“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
Parental correction of children is expected to be regular because it is necessary to keep children from perilous behaviour. The word “thou” emphasises that the parent is to personally administer the discipline. Consistent discipline is needed till the child grows up to a young adult.
Beating a child using a rod will be painful to him. Despite the yells, shrieks and tears of the wilful child, loving and firm application of the rod is required. The use of the rod for the correction of children is recommended as a necessity to protect children from succumbing to evil habits that can endanger their body and soul. Uncorrected waywardness leads to rasher acts of disobedience which, if left unchecked, not only can be life-threatening, but would also result in the eternal peril of the soul in hell!
However, such corporal disciplining of children is not a permission to maim or fatally wound children. Its intention is to lovingly and firmly teach them good lessons of responsibility, honesty and godliness. The assurance that “he shall not die” in no way justifies child abuse. All the truths which the Book of Proverbs teach would preclude that.