21 February 2010

God sent two bears to rip apart 42 boys for making fun of a prophet's bald head

After Elijah went up to heaven in a chariot of fire, his disciple Elisha put on Elijah's mantle and started to perform miracles of his own. First he parted the Jordan River by slapping it with Elijah's mantle, and then he healed some water by adding a bit of salt.

And then he decided to go to Bethel.

While he was walking along, a group of 42 young boys started to make fun of Elisha's bald head.
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. 2 Kings 2:23
So Elisha decided to try his new-found prophet powers by cursing the little buggers in the name of the Lord. Then he stood back and watched what happened.
And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. 2 Kings 2:24a
What happened must have been hard for him to watch. Two she bears came out of the woods and tore all 42 of the boys apart.
And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. 2 Kings 2:24b
The Bible doesn't say how Elisha reacted to the slaughter. It just says that he kept going on his journey to Bethel.
And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria. 2 Kings 2:25
But I bet God got a kick out of the whole thing. He's the type.

See Brucker's guest post on this killing: The Bad-News Bears

God's next killing: The Lord delivered the Moabites


Matthew Blanchette said...

Glad you finally covered this Killing in your official list, Steve; wonder how the hell God managed to provoke the she-bears into only attacking the children, in the first place...

busterggi said...

Okay so two bears came out of the woods & attacked two of the forty-two boys and the other forty just stood there until it was their turn?

teavee said...

This is a minor point but maybe some of the children got away. It says some (more than 42?) children mocked him and 42 (not all 42) of them were killed. Still, you would think more would have gotten away.

joshua said...

I love the congruity of the last few posts: God kills 102 for suggesting to a prophet to "go down", and kills 42 for suggesting to prophet to "go up." You just can't win with these prophets.

twillight said...

a holw kindergarten were there?
Even if it were, how come the bears killed 42 humans? Bears are not to good predators, but if they'd been magical bears, why stop at 42? (Well, maybe for the reason Steve pointed out: 42 is not god's favourite number). How come some adult help never arrived? Were the some "Children's of the Corn"?
Or maybe there some fence around the group of children arised what's not mentioned?

teavee said...

Maybe I did not word it well but I just meant to point out that the text seems to suggest there were more than 42 suggesting that some children escaped. I actually have no idea what circumstances to assume for this story. It's too bizarre.

I have no idea how a group 42+ children from the city would end up near a forest containing bears (school field trip?). If they were young how did 42+ of them get together without adults being around and why would their mocking be taken so seriously? If they were older how did two bears get to 42 of them without an enclosure magically appearing (as you suggested) or the children being made unable to run? I would like to think all of the children at least had the freedom and could make the choice to run.

Abeille said...

Maybe God hardened their hearts.

My word verification is siesuar.
Is God revealing something grand to me?

really said...

I just read in the Scofield Bible that the she-bear only tore the youth not killed the youth. I mean they could have gone to a hospital and received medical care couldn't they???

Brian said...

hahahhahaha. Bears.

This website is awesome. And important. Keep it up.

Secular Response said...

There is a better explanation for this. Do a google search for "Roger Kovaciny" +"bald head" (not sure if a link will post here)

Decibel33 said...

I find something interesting, and this is probably just my brain looking for a pattern, but why 42 youths? (Emphasis on 42) Interesting how it took 42 attempts to assassinate Hitler. And the answer to the universe is, of course, 42.

No said...

Some day God will meet Chuck Norris and it will be payback time

... said...

someone please explain...to me this is evil...I personally would never wish ill will on anyone even if they made fun of me...this is just wrong...how can God do this? Just because you have the power doesn't mean you should use it. Also, there is a distinction between the developed mind of a child and an adult.

riffmage said...

So instead of making all the children s hair fall out for a month or so to teach them a lesson. He has the bear kill them and they learn nothing because they are DEAD. Your god fails again.

Chris Jones said...

This scripture actually disturbed me quite a bit. One day, however, I was watching a round table discussion of the Bible and this scripture came up. In the King James Version, it reads that "two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." The Bible Scholars gave a very simple explanation for this story. They said that the word, "tare" was essentially an archaic form of the word, "scare." So literally, the bears came and "scared" forty two of the children.

