You shall beat your child with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

[I have written another blog more recently about this subject. Check it out here: How to Spank Your Kids the Right Way]

Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14

Because of people who have acted in extremes, we have become a society that frowns upon the physical disciplining of our children.  In fact, there will be people that read this blog who will be down right furious that I would suggest that we should do so.  But I don’t suggest that we do so, rather the bible commands us to do so.

But before I get into talking about this subject, let me explain what physical discipline is NOT.  Physical  discipline is NOT beating the tar out of your kid because he hid your cigarettes. It is NOT picking up your child by one arm and carrying them across the restaurant while spanking them on the rear end and screaming.  It is NOT punching them or kicking them or causing them to be hurt in any way that would cause harm beyond some temporary soreness.  I say this because of the vast amount of  abuse that has caused people  to get into the other ditch on this subject. But lets not get in the ditch on either end. Lets stay in the middle of the road here.

I personally believe that physical discipline is extremely important.  And I honestly believe that if I had been physically disciplined more as a child then things would be easier for me now as an adult. Why? Because physical discipline as a child teaches a child to force himself to do what is right in order to avoid future negative consequences. When you are a child the negative consequences are never as severe as when you are an adult, so its a perfect training ground for you to be ready for the real world.  It gives you the chance to mess up and experience negative consequences without any real harm in your future. But if you mess up and never experience meaningful consequences as a child how will you learn for when you are an adult? You won’t. And that’s why our prisons are full and overflowing and that’s why corruption is widespread.  I think it has a lot to do with improper discipline as a child.

Now, there is a lot of error when it comes to the world’s thoughts toward children.  The world teaches that people are inherently good.  They believe that children are born good, and so when you discipline them to cause them to conform you are warping their personality and turning them into robots rather than letting them be individuals. This is not true. And this also baffles me, especially since many of these people believe we evolved through the process of the survival of the fittest.  If we are animals who have simply become the best at killing and stealing food from others to survive, why on earth would you think that we would be born knowing how to share, and give, and be thoughtful towards others? No, we need to be taught these things.  You don’t need to teach a child how to take. You don’t need to teach a child how to be selfish. You don’t need to teach a child how to be rude.  They do it because they have inherited a corrupt body from their parents. Their spirits are pure because they are from God, but their bodies are corrupt because they are from man.

Look what the bible says that is contrary to what the ‘wisdom’ of this world says:

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive him far from it. Proverbs 22:15

We don’t want our children to carry that foolishness into their adult years, do we? No we need to discipline them with the rod as the bible says.

But what is the correct way to discipline your child?

1. You should do it promptly. This is so the child can easily relate the punishment to the crime: He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Proverbs 13:24

2. You should use a rod that is dedicated to that purpose.  This is so the child can recognize it as a measure for punishment and so that it will hurt when you use it.  If it doesn’t cause your child pain when you are doing it, and if it doesn’t cause them to cry, then you aren’t doing it right: Do not withhold correction from a child, For [if] you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.  Proverbs 23:13-14 and  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Proverbs 19:18 (KJV)

(I shouldn’t even have to say this, but obviously the rod should be something like a small stick or wooden rod. Nothing that would cause any hurt besides some temporary soreness.)

3. You should do it only out of love and not in anger.  You need to realize that your child is going to mess up, so don’t be surprised and angry.  You can express your disapproval to the child without getting angry.  When you punish from anger you are punishing for selfish purposes. When you punish from love you are doing it for the child’s good.  Anger may be appropriate in some circumstances, especially if the child is older and is hurting someone else that you love, but it should be a bridled anger that you have under control.  Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Eph 6:4

If you take the bible and common sense, you should be able to understand this discipline thing pretty easily.  But don’t think you can live like an idiot, spank your children, and then expect them to turn out ok.  No, this will ‘provoke your children to wrath.’  No, dedicate yourself to the Lord. Practice being a good example to your children and then, when your children are grown, they will look back and thank you for the way you disciplined them.  They will partly accredit their success to your willingness to correct them with the rod and thereby teach them self-discipline.

