The tale of 42 boys, 2 bears and 1 prophet

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Matt Black, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    I'm sure this is somewhat overdone, but a friend of mine in college would talk to me about how his Dad couldn't believe the whole Bible because of this story. It is quite strange when you look at it. You definitely don't learn about it in Sunday School (unless your teacher is bald, perhaps...).


    Forty-two kids mauled (to death we presume) by bears. For making fun of a bald guy. Does this strike an ill chord for anyone else? Anyone care to explain how this fits in to the running theme of the Bible or the "gospel message"? Or how it even fits into the Hebrew Bible's God of wrath--this seems a bit over the top even for THAT.
     
  2. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    2 Kings 2:23-25

    23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

    Elisha was a Prophet. Perhaps it has something to do with making fun of a Prophet?

    Just a thought.

    Selah,

    Tam
     
  3. CYBERDOVE

    CYBERDOVE
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    At first reading, the brief account in these three verses is very troubling. A prophet call on bears to maul children? But in this instance, historical backlground and a precise translation help cast the the event in a different light. Bethel was a hotbed of baal worship, and its residents were engaged in a life and death struggled with the true prophets of GOD. When the youths yelled "go you up you baldhead",they were probally referring to what just happened to the prohet Elijah! They wanted Elisha to go up into the sky---to die! The these youths were probally not children, but a gang of in their late teens, who were threatening the prophet Elisha's life, so Elisha cursed them, and GOD punished them for threatening his anointed prophet. This is what I have gotten from my Bible studies and believed the youths were not little children and Elisha did not call on bears to maul a group of kids. When my cousin first showed me these verses I was shocked by them too. Also it does not say that Elisha called down the bears at all-- Yours in CHRIST--- [​IMG]

    [ October 13, 2005, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: CYBERDOVE ]
     
  4. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    So was Elisha responsible for these people's deaths or God?
     
  5. CYBERDOVE

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    GOD,in my opinion decided the just punishment. Elisha did curse them, but GOD made the final decision. We don't know what they had in store for Elisha, he could not fight all 42 of them. I believe there is a strong possibilty they meant him physical harm. [​IMG]
     
  6. music4Him

    music4Him
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    ....I thought it was the bears?

    CyberDove~ I do like your insight on this.
     
  7. CYBERDOVE

    CYBERDOVE
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    Thanx----m4H-----
     
  8. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    I'm not sure that even a menacing gang of teenagers who have been yelling "Die!" at old Elisha deserve to be torn apart by bears.

    I'm very confused as to how anyone can say that this is really what happened, as the story tells it, and it teaches us a lesson, BUT God didn't send the bears. He just noticed that the bears came out and happened to kill the kids who had been mocking his prophet, and exclaimed, "What a brilliant parable this would make..."

    I can't say that I don't wish, at times, for a pack of she-bears to come and maul a group of Christian protesters yelling "God hates fags" at some rally, though. But even that doesn't strike me as embodying the gospel of love as I understand it.

    God doesn't change.
    Jesus is God.
    Jesus loves and forgives.
    In the Hebrew Bible, God poured out merciless wrath, vengeance and retribution.

    One of these premises is false, IMO.
     
  9. Matt Black

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    How can 2 bears maul 42 six foot 18 year old teenagers?

    what were the other 40 doing when the first 2 were being nibbled at?

    Might I suggest that there was a crowd of 42 who were threatening Elisha's life with serious threatening behaviour, that these 2 bears emerged and ran into the crowd of young men claws at 'maul' setting, and that that saw off the crowd who took the unfortunate couple of casulaties with them?

    That would translate in newspaper parlance as;

    "Mauling she-bears attack crowd of 42."

    You can read what you like into it: was it just a crowd with 42 people involved, some of whom were not anywhere near the claws, or were 42 actually mauled?

    Unfortunately we have read into the Bible's account the notion that 2 bears (where was baby bear?) ate 42 little kiddies.

    [ETA James and John wanted to curse the Samaritan towns, presumably also in the Name of the Lord, but I seem to recall that the reaction was not what they anticipated. Could this situation not be similar - does that help?]
     
  10. music4Him

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    Well then I guess that the captian of 50 with his 50 that were consumed was just aweful also?

    2 Kings 1:9-18

    I know that if the kids were taunting Elisha that would probley mean that they were doing something really wrong. The 2 she bears might of just been haveing a bad hair day and the kids could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Maybe they should of been home obeying their parents and working in the field? (that was my question where were their parents?) My ideal is that these were kids with no respect for elders and had they grow up what kind of trouble could they have caused? It does boggle the mind of thinking of the could of, would of, should of's huh? :D
     
  11. Matt Black

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    Agreed that there is yet another take on this:-

    1. The boys/ youths are in their late teens.

    2. There are at least 42 of them (that's just the number which were mauled not the total who were there necessarily)

    3. They were threatening Elisha's life ("Go on up" is a reference to Elijah's translation ie: death)

    4. Could not this act therefore be regarded as a legitimate act of defence of a defenceless old man against a horde of possibly scores of murderous youths by God through the agency of the bears?
     
  12. music4Him

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    I can (as a parent) when reading this story that youths were mauled to death... could make your heart go out for these kids. Maybe its animal instinct to always protect the young or weak? In that perspective can understand your friends dad feelings.
    Only I remember after reading this story.... I walked away thinking how I better respect my elders.
     

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