear, now therefore hasten thou and make that which I shall tell thee.5 Rise up and go, I pray thee, to the flock and fetch me two fine kids of the goats, and I will get the savory meat for thy father, and thou shalt bring the savory meat that he may eat before thy brother shall have come from the chase, in order that thy father may bless thee.6 And Jacob hastened and did as his mother had commanded him, and he made the savory meat and brought it before his father before Esau had come from his chase.7 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Who art thou, my son? And he said, I am thy first born Esau, I have done as thou didst order me, now therefore rise up I pray thee, and eat of my hunt, in order that thy soul may bless me as thou didst speak unto me.8 And Isaac rose up and he ate and he drank, and his heart was comforted, and he blessed Jacob and Jacob went away from his father; and as soon as Isaac had blessed Jacob and he had gone away from him, behold Esau came from his hunt from the field, and he also made savory meat and brought it to his father to eat thereof and to bless him.9 And Isaac said unto Esau, And who was he that has taken venison and brought it me before thou camest and whom I did bless? And Esau knew that his brother Jacob had done this, and the anger of Esau was kindled against his brother Jacob that he had acted thus toward him.10 And Esau said, Is he not rightly called Jacob? for he has supplanted me twice, he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing; and Esau wept greatly; and when Isaac heard the voice of his son Esau weeping, Isaac said unto Esau, What can I do, my son, thy brother came with subtlety and took away thy blessing; and Esau hated his brother Jacob on account of the blessing that his father had given him, and his anger was greatly roused against him.11 And Jacob was very much afraid of his brother Esau, and he rose up and fled to the house of Eber the son of Shem, and he concealed himself there on account of his brother, and Jacob was sixty-three years old when he went forth from the land of Canaan from Hebron, and Jacob was concealed in Eber’s house fourteen years on account of his brother Esau, and he there continued to learn the ways of the Lord and his commandments. —21 And when Esau saw Jacob coming to his father and mother he remembered what Jacob had done to him, and he was greatly incensed against him and he sought to slay him.

The book of Jubilees pottage

Här kan vi läsa att Jakob i och med köpet av förstfödslorätten, blev den ”äldre” av de två sönerna – vilket innebär både stort ansvar men även fördelar i form av makt och ära. Det är alltid tryggast om människor med makt också är rättfärdiga så att de kan utöva sin makt förnuftigt, då många människor kanske är beroende av ett stabilt hushåll som kan hålla fred med sina grannar.

Jubilees 24:12 And in the first year of the fourth week a famine began in the land, [2080 A.M.] besides the first famine, which had been in the days of Abraham.3 And Jacob sod lentil pottage, and Esau came from the field hungry. And he said to Jacob his brother: ‘Give me of this red pottage.’ And Jacob said to him: ‘Sell to me thy [primogeniture, this] birthright and I will give thee bread, and also some of this lentil pottage.‘ 4 And Esau said in his heart: ‘I shall die; of what profit to me is this birthright? 5 ‘And he said to Jacob: ‘I give it to thee.’ And Jacob said: ‘Swear to me, this day,’ and he sware unto him. 6 And Jacob gave his brother Esau bread and pottage, and he eat till he was satisfied, and Esau despised his birthright; for this reason was Esau’s name called Edom, on account of the red pottage which Jacob gave him for his birthright. 7 And Jacob became the elder, and Esau was brought down from his dignity. 8 And the famine was over the land, and Isaac departed to go down into Egypt in the second year of this week, and went to the king of the Philistines to Gerar, unto Abimelech.

Jakob fick en mäktig välsignelse av sin moder, som upplevde ett gudomligt tilltal att Jakobs säd skulle bestå i evighet. Det kan förklara Rebeckas stora motivation att låta det ske precis som det var sagt. Kanske Rebecka och Jakob hoppades på att Isak inte skulle fråga vilken son som stod framför honom, och att den ludna klädnaden skulle få Isak att förmoda att det var Esau som var närvarande. Om Jakob skulle säga ”Här är din son”, så är det förvisso ingen lögn, men att hävda att man är Esau när man egentligen är Jakob är rena rama osanningen.

Jubilees 25.10 Fear not, mother; be assured that I shall do thy will and walk in uprightness, and not corrupt my ways for ever.’11 And thereupon she lifted up her face to heaven and extended the fingers of her hands, and opened her mouth and blessed the Most High God, who had created the heaven and the earth, and she gave Him thanks and praise.12 And she said: ‘Blessed be the Lord God, and may His holy name be blessed for ever and ever, who has given me Jacob as a pure son and a holy seed; for he is Thine, and Thine shall his seed be continually and throughout all the generations for evermore.13 Bless him, O Lord, and place in my mouth the blessing of righteousness, that I may bless him.’14 And at that hour, when the spirit of righteousness descended into her mouth, she placed both her hands on the head of Jacob, and said: 15 Blessed art thou, Lord of righteousness and God of the ages And may He bless thee beyond all the generations of men.May He give thee, my Son, the path of righteousness, And reveal righteousness to thy seed.

Kanske the book of Jubilees är den bok som tydligast hävdar att försäljningen av förstfödslorätten och Isaks dåliga syn och perceptionsförmåga var gudomliga element, eftersom det ledde till att rättfärdigheten (med Jakob) slog ut orättfärdigheten (med Esau). Osäkert om det är ett sammanträffande att the book of Jubilees menar att Jakob svarade ”Jag är din son”, när Isak frågade om han var Esau. Tekniskt sett är det ingen lögn.

