Deuteronomy 21:18-21


#1

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

Could someone please help me with this law? I’ve read what the Talmud has to say about this and it says that it never was used and never will be used so why then would God give the law? If an atheist were to come up to me and try to prove how cruel God was in the Old Testament and use this as evidence, how should I respond?


#2

These from Haydock’s commentary might be helpful.

The Rabbins do not look upon children as bound by the law, till they be 13 years old. Their faults, before that age, are imputed to the father, and he is to be punished for them. When, therefore, a son has attained the competent years, the father makes attestation of it in the presence of ten Jews, declaring that he has instructed his son in the commandments, customs of the nation, and daily prayers; and that he now sets him at liberty to answer, in future, for his own faults, praying that God would enable him to lead a virtuous life. (Calmet)

Ancients. In considerable cities there was a tribunal of three, and another of 23 judges. The former took cognizance of the first accusation, and condemned the stubborn child to be scourged: but the latter sentenced him to be stoned in case of a relapse, provided both parents concurred in prosecuting their son, as they would not both surely be guided by passion. (Theodoret, q. 20.) The Rabbins, according to their custom, modify this law, and exempt girls, orphans, and boys under 13 years of age. (Selden, Syned.)

The charge that the son is both glutton and drunkard would at least suggest that he was of some young adult age.


#3

I suggest that you key in “Jewish Virtual Library: Rebellious Son” to find a complete explanation of this verse. The purpose of it is twofold: to deter rebellious children by serving as an educative warning and to limit the power of the head of the household. Note that the mother is also involved here, but more importantly, the punishment is not to be limited to the family, which may be acting capriciously. The reference I cited will also explain that the threshold for this punishment is so high that it evidently would never be executed and thus is essentially an admonition. For example, the window of punishment is only about three months: the son must be old enough (13 years) but not yet a man, that is, no beard, meaning pubic hair.


#4

Bad luck for a 13yr old early developer then…?


#5

Just to add to others,
"If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”

Till here, we are ok. If parents are helpless, they need help. Those who help must know the issue.

" 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid."

This is to strike fear and prevent others from doing these sins. Remember, judaism is ‘symbolic’. This instance, it shows that sinners won’t enter heaven.


#6

I don’t know if “it shows that sinners won’t enter heaven.” There is always repentance as well as G-d’s mercy. But I do agree that it serves as a didactic lesson to others as well as the family and their son.


#7

LOL I guess there’s a downside to everything.


#8

I thought that not listening to parents meant not listening to G-d. which can be taken to mean refusing G-d’s mercy.
Other interpretations are welcome.
I am young, i have so much to learn.

Also, i wish everyone had your respect to the name of G-d. then, apparitions at la salette and holy face visions to sr mary of st peter woul be different.


#9

Well, thank you for your kind words, but I’m not the right one to teach you about Catholicism! I will say, however, that from a Jewish standpoint (and a Catholic one, I’m sure) that a child’s disobedience to their parents is a grave sin in most cases since it means they do not honor them according to the commandment. In this sense, it does mean not obeying G-d. Nonetheless, both Judaism and Christianity believe strongly in forgiveness of sin based on repentance, which includes changing one’s behavior. The G-d of infinite mercy is merciful if one repents (and, in some instances, even if one does not repent).


#10

Im sure no one on here condones the killing of their kids, no matter if they are over 13 or not, in our world today, these kinds of things just dont happen, people have changed, but God has not…this has made me wonder on occasion, if maybe we should not be doing these kinds of things? sure, we all think its wrong, but our opinion doesnt really matter…right? Gods opinion is what counts.

Obviously Im not suggesting parents kill their kids for disobedience…but what if modern people have swayed SOOOO far from what God truly wants, we think it is some horrible thing?

I sometimes worry myself and others will be held responsible for some of the things we do in modern times and probably some things we ARE NOT doing.

For example, lets say God comes down and orders us to kill ANYONE who blasphemes his name, even though murder is illegal, lets say we, as humans all get together and agree this would be wrong to do…do we really have the right to pick and choose what rules and laws of God we wish to abide by, and others that we choose not to, simply because murder is illegal by mans law and would not ‘mesh’ well with modern society?


#11

Abraham, Moses, Jonah, and others argued and wrestled with what G-d told them to do. There is a custom in Judaism of debating and even accusing G-d Himself when one believes He is not behaving in a moral way. Sometimes G-d may even be teaching us NOT to obey blindly, as according to one interpretation of the Abraham and Isaac story, in which Abraham is thought to FAIL the test by not protesting against G-d’s command to kill his son, nor consulting with his wife Sarah before deciding.


#12

Thanks everyone. What you guys have said is very helpful. On the topic of punishment and mercy, was there ever a case in Jewish history where a person committed a sin deserving the death penalty but repented so strongly that he was not put to death? The reason I ask is because G-d says in Jeremiah 18 that if a city He was about to destroy repents then He will turn from punishing them, like what He did with Jonah and Nineveh.

And sorry if this is a little off topic, (it sort of is) but what Jack007 said makes me think of it. So remember the whole Salman Rushdie affair where he said things that were supposedly blasphemous to Muslims and so he was ordered to be put to death. We are, of course, appalled by that but how is it that different from the laws in the Pentateuch that say blasphemers must be put to death? I know that the Israelites would never order the death of, say, an Egyptian that blasphemes but the laws are still there. I remember reading that the Talmud says that for a person to be executed by a Jewish court, they must’ve been warned by the witnesses before doing the act that what they were doing was a capital offense. So does that essentially mean that the laws against blasphemy weren’t almost never put into practice?


#13

I read in the old testament that- someone please give correct words and nos.-

people from other communities can be recieved into israel
but they have to be circumsised and obey the law.
so if they blaspheme, they would be punished.


#14

“Well, thank you for your kind words,”

You’re welcome.

“but I’m not the right one to teach you about Catholicism!”

But i see that you have knowledge on Catholicism and respect for Catholicism.

“I will say, however, that from a Jewish standpoint (and a Catholic one, I’m sure) that a child’s disobedience to their parents is a grave sin in most cases since it means they do not honor them according to the commandment.”

Yes, i agree.

“In this sense, it does mean not obeying G-d.”

yes again, but i was being symbolic.

“Nonetheless, both Judaism and Christianity believe strongly in forgiveness of sin based on repentance, which includes changing one’s behavior. The G-d of infinite mercy is merciful if one repents (and, in some instances, even if one does not repent).”

yes, but as i pointed out, the child does not repent.


#15

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