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barney
04-29-2008, 12:05 AM
Hey folks.
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. 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. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria" (2 Kings 2:23-25 KJV

We havnt had a good scrabble over one of my fave prophets.
Elisha; Apprentice of Elijah.

I'd particularly like Kelt, Glo's and the other christians and jews take on him and his bears and how this episode fits in with the Mercy and justice facet of Yahweh/Jesus.
Jesus we know, loves the Kids and sat them on his knee and is their freind, so why 1400 years earlier was he sending bears to slaughter them by the four-dozen?

Cheers!
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barney
05-07-2008, 09:35 PM
bumpage :)
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snakelegs
05-07-2008, 09:40 PM
:giggling: you must be bald!
sorry - couldn't resist.
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Umar001
05-07-2008, 09:42 PM
I;ve read this story before I failed to understand the moral/teaching behind it.
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barney
05-07-2008, 10:32 PM
Originally Posted by Al Habeshi
I;ve read this story before I failed to understand the moral/teaching behind it.
I understand the teaching, from researching it on christian sites , as to be , "Dont mess with Gods Prophets"

Various apoligists have said that the "Kids" were "young men". Then that they were in their hundreds and were about to attack Elisha. His Bear summoning was self -defence. None of this has any scriptural basis. Its just more and more frantic attempts to iron out the inconsistancy. From a bunch of 8 year olds laughing at him, we have a massive crowd of stick weilding potentially murderous hoodies.
Then they have said that It was a sign of great disrespect worthy of great punishment, and that God was setting an example not to offend his prophet.

I'd like to hear some christians veiws on this one.
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YusufNoor
05-08-2008, 02:11 AM
Originally Posted by barney
Hey folks.
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. 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. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria" (2 Kings 2:23-25 KJV

We havnt had a good scrabble over one of my fave prophets.
Elisha; Apprentice of Elijah.

I'd particularly like Kelt, Glo's and the other christians and jews take on him and his bears and how this episode fits in with the Mercy and justice facet of Yahweh/Jesus.
Jesus we know, loves the Kids and sat them on his knee and is their freind, so why 1400 years earlier was he sending bears to slaughter them by the four-dozen?

Cheers!
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance,

let's ask the Jews!

From Artscroll & Mesorah Publishing: The Rubin Edition THE PROPHETS I-II Kings The Early Prophets With A Commentary Anthologized From The Rabbinical Writings by Rabbi Nosson Scherman c 2006.

23-25. Elisha is taunted and responds harshly. Elisha retraced the route he traveled with Elijah, crossing the Jordan, going to Jericho, and now to Beth-el. There he was mocked and he reacted by calling the wrath of god upon the perpetrators...