Jubilees 26:1 And in the seventh year of this week Isaac called Esau, his elder Son, and said unto him: ‘ I am [2114 A.M.] old, my son, and behold my eyes are dim in seeing, and I know not the day of my death.2 And now take thy hunting weapons thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and hunt and catch me (venison), my son, and make me savoury meat, such as my soul loveth, and bring it to me that I may eat, and that my soul may bless thee before I die.’3 But Rebecca heard Isaac speaking to Esau. 4 And Esau went forth early to the field to hunt and catch and bring home to his father. 5 And Rebecca called Jacob, her son, and said unto him: ‘Behold, I heard Isaac, thy father, speak unto Esau, thy brother, saying: ”Hunt for me, and make me savoury meat, and bring (it) to me that 6 I may eat and bless thee before the Lord before I die.” And now, my son, obey my voice in that which I command thee: Go to thy flock and fetch me two good kids of the goats, and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loves, and thou shalt bring (it) to thy father that he may eat and bless thee before the Lord before he die, and that thou mayst be blessed.’ 7 And Jacob said to Rebecca his mother: ‘Mother, I shall not withhold anything which my father would eat, and which would please him: only I fear, my mother, that he will recognise my voice and wish to touch me. 8 And thou knowest that I am smooth, and Esau, my brother, is hairy, and I shall appear before his eyes as an evildoer, and shall do a deed which he had not commanded me, and he will be wroth with me, and I shall bring upon myself a curse, and not a blessing.’ 9 And Rebecca, his mother, said unto him: ‘Upon me be thy curse, my son, only obey my voice.’ 10 And Jacob obeyed the voice of Rebecca, his mother, and went and fetched two good and fat kids of the goats, and brought them to his mother, and his mother made them ~savoury meat~ such as he loved. 11 And Rebecca took the goodly rainment of Esau, her elder son, which was with her in the house, and she clothed Jacob, her younger son, (with them), and she put the skins of the kids upon his hands and on the exposed parts of his neck. 12 And she gave the meat and the bread which she had prepared into the hand of her son Jacob. 13 And Jacob went in to his father and said: ‘I am thy son: I have done according as thou badest me: arise and sit and eat of that which I have caught, father, that thy soul may bless me.’ 14 And Isaac said to his son: ‘How hast thou found so quickly, my son? 15 ‘And Jacob said: ‘Because the Lord thy God caused me to find.’ 16 And Isaac said unto him: Come near, that I may feel thee, my son, if thou art my son Esau or not.’ 17 And Jacob went near to Isaac, his father, and he felt him and said: ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau,’ 18 and he discerned him not, because it was a dispensation from heaven to remove his power of perception and Isaac discerned not, for his hands were hairy as his brother Esau’s, so that he blessed him. 19 And he said: ‘Art thou my son Esau? ‘ and he said: ‘I am thy son’: and he said, ‘Bring near to me that I may eat of that which thou hast caught, my son, that my soul may bless thee.’ 20 And he brought near to him, and he did eat, and he brought him wine and he drank. 21 And Isaac, his father, said unto him: ‘Come near and kiss me, my son. 22 And he came near and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his raiment, and he blessed him and said: ‘Behold, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed. 23 And may the Lord give thee of the dew of heaven And of the dew of the earth, and plenty of corn and oil: Let nations serve thee, And peoples bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, And let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee; 24 And may all the blessings wherewith the Lord hath blessed me and blessed Abraham, my father;  Be imparted to thee and to thy seed for ever: Cursed be he that curseth thee, And blessed be he that blesseth thee.’ 25 And it came to pass as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing his son Jacob, and Jacob had gone forth from Isaac his father he hid himself and Esau, his brother, came in from his hunting. 26 And he also made savoury meat, and brought (it) to his father, and said unto his father: ‘Let my father arise, and eat of my venison that thy soul may bless me.’ 27 And Isaac, his father, said unto him: ‘Who art thou? ‘And he said unto him: ‘I am thy first born, thy son Esau: I have done as thou hast commanded me.’ 28 And Isaac was very greatly astonished, and said: ‘Who is he that hath hunted and caught and brought (it) to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him: (and) he shall be blessed, and all his seed for ever.’ 29 And it came to pass when Esau heard the words of his father Isaac that he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said unto his father: ‘Bless me, (even) me also, father.’ 30 And he said unto him: ‘Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing.’ And he said: ‘Now I know why his name is named Jacob: behold, he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birth-right, and now he hath taken away my blessing.’ 31 And he said: ‘Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me, father?’ and Isaac answered and said unto Esau:  ‘Behold, I have made him thy lord, And all his brethren have I given to him for servants, And with plenty of corn and wine and oil have I strengthened him: And what now shall I do for thee, my son?’ 32 And Esau said to Isaac, his father: ‘Hast thou but one blessing, O father? Bless me, (even) me also, father: ’33 And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. And Isaac answered and said unto him:’ Behold, far from the dew of the earth shall be thy dwelling, And far from the dew of heaven from above. 34 And by thy sword wilt thou live, And thou wilt serve thy brother. And it shall come to pass when thou becomest great,  And dost shake his yoke from off thy neck, Thou shalt sin a complete sin unto death, And thy seed shall be rooted out from under heaven.’35 And Esau kept threatening Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him, and he: said in his heart: ‘May the days of mourning for my father now come, so that I may slay my brother Jacob.’

Jesus Christ holds the SCEPTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS as God in flesh

sceptreHebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever: A SCEPTRE of righteousness is the SCEPTRE of thy kingdom (KJV)

”Scepter” in the New Testament is a translation from the Greek word rhabdos (Strong’s 4464) which could also be translated as rod or staff.

”Scepter” in the Old Testament is a translation from the Greek word shebet (Strong’s 7626), and can also be translated as per above or as ”tribe” or ”clan”. Other synonymous words for ”rod” in the OT is matteh (Strong’s 4294) and choter (Strong’s 2415).