Physically discipling your child is one of the best things you can do for your child. Don’t try to convince yourself that time-outs are a good replacement. They are not. Time-outs give children time to be angry for not getting what they want. It gives them time to think foolish thoughts about how bad you are for not letting them have fun.  No, they need to be thinking about how much it hurts when they do the wrong things. They should feel the pain of negative and selfish actions and then they should be taught that the pain is a lot worse when they are older.  Show me where the bible talks about time-outs. You won’t find it in there.

But maybe you are in a circumstance where you have not used physical discipline properly and now have rebellious children. What should you do? Well the answer is not easy, and the implementation of physical punishment to those who aren’t used to it is going to be hard. They are going to scream bloody murder.  They are going to make you feel like you are the worst person on the planet and that what you are doing is a criminal offence. They might even threaten to report you to the police that you are abusing them.  Here is my best advice to you (as coming from someone who has not been there, but can only give you the little bit of wisdom that I have received from the Word) . You need pray, first of all and seek God’s direction. You also need to determine in your heart that you are going to do what is best for your kids, even if they hate you for it, because they probably will. You need to determine that you are going to do this because you love them and believe that is it best for them, not just because it will make your life easier. You need to  be thorough with your discipline and make sure that it hurts them.  Weak discipline will simply embolden the child to be rebellious.

Don’t give up. Remember that when you beat your child with the rod, you are delivering his soul from hell.

About Hal Chaffee

Student Pastor at Five Rivers Church in Elkton, MD View all posts by Hal Chaffee

19 responses to “You shall beat your child with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

  • Violet

    I believe children should be taught respect and self dicipline with themselves and others and think they should be taught boundries. How to do this is up for debate. I believe that for some children this form of dicipline will not work and someone using this kind of dicipline has to be very careful on how this is seen by the child and not so much by what other adults think because the mind of a child is not the same as the mind of an adult. Verbal yelling can be a form of abuse if it is not done properly.
    We just had a tragic tragic incident in our community involving two 12 year olds and a 15 year old who shot one of the boys step-father and killed him he was only 49 years old, While i have no idea the circumstances of the dicipline in those homes I do see where they picked up something much more deadly than a rod to get the results they wanted or thought they wanted. What makes children turn to this , too much dicipline or not enough. something within themselves or influences of the dysfuntion of the world. Do we really want to teach them to not hurt themselves or others with force?? Children are just little adults and just as all adults are differant so are they. We are not thier best friends we are here to guide, teach and mold them and sometimes even tho we may have done the best job we can they are touched by others and the dysfunction in the world, they need to learn lessons in other ways and I pray that God will not only lead me on the right path but my children and grandchildren also may he keep them safe and give them the wisdom and love needed in thier lives either from me or others who touch thier lives to keep them out of harms way or from harming others.
    May God bless all parents, grandparents, and chldren reading this reply.

    Even if we protect our children from as much dysfunction as we can in our own homes and circle, there is dysfunction in the world and it will effect our children or someone they know in some way. I believe we need to talk with our children and use every opportunity we can to teach them life lessons and taylor their dicipline to each child cause no two are alike even when they are raised the same. It seems to me that the rod would only work in the younger years and not sure they have the capacity to understand this is for their own good. Parenting is a life long commitment and will affect generations.

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  • Dan

    I’m confused about the responsibility of parents.

    “You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.” This quote seems to imply that it is the responsibility of the parents to save their children from hell, rather than the responsibility of the child to recognize himself as a sinner.

    So if you don’t physically discipline your children and they grow up and reject Christ, that is the parent’s fault ? ? ?

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    • Hal

      Hey Dan, parents definitely are somewhat responsible for their kids spiritual lives (remember Eli?). On the other hand they aren’t completely responsible. The bible gives plenty of examples of this. Just because you are the best parent in the world doesn’t guarantee anything. When your children grow to be adults, even if they have been trained well, they still make their own choices. Samuel was a very godly man, but his sons didn’t walk as he did. On the other hand Josiah was a very godly king, but he had an evil father and grandfather.

      However, training them well will make it much, much easier for them to make good choices.

      So, is it the parents fault if their child goes to hell? Not totally. But, they can contribute to it or from it.

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  • Randy Flynn

    You need to study pschology some more. Physical punishment in the long run does only harm and does no good. Your child will only end up resentful.

