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Gerard de VosCreated by Gerard de Vos
on 05-06-2007
Category: Atheist related
Jesus meek and mild, why stone the child?

There is an argument against the God of the Bible that He is cruel and vindictive. It is asked, ‘how can a good God command parents to stone a rebellious child?’ This is a valid question, so let us examine it.

The Bible book of Exodus relates that God, through Moses, led the approximately three million Israelites out of Egypt (around 1450 BC) after 400 years of slavery. He had an intimate relationship with their forefathers, but as their numbers increased, their knowledge of God decreased. God lead the nation to mount Sinai and there revealed his character to them. God didn’t give them a lecture on what He is like, but He gave them a set of rules to display the type of people He wanted them to be (which would be a mirror image of His character). Married men had to be faithful to their wives; the people had to respect the property of others and not steal it; they had to talk the truth and not deceive others; et cetera. One of the rules was “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate (shamelessly immoral or debauched - filled with depraved self-indulgence; corrupt) and a drunkard. Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid” (Deut 21:18-21). Whether it actually ever happened, we do not know. What we do know is that it must have been a strong deterrent.

These laws were part of a very specific covenant that the God of Israel made with the promised nation born out of Abraham and his wife Sarah. The laws were only given to the Israelites and to no other nation. They were not given to the Philistines, not to the Americans, not to the Europeans, not to the Russians. Only to the Israelites. God’s revelation of his character, displayed by how they had to treat their neighbors, was only given to them, and they agreed to it (Deuteronomy 19:8). The Israelites proved in history that they could not keep the laws. God put his master plan into effect with the New Covenant in Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31:31). The latter was a universal covenant for any person who accepted the offer: an internal law, which would be kept out of love for God and with the help of the Holy Spirit living in an individual.

Conclusion: The rule of stoning a rebellious son was made with the Israelites, around 1450 BC. It was replaced almost 2000 years ago with the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. Should rebellious children still be stoned by leaders today? No, no, no! From the time of the new covenant in Jesus Christ, children who obey God, honor their parents out of love for Him.

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinth 1:27