A scepter is a special staff/rod carried by a king or a high official, and in our past it was used as a token of authority and power of the king. Scepters are similar to a shepherd’s rod, except they are much fancier and way more valuable. Christ is told to have a kingdom, and his symbolic scepter is told to be of ”righteousness”. Righteousness is doing what is right, just, pure and pleasing to God, and this means that the Lord Jesus will be totally fair and govern his kingdom righteously.

Below we can find some interesting verses where ”scepter”, and also ”rod” or ”staff” are mentioned.

New Testament (KJV)

Aaron’s rod was one of a kind. It was a sign of authority and power:

Heb. 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Compare the below verse with Jacob’s prophesy in Gen. 49:10, to which the author of Hebrews is referring. It’s interesting that Jacob is said to have been leaning upon the top of his staff when he prophesied about the scepter not leaving Judah until Shiloh comes;”The sceptre shall not depart from Judah—”:

Heb. 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff

The disciple John saw an extended version of the vision of the future-coming scepter that both Jacob and Balaam saw much earlier in the OT (see further down below). The book of Revelations mentions a man-child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and there are many more descriptions of Jesus Christ:

Rev. 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.28 And I will give him the morning star.

Rev. 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Rev. 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Rev. 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Old Testament (NKJV) – using the word shebetdove 2

Below is Jacob’s prophesy about the last days concerning Judah. Jacob (Israel) was prophesying over each of his twelve sons and he places the scepter in Judah’s hands. Jacob was speaking of the lineage from which the Messiah would come. The scepter, the sign of power and dominion shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh (rest/peace) comes;  And to Him shall be the obedience of the people”. People were apparently supposed to be obedient to the one holding the scepter or this ”Shiloh” who is understood to be the Messiah. The prophesy also suggests that people can trust that the scepter will at least remain in Judah until his arrival. (There is no mention of what will take place after his coming.) From David’s time until the exile, the scepter as always been in Judah. The Roman empire affected the area at the time of the birth of Jesus, and in him both the priesthood and the kingship would be synchronized. Around the time of his death the Jews suggested ”We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

We also recognize more descriptions of the son of man (Jesus Christ) from Revelations:

Gen. 49:“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.9 Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.11 Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.12 His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Balaam gave numerous prophesies about a star that would come out of Jacob who among other things would be brought out of Egypt.

Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.3 Then he took up his oracle and said:“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,Who sees the vision of the Almighty,Who falls down, with eyes wide open:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!6 Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens by the riverside, Like aloes planted by the Lord,Like cedars beside the waters.7 He shall pour water from his buckets, And his seed shall be in many waters.“His king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted.8 “God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows.9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’“Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he who curses you.”—17 “I see Him, but not now;I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. 18 “And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,While Israel does valiantly.19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.”

Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Matt. 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.

In the book of Esther we find an interesting story involving a king’s scepter. The queen Esther wanted to speak to the powerful king about an urgent matter and she hoped to find favor in his site so that she could continue to live, despite approaching him without first being asked for. The king chose to do his part, holding out his scepter, and Esther did her part by touching the top of it. This fortunate combination meant that Esther would get life instead of death. In comparison, we may all approach the throne of God without fear, because his son Jesus Christ always has his scepter extended to us. Our job is to repent from our sins to become cleansed and righteous:

Esther 4:11 ”All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.”

Esther 5:2 So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

Ps. 45 is introduced with this information: ”The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.”A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love”. Psalms/songs in the Bible do not contain any kind of falsehood, but we must be prepared for a certain extent of poetic expressions, comparisons, analogies and metaphors which are not supposed to be understood literally. This particular song seems to be talking about an earthly king, with comparisons with a heavenly king and God himself. V. 45:6 is the source of the famous expression in Heb. 1:8, where God (the Father) is talking to God (the son). Since the long and detailed expression is about God the son in Heb. 1, it is also about God in Ps. 45. We can see references to the Messiah also in Ps. 45 – someone being on the right hand side, a mighty one, being the most fair, riding with righteousness, being anointed with oil, being worshiped, praised, etc. (Read my article about Heb. 1:8 here.):

Ps. 45:1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.3 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O MIGHTY ONE,With Your glory and Your majesty.4 And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; The peoples fall under You.6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.—11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.—17 I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

Note Ps. 45:7 about joy ”Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of JOY NASB, and compare with Hebrews again:

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God

John 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of thebridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.

Is. 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

”It despises the scepter of my son” according to a prophesy of Ezekiel:

Ez. 21:8 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished!10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter of My son, As it does all wood.—13 “Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,”says the Lord God.14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy, And strike your hands together. The third time let the sword do double damage. It is the sword that slays,The sword that slays the great men, That enters their private chambers.

ros (1)Old Testament  (NKJV) – using the word matteh

There was a lot of focus on the rod that Moses (and Aaron) used during Exodus. Moses had great use for it when he showed others the power of God, and proved that he himself had been given authority to be the leader of the Israelites on their journey:

Ex. 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”He said, “A rod.3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),5 “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. 9 And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”

Ex. 7:19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.

Ex. 14:16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Num. 20:Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

Each tribe also had rods, but their rods cannot be compared with the rod that Moses possessed:

Num. 17:2“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod.

Jonathan was involved in a dramatic story where he dipped his rod into honey in order to eat from it:

1 Sa 14: 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint.—42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”And Jonathan told him, and said, “I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”

A psalm by David replete with references to the Messiah Jesus Christ, such as ”The Lord said to my Lord”. Jesus Christ is called Lord of Lords and he is a priest forever, just like it says in Heb. 7:21-24. It is out of Zion from where the rod of strength will come. :

Ps. 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”2 The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!3 Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.4 The Lord has sworn And will not relent,“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.

