At the time of the Bible, parents did not usually send their children to schools. Instead, parents considered that they themselves had a duty to teach their own children. The father would teach his sons, and they would learn to do the fatherís work. If the father was dead, absent, or too ill to teach his sons, another male relative would do this. And in a similar way, the mother would usually teach the daughters.
When parents punished their child, they did it in order to teach right behaviour to that child. A parent should not punish merely in order to express anger, but rather to teach.
If a child did not behave, it was the custom to hit that child with a stick (Proverbs 22:15). The purpose of the punishment was to teach the child that he had done something wrong. He should know clearly that his father did not approve of his actions. It was not always necessary for such a punishment to cause pain. But it had to be hard enough for the son to learn his lesson. That lesson might save his life one day (Proverbs 19:18).
At the time of a punishment, the son may think that the father does not love him. But that is not true. Really, a good father punishes his son because he loves him. The father punishes his son because he wants to help him (Proverbs 23:13-14).
The author of Hebrews says that God deals with his people in the same manner. During their troubles, it sometimes seems as if God does not care about them. But the truth is that God still loves them. And they should be proud to be his children. They should gladly learn the lessons that he teaches them (Proverbs 13:1).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.