The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
Corporal punishment works. Pain is an efficient deterrent and effective instructor. Do you believe both rules in spite of what effeminate fools and social do-gooders say today?
Why are you careful with fire? By studying the laws and theories of fuels, heat, oxidation, combustion, and thermodynamics? By theorizing why fire hurts and destroys? Or because you felt the biting sting of fire when you were young. Ah, yes, fire hurts!
If you want to be wise, and Proverbs was written for that, then submit to God’s word. Let God be true, but every man a liar (Rom 3:4; Ps 119:128). God and Solomon had more wisdom about modifying behavior than any man, group of men, institution, or theory on earth. Freely given without charge, they wrote it down for your great profit and success.
Foolishness and wickedness are terrible human traits, causing much pain and suffering, including ruined lives and estates and death. How can these traits be reduced? Sin is more than a bad habit; it is the inborn reaction of deceived rebels (Jer 17:9). Most men must be beaten, bruised, and wounded before they will change or improve. This is the lesson.
Do you wisely wound those who need it? Do you receive wounding well when you need it? Do not resist the wisdom taught here. Severe and wise punishment is far less painful than unrestrained self-will or obstinate rebellion. A fool not corrected will cost himself and those around him far more than the light sting of a whipping. This is the application.
Parents drive foolishness from children with the rod (Pr 22:15; 23:13-14); God scourges foolishness from His children (Pr 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-11); friends correct one another by verbal blows (Pr 27:6; Ps 141:5); and Jesus was bruised and wounded for our iniquities (Gen 3:15; Is 53:5,10). Corporal punishment greatly reduces crimes. This is the result.
Until recent decades of perverse thinking and loud talking by social engineers, everyone knew corporal punishment worked. They used to say, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” In a wise society, magistrates beat criminals (Deut 25:2-3), and employers beat offending employees (Pr 29:19; Ex 21:20-21).
Solomon’s inspired wisdom is despised today. Social dreamers and arrogant educators teach that flattery and freedom work better than corporal punishment. Read Benjamin Spock’s, Baby and Child Care. They do all they can to outlaw parental spanking of children, just as they have outlawed flogging for maintaining order and discipline in schools, the military, and society. But look at the results! They have miserably failed!
What a beautiful proverb! Here you see the nature of proverbs as clearly as anywhere. The words are chosen and arranged to create maximum beauty, force, and rhythm; but the sense is slightly hidden for you to discover and enjoy. Can you find a few metonyms?
Consider the proverb’s words. When a body is bruised, the place often turns blue. We say it is “black and blue.” The first clause by use of metonymy teaches that proper wounding for corrective purposes will drive foolishness away. Corporal punishment is a God-ordained means for purging away sin (Pr 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 26:3; 29:15).
Note the metonyms. Blue wounds do not correct rebels. Corporal punishment properly applied reforms them, which creates wounds, which often turn blue. These are metonyms, the substitution of one thing for a related thing. This is metonymy of effect, where the effect is put for the cause – blue wounds for the punishment producing them.
In the second clause, “stripes” are metonymy of effect for beating with a rod (Pr 17:10; 19:29; Ps 89:32; Deut 25:2-3), and “belly” is metonymy of subject for man’s soul and spirit (Pr 18:8; 20:27; Job 32:18-19; Ps 44:25). Stripes, applied on the back by a rod, for the purpose of correcting behavior, will have the same positive training result that the wound of the first clause will have (Pr 17:10; 19:29; Ps 89:32; Deut 25:2-3).
This beautiful and wise proverb teaches God’s ordinance of corporal punishment. But today’s enlightened world prefers the darkness of the perverted speculations of educators. They will suction a million screaming babies into pieces in their mothers’ wombs, while protecting teenagers and criminals from ever being touched! These perverse persons are the devilish corrupters of nations, and the results of their policies are visible everywhere.
Horses have been restrained and trained with physical devices for several thousand years, and so have fools (Pr 10:13; 26:3). What jockey would mount an 1100-pound Thoroughbred and expect to control him at the start and win a race without a bridle, bit, and whip? If these brute beasts can be taught careful maneuvers and maximum effort for desired goals, how much more the rational minds of children and men? Let God be true!
With only a few proper lessons from a rod, children will grow up into mature and wise adults (Pr 22:6,15). Feed them for 17 years without this tool, and you will have a child that brings you shame, ruins his life as well, and is a burden to those around him (Pr 23:13-14; 29:15). The self-restraint needed to prosper and succeed in life is brought by the rod and reproof. Correct children, and they will give you rest and delight (Pr 29:17).
Let parents remember the rule – the rod works. Let school principals and magistrates consider – the rod works. Let friends recall – sharp reproofs work. The wise use of corporal punishment will correct fools and sinners and reform the heart. This is not fanciful advice of the ignorant: these are inspired rules of the wisest man ever! Are you wise enough to grasp who is right? God and Solomon or Ben Spock and UNICEF?
Let every man gratefully and humbly receive wounds from God and man, for they are designed for his learning (Pr 3:11-12; 9:7-9; 27:5-6; Ps 141:5). Without them, there is no evidence that either God or men love you, and there is no hope for your improvement or perfection. You should look for a church where you are wounded weekly by preaching.
Some natural men limit this proverb to foolish medical advice. They say the blue color around a wound is evidence that infection is being purged from it. And they say that developed abdominal muscles (“a six-pack” of stripes on your belly) promote the health of your lower internal organs. What an ignorant travesty of interpretation! Forget it!
God hates sin but loved His elect, so He severely bruised and wounded the Lord Jesus by the Jews and Romans. During the hours leading to His death, He turned blue from many wounds, and many stripes covered His back. Why? Because He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and by His stripes we are healed (Is 53:5,10). His blue wounds and many stripes cleansed us from all evil!