Heb. 7:21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’”),—24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Old Testament (NKJV) using the word choter 

A rod shall come forth out of the stem of Jesse (king David’s father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Messiah would come from king David’s blood line:

Is. 11:1 There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

SPANKING KIDS with a rod – supported in the Bible?

spank kidDo you spank your kids thinking ”science” and the Bible support this kind of treatment? Science investigations are at best ”inconclusive” whether spanking will increase good behavior in a child (apart from an immediate obedience) and at worst it can affect the child in a very destructive way and harm him for life. The problem with having no laws against spanking kids, is that parents could get away with beating their kids really hard by suggesting in court that ”I only meant to spank him softly but ended up spanking him harder than I intended”, and they could win the case despite severe bruises and even injuries on the child. Having laws against spanking doesn’t mean you can’t even touch the child or grab him hard around the arm and pull him away from some activity. There are also other ways to discipline a child than physical abuse.

Does the Bible say anything about giving a child a little spank on his behind by using a hand? No, IF you would like to obey Proverbs literally you should beat him with a ROD and not stop even if he cries! Do you?

We can read about disciplining a child (or rather a youngster) physically in Proverbs, and Proverbs is a book well-known for its poetry, similes, metaphors and hyperboles. So how can we be certain of that those few cases should be read literally? Do you obey these verses literally if this is your true aim? Proverbs doesn’t say anything about spanking a child gently (or not gently) on his behind but that you should BEAT HIM WITH A ROD! Do you also believe that it’s OK to not stop beating the child even if he is crying (as in ”let not thy soul spare for his crying”) and do you also do this to a five-year old child? Do you also do this even if the child doesn’t deserve to be beaten, only because you’re afraid of disobeying the words ”Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell”? Meaning that if you realize that your child is approaching his/her teenage years and you have so far not found any reason to beat your child, you must hurry up to do this for no reason at all in order to be obedient to this verse in Proverbs that you understand as literal – just to be on the safe side. All this because you interpret a verse to say that the child can risk hell if you don’t?

If we don’t pay attention to words, context and in which book in the Bible we are reading, things can go very wrong. The truth is that a good shepherd does not beat his sheep with his rod. He uses his rod to show authority over his sheep and his aim is to keep them safe and sound. This goes together well with the saying ”Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”. The fright of sudden noise can induce a shock in the sheep that suppresses fertility, so beating sheep with a rod wouldn’t serve any purpose. Dog experts advise against beating dogs for very good reasons, and they can become very aggressive if treated in the wrong way. Can we really say that it’s improper to beat sheep and dogs but perfectly fine to beat children? A rod could be as symbol for authority and correction. We can read in James that we put bits in the horses mouths so that they may obey us, and no mentioning of using physical punishment to make horses obey us. A shepherd could use a rod/crook to move a sheep should it be necessary, and something like this could be used for horses as well – but not as in a punishment but as in steering the animal and making him move.

James 3:For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

What the Bible says about spanking

Proverbs says we should use a ROD, which would be a shebet, which during this time could be a large walking stick, a shepherd’s crook or a king’s scepter. So it does not say that a parent should use his HAND but a ROD, as in a stick, bat or cane. If you want to take these verses literally, then you should not give yourself the right to switch the rod to a little twig, wooden spoon or your hand. If you can amend the verses to make them say ”spank with your hand” instead of ”beat with a rod”, then perhaps it’s an even better alternative to NOT change the verses but to understand them metaphorically as in ”discipline your kids and don’t spoil them”. Even if we don’t want to spank or beat our children, it’s oftentimes necessary to take hold of an arm and say ”NO, be careful!” or similar. Not being allowed to spank your children doesn’t mean you can’t touch them! To grab an arm can also be felt physically and it gives less humiliation than spanking the kid on his behind.

Here are the verses in Proverbs that speak about chastening youth. We should absolutely use discipline as a method to bring the children up, and ”rod of correction” could simply be symbolism for correction made by an authority. If you have found no reason to beat you kid, simply because he has done nothing to deserve it, does this mean you hate him? Must you then hurry up to beat him just to show that you don’t hate him?

Prov 22:15: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Prov. 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Prov 19:18: Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying 

Prov 13:24: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently).

Prov. 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

”Chastening” doesn’t have to mean a physical punishment, and if we also understand the ”the rod of correction” and ”the rod of reproof” to be a figure of speech, we actually don’t have many verses left in Proverbs which might encourage literal spanking/beating children with a real rod. We only have one passage left that could possibly be used as support and that is Proverbs 23:13-14 above (highlighted with purple) where we can read that we should BEAT a son with the rod, and also a promise that he will not die from it. A sad fact is that children indeed have been killed by parents beating them to death with a rod, and it’s actually enough to beat a child a couple of times in the wrong place and too hard, and he can die from it. Could the ”the rod” spoken about in Prov. 23:12-14 (and also in Proverbs 13:24 and all other verses) be the same type of rod spoken about earlier – the rod of correction? This term could be figure of speech for correction, chastening and discipline, something that children will indeed NOT die from (unless we’re talking about a physical punishment) and it could also place him on the right path away from hell.

These passages presumably reflect Solomo’s parenting beliefs with respect to his son, Rehoboam. Solomo says:

Prov. 22:Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The problem is that Solomo, in all his wisdom and knowledge about how to bring up a child, ended up getting a son who became a very hated ruler due to his evil deeds. This shows that Proverbs cannot always be taken literally but oftentimes as a ”general” truth and at other times as metaphors or hyperboles. The Father of the prodigal son is considered to be a wise Father (and he is compared with God), but this still doesn’t mean that there were no risks involved for getting a rebellious son, which he ended up getting. So Prov. 22:6 is clearly not true in all cases. As an adult, Rehoboam was vicious, inconsiderate to his subjects, had no regard for human rights, and was widely hated. He barely escaped assassination at the hands of his own people.

