Do NOT Mock Your Mom or Dad!
Wow! When you first read this, it honestly sounds really scary and gruesome, doesn’t it? But, what this piece of scripture really has to do with is that it is a warning about not honoring your father and mother.
So, why are ravens pecking out eyes? It has to do with dying a violent death and being left out in the open, rather than being buried in an honorable way by your loved ones.
The scripture here is basically saying that those who do not respect (love and honor) their fathers and mothers will also not respect others in authority over them. This could lead to a life of lawlessness. Throughout history, many cultures practiced leaving criminal’s bodies out in the elements, instead of giving them a proper burial. In Jesus’ day, the Romans crucified criminals and left their bodies out on the crosses to continue the humiliation of their death and as a warning to others. The same was true with the practice of gibbeting, in which people were left hanging on a gallows or impaled on stakes. Again, this was a violent way of dealing with lawless people.
In the book of Deuteronomy (21:22-23), God actually forbids leaving a body out in this way, “because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse”. So, the Israelites were commanded to bury their dead before night (darkness) came. This is why Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had a sense of urgency in asking Pilate to allow them to bury Jesus’ body on the night of his death on the cross.
There’s another passage in Deuteronomy (5:16) that speaks about honoring your father and mother. It says ““Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Here, we are told that the plus side of honoring your father and mother (and others in authority) is so that life may go well with you and that you might live a long life. (No ravens, no vultures).
Lord, you gave us the Ten Commandments. In these life giving commands, you told us to honor our mothers and fathers that it might go well with us. We thank you for those who You entrusted to raise us, to love and care for us in our youth. We are reminded that they continue to love us all of their lives. May we always remember to love and care for them as well, even as You love and care for us.