Thursday, September 1, 2016

When Bears Come Out of the Woods

O. T. #824  "When Bears Come Out of the Woods"
Sept. 1, 2016
2 Kings 2-Part 8


Aren't there days when it seems nothing goes right? There's a dead mouse in the house and I can't find it. A phone call interrupts my nap. People are growling at me. We've all experienced them. Perhaps bears came out of the woods. Are they chasing me? Gee, I got to run to Jesus and get my armor of faith on. Today's Bible story has bears coming out of the woods, after children.

Here in verses 23-25, we read  a story that is often very misunderstood. I know that I have.
What happens in Elisha's life?
  • He leaves Jericho and goes to Bethel. (verse 23a)
  • As he was walking, children (KJV), or a group of boys (NLT),from the town began mocking and making fun of Elisha. (verse 23b)
  • They said to him, "Go up, thou bald head," as KJV says; "Go away, baldy" as NLT puts it. (verse 23c)
What? Children were mocking the prophet of God? No, that is where we misunderstand. So I looked in my concordance for the Hebrew meanings of the two words children:
In verse 23, children means from age of infancy to adolescence; a girl or boy; a lad or off spring;
in verse 24, it refers to something born; a lad or offspring; boy, child, young man. 

My stack of commentaries seem to agree with it this conclusion: They were young lads (NASB).
  • They were no innocent children, but a band of rowdy teenagers. They mocked Elijah's translation. It was an insult to God's appointed prophet. (Falwell)
  • These were not children, but infidels and idolatrous young men in their late teens or twenties. They were sarcastically insulting God's prophet. (MacArthur)
  • These youth were young men, not children, and possibly false prophets of Baal. They implied that Elisha should go into heaven as Elijah had. (David Jeremiah)
These explanations seemed to clear up my question, but as my husband pastor pointed out to me, the King James Bible uses little children, not just children. Therefore, he says these mockers were children, not youth.

Well, that shoots down my opinion. I did overlook word little, which can mean small or young.
Either way, it is obvious that they were not taught to have respect for God's man. Did these little children grow up hearing their parents make insults about Elijah? Was it their culture that influenced them? Did this happen due to peer pressure? Ultimately, it was the choice of the little children to insult Elisha.
If you're like me, it is easier to accept this group being rowdy teenager boys instead of little children.
So, are we teaching our children to respect authority and the men of God?


What happens next is unusual. Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then 42 she bears came out of the woods and tared, mauled, 42 of them.
Tare refers to rend, break, rip, or open.

Children would not have stood a chance in surviving a mamma bear attacking them.
It is a sad event. I try to keep in mind that these children grew up in idolatry and God gives mercy on whom He chooses. Some things we do not understand now.
Are we prepared to reap what we sow?
Are we prepared for the bears to come out of the our woods? 


Show respect to God's anointed.

Teach children to do the same.

Be prepared to reap what I sow.

No comments:

Post a Comment