Even if you aren’t a Christian, you will no doubt have learned many Christian principles. Forgive others. Love your neighbor. Turn the other cheek. If you are a Christian you will have sat through endless sermons on the importance of applying these principles to others – your brothers and sisters in Christ and those you meet on the street. But how often have you heard these ideas applied to parenting? I can honestly say this is not something I have ever heard taught from the pulpit.
The words you hear about parenting are “rod”, “discipline”, “chastise”, and “obey”. Sound familiar? Let me briefly define each for you, as there is quite a bit of misunderstanding on these terms, and why the Bible uses them in reference to parenting. In Biblical times there were three types of rods of authority (the meaning for the word translated “rod” in the verses most commonly quoted for parenting). There was the walking stick held by the head of a family; the shepherd’s staff; the king’s scepter.
While I was not there and cannot say that none of these sticks was ever used to hit someone I know that hitting was not their intended use. Each of these rods was a symbol of the authority held by the man who possessed it. Also since the “rod” verses are found in Proverbs in the section written by King Solomon for his son it makes sense that the “rod” being referenced is the king’s scepter.
What King Solomon was trying to convey to his son is that parents have authority over their children that has been given to them by God. If a parent neglects the responsibility that comes with that authority then their children will not turn out well. If, however, a parent takes seriously that authority then they will parent their child and turn out Godly children. Make no mistake, the Shebet/rod is real, it is simply being referred to for the authority it represents and not for any suggestion to literally strike anyone.