Deuteronomy 21-23 The law on stubborn and rebellious sons

From Deuteronomy 21-23

05 DeuteronomyThe punishment for stubborn and rebellious sons seems quite extreme. Have a look at what Moses commands. Jesus likewise exhorts us to take sin seriously.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

This law seems to take a very serious stance on stubborn and rebellious children.

18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (Dt 21.18-21)

They stone stubborn and rebellious sons. The last line gives the rationale, describing the ‘gluttonous’ and ‘drunken’ behavior as evil. They want to remove this influence from society.

I’m reading between the lines that before it gets to this point there have been numerous warnings, arguments, tears and prayers. The instruction shows how seriously Israel is to take sin and the great lengths they are to take to remove it from their midst.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Unfortunately, more often than not. Israel let more and more sin remain unchecked within their community. The most serious sins in Israel’s history are adultery. Israel abandons the LORD for other gods. God takes this seriously enough and they are vomited out of the land.

Story of Jesus

When Jesus came he again stressed the seriousness of sin and the lengths one must go to avoid sinning.

43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. (Mk 9.43-49)

Jesus is not willing to accept people will always sin. He wants people to avoid sin at all costs. He knows what will happen to people where ongoing sin is part of their lives.

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