Proverbs 23:13, 14 Should Parents Spank?

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;     if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. 14 Punish them with the rod     and save them from death. 

Should Parents Spank?

Parents who spank think they are taking this verse literally.  However, if they were taking it literally they would use a rod.  I would imagine a rod to be a corrective tool, used to beat a Jewish child.  The warning in the verses is to parents who are not correcting their child.  The emphasis is on the fact that discipline is being carried out.  Discipline trains a person or animal to perform appropriate acts at an appropriate time.  To achieve this end a rod could be used, but it doesn’t have to be.  Because the emphasis here is on the principle of discipline and not the use of a rod as a tool, parents do not need to use a rod.  Parents do not have to strike their child.  Parents can use an approach like Love and Logic ( )which allows, as much as possible, the natural laws that God has built into the world to teach for themselves.


  1. What must a parent be careful to do?
  2. What might Jewish parents use to perform this task?
  3. Is this verse describing spanking?
  4. How might a child be disciplined?
  5. Check out Love and Logic and see what you think.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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