Some wonder, however, whether “the rod” refers to corporal punishment at all. Is spanking an appropriate way to apply these passages? Three observations show that it is. First, the plainest reading of these passages suggests that a rod is a physical device applied physically to awaken attention. Second, mere talk is inadequate to achieve awakening, both in practical experience and in the Bible. “By mere words a servant is not disciplined” (Proverbs 29:19). Third, the rod appears alongside speech as a means of discipline: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15).