The position and authority of the father as the head of the family are expressly assumed and sanctioned in Scripture, as a likeness of that of the Almighty over his creatures. It lies of course at the root of that so-called patriarchal government, (Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3) which was introductory to the more definite systems which followed, and which in part, but not wholly, superseded it. The father's blessing was regarded as conferring special benefit, but his malediction special injury, on those on whom it fell, (Genesis 9:25,27; 27:27-40; 48:15,20; 49:1) ... and so also the sin of a parent was held to affect, in certain cases, the welfare of his descendants. (2 Kings 5:27) The command to honor parents is noticed by St. Paul as the only one of the Decalogue which bore a distinct promise, (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2) and disrespect towards them was condemned by the law as one of the worst crimes. (Exodus 21:15,17; 1 Timothy 1:9) It is to this well-recognized theory of parental authority and supremacy that the very various uses of the term "father" in Scripture are due. "Fathers" is used in the sense of seniors, (Acts 7:2; 22:1) and of parents in general, or ancestors. (Daniel 5:2; Jeremiah 27:7; Matthew 23:30,32)
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