spare the rod

to not punish someone for wrongdoing
—I know why that boy turned out bad. That’s what happens when you spare the rod.

One of Solomon’s proverbs is about raising children:

The one who spares his rod hates his child [He that spareth his rod hateth his son],
but the one who loves his child is diligent in disciplining him. (Proverbs 13:24)

Here, spare means “to not use,” and “rod” is a stick used for spanking, with the rod representing discipline.

A well-known phrase is similar to the first half of this verse, Spare the rod and spoil the child. It first appeared in the poem Hudibras, written by Samuel Butler in the 1600s.

Another well-known phrase that come from Proverbs is a gentle answer turns away wrath (or a soft answer turneth away wrath). It comes from Proverbs 15:1:

A gentle response turns away anger [A soft answer turneth away wrath],
but a harsh word stirs up wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)

And pride goeth before a fall (or pride goes before a fall) comes from Proverbs 16:18:

Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall. [Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.]

Previous Post
Next Post
Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    What Ever Did We Do before the Invention of Empathy? and Prince Philip’s Confession in “The Crown”

    Did you know there once was a time when empathy didn’t exist in the English-speaking world. During that time, all those poor souls lived in a “Dark Age” of feelings in which they had only sympathy to rely on when faced with others’ pain. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the word empathy was […]

    When in Rome . . . or Santiago or Nairobi or Chiang Mai [—at A Life Overseas]

    When in Rome, sometimes we do as the Romans do just to fit in. Sometimes it’s out of necessity. Sometimes it’s because their way is actually better. And sometimes it’s because, well—Why not give it a shot? Has your host culture offered you ways of doing things different from what you’re used to, ways you’ve […]