Sunday, June 7, 2009

The youths

Elisha was such an interesting character huh? He had a double portion of Elija's spirit and performed quite a number of very cool miracles! However, the details about the youths (2 Kings 2:23-25) puzzled me...

Scenario: Youths from Bethel made fun of Elisha, he cursed them, and 42 of the youths were mauled by 2 bears... wow.

My thoughts: Being mauled by bears means they were severely hurt or killed right? They were youths, so they were just children right? Shouldn't Elisha have been more patient and forgiving? Doesn't God have a special care and concern for children? If He does, why did He answer Elisha's curse? And the youths said "Go on up, you baldhead!" At face value, these words were not nice, but were they deserving of severe injury or death? And shouldn't Elisha and God have given them a little grace or mercy because they were children and prolly didn't know any better?

Some thoughts from scholars: I looked this passage up in the Life Application Bible, and here are the scholars' thoughts... Bethel was a religious center of idolatry in the northern kingdom of Israel. The youths might not have been mere children, but perhaps were young men or teens. They were not merely teasing Elisha about his baldness, but was most likely showing severe disrespect for Elisha's message and God's power. They were probably warning Elisha not to speak against their immorality as Elijah had done. And lastly, when Elisha cursed them, he didn't call out the bears himself. Rather, it appears that God sent the bears as a judgment for their callous unbelief, idolatry, and sin.

Hmmm, interesting huh?


Justin Seibel said...

Actually this is one of the funnier scriptures in the bible to me. Don't mess with a man of God!

Teena Phamster said...

Thanks 4 the thorough questions n thoughts Tera. At first I thought it was funny too when I read it... A bunch of kids name calling and stuff. But it is a pretty severe punishment! Well, that will definitely teach any kid to watch what they are saying. I didn't feel that bad for the youths since men of God were being mauled too for disobeying.

I think what is even more crazy is the canabalism going on a day of two ago. The two mothers who were suffering a great famine cooked up one son and ate him. That's brutal and quite disburbing. The kid didn't do anything 'sinful' but got the bad ending. :(

Overall, people are interesting and the outcome of life can be so unexpected. Fortunately God knows what he is doing and continue to work in each of our lives.