1 He, that being often reproved, stiffeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without marpeh (remedy).
Unbending, unyielding ... the nation proved stubborn on repeated occasions prompting the dictum from Yahweh
'... I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people' (Deut Ex 32: 9).
As a stubborn ox is difficult to turn, so the children of Israel rebelled against instruction.
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction:
But he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. (13: 18)
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Law - its need and beauty
The principle is perfect in its reasonableness and ravishing in its beauty: for it secures the highest happiness of which man is capable (either in his corruptible or his incorruptible state), when he bows before God in grateful and reverential submission, and at the same time it admits of the great Increate finding pleasure in man.
There is, therefore, a depth of true philosophy unsuspected in the words of Paul:
"The law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 5:20, 21).
...How much the excellence of human life depends upon law we do not at first realize how much! We grow up under the feeling that the best thing for us is to be just let alone to follow the bent of our own sweet will. We learn at last that this is just the worst for any man or nation.
Experience confounds false philosophy. Men are not as cabbage roses that will automatically unfold their blushing beauty, and exhale their fragrant odour if left alone; they are rather as the apple trees that will grow crabs unless grafted with good slips. The dictum of Christ and Paul is found correct:
"In the flesh dwelleth no good thing" (John 6:63; Rom. 7:18).
The fact is nationally illustrated in barbarous races, and, individually, in the uneducated members of civilized communities. The extremest demonstration is seen when a child happens to be kidnapped and brought up in the woods away from human culture, of which there have been instances.
Modern literature is impregnated with false notions on this subject. These false notions are generated by a false method of study. Man is looked at as he develops under the surroundings of an established civilization, and because he is interesting when enlightened and subject to law, he is supposed to be innately good and rational, requiring only a proper self-evolution. Disastrous results come from this theory when it is acted on in either public or family life.
A lawless community, or stubborn and rebellious children bring misery when the hand of repressive discipline and kindly culture is absent. Human nature in itself is only a bundle of potentialities, which cannot be developed except by firm discipline under the wise administration of good laws. The best men of the best nations are those that have seen the most trouble, along with the possession of knowledge.
Law of Moses Ch 1