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    • Hal

      In households were there is no love, you are right. The bible even says so: “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (Eph 6:4).” But if you use physical discipline in the proper way out of love then it’s a different story. Almost everyone I know was disciplined this way and they (as adults) have great relationships with their parents.

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  • Robin

    totally agree with you! Thanks for standing with the Word. I believe there is a way to spank a child and a way NOT to spank a child. When we spank our children, we always pray, “Heavenly Father, I’m sorry for doing XYZ. Holy Spirit, teach me to do better.” This helps my kids to understand consequences, but also the importance of repentance. Because they ask Holy Spirit to teach them how to do things better, they don’t get many spankings because they have learned to rely on Holy Spirit (not some funky new age mumbo jumbo) to make them into better children. I’m not bragging or saying I have the best children in the world, but GOD IS GOOD :)

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  • Jennifer

    I completely agree with everything you said. I was spanked as a child and I will admit that had I not been I probably would not be the person I am today. I see the differences in people who were spanked and not spanked. I know many people who where not spanked and live there lives like the world owes them something then there are the people who were spanked or disciplined correctly and live there lives the right way and are greatful for the life they have. I was disciplined the correct way, for the most part. So was one of my step-sisters. We live our lives greatful for what we have, knowing that it is our own responsibilities to take care of ourselves and our families while my other step-sister who was not disciplined the way we were still live at home off of my parents will not work and get herself into trouble. She had a major theft problem that was never put in check and ended up in alot of trouble for that, she shuck guys into her bedroom at the age of 15 and ended up pregnant, dropped out of highschool got addicted to drugs and cant keep a job to save her life. And now lives in my parents basement with her 4 children not paying a dime while my father who works hard supports her and her childern. My husbands sister is the same way. Lives off her dad, will not work, had a wonderful man who loved her and took care of her, didn’t make her work and did more for her than anyone in the world, so she cheated on him with someone who had 5 kids all by different girls, has a drug problem and no job. Ended up pregnant and didn’t know which person was the father. Ended up being the guy she cheated with. Her boyfriend even told her that he would raise her son as his own all she needed to do was get a job to help support him and she wouldn’t do that because she would rather sit at home and watch soaps all day while he took care of her and her little boy. Needless to say that didnt last long so now she has been living with her dad for the last 2 years and hasn’t worked a day in over a year. Expects everyone to do everything for her and when they dont your a bad person. This girl was NEVER punished for anything she did. She was raised in a very loving home that also produced my husband who works very hard to support me as I work hard to support him. We are a team. We were disciplined by the rod of correction. Society as a whole would be much better off if parents started using the rod of correction to start there children down the right path. Children need punishment. They have to learn right from wrong. If you put a kid in time out that does nothing to help them like you previously stated. I have a nephew that is a prime example. His mother never punished him. He is now 2 and is soooo incorrigible no one can handle being around him. You tell him no and he laughs in your face and goes and does it again. I just pray that someone can get threw to this child before it is too late.

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  • On disciplining your children « Hal’s Journal

    [...] On disciplining your children The blog that I receive the most views on that I have written is a blog called “You shall beat your child with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.” Click here to re… [...]

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  • Dee Johnson

    Hey Hal, I totally agree with everything you talked about. You may be interested in a book called ‘To Train Up A Child’ by Micheal and Debi Pearl. It is a great book on child training and raising up Godly children. Micheal and Debi have 4 grown children. Micheal is a pastor. Here is a link to their site, No Greater Joy and the book specifically.
    http://shop.nogreaterjoy.org/product_info.php/products_id/69
    It is an awesome book that taught me how to discipline and train my children. I couldn’t understand HOW to spank with out anger until I read this book (I was always spanked in anger) I also have the VHS tape series. You may borrow it if you want. I just need to locate it, it got misplaced when we moved. You may get a lot of flack for posting about this, but you will be grateful when your children are trained properly. I will give you a heads up, most 2nd born are the hardest to train so be patient and know it is possible (although you have a little while until you have to start training Katee). :) I use a thin plastic water pipe as a switch to train my crew(it can be purchased in a plumbing supply store for around a dollar or two) It hurts, but doesn’t leave a bruise. Micheal recommends it in the book.
    Love you guys! <3 Dee

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  • Nick

    Awesome! AMEN!

