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Elisha, God, and a couple of she bears

I came across this very, very funny video while perusing the Exploring Our Matrix blog and, since it’s based on one of my favorite horrid passages in the bible, I’d share it.

The passage in question is 2 Kings 2:23-25.

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.

25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

Here’s the funny video. Serious commentary follows.

Theists can spin this story any way they want, but it remains an example of reprehensible morality… period. Bible.org has an article on this bible story and attempt just such spin. I find it very telling that it takes so much text to rationalize the barbarity of this passage… or try to rationalize, I should say. It’s a failure.

From correcting the translation “little children” to “young men,” they seem to imply that killing them was somehow more acceptable.

This was a crowd of young men, perhaps students of the false prophets, who were here as antagonists to Elisha’s prophetic ministry and authority. If not students, they were sent by the false prophets or idolatrous priests of Bethel to stop Elisha from entering the city.

There seems to be a bit of speculation there as well. “…perhaps students of false prophets…” and “If not students, they were sent by false prophets…” Pure speculation and pointless speculation.

Then, of course, the men weren’t just mocking Elisha, but were mocking God

But the greatest disrespect here is in relation to God. These young men, undoubtedly under Satan’s influence, were attacking not just Elisha, the man, but they were also attacking his message. But the issue was, regardless of the personality of the man, his physical appearance, or even his short comings, Elisha was God’s man with God’s message. As a result, in the final analysis they were mocking or rejecting God and what He was attempting to do through Elisha as God’s spokesman.

So it’s not really about Elisha. It’s about God… who seems to be so thin-skinned that he just can’t contain himself when “young men” insult him and has to go into a frenzy of ursine violence.

But wait. There’s more!

Baldness was regarded by the lower orders as a kind of disgrace; for as it was one of the usual consequences of leprosy, so it was accounted a sign of personal and mental degradation. Hence, in using this opprobrious epithet, the young profligates had a most malicious intention. Their expressions are not to be viewed as a mere burst of youthful wantonness; but as poisoned arrows, pointed and directed by refined and satanic malignity.

Wait… so it is about Elisha? Certainly, God isn’t bald, is he? Otherwise, baldness wouldn’t be a “kind of disgrace.” So are the young men were really insulting Elisha? It sounds like it’s not so much a case of the men insulting God as it is a case of the men insulting someone that God likes… sort of like a man getting upset if you insult his wife. Again, that would portray God as a petulant narcissist, getting upset that everyone doesn’t like his favorites.

The article goes on, but it doesn’t get any better or any more convincing. In the conclusion, it states:

God does not take it lightly when we ignore His Word or hinder its propagation in the world among His people. This is serious business

I’d say that, from the perspective of the 42 young men, it certainly is serious business.

Here’s one more article about the bible passage, and it’s even worse, with more wanton speculation and more feeble attempts to justify God’s (and/or Elisha’s) actions. The more they attempt to rationalize, the less their god looks omnipotent… or loving… or fair… or just.

Angry and jealous, maybe.

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