23. Go on up, Baldhead! Go on up, Baldhead! The rued lads mock the prophet, not simply because he was bald, but because they compared him unfavorably with the majestic-looking Elijah, who was hairy (1:8). Their taunts implied that he was unfit to succeed the great prophet (Metzudos). In the words of Rabbeinu Yonah, one joke can undermine the effects of a hundred admonitions. If permitted to spread, the derisive attitude of the youths would have undermined Elisha's prestige and therefore his ability to carry out god's mission.
Their mockery was, "If you are truly as great as Elijah, prove it by going up to heaven as he did" (Arbarbanel).
Rashi cites the Sages (Sotah 46b) that they did not mean that Elisha was bald. Rather they were angry that he deprived them of their livelihood. They had earned a living by delivering fresh water to Jericho. Now, by curing the polluted water( 2:19-22), Elisha made Jericho "bald" in the sense that it was no longer a source of income for the water-bearers.
The Talmud infers..he went up, in the singular, that Elisha had not been escorted by the elders or anyone else from Jericho. Had they walked with him, as they should have, the youths would not have dared malign the prophet, and they would not have been devoured by the bears. This teaches that those who fail to escort travelers and travelers who refuse to let anyone accompany them can be held responsible for bloodshed.
24 Saw them and cursed them.. Elisha did not curse them until he saw them, meaning that with his prophetic vision, he recognized that they were evil and worthy of punishment (Ralbag). He saw prophetically that they came from evil origins and that no good would come from them or their posterity; otherwise he would not have cursed them (Sotah 46b).
In the Name of Hashem. By invoking the Name of god, Elisha was placing the final decision in God's hands, as if to say that it was for him to determine whether and how the impudent lads should be punished.
Clearly God's holy prophet would not have transgressed the prohibition against taking revenge, especially for such a trivial offense. Rather, by ridiculing him and his miracle of the curing of the water, these youths were ridiculing God Who designated Elisha as His prophet and who had performed the miracle. Also, as mentioned above, they were undermining Elisha's ability to influence the people and their leaders to repent. By calling for Divine punishment, Elisha was proving to the nation that their criticism had no basis (Rabbi Y.Y. Kanievsky).
Two bears emerged from the forest. There are two opinions amongst the Sages. According to Rav, there had been no bears in the forest before then. Miraculously, the bears now appeared in response to Elisha's prayer. According to Shmuel, there was neither a forest nor bears. Thus, a double miracle had occurred: both the forest and the wild bears were created there (Sotah 47a).
For being the cause of the forty-two lads being killed, Elisha was punished later with a painful illness (Radak).
25. Elisha performed a miracle in each of the places where he had gone with Elijah. Elisha split the Jordan, cured the waters of Jericho, and brought bears to punish the offending youths in Beth-el. Then he visited places where God had performed miracles for Elijah. Then he went to Samaria to undertake his new mission (Arbarbanel).

Chapter 3 introduction leads of with:
Elisha becomes the leading prophet and miracle worker. Elisha's plea for a great degree of prophetic and spiritual stature had been granted, and had begun to be demonstrated through the miracles related in the previous chapter (2). Now Scripture will report on further miraculous occurrences that would solidify Elisha's claim to the obedience of those who seriously interested in coming closer to God...

does that help?

:w:
Reply

barney
05-08-2008, 02:35 AM
Originally Posted by YusufNoor
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance,

let's ask the Jews!

From Artscroll & Mesorah Publishing: The Rubin Edition THE PROPHETS I-II Kings The Early Prophets With A Commentary Anthologized From The Rabbinical Writings by Rabbi Nosson Scherman c 2006.

23-25. Elisha is taunted and responds harshly. Elisha retraced the route he traveled with Elijah, crossing the Jordan, going to Jericho, and now to Beth-el. There he was mocked and he reacted by calling the wrath of god upon the perpetrators...

23. Go on up, Baldhead! Go on up, Baldhead! The rued lads mock the prophet, not simply because he was bald, but because they compared him unfavorably with the majestic-looking Elijah, who was hairy (1:8). Their taunts implied that he was unfit to succeed the great prophet (Metzudos). In the words of Rabbeinu Yonah, one joke can undermine the effects of a hundred admonitions. If permitted to spread, the derisive attitude of the youths would have undermined Elisha's prestige and therefore his ability to carry out god's mission.
Their mockery was, "If you are truly as great as Elijah, prove it by going up to heaven as he did" (Arbarbanel).
Rashi cites the Sages (Sotah 46b) that they did not mean that Elisha was bald. Rather they were angry that he deprived them of their livelihood. They had earned a living by delivering fresh water to Jericho. Now, by curing the polluted water( 2:19-22), Elisha made Jericho "bald" in the sense that it was no longer a source of income for the water-bearers.
The Talmud infers..he went up, in the singular, that Elisha had not been escorted by the elders or anyone else from Jericho. Had they walked with him, as they should have, the youths would not have dared malign the prophet, and they would not have been devoured by the bears. This teaches that those who fail to escort travelers and travelers who refuse to let anyone accompany them can be held responsible for bloodshed.
24 Saw them and cursed them.. Elisha did not curse them until he saw them, meaning that with his prophetic vision, he recognized that they were evil and worthy of punishment (Ralbag). He saw prophetically that they came from evil origins and that no good would come from them or their posterity; otherwise he would not have cursed them (Sotah 46b).
In the Name of Hashem. By invoking the Name of god, Elisha was placing the final decision in God's hands, as if to say that it was for him to determine whether and how the impudent lads should be punished.
Clearly God's holy prophet would not have transgressed the prohibition against taking revenge, especially for such a trivial offense. Rather, by ridiculing him and his miracle of the curing of the water, these youths were ridiculing God Who designated Elisha as His prophet and who had performed the miracle. Also, as mentioned above, they were undermining Elisha's ability to influence the people and their leaders to repent. By calling for Divine punishment, Elisha was proving to the nation that their criticism had no basis (Rabbi Y.Y. Kanievsky).
Two bears emerged from the forest. There are two opinions amongst the Sages. According to Rav, there had been no bears in the forest before then. Miraculously, the bears now appeared in response to Elisha's prayer. According to Shmuel, there was neither a forest nor bears. Thus, a double miracle had occurred: both the forest and the wild bears were created there (Sotah 47a).
For being the cause of the forty-two lads being killed, Elisha was punished later with a painful illness (Radak).
25. Elisha performed a miracle in each of the places where he had gone with Elijah. Elisha split the Jordan, cured the waters of Jericho, and brought bears to punish the offending youths in Beth-el. Then he visited places where God had performed miracles for Elijah. Then he went to Samaria to undertake his new mission (Arbarbanel).

