The Rod of Correction

Posted by: on Oct 14, 2012 | No Comments

I grew up hearing about the rod of correction applied to the seat of understanding as a euphemism for spanking disobedient children. Even the old song School Days contained the lyric:

Reading and writing and ‘rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the Hickory Stick

The question is, does this mean beating kids… or giving them wisdom? Is the rod literal or metaphoric?

Certainly, the (correct and appropriate) application of corporal punishment has a long history. Even in the scriptures:

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15 [AMP]

Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.

Proverbs 29:15 [MSG]

Not just discipline, but wise discipline. The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary provides additional expository on the above scripture:

15. A rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left free brings shame to his mother.

but a child left free: Whom his father set free to follow the dictates of his heart, ultimately…
brings shame to his mother: This is Ishmael; since he was wicked, he brought about that Sarah should say to Abraham (Gen. 21:10): “Expel this bondwoman and her son.”


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The Rod of Correction


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