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There was a time when Jim Bob Duggar ruled over his children with an iron fist.

For decades, Jim Bob’s word was law, and no one dared question his authority.

But those days are long gone.

The Josh Duggar sex scandals led several of Jim Bob’s kids to question his wisdom, and a few have started openly disregarding the strict rules with which they were raised.

Jim Bob Duggar Confessional Photo
(TLC)

Nowadays, Jinger Duggar wears pants in defiance of the infamous Duggar dress code.

Not to be outdone, rebellious Jill Duggar started drinking alcohol.

This was an even bigger deal than Jinger’s decision to purchase a forbidden pair of Levi’s.

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Jim Bob doesn’t drink, and insiders say he teaches his children that booze is an invention of the devil.

But Jill cut ties with her parents years ago, so JB probably wasn’t too shocked when she posted pics in which she and her husband, Derick Dillard, could be seen hoisting a few cocktails.

However, Jill’s younger sister Jessa Duggar has remained loyal to her parents throughout the family’s many scandals.

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So you can imagine Jim Bob’s surprise when photos surfaced that appeared to show Jessa enjoying a drink with her husband, Ben Seewald.

The image below has generated some intense debate in the Duggar-focused corners of social media.

The pic was originally posted by Jessa, and it appears to show Ben enjoying an adult beverage.

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But is the scene more innocent than it appears?

Duggar watchers are divided.

“Someone put this on an FB group and asked if Ben is drinking alcohol? Personally I bet it’s a virgin drink but what do y’all think?” one person asked on Reddit.

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“Very much doubt it’s alcoholic. Ben is way too into the koolaid to drink publicly like that,” another added.

“Yeah, I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if he drinks occasionally, but it would be hidden in his own kitchen after the kids are in bed if anything,” a third chimed in.

“I’ve seen two of his sisters with beers before. Maybe? But yeah I’m still leaning toward non alcoholic,” a fourth observed.

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“Judging by the little hands reaching for it, and his lack of concern, it’s probably just a big glass of Orange juice,” a fifth pointed out.

Yes, the most likely explanation here is that Ben was enjoying some sort of booze-free mocktail.

Of all the Duggar sons-in-law, few are as committed to the family’s defiantly old-school belief system as Ben.

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Still, it’s interesting that Jessa and Ben would post a pic like that and not clarify that Ben’s beverage contained no alcohol.

Perhaps it’s a sign that they’re not as worried about keeping up appearances as they used to be.

Or as Jim Bob would like them to be.

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Yes, we doubt that Ben and Jessa have gone so far as to start guzzling hooch in public with no concern for who sees them.

But it seems obvious that they’re not as worried about Jim Bob’s approval as they once were.

And we’re sure that the Duggar patriarch can feel the balance of power shifting within his own family.