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The Mocking of God's Prophet

After Elisha had spoken the curse, from out of nowhere, two she-bears ran out from out of the woods, attacking, and killing forty-two of the juveniles: "Elisha turned around, looked at them, and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears, came out of the woods, and mauled forty-two of the youths."

Bible Study Article Covers : 2 Kings 2:23-25

Short Recap

In the last article, we'd learned, after God had taken Elijah upwards to glory; the master prophet's mantel, had now been passed on, to his apprentice Elisha. It would be through this mantle, the Lord would confirm Elisha's new position, when it came to him becoming Elijah's successor. This confirmation was revealed, when Elisha was able to use his new cloak, to split the river Jordan. Keep in mind, Elisha was able to walk through the divided river Jordan, all the way over, unto the other side. And after doing so, we would find him standing on dry ground, just like his master, Elijah, was able to do earlier:

"Fifty men from the group of prophets also went and watched from a distance as Elijah and Elisha stopped beside the Jordan River. Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it. The river divided, and the two of them went across on dry ground!" -- 2 Kings 2:8

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Now it's during this time, we find Elisha being able to do the same thing: "Then Elisha took the mantle of Elijah; which was the mantle that had fallen from him, and struck the water with it, and said: 'Where is the Lord God of Elijah?' Then the river divided, and Elisha went across." -- 2 Kings 2:14

It would also be at this time, after the student prophets of Jericho, had seen what Elisha had just done, they said amongst themselves: "The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha." Next we find them going over to him. I would also like to point out, they were curious to know, since the Lord had taken their master, then what happened to Elijah's body? For they just couldn't understand (or accept the fact) that the Lord had taken Elijah completely off this earth, both spiritually and physically.

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Reality Sets In for the
Prophets of Jericho

Nonetheless, after they had failed at their quest, when it came to trying to find Elijah's remains. The company of prophets, finally had to accept the fact, Elijah was no more: "But they kept urging Elisha to let them go, so that they could search for their master. And they'd did this so-much-so, Elisha felt embarrassed the more he resisted them; so he finally said: 'All right, send them.' So fifty men searched for three days, but did not find Elijah. Now Elisha was still at Jericho when they'd returned. And when he'd seen them, he said: 'Didn’t I tell you not to go?'" -- 2 Kings 2:17,18

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Moving Forward...

Now as we move forward in our journey, we find Elisha being well into his ministry. Keep in mind, it's by this time, he had already parted the river Jordan, and now we just learned, he also purified the water wells at Jericho. This came about, because the company of prophets, had told him about a major problem, that at the time, was taking place from within Jericho: "Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive." And after they had told him this, Elisha responded by saying: "Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it."

After the student prophets, had brought Elisha what he had asked for, Elisha went out to the water spring, and it would be at this time, he threw the bowl of salt, into the well. And after this happened, he boldly declared: "This is what the Lord says: 'I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death, or make the land unproductive." And because of the miracle that the Lord had worked through Elisha, on that day, this particular water spring, would remain wholesome and healthy, even to this very day.

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The Mocking of Elisha

However, as the day went on, we find that Elisha, would leave from Jericho, or what I'd like to call "The Jericho Prophet Academy." Nevertheless, Elisha was now on his way to Bethel, so that he can visit, what I also like to call "The Bethel's Prophet Academy." But this wouldn't turn out to be, the routine journey that Elisha had hoped it would. For you see, while Elisha was en route to Bethel, a gang of youths, had left from out of the town, and when they'd saw Elisha, they started to boldly jeer , and taunt the prophet.

Now these juveniles (or youths), were considered to be townsmen, or citizens of Bethel. And not only that, the Sacred Record also informs us, they had been constantly abusive, towards all of the Lord's prophets. Now perhaps, the reason for this aggression, when it came to God's servants, probably dealt with the fact, Bethel was one of two towns, king Jeroboam had instituted his idolatrous calf worship religion into. The other place, where this religion was thriving, would be a town, that was taken over by the descendants of Dan. Remember, Dan was the fifth son, that was born unto Jacob.


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Something To Keep In Mind

Now I also want to point out, during this time, even though king Jeroboam, would be punished behind the implementation, and practice of his calf worship religion; the Sacred Record points out, none of his idolatrous works, and temples, would be destroyed, until the reign of king Josiah. Remember, the prophecy that God had given to the prophet of Judah:

"At the Lord's command, a prophet from Judah went to Bethel. And as he'd arrived there, Jeroboam was approaching the altar, in order to offer a sacrifice. Then at the Lord's command, he'd shouted out: 'O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: "A child named Josiah will be born into the dynasty of David; on you, he will sacrifice the priests of the pagan shrines, for they are the ones who come here to burn incense; human bones will be burned upon you."'" -- 1 Kings 13:1,2

Now when it comes to the Josiah, that the prophet of Judah had spoken about; know that he hadn't been born by this time. So therefore, the calf worship religion, Jeroboam was responsible for, when it came to forcing the pagan practice upon the Israel nation, was still being heavily practiced, from within the towns of Dan, and Bethel. And this is why, I hold true to the notion, that it was for this reason, during this time, the Lord's prophets were constantly being verbally abused, and teased, so aggressively from within the area, of those two towns.