1 Kings 12:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

There is a mention here that Solomo whipped his servants (and his son did this even more), so is this too a procedure that you would like to use on your employees? I’d rather believe that both ”chastised you with whips” and ”chastise you with scorpions” are just metaphors or figure of speech and that there were no actual whips or scorpions involved – and no literal yokes either for that matter.

God explained to King David that his son Solomon would be chastened by him (God) by using the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men. Did God do this literally? No, he never used a literal rod against him but he did chasten him in various other ways. 

2 Samuel 7:13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men

Proverbs also mentions some other things that we would hesitate to understand literally:

Proverbs 22:He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

Is this always true? And here too we can read ”rod of his anger”, as in a figure of speech.

Proverbs. 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.—Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

This is a command to not eat too much and not to slit your throat. Likewise, when reading that you should beat your child with a rod, it could be a command to discipline and have authority over your child.

The Hebrew word Naár can mean  youth (young and unmarried), or literally he who shakes off or shakes himself free. Not necessarily a child under 12. But baby Moses was also described as naár and baby Samuel when weaned and taken to the temple – so as in the meaning of ”shaken off”. The word for beat is the same as for ”the sun beat down on Jonah”, as in a constant presence. We should have a constant presence of authority in our children’s lives.

If it was so important to beat a child (rather than using other forms of discipline), wouldn’t it be a good idea to state this in the law of Moses or elsewhere, instead of a book well-known for its poetry? Instead we can read instructions how to handle a son who does not ”obey the VOICE of his father or mother”, and what to do with a rebellious son with no hope for improvement (that you actually wouldn’t risk getting in the first place if Prov. 22:6 was literally true). There is no mention of beating or spanking children in the Mosaic law, but we can read about VOICE of the parents, which could make the reader believe that we ought to discuss and reason with our children and to apply various means of chastisement, but this doesn’t have to mean a physical punishment. We can read that if the rebellious son despite much chastening from his parents still refuses to obey and hearken (to their voices) THEN his parents may lay hold of him and bring him to the elders of the city. A valid reason for taking this route would be if their son was a glutton and a drunkard – so clearly not a young child but rather a teenager/youth – and it’s of course up to the parents to decide when there is no hope to ever get their son back on track. The punishment was then stoning. There is no known recording of parents who have ever taken this severe step, and that’s rather understandable knowing the outcome would be a sure DEATH for their own loved child.

Deut. 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

In the New Testament there is no mention of spanking or beating children, but we can read about chastening and disciplining them. The point being made is that we should not question chastening from our Lord because this is a sign of love and not hate. Normally fathers chasten their sons in one way or the other – because of love for them.

Hebrews 12:6-7: ”…the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”

Moreover, Paul tells us that children must obey their parents in ALL THINGS. What about parents who teach their children to participate in theft, drug use and bullying? Clearly Paul is speaking about a situation where both parties – parents and children – obey his recommendations, and maybe that is why he says ”parents IN THE LORD”. Paul is also asking Fathers to not provoke their children to anger, and it’s common that children who get spanked/beaten feel anger and resentment, and an urge to make a revenge towards someone. Children who get beaten, often end up beating their own children when they grow up.

Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Eph. 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

According to science, spanking/beating children can cause many negative side effectsspank kid2

That spanking/beating children is not a good idea can be seen in this document from ”phoenoixchildrens.com”

meta study from 2002 with an analysis of 60 years of scientific studies about spanking/beating children draws the conclusion that such treatments are correlated to several disadvantages and give no advantages other than an immediate obedience in the situation at hand. The experience of getting spanked/beaten could be very traumatic  for the child and something that he will never forget. It’s absolutely possible that he will not repeat the particular offence that he was spanked/beaten for, but it could lead to that he will hold a grudge against his parents for a very long time which would affect the relationship negatively in the long run, and it’s a risk that he will subconsciously like to make a revenge by pouring out his anger and feeling of humiliation on others (siblings or friends).

It’s not possible to make a law where parents must sit down to discuss and reason with their children in love, but it IS possible to make a law where spanking/beating children is prohibited. This is done in many countries and means that parents are at risk of getting reported by others if they are detected to transgress the law. In Sweden there is an organization that encourages children, through ads in media and in schools, to call them if their parents spank/beat them.

If you compare Sweden with a country where spanking/beating children is NOT prohibited, do you think that perhaps people tend to REPORT spanking/beating to a greater degree in Sweden than in this other country?

I would think that you would say YES to this question! Why would anyone bother report spanking/beating children in a country where this is legal? And who would you report this legal procedure to in the first place? Yes, ABUSE is hopefully illegal also in countries where spanking is legal, but you would still find a LESS degree of reports of ”spanking/beating children” in a country where it’s a legal method. Would you therefore be surprised if you found out that Sweden has a higher degree of reported cases of ”spanking/beating children” (which based on Swedish terms would be filed under CHILD ABUSE) than in for instance the USA?

I ask this since this entire blog post is written under the inspiration of a podcast sermon that I listened to the other day, where an American pastor claimed before his congregation and for his listeners, that science supports that spanking kids was a good way to treat children and that it was likewise bad to NOT spank children. The truth is that science does NOT say that at all. Moreover, he claimed that crime reports among the youth increased with 430% (I think he said) in Sweden the year after Sweden made it unlawful to spank/beat children. THAT IS A FALSE CLAIM! Of course I don’t believe that this pastor purposely lied, because I prefer to believe that he read this claim somewhere and chose to believe it (perhaps because it went well with his own belief) without checking the source. Sometimes we simply don’t have time to check sources but we must try to be as truthful as we can we retell stories, and particularly if we stand behind a pulpit in a church. Anyone can make a mistake, but try to place yourself in my shoes. I wouldn’t mind if I someone claimed that Sweden is the country where the inhabitants are most negative towards Israel among all the countries in Europe, because that is the truth according to a major poll! Certainly not a fact that I’m proud of but it’s nevertheless a true statement. European countries have always considered to be negative towards Israel (unlike the US who has a much better approach), but Sweden takes the prize, which isn’t that surprising considering how Swedish mainstream media has chosen to display the conflict in the Middle East. But it’s annoying to listen to a sermon where the pastor makes such a tremendous incorrect statement about the country I live in, and it makes me wonder what else he is wrong about when he speaks? There are so many sermon podcasts to listen to so I can listen to someone else. It would also be correct to say that children/teenagers are not disciplined in Sweden, because that’s often the case. I oftentimes find that children show no respect for their parents. I don’t believe this is due to the lack of spanking, but due to that atheism is such a leading star and that discipline and correction are simply lacking. Sadly this is not a problem only for Sweden.

