Q: “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.” (Deuteronomy 1:39) Is “no knowledge of good or evil” a call back to the tree of knowledge of good and evil in Eden? This seems like language that would’ve brought that to an Israelite’s mind immediately. I’m very curious about what Moses may have been telling them by using it, which may not be immediately obvious to us.
So the children, first of all, aren’t responsible for their parents sin. That’s the the context. So if we appeal to this generic idea about the age of accountability, infants and children are so young they’re 100% dependent on their parent. They can’t do any for themselves. At some point, they’re going to be accountable. Now there are Jewish Bar Mitzvah and Bet Mitzvah, the son of the law or a daughter of the law. In some Christian traditions, it’s the age of confirmation. I was confirmed as a Roman Catholic kid, that was my age of accountability. I have some reformed friends that won’t hold a specific date, but they truly believe that in some fashion, they oversee their child’s faith until such a time where they are accountable.
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