Why did God slaughter these children?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by evangelist6589, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
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    2 Kings 2:23-25. I read it in the NIV, ESV, and KJV. NIV says youth, ESV says boys, and KJV Little children, so with the translations I am confused if the crowd that was jeering Elisha was boys, little children, or youth. Elisha then calls on a curse and two bears (perhaps female) came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the youths/children/little boys. I am at a loss as to why God allowed this, but since I believe in His sovereignty I trust He did the best thing, for without the instant deaths, all of the youths would have grown up and gone to hell when they died, so the mauling was an act of grace.

    What is your take on this account? This is not a passage that you hear much if at all in churches these days. But its a lesson to be learned on God's Holiness and his sovereignty over everything.
     
  2. blessedwife318

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    So you think that they went to heaven? Even though they were most likely teenagers that were directly opposing God?
     
  3. InTheLight

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    "It's a mystery."
     
  4. Don

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    In 1 Kings 12:8, we see the same word as in 2 Kings 2:24: yeled. In 1 Kings 12:8, the young men in question were the ones Rehoboam consulted; since most study guides indicate Rehoboam was about 41 when he ascended to the throne, we don't assume that he would be consulting young men under 12.

    In 2 Kings 2:23, we see that the little children came out of the city; it's not hard to imagine that there was a large group that was making fun of the prophet of God, whether by simple childish foolishness or by taunting the target of their parents' scorn and ridicule. But we have a change in wording from verse 23 to verse 24: verse 23 uses na'ar, with a modifier of qatan (little, or young).

    Coupled with the word that means "little" or "young" and the word that means "young man," and further coupled with the usage in 1 Kings 12, we can come to a conclusion that these children were not necessarily under 12 years old, but young boys, perhaps pre-teens or early teenagers. As such, they could be considered fully accountable for their actions.
     
  5. Scarlett O.

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    Don is right about them not being little children. The Hebrew word can mean even "son".

    And no need to question why God did this. Yes, it's shocking, but the town those young men were from, Bethel, was a hotbed of idolatry. See 1 Kings 13:32 - "For the saying which he cried out by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the shrines on the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, will surely come to pass"

    These young men coming out of the city to meet Elisha were a mob. The bear "tore up" 42 of them meaning that there was more of them.

    What did they mean by calling him bald? I don't know. I've heard things and read things over the years that all cite sources saying that it could have meant a host of things from calling him stupid, to making fun of him having no hair, to claiming him to be a leper, to making fun of his age.

    I don't know what they meant. But guess what .... God knew what they meant. Just as God knew what they meant by "go up!" Did they mean for him to fly to away, like Elijah and get away from them or did they mean for him to die? I don't know.

    God knows the heart.

    Elisha must have felt threatened by the sheer number of them AND the threats. His pride wasn't wounded - I don't believe that at all.

    I believe that the mocking/threatening of God's man by a mass mob from a town that practiced idolatry wasn't so much an affront to Elisha as it was to God.

    And who knows? Maybe as the surviving young men and the wounded who lived went BACK to Bethel, the message that God was not to be rebelled against was loud and clear.

    Just my two cents.


     
  6. McCree79

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    Has Scarlett said, they were from Bethel, which was a hotbed of apostasy. I would agree that the large mob of boys, old enough to travel on their own, was a physical threat to God's prophet. It could be the mockery that brought judgement down. But look at what large groups of "boys" did in Baltimore this year. God most likely protected his prophet.
     
  7. Deacon

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    Any study of the history of Elisha needs to look for parallels in the life of Elijah who preceded him.

    In 1 Kings 19 Elijah laments that ‘he along remains among the faithful of Israel’.

    The “voice” (19:13) of the LORD (vs 15) tells Elijah to anoint a king who will destroy unbelieving Israelites – and also says Elisha will sweep those unbelievers who remain ( 1 Ki 19:1-17).

    The story of the youths you've asked about follows Elisha’s ‘healing’ of a towns sick water [Jericho?] (2 Ki 2:19-22), as he is leaving he looks back (vs 24) and sees the youths of the town mocking him - unbelievers.

    Rob
     
  8. Scarlett O.

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    Good to know.
     
  9. evangelist6589

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    Then the NIV had the best translation as it said they were youth.
     
  10. evangelist6589

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    I did not know this
     
  11. Don

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    Is this thread about translations, or your question about what happened in 2 Kings 2?

    Don't let people mess you up because of a translation. I prefer the King James; but I didn't reference three other bibles to try to figure this out. I conducted what's called a "word study" and researched the original Hebrew words. Then I looked at context and compared.