There is actually a DUTY to report violation of the law of child abuse (which spanking/beating children is considered to be) in Sweden and since also children are encouraged to call in if their children are abusive, this will NATURALLY be seen in statistics! Based on this self-evident fact, an honest person therefore do not draw the conclusion that there must be more child abuse in Sweden than in other countries, and neither that the law against child abuse which came 1979 (Sweden was first in the world to prohibit spanking/beating children) has been seen to increase child abuse and violence among youth, because this simply is not true.

”Children have the right to proper care, a safe environment and a good upbringing. A child must be treated with respect for his/her person and may not be affected by physical punishment or other types of humiliating treatments. ” (Sweden 1979)

The good thing with this law is that it will prevent a parent to use the excuse ”I didn’t mean to spank my kid so hard, but it ended up being much more severe than I intended”, whereupon his defense attorney could use this argument as an attempt to show the prosecutor that the parent didn’t have bad intentions and didn’t purposely harm the child – meaning the parent might get away with it. With this law the truth is that the parent shouldn’t spank/beat the child at all, so no excuses are valid. Pulling a child abruptly in his arm/ shirt, grabbing his arm, or pulling him back from a situation where he harms someone/something is not considered ”physical abuse”, unless you do this with such force that he gets harmed.

According to a study by the UN, 80 % of the children of the world have at one point been affected by spanking/beating. The USA is the only country in the world – among all the members of UN – together with Somalia and South Sudan that has not ratified the Convention on the rights of the child from 1989. (USA has signed it but not ratified it.) Somalia has plans to be a party of this treaty, leaving only the USA and South Sudan as the only countries that are not party of this treaty!

The following are excerpts from a study from 2011 and can be found in this article from Karlstad Universityspank kid3 

The 2011 national Swedish studies on corporal punishment and other humiliating behavior towards children are a follow-up of earlier studies performed in 1980, 2000 and 2006. The purpose of the studies is to describe the current situation for Swedish children and trends over time concerning various forms of humiliation, with special emphasis on events at home, but also those occurring at school.

A number of smaller investigations concerning child abuse have been performed in Sweden since the 1960s, but the first representative national investigation was carried out in 1980, the year after corporal punishment was banned through the Swedish Parental Act of 1979. The investigation in 1980 was an interview of 1105 families, where the parents responded to questions about their upbringing practices with respect to a specific child during the past year

National Swedish parental studies using the same methodology have been performed in 1980, 2000, 2006 and 2011 (current study). In 1980 and 2000 the studies were performed through telephone interviews, but in 2006 and 2011 postal questionnaires were used, mainly for economic reasons .

To our knowledge no other country had been able to perform regular national studies of this kind, where both parental behavior and children’s experiences of punishment have been recorded. For this reason the studies have been of interest not only in Sweden but also at an international level.

Since the mid-1980s, suspicion of child abuse has gradually become more frequently reported to the police forces in Sweden. Due to the substantial increase in reports during the 1990s the Governmental Committee on Child Abuse and Related Issues commissioned BRÅ to study this in detail. It was shown that the increase depended on a greater tendency to report abuse and there were no indications whatsoever that severe abuse of children had increased in Sweden. 

After the great decrease from fifty percent in 1980 to twelve percent I 2000 with respect to pushing and shaking children it has gradually increased to twenty six percent in 2006 and to thirty percent in 2011. This behavior is most prominent towards children between two and nine years of age. No parent admitted to have shaken an infant. This may hopefully be a result of the intense information campaign against shaking small children carried out in the interim since the 2006 year study.

Parents born abroad state that they have beaten their child more often. Since the very substantial decrease of parents beating their children (during the preceding year) from 1980 (28 %) to 2000 (1.1 %), there has been a slight and gradual increase to three percent in 2011. It should be noted in this context that the study in 2000 was performed using interviews and that the studies in 2006 and 2011 were performed using non-identifiable postal questionnaires

Children born abroad, particularly boys, state that they have been beaten more frequently.

The outstanding risk factor for corporal punishment is, however, violence between the adults in the family. This gives a ten-fold risk increase compared to families where there is no inter-adult violence. This risk decreases insignificantly when adjusted for other risk factors such as single parenthood, weak family economy or immigrant status. If parents were affected by alcohol or drugs when the conflict with the child occurred, there was a significant risk (60 %) that the child was beaten.

As in the former studies in 2000 and 2006, children with chronic diseases and disabilities state that they have been beaten twice as often as the healthy children. They also live to a greater extent in families where family violence occurs.

Beaten children have a much greater tendency to be involved in bullying than other children. They perform less well at school, have substantially more physical and psychological symptoms and have been involved in accidents more often. There have been speculations that Swedish parents, who no longer beat their children, instead are insulting them. The statements from the pupils point to the contrary. There is indeed a very strong connection between humiliation and corporal punishment.

