Proverbs 20:30

The Value of Chastening


1. This proverb speaks of method and value of parental chastening.

2. As we have seen in the last 9 years of studying this book, that the proverbs are FULL of good principles and practices for child rearing.

3. It is a bit frustrating for me to be preaching lessons like this to those who (for the most part) have already brought up their families… and the young parents to whom this proverb is really addressed are not benefiting from it.

4. I think we should all pray that more parents of young children would come out to prayer meetings and would take advantage of the wisdom God has for them in this book.

30a The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil:

A. The Method of Chastening: Black and Blue Marks!

1. The blueness of a wound is what we would call a “black and blue” mark. But that was not an expression used in ancient days.

2. Thus, Solomon did not use that expression (black and blue). There is no word for “blue” in the original.

3. Literally the expression reads, “stripes or blows that wound.”

4. A black and blue mark is implied though not stated here.

5. He speaks of punishing blows that leave wound marks.

6. The context indicates that the blows and wounds were not from an accident or a fist fight.

7. They were given intentionally and with a purpose: for the purpose of correction.

8. And note that as God instructs as to HOW chastening should be administered, God was not opposed to leaving a black and blue mark.

a. This is considered brutality and abusive by our culture… but our culture isn’t always right.

b. In fact, all throughout history UNTIL recent generations, spankings have very often included leaving marks… lingering reminders to the offenders.

c. Public floggings were not uncommon for criminals. And that certainly left marks.

d. Some countries whipped criminals. Some countries caned criminals. (As in Korea even today!)

e. Of course, folks in soft and cushy America or Western Europe CRINGE at such methods today. They are considered barbaric, Medieval, and cruel and unusual punishment.

f. Maybe God reasoned it would actually be LESS cruel for the authorities to inflict measured, controlled pain and suffering that does no long-term damage on a few criminals as opposed to allowing criminals run wild and inflict uncontrolled suffering and even death on large numbers of the innocent populace!

g. There is some logic in that method that seems to have escaped our “civilized” society today.

h. In other words, the METHOD of chastening Solomon describes here is MORE than just a slap on the wrist.

i. It should be PAINFUL. That’s the point.

j. And if the criminals are left with a little black and blue mark… it will heal. They will survive. They might even learn their lesson.

k. Of course, Solomon is not endorsing torture or real brutality. There is a line that ought not to be crossed.

l. But chastening OUGHT to include pain.

9. This passage might be applied to a couple of possible settings:

a. A judicial setting – wherein a criminal is sentence to a beating for his crimes.

b. A home setting – wherein a child is punished by a spanking.

10. A word of caution is appropriate right here… especially in the HOME setting, for that is the only place where individuals could apply this passage.

a. We are not to take the law into our own hands, so we should never use vigilante justice to inflict punishment on criminals.

b. But we ARE to use corporal punishment (AKA – spanking) in the home.

c. Not too long ago in our country, fathers might have taken their sons out to the wood shed and whipped them with a belt that may have left marks.

d. And society would have praised that father for demonstrating tough love to his son… because the father wanted the son to turn out well.

e. I don’t think Solomon or any godly man in Bible times… or even the forefathers of our country would have had a problem with that method of administering chastening.

f. But today, we need to be more careful. That which used to be considered good parenting would land you in jail today.

g. Times have changed… but the Bible has not changed.

h. We live in dangerous times. Leaving a black and blue mark on a child could cause you to LOSE your child to the state.

i. Therefore, we need to be absolutely positive about what the Scriptures actually SAY and what they do not say in this area of child discipline.

j. For example, some believers read Prov. 23:14 and conclude that beating with a rod means brutalizing a child with a rod similar to a pipe or baseball bat.
• That parent OUGHT to be locked up in jail.
• That is a misreading of the passage.
• Rods come in all different types and sizes.
• A metal pipe is a rod, but so is the flexible plastic wand that comes with the mini-blinds.
• That little flexible wand REALLY hurts. It drives home the point.
• AND—it does no permanent damage to the child. It will not leave a black and blue mark.

k. Some overly zealous Christian parents might read Prov. 20:30 and assume that Solomon is COMMANDING us to leave black and blue marks. That is not the case.
• The emphasis in this verse is on the BLOW, not the mark it leaves.
• Besides, the words, “blueness of a wound” is a paraphrase of the terms Solomon used. Solomon did not use the word “blue.”
• The expression Solomon used simply means “a wound by striking.”
• And that can be accomplished with the flexible plastic wand from a package of mini blinds.

l. So before you go getting yourself arrested for obeying the Bible, make sure that you are obeying the Bible RIGHTLY DIVIDED!

m. There may come a time when we will have to go to jail for any kind of corporal punishment… but we are not there yet, thank the Lord!

n. Overly zealous parents who brutalize their children, end up in jail, and use the Bible as their justification, do a disservice to themselves, their children, and especially to the testimony of Christ.

