Deuteronomy 21:18 … The Rebellious Child

Deut. 21:18 “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them, 19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city and unto the gate of his place. 20 And they shall say unto 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 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones so that he die. So shalt thou put evil away from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

The graciousness of God’s law

1.) Note that this law ends the idea that children are absolutely owned by the parents to do with what they will. Instead, the Parent must go to a larger deliberative body in order to convict the child. The law thus gives the child a higher court outside the home where he would essentially be able to appeal a wicked parents desire to kill him. Remember, the way the pagans treated their children. This law is a safeguard against that.

2.) Clearly, this law applies to an older adolescent or young adult child still living in the home. Toddlers aren’t prone to be drunkards. We are likely looking at an adult child who has established a pattern of rebellion and criminality.

3.) Allowing such a delinquent child to live would be to allow the leaven of wickedness to infect the whole social order. One unrepentant adult child allowed to exercise their sovereign will over God’s will would breed more of the same and eventually, the whole Godly social order would be overthrown. Stoning such a guilty offspring is thus grace to the whole covenant community.

4.) I find it beyond astonishing that a culture that is so glib about torturing and killing the unborn as followed by selling the unborn body parts on the free market finds the ability to be outraged over a God who would legislate the death penalty for an adult child who has set a pattern of rebellion and criminality. Modern man complaining about the God of the Bible being cruel is like Miley Cyrus complaining about Madonna’s lack of virtue.  Clearly, we see here that this commandment is graciousness to God’s covenant community.

5.) Finally, there is no record in Scripture of this ever happening.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Kinist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture . Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

4 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 21:18 … The Rebellious Child”

  1. I think it’s fair to point out that the Jews did ironically try to apply this to Jesus, though He was the righteous son and they were the rebellious son who would not listen to their father. But they called him a glutton and drunkard, and tried to stone him to death. But God did arise and put both His son Jesus to death, for the sake of His people, and His son Israel to death in AD 70.
    Some of the Law clearly has symbolic meaning more than actual application for Israel’s daily life. For instance, the inspection of jealousy is similar where we never see applied by a husband, but clearly is in mind with the unfaithfulness of daughter Jerusalem.

    1. Of course, the law can both be legislative for both Israel and ourselves as well as being typological in pointing to Christ. It might be a stretch in light of the fact that Jesus wasn’t stoned to use the passage the way you are using it though it is a fascinating thought.

      1. Fair enough. But that very language that Christ echoes seems like it had to be in his mind.
        By the way, I very much appreciate your writing. It is good to be encouraged by good, masculine truth that is not afraid of the current age.

      2. Don’t kid yourself. I am petrified of the current age. But I am even more petrified of being a disloyal soldier in the cause of my liege Lord Jesus.

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