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2 Kings 2:23-24

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23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

I have often wondered about these two verses. Other than the obvious "don't mess with God's prophet" lesson here, what was the purpose of this event? Nothing else is said of Elisha's trip to Bethel. It seems like he just lost his temper at being mocked by a bunch of kids, so why did God enforce Elisha's curse and send she bears to kill forty-two of them? From my flawed human perspective, that seems a tad harsh.
 
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I hate to give a glib answer to a good question. There are other similar instances in the Bible such as Uzzah steadying the arc of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6:1-7. For me the treatment of gays in the Bible is harsh. The glib answer, do you want to give God a lecture on morality? Well good luck with that one!

We have to accept God's laws, instruction and above all, wisdom in faith. It has to be better than man's morality which changes like the weather forecast. I can promise you this, when you do eventually go upstairs, you'll understand and say, 'oh yeah.' We know and firmly believe, Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. I Corinthians 1:25 NKJV
 
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It is not that I doubt the perfection of God's morality as much as I desire to understand more about it so that I might emulate it. It has been my assumption this far that God knew, had those 42 children not died that day, the result would have been distinctly more negative than being torn apart by she bears, at least for someone.
 
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Staff Member
@strike8echo
Greetings,

It is not that I doubt the perfection of God's morality as much as I desire to understand more about it so that I might emulate it. It has been my assumption this far that God knew, had those 42 children not died that day, the result would have been distinctly more negative than being torn apart by she bears, at least for someone.
perhaps you can detail this a bit more for us?


Bless you ....><>
 
Member
@strike8echo
Greetings,



perhaps you can detail this a bit more for us?


Bless you ....><>
Let's say, for example, that the children who died that day had not died. I must assume that their lives would have either been truly and entirely terrible (raised in unloving, abuse homes etc.) or that those children would have grown into adults that would have done truly and entirely terrible things and God knew that they would never seek forgiveness from him. So, he took them before the age of accountability, ensuring the preservation of their souls from eternal damnation and preventing them having to live lives not worth living. Because God is completely good, something like this has to be true, right?
 
Loyal
When I was a naughty little boy in church we used to look up this passage and find it genuinely hilarious. I haven't given it much thought since then.

Here's what seems to me to be a decent approach.

A Bald Man, Two Bears, and Forty-two "Children": Misinterpreted Bible Passages #6 | Jason Staples

Key points:

They probably weren't children - young adults, juveniles.
Elishas baldness is likely due to shaving his head in honour of a vow to God.

The jeering is a rejection of the Lord God because it is insulting and rejecting his prophet.

The numbers involved - 42 mauled, many more present - suggests an organised protest.

Bethel, where the confrontation happened was one of the two centres of state-sponsored idolatry.

All in all, it's not that Elisha reacts badly to a joke made at his expense. It's a swift judgement on a town that's rejected God.

Still a disturbing couple of verses though?
 

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