Why was the stoning of a rebellious son allowed in the Mosaic Law?

Let’s read the passage of stoning a son in context:

“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 who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

This passage of stoning is speaking of a rebellious son that has no more redeeming qualities left in him. His parents have exhausted every possible method to help him reform but he is “stubborn,” “rebellious,” “resentful,” and “disobedient.”

In addition to all that, the text describes the son deserving of stoning to be a glutton which means, “wastrel,” “riotous eater.” This word implies the idea of being unreasonably lavish, of squandering one’s health and wealth.

Although the parents were allowed to discipline their son (Proverbs 19:18), they were not allowed to carry out of the death penalty. To protect the son from any misjudgment or mistreatment, the Lord instructed that the carrying out of such a severe penalty was not left to the father’s judgment; but it was the solemn responsibility of the elders of the city after a hearing and trial.

God is love (1 John 4:8), but He is also just (Isaiah 61:8). God loves us very much to the point of sacrificing Himself to save us, but He also cares about keeping us pure to obtain eternal salvation. Disobeying parents is a very serious crime, it is breaking the fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments written by God’s own finger (Exodus 20:12).

The strict punishment for sin during the time of Moses helped discourage people from adopting the impure practices of their pagan neighbors, which would have led them to ruin. When cancer plagues the body, the affected area has to be cut off otherwise the sickness will spread and destroy the whole body.

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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