Maria F said...

In the original language, the word for children or youths may refer to anyone under thirty. These were not just some little kids being disrespectful. They were likely adults who knew full well this was a prophet, and as idol-worshipers, they were mocking God.

Lt. Coldfire said...

We need these bears up in Congress right about now.

chuckchizzle said...

If there where a kind, moral, just person/god they would not kill kids. that is for sure.
Its only when you cherry pick the bible is when you find the morals..but people seem to pass all the murder and rap. god kils more people in the Bible than the most "evil thing" satin

Unknown said...

What we see here is the earliest documented case of a street gang. Samuel L Jackson will play Elisha in the movie adaptation.

Elisha was walking along minding his own business when a bunch of hoodlums came along and said "Hey baldy. Yeah you. I'm talking to you bald motherf**ker. Get the f**k outta here." Elisha looked up unto the sky and said unto the lord "I have had it up to here with these motherf**king punks on this motherf**king road". Just then two bears come out and as they are tearing the punks limb to limb he said unto them "That's PROPHET Bald Motherf**ker to you" and went along his merry way.

Teri 9 said...

- The original word incorrectly translated as "little children" meant "youth" - meaning anyone (in those days) under the age of 30. These were not children, they were men.
- Elisha was not the bald one. Elijah was. The young men were scoffing at God's prophet, taunting him to "go up" (into heaven" "bad head" (like Elijah did). God will not be mocked.
- Do you remember the exchange between Ahab and Elijah at the end of the three year drought? Ahab asked the prophet, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” And Elijah replied, “I have no troubled Israel; but thou, and they father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord. . . “ (1 Kings 18:17-18)

By himself Elijah had no power to create a drought, call down fire from heaven, bring about the end of Ahab and his house, or punish or destroy Israel. It was the wickedness of Israel that created the chaos and calamity. In some cases the Lord intervened to punish directly. In others he simply let the laws he gave the world run their course. Elijah knew what he prophesied only because he was the one chosen to reveal it. Who would think that idolatry could lead people to break as many other laws as it did in Elijah’s day?

It is easy to look back and see how foolish Ahab, Jezebel, and the Israelites who halted between two opinions were. But what of today? Are men still inclined to vacillate between serving God and serving the devil? Do they still want to hear only good things about their evil choices? Do they still tend to place the blame for life’s reversals on someone else? Or will they learn the eternal fact that men reap precisely what they sow? “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”) Mockery is a sin, and such conduct is displeasing in the sight of God. That is one lesson that the story of Elisha and the scoffers of Bethel reinforces.

"Dwindling" you are. You might want to reconsider turning around and repenting.
We all might.

God is Good said...

This is a classic example as to why God can not come in power. A new prophet testing the waters
of his upgrade in authority. And in my opinion accidentally
released a powerful authoritative curse. I don't hink he realized that he had such an upgrade. Man has authority to bless or curse. Is it God who killed the children? Is it the new prophet testing his new found authority? Is it an accident of someone who had to tame his tongue. I imagine it never happened again
He learned his leasson. It is man that cursed. Unfortunately there are still many that curse
and get results. Satanist. Witchdoctors. and yes
pastors and their wives have not tamed the tongue or cleansed the heart to be a reflection of a God God. Research how witchdoctors get results with curses.

peter roman said...

It all goes back to Calvary. The word says
Elijah was a hairy man elisha was a smooth man. Esau was a hairy man jacob was a smooth man. The word says God loved Jacob and hated Esau. John the Baptist was an hairy man, Jesus was a spiritual man. John came out of the wilderness, Jesus came from above. The people mocked Jesus while he was on the cross. They said he healed others heal thyself.
God has set the stage in the old testament for the things revealed to the spiritual man in the new. The 42 children represent the natural priesthood that had been established by God to lead the people in the way of God. But they rejected and mocked their savior and lord.
In the book of liviticus their was 48 cities given to the priest six of those cities were cities of refuge. Leaving the 42. Open our eyes lord Jesus to your revelation. Let our hearts be turned unto you lest we be torn in pieces.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks for the explanation, peter.

God sent the bears to make a point about Jesus, John the Baptist, and Esau that only one demented person has ever understood.