    Yeesh. Not a "thank you" to anyone that provided a studied, researched answer that you could have done yourself--and should have. Instead, a snippy comment about translations with no regard to the fact that the KJ was absolutely correct in the cultural understanding of the words used at the time it was written.

    I don't know why I bother. My blood pressure just goes up. Outta here.
     
  12. McCree79

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    Don,

    I don't think Evan was attacking the KJV. He just stated the NIV was more accurate for today's English usage. The KJV was one of the 3 translations he turned to. When he ran across a difficult verse, he turned to the NIV, ESV, and KJV. Showing his trust in all 3.

    As you said "that the KJ was absolutely correct in the cultural understanding of the words used at the time it was written.". The same would apply to the NIV today. The way words are used today, the NIV is on the mark.

    We shouldn't criticize others for asking our opinions. This forum has the ability to be a great learning tool.
     
  13. Inspector Javert

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    We shouldn't be sure the bears actually "killed" them.

    They, tore them, mauled them, attacked them, rent them open etc....
    But, it's a little bit of a stretch to insist the bears killed them all.

    It wasn't a good day for those kids, but, I wouldn't insist they all died in the event.
     
  14. evangelist6589

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    The text says the kids were mauled. Have you ever been mauled by a bear? I really do not think that many kids survived the bears.
     
  15. Don

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    I may be mistaken, but I think I've been dealing with John longer than you; however, upon reflection, you're correct. I dealt too harshly.

    John, my apologies.
     
  16. evangelist6589

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    You were incorrect and very harsh. It is a rare event when you apologize but I do accept it.
     
  17. Don

    Don
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    Where was I incorrect?
     
  18. Inspector Javert

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  19. Deacon

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    It's generally a good to practice to look at many versions and compare their word choices.
    None of the versions are wrong here, even though they differ. The translators had to make a choice.

    2 Kings 2:23

    1) "little children"

    English text comparison:

    "little children" (AV, JPS1917),
    "young lads" (ASV, NASB),
    "small boys" (ESV, HCSB, NRSV),
    "young boys" (NET),
    "some boys" (NIV),
    "some youths" (NIV84, NKJV)

    The Hebrew consists of two words – both quite common
    a) qutan – young, small
    b) naar – young man with a semantic range that includes young children to men [in plural form it may include unmarried women].

    2) Maul

    English definition: ■ verb
    1 (of an animal) wound by scratching and tearing.
    ▶ handle or treat savagely or roughly.
    Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2004).

    English Text Comparison:
    tore (tare) (AV, ASV, NASB, ESV)
    mauled (NRSV, NKJV, HCSB, NIV, NLT)
    ripped (NET)


    Hebrew word meaning:

    בקע: basic meaning to split, …
    qal: pf. בָּקַע, בָּֽקְעָה, בָּקַעְתָּ; impf. וַיִּבְקַע, וַיִּבְקְעוּ, וַיִּבְקָעוּהָ; impv. בְּקָעֵהוּ; inf. בִּקְעָם (BL 343b); pt. בֹּ(וֹ)קֵעַ: —1. to split, cleave: wood Qoh 109, bones Ju 1519, hand (rd. כַּף) Ezk 297, rock Is 4821, sea Ex 1416 Ps 7813 Neh 911, water Is 6312; to break open (spring) Ps 7415; to rip open (pregnant mothers) Am 113; —2. to hatch (eggs) :): דגר brood) Is 3415 1QHod ii 27f, → nif. 3; —3. to force a breach, open up a country with military force, with acc. 2C 2117, with בְּ 2S 2316 1C 1118; בָּ׳ עָרִים אֵלָיו to acquire by conquering 2C 321 (→ nif. 1); —Ps 1417 rd. וּבָקִעַ, alt. יְבַקַּע. †

    pi: pf. בִּקֵּעַ, בִּקֵּֽעוּ, בִּקַּעְתִּי; impf. תְּבַקַּע/קֵֽעַ, תְּבַקְּעֵם; וַיְבַקְּעוּ, וַתְּבַקַּעְנָה; —1. to split: wood Gn 223 1S 614, rocks Ps 7815; with two acc., to divide (the earth with streams) Hab 39; to rip up 2K 812 1516; —2. to make (a storm) break out Ezk 1313; —3. to tear to pieces 2K 224 Hos 138; —4. to hatch Is 595; —5. technological term בִּ׳ יְאֹרִים to excavate tunnels Jb 2810; —Ezk 1311 rd. תִּבָּקַע. †

    Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1999). The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed., pp. 149-150). Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill.

    Rob
     
  20. JonC

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    :thumbsup: It is good to see the two of you getting along. I think that we are all blessed by your gracious acceptance of Don's apology and hopefully more here will learn from your example.
     

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