What does the Bible say about parents or grandparents who exhibit favoritism with their children?

For example, being quick to punish one child, even wrongly, while quick to dismiss the guilt of another. Or, parents that are more apt to listen to the whims and desires of one child, while ignoring the needs or requests of another. In essence, displaying bias either positive or negative towards a child in comparison with siblings.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 30 2015 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The Bible provides several examples of adverse consequences resulting from people showing favoritism among their children. These affected not only the families themselves, but also resulted in some cases in long-term problems for the larger nation of Israel when the rejected children founded nations that later became Israel's enemies. They were even used as a justification for sinful practices in modern times. These examples would include:

Genesis 9 (Noah cursing his son Ham for having seen Noah lying naked and unconscious in his tent as a result of having drunk too much wine in the years after the Flood) Noah's curse consigned Ham's descendants (through Ham's son Canaan, from whom the Canaanites originated, whom Israel had to conquer in order to claim the Promised Land after the exodus from Egypt) to be the slaves of Noah's other two sons (Shem -- from whom the nation of Israel was descended through Abraham -- and Japheth). Also, since Ham was popularly regarded as the ancestor of the dark-skinned peoples of Africa, this curse was used as a justification (even after the founding of the United States) for the enslavement of Africans in America and elsewhere.

Genesis 21 and Genesis 25, where Abraham favored his son Isaac at the expense of his son Ishmael (whom he had had with Hagar, the servant of Abraham's wife Sarah, and through whom Muslims claim the descent of Mohammed from Abraham), and the sons he had with his new wife Keturah after Sarah's death, some of whom founded pagan nations (such as the Midianites) which later opposed Israel. 

Genesis 25, where Isaac and his wife Rebekah loved one of their twin sons more than the other, with Isaac favoring Esau, and Rebekah favoring Jacob -- and actually conspiring with Jacob to trick Isaac into giving Esau's rightful blessing from Isaac as the firstborn to Jacob instead. Esau's descendants (the Edomites) later became the enemies of the descendants of Jacob (or Israel, as Jacob was renamed in Genesis 32, and again in Genesis 35). 

Even David (who was described as a man after God's own heart) was not immune to such practices. He had shown favoritism to his sons Absalom and Adonijah, and they both rebelled and tried to seize the throne for themselves -- Absalom revolting against David himself in 2 Samuel 15 through 2 Samuel 18, and Adonijah (whom 1 Kings 1:6 indicates David had never attempted to discipline or rebuke) attempting to seize the throne (even before David's death) in place of David's designated heir, Solomon, as recounted in 1 Kings 1. This would illustrate that even a parent who seeks to benefit a child by favoring him can instead be acting to the child's detriment.

October 31 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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