Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

Raising children is no easy task. We try our best to do right by God, and to do right by our children, hoping that they grow up to be responsible and Godly adults. We can find good counsel in the Bible to help us, where we learn that it is important to discipline our children, yet there is a balance so that we do not discourage them.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child” – Samuel Butler, 17th Century Poet

We have all heard the quote “spare the rod and spoil the child”, and I’d venture to guess that most of us have thought it came right from the Bible. You might even be reading this right now, sure that it’s wrong, and searching your Bible to find the proof. I had heard it many times before: “spare the rod, spoil the child, it’s in the Bible”.

The actual quote was written by Samuel Butler, a 17th century poet, but it is likely inspired from the Bible verse in Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Very close in meaning but they are not exactly the same; perhaps Samuel Butler was just concisely paraphrasing the meaning.

So the next time someone tells you it’s Bible, you know that it’s NOT really.


Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child — 5 Comments

  1. The exact quote ‘Spare the rod, Spoil the child’ is of the poem. Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13,14 and 29:15 all state that discipline is a necessity for your children are found in the NJKV Bible.

  2. Pingback: “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” | Freedom. Truth. Marriage.

  3. You are dead wrong… It is in the Bible. Not the modern King James Versions and so on, yet take a look at all of the bibles that were published before 1611 and backward. The ones where the eleven Books that are now called The Apocrypha were removed from the modern day bibles. You are wrong. Samuel Butler just summarized it in a poem.

    Ecclesiasticus Chapter 30 /Serach 30

    The 1611 KJV Bible Ecclesiasticus 30 / Serach 30

    1 He that loveth his son causeth him oft to feel the rod, that he may have joy of him in the end.

    2 He that chastiseth his son shall have joy in him, and shall rejoice of him among his acquaintance.

    3 He that teacheth his son grieveth the enemy: and before his friends he shall rejoice of him.

    4 Though his father die, yet he is as though he were not dead: for he hath left one behind him that is like himself.

    5 While he lived, he saw and rejoiced in him: and when he died, he was not sorrowful.

    6 He left behind him an avenger against his enemies, and one that shall requite kindness to his friends.

    7 He that maketh too much of his son shall bind up his wounds; and his bowels will be troubled at every cry.

    8 An horse not broken becometh headstrong: and a child left to himself will be willful.

    9 Cocker thy child, and he shall make thee afraid: play with him, and he will bring thee to heaviness.

    10 Laugh not with him, lest thou have sorrow with him, and lest thou gnash thy teeth in the end.

    11 Give him no liberty in his youth, and wink not at his follies.

    12 Bow down his neck while he is young, and beat him on the sides while he is a child, lest he wax stubborn, and be disobedient unto thee, and so bring sorrow to thine heart.

    13 Chastise thy son, and hold him to labour, lest his lewd behaviour be an offence unto thee.

    Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (often).

    Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

    Proverbs 23:13-14 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.

    Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

    Spare the Rod Spoil the Child may very well be a poem yet it does summarize what is written in The Holy Bible. Verse 12 of Ecclesiaticus 30 / Serach 30 12 Bow down his neck while he is young, and beat him on the sides while he is a child, lest he wax stubborn, and be disobedient unto thee, and so bring sorrow to thine heart.

    This verse is the sum total of such….

    The poet that you mention Samuel Butler was from the 17th Century so the Bible that he may have had access to had those eleven books known today as The Apocrypha that were extracted from the bibles of today. During the English Civil War, the Westminster Confession of 1647 excluded the Apocrypha from the canon. So that is the reason why you think that this is not in the bible. It is not in todays Bible. Try reading a true King James 1611 Edition or earlier from the 1600’s backward. They all include these books or you can just purchase The Apocrypha 1611 as a stand alone book. Even better Google Ecclesiaticus 30

  4. Why is it that you so called experts refuse to quote Jesus’s remarks bout “sparing the rod”? It seems that misguided “Christians”
    are the ones most apt to use this quote as justification for beating their children, (“Ye have heard it said in olden times, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’. BUT I SAY UNTO YE, FATHERS PROVOKE NOT YOUR SONS TO ANGER.” Kind of puts another spin on it doesn’t it?

  5. Who really cares who is right on this matter. The proof is evident when you open your eyes and truly see that there is the proof, just look around at today’s children. What do you see? Exactly, chaos and loss of self in our young. Spoiled children have arrived in society in all respects and aspects. Foretold in the bible of the last times. Whether it is from an actual God as you believe God to be, no one truly knows and no one will ever know because that is one thing which we all take to our graves.

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