The Rebellious Son | The Institute for Creation Research
The Rebellious Son

“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him and bring him out unto the elders of his city. . . . And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put away evil from you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear” (Deuteronomy 21:18,19,21).

This notorious “law of the rebellious son” has drawn much criticism from liberals, seeming to them an impossibly harsh and rigid ordinance of God. However, there is no question that, had it been practiced, it would indeed have caused “all Israel” to “hear and fear.” Potentially rebellious sons would surely have been much slower to disobey their parents, and Israel, as a whole, would have been much slower to rebel against God as a nation.

As a matter of fact, there is not a single recorded instance in the Bible, or in extra-Biblical literature, of such a stoning of any rebellious son. Since the law did require that the parents, rather than the elders, initiate it, it was never done. Every father spared his own son.

With one exception! Our heavenly Father “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). But He was always perfectly obedient to His Father. “I do always those things that please Him,” He said (John 8:29).

On the other hand, every other son who ever lived has been disobedient to his Creator, ever since our first father, Adam, rebelled against Him in the Garden of Eden. But the obedient Son and the loving Father provided a means of forgiveness and restoration for all such stubborn and rebellious sons. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). HMM

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