Parents who claimed to have spanked/beaten their children were reduced from 28% 1980 to about 1 % the year 2000. Since then there has been a slight increase to 2,4% the year 2006 and 2,9% 2011 (figure 5.1. Brottsförebyggande rådet). (Compare this with the number for ”suspicion of spanking/beating a child”.)

Brottsförebyggande rådet says that two well-known MYTHS that are common in other countries are that ”Swedish prisons are filled with parents who have spanked their kids” and ”The juvenile crime rate in Sweden sky-rocketed immediately after the law against physical punishment started to be in force 1979”. It’s particularly common to hear these myths in countries such as the USA where spanking is allowed and where individuals seek to find support for that laws against physical punishment of children are bad. This misunderstanding has been sorted out in the scientific world thanks to international cooperations between Swedish scientists and other scientists (Gilbert et al. 2009). Studies show that the rate for child abuse and violent death among children is considerably lower in Sweden than in other countries. There has always been a great focus on Sweden due to the law against physical punishment which was enforced 1979, as first in the world, and the duty to report evident child abuse. The development in Sweden has been described in detail in other international literature (Janson, Långberg & Svensson 2011) and Sweden can lean on all the national studies that have been made in Sweden ever since 1980. There are no similar studies made in other countries and that is one of the reason that Sweden has been so much in focus. Literature from Regeringskansliet, Rädda Barnen and Allmänna Barnhuset (Regeringskansliet 2010) have been of great value and translated into many languages.  More countries have enforced laws against physical punishment. Most children live outside of Europe and that means that 95% of the children of the world are not protected by any such laws.

Just like when it comes to gun control, it’s a risk that people read and accept articles/film clips if they happen to say what fits a certain agenda. You can read my views about gun control here. (I have no reason to mistrust all world charts that show that countries with gun control also have a low homicide rate.)

I’ve been spanked and it did me much good?

Other children have said the contrary, and some can never forget the humiliation they had to go through. Children of course handle physical punishments to various degrees. For some children it’s enough to realize they are doing something unwise if a parent only raises an eye brow, whereas it takes a lot more than that to change the behavior in other children.

Once when my son was about 7 and playing with a friend, he had apparently driven a toy car too close to her so that she got hurt – which he didn’t do with purpose but he was nevertheless not cautious. I know that his friend was a rather ”confident” little girl (for instance she didn’t feel too concerned at one time when I made it known to her that I didn’t approve of her taking one of my skirts to smear in an expensive face cream into a mirror in our house) and it’s possible that her Father expected my son to be just as ”unconcerned” whenever he gets criticized. That could be why he upbraided him just as severely as he would do his own daughter. This father was rather surprised when I later told him that the very first thing that my son said when he came back home was  ”Mom, I’m dumb!”. I asked my son what he meant and if he felt that he had been dumb with purpose, and he said this wasn’t the case but continued to say he was dumb because this is what he had been told. He eventually explained that he had hurt his friend during the play with those toy cars. He is not normally clumsy at all and treats his friends with care, so I said that I hoped he said ”I’m sorry”, and if this is what he did he wasn’t dumb at all but just had to be more careful as he normally is. The girl’s father probably didn’t realize just how much his words affected my son, and was very surprised that my son commented on this situation as soon as he stepped into the door. Had he known this he would of course have used another tone, and he was probably just used to his own daughter who might just have shrugged her shoulders and move on right away. It’s quite possible that my son didn’t enjoy the rest of the stay with his friend at all but just longed to go back home. 

This story has of course nothing to do with the question of parents’ right to spank their children, but my point was only to show that children have various degrees of sensitivity towards punishment. For some ”No!” is enough whereas other children wouldn’t even stay corrected even if spanked. I wouldn’t be surprised if Solomo’s son was a pain in the neck as a child, because he grew up to be a very cruel leader for his people, with no regard for their well-being. Maybe this is why Solomon expressed the need to use the rod of correction (as in using authority and not necessarily spanking his son) instead of spoiling his son, because this could lead to that the son will perish in the end.

The problem with allowing parents to spank their children is that they might not always combine this with explanations and good reasons, but rather with verbal abuse. They might just lose their temper and start to spank their children and if this is not prohibited no one can do anything about it. If you say that you spank your children and they love you anyway, it’s actually not a good argument. I saw a documentary where a girl expressly said that she loved her father even though he had done despicable things to her. Children tend to love their parents.

While I’m at it, I think I will take the chance to write down a couple of other examples in my own life.spank kid4

Once when I was very little, perhaps 3 1/2, I was with my older brothers who were throwing small pebbles on my grandfather’s car. He saw it and came running towards us and we all got scared and started to run – including myself who did not participate. My oldest brother run passed by a shed, and my other brother and I ran into the shed where my brother squeezed himself through an opening in the window where the window pane was gone. He was quick but not quick enough to give me the time to do the same, and the only one that my grandfather therefore managed to get hold of was me and he gave me a physical punishment. Maybe he just pulled my hair or something together with shouting and verbal abuse, but enough to make me sad and deeply upset. I don’t have that many memories from this early age in my life but I do remember this episode because it affected me very much, and I wonder if I would have let my anger spill over on a younger sibling if I had one. I can easily understand that children who get physically punished start to build up a stock of ”anger” and irritation that they consciously or subconsciously pour out on younger siblings. This could in turn cause the younger siblings to give revenge on others that they have power over, and if parents detect this they might react with yet more spanking. A vicious circle. Anyway, many years later my grandmother reminded me of what happened afterwards and it was something that surprised her and my mother. Later that evening when I met my grandfather again for a meal in our kitchen, I told him ”Grandfather, it’s time for a talk”, and I pursued to tell him how unfair I felt that he treated me. I don’t remember exactly what he replied back, but I seem to recall it was something like ”How could I have known that you didn’t participate in that mischief?” as though it wasn’t his fault,

That would have been a similar response as the one I received from my other grandfather about the year after. I’ve had a couple of  similar encounters with him too.

