Children in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Ben, "son;" bath, "daughter;" both from baanah, to build. Regarded as consecrated to God, in the same covenant relation as the parents; therefore sons on the eighth day were circumcised (Genesis 17:12). Hence, flowed parents' responsibility to rear children in the way of the Lord (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 6:7; Deuteronomy 11:19); also children's responsibility to obey parents, as a preparatory discipline for the higher relationship to God. At five years of age, the boy passed under the father's training. At 12 he became "son of (i.e. subject to) the law," and was advanced to a fuller instruction in it. Smiting, or even cursing, a parent was punishable with death (Exodus 21:15; Exodus 21:17); also contumacy (Deuteronomy 21:18-21; compare Deuteronomy 27:16). The child might be sold to bondage until the Jubilee year for a parent's debt (2 Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:5). Children were often nursed until they were three years old. They were carried on the mother's hip or shoulder (Isaiah 49:22; Isaiah 66:12). Governors or tutors watched them in nonage (Numbers 11:12; 2 Kings 10:1; 2 Kings 10:5; Isaiah 49:23; Galatians 3:24, paidagoogos, the guardian slave who led the child to school). The mother's example and authority were weighty over sons and daughters alike (Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 15:20), even with a royal son (1 Kings 2:19). Daughters had no right of inheritance; but if a man had no son the daughters received the inheritance, but they must marry inside their own tribe. Metaphorically: CHILDREN OF LIGHT (Luke 16:8; Luk 1 Thessalonians 6:5), of obedience (1 Peter 1:14, "as children of obedience" Greek), of this world, of Belial, of wisdom (Matthew 11:19), of faith. (See BELIAL.) As children resemble their parent, so those in whom these several qualities, good or bad, predominate, are children of them severally (2 Samuel 23:6). So Barnabas is termed "son of consolation," expressing his predominant grace (Acts 4:36); John and James "sons of thunder," characterized by fiery zeal (Mark 3:17). So "sons of might," "daughters of sons" (compare Isaiah 5:1, "a very fruitful hill," Hebrew: "the horn (i.e. peak) of the son of oil,") "children of the bridechamber" (Matthew 9:15), the heavenly Bridgegroom's best men (friends) who go and fetch the bride, the apostles and evangelists who seek to bring sinners to Jesus and to heaven (Matthew 25).

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