Hank said...

I love when finite, ignorant human beings judge the God of the universe. Hello! You guys are not qualified! In the grans scheme of things, you all know nothing. Stories like these are confusing and a result of sin in a broken world. I pray that all of you would whom don't know Jesus would come to His cross to repent and be forgiven through His beautiful unending, unrelenting love and grace!

smith lovy said...

This is absolutely insane and purely the work of MEN. Nothing worthy of a "god" would be so infantile. And it doesn't matter if these "children" were 2 or 29. Death just because you are mocked is thug behavior. Yahweh is a thug.

Wolfwredroses 77 said...

You seem to forget that God created the world (Genesis 1:1) and if He created the world then it is His right to judge it. You fail to recognize the threat in the mockery. They implied they intended to Kill Elisha. First of all, “go up” is probably a reference to Elisha’s predecessor, Elijah, ascending to Heaven (2 Kings 2:11). In other words, they are stating they want Elisha gone, and since Elijah had gone on to the “next world,” the implication is they wanted Elisha dead! Elisha was the primary man of God at this time and I know also how God loves His own, what He did here was showing you and I that it'd be best for us fallen creatures to be on His side with issues and life.

emilializ said...

Isn't this story more an example of men's sensitivity to comments about receding hairlines?

Paul Adrian Simiganovschi said...

I see several ppl saying that those were not "kids" they were young adults and there for it was ok for God to kill them. Are you fucking brain dead??? If that is the God you worship and consider your guide in this world then no wonder the whole world is going to shit... Any God or deity who would murder people just cause they made fun of him isn't worth worshiping or being called a GOD.End of story

Dad99 said...

First, the King James Version has done us a disservice by translated the term as “children.” The Hebrew word can refer to children, but rather more specifically means "young men." The NIV, quoted here, uses the word “youths.” Second, the fact that the bears mauled 42 of the youths indicates that there were more than 42 youths involved. This was not a small group of children making fun of a bald man. Rather, it was a large demonstration of young men who assembled for the purpose of mocking a prophet of God. Third, the mocking of “go on up, you baldhead,” is more than making fun of baldness. The baldness of Elisha referred to here may be: 1) natural loss of hair; 2) a shaved head denoting his separation to the prophetic office; or more likely, 3) an epithet of scorn and contempt, Elisha not being literally bald. The phrase “go up” likely was a reference to Elijah, Elisha’s mentor, being taken up to Heaven earlier in 2 Kings chapter 2:11-12. These youths were sarcastically taunting and insulting the Lord’s prophet by telling him to repeat Elijah’s translation.

In summary, 2 Kings 2:23-24 is not an account of God mauling young children for making fun of a bald man. Rather, it is a record of an insulting demonstration against God’s prophet by a large group of young men. Because these young people of about 20 years of age or older (the same term is used of Solomon in 1 Kings 3:7) so despised the prophet of the Lord, Elisha called upon the Lord to deal with the rebels as He saw fit. The Lord’s punishment was the mauling of 42 of them by two female bears. The penalty was clearly justified, for to ridicule Elisha was to ridicule the Lord Himself. The seriousness of the crime was indicated by the seriousness of the punishment. The appalling judgment was God’s warning to all who would scorn the prophets of the Lord.

Emilializ said...

How much does anyone want to bet that this story was written by a bald man who was teased about his lack of hair and concocted the idea of the bears killing his tormentors as a revenge fantasy on his part?

I think the problem with both religious fundamentalists and militant atheists is that they can't take a story like this with a sense of humour.

Of course, I'm of the opposite gender as Elisha so maybe I can see the humour where a man would not.

Edmond Francis Morrison said...

Hard to believe anyone even bothers to refute this rubbish. I have seen it justified on Bible sites to the point where the whole section of the KJB is misinterprete to the point where the children were actually murderous gangsters and the Prophet had more hair than Bigfoot.
If the KJB entry is so ambiguous why was it written in the first place by some monk who misinterpreted 'serial killers' into little children.
Jesus! Thanks be to God I'm an Odinist- at least he admits he's one mf****

emilializ said...

Another humorous note: doesn't KJB (King James Bible) sound a little like KGB (Vladimir Putin's old outfit)?