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  • John

    I am a 62 year old man that took the advise from the bible and used physical discipline with my 2 first children. I had 2 more children and they did get discipline but not physical beatings.because I had groun up and matured.
    I am forever ashamed for taking the advise of my rediculas religious convictions as my first 2 are dealing with alcoholism and depression.
    My second 2 are successful business people and we have a great relationship.
    My advise is simply to get an education and leave your belt on your pants.
    Were not in the dark ages anymore or shouldn’t be anyway.
    Anyone who thinks that beating children into submission because of their religious belief system should grow up. The problems from this abuse show up later.

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  • William Mario

    Howdy; i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated. Arlington Residential Commercial Roofing, 5902 Willow Branch, Arlington, TX, 76017, US, 817-606-8773

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  • Bruce Ramsey

    I know someone personally who was threatening to kill himself. He was punching himself in the head, making the sounds of a bellowing bull or cow in front of strangers (embarrassing his mother), and pulling his hair out. He blamed it on his OCD. I told him if his behavior was the cause of OCD, he should take medication for it. He said he’d kill himself before he took anything that would cure him of OCD. With that, I told him that he then loved his OCD more than his life. With that, he later started shouting how much he hated God, using expletives against God. I told him that maybe OCD wasn’t his problem. When I hinted he might be demon possessed and NOT have OCD, he told me to let him out of the car and couldn’t believe how stupid and insane I was for thinking he might be demon possessed. As an experiment, I then performed an exorcism (while driving), to command any demon spirits to come out of him. He just got angrier, looking like he was going to attack me while driving. His dad then called and I pulled over to legally talk with him. His dad told me to take him back to where I was taking him from. That he, the OCD inflicted, was to NOT manipulate the family like this, and, was just acting. Well, we managed to get back into the car. This passage from Proverbs went through my mind and I started striking him with my fist (not to hurt him, but, to scare him. To let him know that if someone loved him would attack him like such away, that things could be far worse if he committed suicide and ended up in hell). Well, he’s now threatening to press charges and hates my guts. He STILL thinks I’m stupid and insane for believing in the possibility of demonic activity and hell, but, I noticed he was no longer inflicting bodily harm on himself NOR talking of killing himself. Gone also were the strange bovine bellowing sounds he was also producing. It’s still too earlier to tell if my attack on him OR my commanding demonic spirits in the name of Jesus Christ to leave him meant anything, but, again, so far, his OCD doesn’t seem to be bothering him. I’m thinking that if he DOES press charges and sues me while putting me in jail, he will learn another lesson that my attack on him was out of desperation and love for him, not out of trying to control him out of selfish needs, which he probably believes was the prime motivation for my actions yesterday.

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  • Ronny

    Spanking was used before in the old times. Now we don’t need too and it is not right to use spanking anymore. The rod you refer too was used by the Sheppard to guide the animals not to “beat” them with it. It is a symbolic word wish Jesus try to told us by say this words. The law should be in your hearth of your soul not be forced on it.

    It is parents who spank 1-3 licks and 20-30 licks and both would call it a spanking. I`m not talk about bruisings here but painfully licks over and over again. It is parents who spank their teens. Forcing them to be spanked to submissions or get a harder and longer spanking. I can go on and on with this.

    f the child or toddler do not take the spanking without wailing and resisting not submitting they get a harder and longer spanking or what?

    It is even parents who spank their 1-3 year old ones if they cry too much or can not stop it. Can you picture that in front of you?

    It is parents who spank their kids if they have a bad mood or just feeling sad. As a adult I can have those days, can`t we? Is that not the same as be a human being? You state that using a wooden spoon is for cause severe pain? That they will fear that spoon is that so?

    I

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  • Ronny

    Another thing in those countries that spanking is forbidden by law what then? If bible say you must spank and it is that important then what? The bible say also we must follow the laws set by the governments.

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  • Seventytwoolympicrefs Betternbarefs

    we are to follow law of man as long as does not contradict GOD’s law. See Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

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