Deuteronomy 21:21

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And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (ASV)


This is in reference to Deuteronomy 21:18 - a rebellious son. Killing a child merely because they have been disobedient is extremely morally questionable.


"Child" inaccurate

It helps if you look at the passage in its proper context. The passage is explictly not talking about a child.

"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, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to 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.' Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.(Taken from the ESV)

The son in question is obviously not a child but an adult son. Unless someone wishes to argue that a small child can be a drunkard and a glutton.

The next thing to keep in mind when looking at such things is to remember that, quite unlike our modern 21st century society (actually Katrina would possibly suggest otherwise I suppose) the ancient Israelite culture was on the verge on collapse much of the time, as all such tribal cultures were. A rebellious son like this was a danger to members of the tribe as a whole not just to himself. So before someone says the punishment is unjustified, keep in mind that even in most countries that don't have the death penalty, they still execute you for the crime of treason.

--Jason 17:35, 7 Sep 2005 (CDT)

Begging the question

You'd have to have some standard of evil that is applicable to all persons before you can claim that any motive or action is "evil," else you reduce "evil" to "I (or some group of people) don't like it" -- but why should anyone listen to you (or some group of people)?

If God created humanity, and thereby has a right to impose whatever moral laws He wishes on humanity, then (by definition) there can be nothing "immoral" about what He requires of humanity, because morality is what He requires of humanity.

So you are begging the question to assume some standard of absolute morality exists according to which you can call this immoral; or, if you are assuming the Biblical morality for the sake of argument, then by definition it cannot be immoral, because God sanctions it. -- 11:29, 4 Apr 2006 (CDT)


While I agree that killing a rebellious son is morally questionable, I must remind the PRO debater that in most modern definitions, "morals" are dependant upon culture: what is moral for one culture cannot be accurately used as a moral gauge for another culture. To do so leads to the error of ethnocentricity, and is an inaccurate (and far too subjective) means of examining a foreign culture.

--JustinEiler 13:24, 4 Sep 2005 (CDT)

I heartily agree with JustinEiler, even though I believe in objective morality. I will gladly clarify, if somebody thinks there two are mutually exclusive.

--jjmarkka 13:57, 21 Oct 2005 (CDT)

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