Chapter 3 introduction leads of with:
Elisha becomes the leading prophet and miracle worker. Elisha's plea for a great degree of prophetic and spiritual stature had been granted, and had begun to be demonstrated through the miracles related in the previous chapter (2). Now Scripture will report on further miraculous occurrences that would solidify Elisha's claim to the obedience of those who seriously interested in coming closer to God...

does that help?

:w:
Indeedy it does.
It's especially interesting that Elisha, despite being bald, was not being insulted for being bald by the kids who called him "Bald Head". That the baldness was the depravation of their day-jobs.:rollseyes

Using his prophetic vision to establish that all forty two of them would grow up to be sinners and their sins were worthy of immediate death coinciding with the exact time that they gathered and mocked him and yet his cursing was in no way related to any feelings of vengence, is also incredible,in the literal sense of the word.
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YusufNoor
05-08-2008, 02:49 AM
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance,

and yet you missed:

By invoking the Name of god, Elisha was placing the final decision in God's hands, as if to say that it was for him to determine whether and how the impudent lads should be punished.
which resulted in:

For being the cause of the forty-two lads being killed, Elisha was punished later with a painful illness
:?

:w:
Reply

barney
05-08-2008, 02:58 AM
Originally Posted by YusufNoor
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance,

and yet you missed:



which resulted in:



:?

:w:
I dunno, when you curse someone in Gods name, its usually something like "May Hubbard smite you with a thousand boils" or similar. By cursing them, Elisha was asking God to take action. Sure it was in Gods hands to choose to do it! God isnt under Elishas control!
If Elisha hadnt cursed them, would God have done anything?
If so, why bother cursing?


Second point. God is asked to take action, God takes the action, then hits Elisha with a curse for doing it. Ummmm...Err. Huh? It was God who chose to do it and Elisha , who put it into his hands , gets the flack for Gods decision?
Nowai!

The deeper we go the more messed up it gets. It's getting near King David getting told by God to take a census and taking the census and his people getting hit by a plaugue with 70000 fatalities, for him obaying Gods commands. (Yeah thats a different act, but it makes as much sense).
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barney
05-08-2008, 10:05 PM
Bah! No Christians or Jews yet posting on this, I really want to hear their veiws. :(
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snakelegs
05-09-2008, 06:35 AM
as far as i know we don't have any jewish members any more. :unhappy:
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barney
05-09-2008, 09:52 PM
Right! last Bump for the bears and then I'm simply accepting that the Judeo Christian God loves baldness and hates Kids.
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glo
05-11-2008, 08:49 AM
Hi Barney

I have not spent much time browsing through new threads, other than my subscribed ones ... so I only found this thread a couple of days ago.