Once when I was close to 5 years old I was staying in my grandparents’ house and I wanted to go to their neighbors to play with their kids. My grandparents said that it was fine but instructed me to not go anywhere because we were later going away somewhere and they made plans to pick me up at our neighbors’ house when it was time. So the last thing they reminded me of was to not go anywhere but to remain in the house with my friends. I didn’t think that would be hard to obey at all because each time I had gone over to their place, someone had always been at home and I certainly didn’t expect to go anywhere else. When I got there they were all making themselves ready to go for a walk and they asked me to join them. I told them that I was not allowed to go anywhere but to remain in their house. Unfortunately I was not wise enough to tell them WHY I had to remain in their house, and if  I had explained the reason to them, they would surely have either asked me to go back home or they would have waited with their walk until I had left. Instead they told me ”But you can join us because we will only go for a little walk near our house. We won’t be long at all”. I once again told them ”But they told me to not leave the house”, and was again assured that they would take care of me and that we wouldn’t be long at all and that there was not necessary for me to go back to my grandparents because they liked my visit. I was not mature enough and old enough to realize that I could have made a better decision, and I felt uncomfortable arguing with adults. So I felt there was no better alternative for me but to do as they said, but it was rather hard to know which adult to obey. So we left, and it didn’t take long before we saw my grandfather’s dark car on the dirt road behind us. As soon as he stepped out of the car he went straight up to me and pulled my hair, and he said something like ”Did I not tell you to not go anywhere?!”. His angry words were worse than his treatment of me, and I was told to sit back in the car. I was humiliated and I cried, maybe all the way into town. I’m sure none of my grandparents could ever understand how I could be so disobedient and unable to obey a simple rule, and I had no good answer.

At another time when I was about 4 years old I was in my grandparents house together with my brothers. They were investigating a large lamp (rather carelessly if you ask me) and I think they were among other things trying to see how they could turn the light on. I don’t remember if I joined them by free will to see if I could find the button, or if they tricked me to join them and purposely asked me to press a certain button instead of them so that I would take the blame if something went wrong. There was a button that caught my attention and it certainly looked like it could be the right one. Pressing it didn’t work, but I tried to turn it and that made the whole lamp head sink down half a meter because I had reached a button that adjusted the length of the lamp pole. I didn’t destroy the lamp in any way, but of course one should be more careful when adjusting a large lamp. As soon as this happened by brothers ran as fast as they could down the stairs in order to tell my grandfather what happened, and I remember hearing one of them whining when he realized that he wouldn’t be the first to disclose the news, for our grandfather, that would definitely get me in trouble. My oldest brother won the competition down the stairs and was the first to tell my grandfather that I had played with the lamp and damaged it (but I don’t think it was damaged), whereupon my grandfather became very angry and irritated. He found me wherever I was hiding and pulled my hair and told me some angry comments about disobedient children who played with his lamp with the risk of ruining it. I could not defend myself because I knew I was the one who had turned the button.

At another occasion, my grandparents asked me who I liked the most of the two of them, and I refused to answer. I didn’t feel it would be polite if I would favor one over the other. But they insisted, and I therefore felt forced to answer, and I of course said ”grandmother”. They wanted to know why, and I said that it’s because my grandfather had pulled my hair unlike my grandmother. They explained that this is needed when a child is disobedient. It’s possible that I responded here that there had been occasions where I’ve been innocent, and that the response to this comment from my grandfather was ”I couldn’t possibly have known that you were not involved”, or similar. It’s a good chance it’s true because I regret that I didn’t respond ”But shouldn’t you have made sure I’m guilty before you punish me?”.

I’m NOT saying here that it’s always bad to pull a child’s hair or grab a child’s arm, and I don’t think anyone would report a parent who did. My point is that angry words are often (but not always) more than enough for a child to understand, and spanking would do no good.

Maybe many who are for the right to spank their kids feel it’s fine because they follow a perfect ”dream scenario” where the child is first warned, and if no progress the child is spanked a little in his behind together with a clear explanation about what transgression he is guilty of, and when it’s all sorted out the parent and the child part with a hug. The problem is that this is just that; a dream scenario which sadly is hard to force parents to follow. It’s a LOT more likely that a child is just spanked in the heat of the situation and perhaps doesn’t even realize what he did wrong. He will then inadvertently be taught ”When a person gets irritated it’s fine to lose the temper and spank another person”. 

I’ve heard Americans say that ”It’s none people’s business if I spank my kids, or how much I spank my kids”. A Swede would normally not reason like that! I feel the responsibility to react if I saw someone spanking a DOG. Luckily I’ve never seen this happening, but I do react if I’m in a country where dogs are running around loose. A normal Swedish reaction would be to either find a home for the dogs, or shoot them! Anything but to let them running around on the streets with no food. I would also feel the obligation to report a farmer who mistreats his animals, or if I have found evidence for that someone has loads of cats which are not treated well. If we would do this when it comes to mistreatment of animals, of course we would react if we saw someone spanking/beating a child.

For whom the Lord loves he chastens Hebr. 12:6

Chastening does not always lead to repentance

It is clear from the Bible that chastening does not always equal repentance and improvement, but this is still the aim with the chastening. We are warned that we must hearken to the chastening and to not despise it. This is what the KJV says about ”chastening” and ”chasten”:

Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place

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

Proverbs 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

Hebrews 12:5 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:

Hebrews 12:6 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?—10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT.

AND

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

2 Samuel 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

Job 33:19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:

Psalm 6:1O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Psalm 38:1O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Psalm 69:10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

Psalm 73:14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

Psalm 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Psalm 118:18 The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Daniel 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

Isaiah 26:16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

2 Corinthians 6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; aschastened, and not killed