Childlessness was such a disaster that the Hebrews could regard it only as a punishment from God (Gen. 20: 18); but children in abundance (Ps. 127: 5) were a mark of divine blessing, and, in the case of sons, the means of perpetuating the family line and taking on the father's trade to ensure prosperity. Although mothers usually chose a child's name (1 Sam. 1: 20) it was the father who gave religious and practical instruction (Exod. 10: 2; Ecclus. [= Sir.] 30: 1–13), and discipline was severe (Prov. 13: 24). Christians are sometimes addressed as ‘children’ (Gal. 4: 19; 1 John 2: 1), a practice they perhaps connected with Jesus (John 21: 5). And they referred to themselves as ‘children of God’ (Rom. 8: 16) to denote the special relationship with God which they inherited as the people of the new covenant.