11. Sane, sensible, thoughtful, spanking, OUGHT to hurt. It ought to be painful… or it is worthless.

a. But it is to be administered in love… and with the child’s best interest in mind.

b. Love will cause a parent to firmly discipline his child.

c. Love will also cause a parent to administer discipline in a sensible, reasonable manner… and not brutalize the child.

d. It should NEVER be administered in anger—when anger has the upper hand. Wait until your anger subsides before applying discipline.

e. And it is possible to spank in a manner that really hurts and stings WITHOUT doing any damage to the child… and without stirring up the Social Service Department.

B. The Value of Chastening: Cleansing from Evil

1. Cleansing: A purifying process.

a. Defined:
• A cleansing or scouring agent which cleanses or removes something.
• Scraping away that which is impure or harmful.

b. This term is not used often in the Bible. (only 4 times)

c. Esther 2:12 – It is used 3 out of those four times in Esther and is translated “purify.” This was some kind of beauty treatment.

d. Of course Solomon is not talking about a beauty treatment.

e. But he is talking about the purifying or cleansing effect of chastening.

2. Evil:

a. Defined: Bad in a moral or ethical sense; wicked; evil.

b. Often the term is used of evil behavior—which I think is the case here.

3. Thus, Solomon’s point here is that the wise administering of chastening cleanses from evil BEHAVIOR.

a. In other words, bad or wrong behavior can be CORRECTED through firm discipline.

b. Even very little toddlers can LEARN not to play in the road through a spanking.

c. Once they have been spanked for it, they are less likely to do it again. And that is GOOD for them… whether they fully realize it or not.

d. The Bible teaches that corporal punishment is effective in changing bad, outward behavior.

e. Some parents (even some Christian parents!) challenge this concept. They refuse to apply corporal punishment to their children… and usually it shows in their kid’s behavior. It is very likely that they will regret it later in life too.

f. This is a perfect example of “worldliness” – being conformed to the ways of the world.
• The world system—the spirit of the age—teaches us that children are not to be hit at all.
• The spirit of the age has been affected by men such as Dr. Spock who taught a whole generation of parents that corporal punishment is evil and even damaging to children.
• Our society has been permeated by this thinking… and it does affect believers.
• But we are NOT to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds… and our minds are renewed by means of God’s Word.
• God’s Word STATES that firm discipline CLEANSES evil behavior.
• It really becomes a matter of faith: who do you believe? Oprah and Dr. Phil or the Bible?

30b So do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

A. The Method: Stripes!

1. Stripes: here Solomon speaks about the very same theme: corporal punishment.

a. Stripes speak of a whipping… which leave red stripes on the back.

b. But again, the term Solomon used meant “a blow; a wound; a strike by hitting.”

c. He is not commanding that we inflict red stripes and long scaring marks on the backs of our children.

d. Rather, the term just means “to strike” – to hit or spank.

e. It is possible that the translators chose the terms they did because it may have been common place in their day for punishment to go “over the line” and leave many marks.

f. But Solomon simply says a “strike, a blow, or what we might call a spanking.”

B. The Value: Cleansing of the Inward Parts

1. In the second part of the proverb, the VERB is omitted and is to be implied from the first part of the proverb.

a. The blueness of a wound cleanses evil – OUTWARD behavior; the stripe CLEANSES inner man.

b. In other words, chastening has a DOUBLY good effect.
• It changes behavior… and it changes the PERSON!
• It corrects bad and immoral outward acts.
• But it also has a cleansing effect on the inward parts of the belly (the inner man).

c. Prov. 22:15 – “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

d. That is extremely valuable… to remove the poison of folly from the heart of a child… from deep down, in the inward parts.

e. Removing the folly cleanses his thinking; his heart attitudes towards other people; towards their property; towards their worth as a human being.

f. Firm discipline can improve a person’s character!

g. It can instill a sense of right and wrong.

h. It can instill in a young person a desire to respect others.

i. It can instill in a young person the limits of liberty.

j. It can make them more discerning.

k. Heb. 12:10-11 – Chastening is painful, but GOOD for us!

l. This is of course, true when God chastens US as His sons!

m. Ps. 119:67 – “Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word.” That kind of chastening in the form of “affliction” is GOOD for us in the end.

n. Blessed are the wounds that break our proud spirit, and bring us into submission before God!

o. Chastening has a cleansing effect… whether administered by an earthly father or the Heavenly Father!