I have searched through several online Bible commentaries, but to be honest, I haven't found much in addition to Yusuf's post by Rabbi Nosson Scherman.

The following points occured in several commentaries (I think most, if not all, are mentioned by Yusuf already)
Here is a small commentary from a long article, written by Dr. Thomas L. Constable:
Bethel was a center of idolatry in Israel; it was one of the golden calf sites (v. 23).
Evidently Elisha's approach triggered a mass demonstration against him by many young men.
The Hebrew word na'ar translated "lads" in 2:23 describes young men, not boys, in many other places in the Old Testament. "Baldhead" was and is a term of disrespect.
The idolaters challenged Elisha to "go up" to heaven as Elijah had done if Elisha could.
These youths were typical of a nation that "mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at his prophets" (2 Chron. 36:16).
Not motivated by personal pride but by a desire for God's glory, Elisha pronounced God's curse on them for their disrespect for His prophet and Himself (v. 24; cf. 1 Peter 3:3-7).
As before, God used wild animals to judge the rebels (cf. 1 Kings 13:24). Wild bears were common in ancient Israel.
These early miracles identified Elisha as God's spokesman who possessed His power to bless or to curse.
Only one commentary tried to argue that this was an act of Elisha in his new role of God's prophet, going overboard with his newly acquired powers. Indeed, that commentary argued that his cruel behaviour led to God's punishment by ceasing the gift of prophecy amongst his people.

All other commentaries, whilst commenting that this seemed a harsh punishment, all seem clear that this was not Elisha's selfish or prideful doing, but that he acted according to God's divine will.
Looking at the Bible as a whole I cannot recall any incidents of people (even prophets) being able to go against God's will.

See Jonah wanting to see the people of Nineveh punished, but God saving them from punishment. Or see this incident in the NT:
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.
(Luke 9:51-55)

If you look at Elisha's whole life and ministry, you will see that he was very much concerned with the well-being of other people, especially the poor.
The she-bear incident seems - as far as Elisha's personality is concerned - out of character.


If we are to assume that even a prophet cannot perform any kind of miracle without God's will (after all, monotheists don't believe God to be some magic wand), then we have to conclude that God willed the she-bears to maul these young people.

It may sound harsh, and we may not like it ...

Personally, I don't understand the severity of their wrong-doing either.
But - like most monotheists, I am afflicted with an peculiar sense of 'I may not understand it, but God must have had a reason for what he was doing ...'

I will put the question on my list of 'Things-to-ask-God-when-I-meet-him-face-to-face' :D

Well, this is my penny's worth.
Thanks for asking the question, barney. I have enjoyed pondering it.

Chances are I won't be around much for a while.
Don't get in a Barney while I'm gone! :D

Off to church now ... Peace :)
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barney
05-11-2008, 09:09 AM
Hey Glo.
Thanks for the reply! I thought my Bears were going to just vanish into the ether :)

I accept that It wasnt Elisha conjouring up the bears. He simply cursed them and put the matter to God. God chose to kill the children for, as you say, an unknown reason.

As i say, it's interesting to compare the stories of Jesus sitting with the children and playing with them, and the everyday teachings of the church that your off to at the moment. No doubt the story of the forty two children wont be taught to the Mum's and tots group! At least i hope not. :D

This is one of many verses in the bible that make me think, How can the loving and gentle freind of children suddenly act in such a vicious manner?

Anyway, have a good day. Peace.

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Ninth_Scribe
05-27-2008, 04:22 PM
Originally Posted by barney
I accept that It wasn't Elisha conjouring up the bears. He simply cursed them and put the matter to God.
And that's exactly how any of us should deal with it. You can get mad, you can have a melt-down, you can curse, swear and stomp your feet - but you can't punish them. Only God has the right to do that. :)

But it is always good to remember when doing so:

For being the cause of the forty-two lads being killed, Elisha was punished later with a painful illness.
My interpretation of the meaning: If you judge the sins of others with no mercy, you will find no mercy when your own sins are judged against you.

The Ninth Scribe
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