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Elisha Challenged By His Mockers

Nonetheless, as we move forward, we find that Elisha's mockers, taunted the prophet, as he approached Bethel. They did this by shouting out: "Go on up, you bald head. Go on up, you bald head." Now keep in mind, these taunts were in reference, to the miraculous event that had taken place, not too long ago, when God had taken the prophet Elijah, on up to glory. Remember that the Lord had done this, by using a divine whirlwind, and fire horses, back when Elisha, was still in Jericho, training with his master Elijah.

Also understand, since this event had happen in Jericho, and not in Bethel, this miraculous event, would be looked at, as being just some silly rumor. So they'd teased Elisha, daring him to do the same, just as the great Elijah, had done before him. Nevertheless, while they were in the midst of their teasing, Elisha had enough of their taunts. So he turned around, and call down a curse upon them. And he called this curse, in the name of the Lord.

Now what he actually said, was not recorded. However, after Elisha had spoken the curse; from out of nowhere, two she-bears, ran out, from out of the woods, attacking, and killing forty-two, of the juveniles: "Elisha turned around, looked at them, and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears, came out of the woods, and mauled forty-two of the youths." -- 2 Kings 2:24

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A Passage Taken Out Of Context

However, also at this time, I want to point out, this particular event, when it comes to Elisha and the she-bears, is perhaps one of the most controversial events, that has ever been recorded, from within the Sacred Record. For one would find, when it comes to those, who are intent on opposing God and His Word, are constantly arguing: "Why did 42 juveniles, have to lose their lives, just over some little teasing?"

First off, when I'd first wrote about this account, I purposely used the words "youths" and "juveniles." But in the King James translation, the words "little children" are also used. Now imagine that for a moment... ... ...? Okay, now let's briefly touch on the words "little children" for a moment. Understand that these words are translated from the Hebrew word "yeled."

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More on the Hebrew Word "yeled"

Know that this same word, is also used in reference, in regard to a young David, from within this passage: "And Samuel said unto Jesse: 'Are here all thy children?' And he said: 'There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse: 'Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down, till he come hither." -- 1 Samuel 16:11

Now when this Hebrew word "yeled" is used, at this particular time, notice how David, this so-called little child, had already to his credit, killed both a lion, and a bear. Also keep in mind, he'd already had a reputation, for being very courageous, and brave. Now in order for David to have had been so successful, when it came to slaying both a bear, and a lion, he must have been a young man at this time. For no little children (as we see them in today's times) will be able to go out, and kill themselves a lion, let alone a bear.

I also want to point out, these "little children" that were teasing Elisha, also had to be young men themselves. For no little children, would have been venturing off on their on, especially when it comes to leaving out from the safe confines, of the town, in which they'd lived.

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Better To Be With God Than Against

Moving forward... So what about the judgment, that was passed against these young men? Think about that for a moment... a death sentence, simply for teasing? I must admit, it still seems a little harsh. But to be fair, we don't have a clue, on what all these young men, had done up to that point in their lives. Think about this as well, if they were bold enough, to tease, and mock God, and His prophets, so openly; who knows what else they had done, when it came to others. Also, we don't know what was in their hearts, and how much evil, and wickedness, they truly had brewing from within them. Only God know these things.

Now there's something else, I would like to quickly point out. Notice how, when we take a closer look at this Scripture, we find out, Elisha did not actually call out the she-bears. Sure, he'd called down a curse on the juveniles, and he did all of this, in the name of the Lord. But afterwards, it was God, that had sent out the she-bears. It was also God, that enacted the judgment, against the juveniles. For you see, when these juveniles taunted Elisha, and being that he was God's servant, they were also, taunting God. Also think about that, for a moment.

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Careful What You're Wishing For

Bottom line, these juveniles wanted to see the same power, that had taken Elijah up in a whirlwind; and so therefore, God granted them their wish. I hope this clears things up, a little bit better, when it comes to this record, dealing with the Elisha, and the attacking she-bears. To put it simply, it's always better to be for God, than against Him. And unfortunately, for so many in today's world, regardless if they like it or not, this is a reality, they will soon face, if they haven't already. 

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In The Next Upcoming Article :

So we find God personally dealing with those, who have decided to come against His servant Elisha. And it doesn't really matter, if you agree (or disagree) with the fatal punishment, that was enacted against these juveniles (young men), for it's simply a warning to those, who have chosen to do the same thing, in regard to opposing those, who have chosen to follow in the ways of the Lord. Nonetheless, as we move forward, in the next article, we start to take a look, at the record of Jehoram, the new king of Israel, and the Moabite rebellion, that was being lead by Mesha, the king of Moab.

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Biblical Prophets - Bible Study Online

13) Elijah and the Chariot of Fire

14) Elisha the Master Prophet


16) King Mesha's Rebellion

17) Elisha and the Desert of Edom

18) The Blood Water

19) The Widow's Oil Treasure

20) Elisha Finds Favor

21) Bringing The Dead Back To Life

22) Elisha and the Pot of Death

23) The Leprosy of Naaman

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