Day 159 – Go Up, You Baldhead!!

My husband is folicularly challenged, which is to say: he’s bald. Well, not completely, but that ring around his head has been long since shaved down to a hip 1/4 inch to accompany his hip 1/4 inch beard.

Very handsome look, I must say.

What, you ask, does that have to do with today’s reading??

Well this morning, I ran into one of my favorite fun passages in Scripture where “some small boys came out of the city and jeered at [Elisha], saying, ‘Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!’ [by which the boys meant, ‘go away, baldie’]” (2 Kings 2: 23 ESV)

I can just imagine that scene in my mind. Reminds me of the baldhead I married.

But, then comes the rest of the passage –  which since this is history –  is pretty disturbing:

And [Elisha] turned around, and when he saw [the boys], he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. vs. 24

I’m not sure what’s worse: the boys getting ripped apart or the fact that she-bears are blamed (I’ve learned alot about how gentle she-bears typically are here).

Obviously – all kidding aside – when I think about these deaths, I wanted to skip over this story and write about Jesus’ wonderful assurances in John 16.

But, then, I’d be copping out of dealing with a difficult passage, one that doesn’t make Elisha look too good – or God, either, for that matter. Judging from a quick Google search on the topic, I’m not the only one that has wrestled with this issue!

Commentaries – here I come.  In fact, the ESV Study Bible’s discussion of the passage was so helpful, I shall quote some of it here (p. 649):

The focal point of Israel’s apostasy was Bethel (see 1 Kings 12:25-13:34). Therefore, it is no surprise to find  young people from this city adopting a disrespectful attitude toward a prophet of the Lord, and to treat a prophet with disrespect is to treat God himself with disrespect….

Though [Elisha’s judgment] may at first seem harsh, the group must have included over 50 boys old enough to be out running in a  pack, and so they constituted something of a physical threat to Elisha. The authors of Kings regularly show that contempt toward divinely called prophets is disatrous for God’s people.

Well, that helps. It wasn’t just a few boys yelling taunts, but a mob that really hated Elisha, just like Ahab and Jezebel hated Elijah – and anything of the one true God.

I can imagine a group attacking Elisha to the extent that he had to call on bears for help.

But why not lions?

Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 2:1-2:25,  Psalm 71:7-16, Proverbs 18:6-8, John 16:1-4b-33. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).

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