2 Kings 2:23
Parallel Verses
New International Version
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. "Get out of here, baldy!" they said. "Get out of here, baldy!"

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
And he went up from thence to Bethel, and as he went up by the way, there came forth little boys out of the city, and mocked him, and said to him, Go up, bald head; go up, bald head!

World English Bible
He went up from there to Bethel. As he was going up by the way, some youths came out of the city and mocked him, and said to him, "Go up, you baldy! Go up, you baldhead!"

Young's Literal Translation
And he goeth up thence to Beth-El, and he is going up in the way, and little youths have come out from the city, and scoff at him, and say to him, 'Go up, bald-head! go up, bald-head!'

2 Kings 2:23 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

There came forth little children out of the city - These were probably the school of some celebrated teacher; but under his instruction they had learned neither piety nor good manners.

Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head - עלה קרח עלה קרח aleh kereach, aleh kereach. Does not this imply the grossest insult? Ascend, thou empty skull, to heaven, as it is pretended thy master did! This was blasphemy against God; and their punishment (for they were Beth-elite idolaters) was only proportioned to their guilt. Elisha cursed them, i.e., pronounced a curse upon them, in the name of the Lord, בשם יהוה beshem Yehovah, by the name or authority of Jehovah. The spirit of their offense lies in their ridiculing a miracle of the Lord: the offense was against Him, and He punished it. It was no petulant humor of the prophet that caused him to pronounce this curse; it was God alone: had it proceeded from a wrong disposition of the prophet, no miracle would have been wrought in order to gratify it.

"But was it not a cruel thing to destroy forty-two little children, who, in mere childishness, had simply called the prophet bare skull, or bald head?" I answer, Elisha did not destroy them; he had no power by which he could bring two she-bears out of the wood to destroy them. It was evidently either accidental, or a Divine judgment; and if a judgment, God must be the sole author of it. Elisha's curse must be only declaratory of what God was about to do. See on 2 Kings 1:10 (note). "But then, as they were little children, they could scarcely be accountable for their conduct; and consequently, it was cruelty to destroy them." If it was a judgment of God, it could neither be cruel nor unjust; and I contend, that the prophet had no power by which he could bring these she-bears to fall upon them. But were they little children? for here the strength of the objection lies. Now I suppose the objection means children from four to seven or eight years old; for so we use the word: but the original, נערים קטנים nearim ketannim, may mean young men, for קטן katon signifies to be young, in opposition to old, and is so translated in various places in our Bible; and נער naar signifies, not only a child, but a young man, a servant, or even a soldier, or one fit to go out to battle; and is so translated in a multitude of places in our common English version. I shall mention but a few, because they are sufficiently decisive: Isaac was called נער naar when twenty-eight years old, Genesis 21:5-12; and Joseph was so called when he was thirty-nine, Genesis 41:12. Add to these 1 Kings 20:14 : "And Ahab said, By whom [shall the Assyrians be delivered into my hand?] And he said, Thus saith the Lord, by the Young Men, בנערי benaarey, of the princes of the provinces." That these were soldiers, probably militia, or a selection from the militia, which served as a bodyguard to Ahab, the event sufficiently declares; and the persons that mocked Elisha were perfectly accountable for their conduct.

But is it not possible that these forty-two were a set of unlucky young men, who had been employed in the wood, destroying the whelps of these same she-bears, who now pursued them, and tore them to pieces, for the injury they had done? We have already heard of the ferocity of a bear robbed of her whelps; see at the end of 2 Samuel 17:28. The mention of She-bears gives some color to the above conjecture; and, probably, at the time when these young fellows insulted the prophet, the bears might be tracing the footsteps of the murderers of their young, and thus came upon them in the midst of their insults, God's providence ordering these occurrences so as to make this natural effect appear as a Divine cause. If the conjecture be correct, the bears were prepared by their loss to execute the curse of the prophet, and God's justice guided them to the spot to punish the iniquity that had been just committed.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Beth-el

1 Kings 12:28-32 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem...

Hosea 4:15 Though you, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not you to Gilgal, neither go you up to Bethaven, nor swear...

Hosea 10:5,15 The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it...

Amos 3:14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel on him I will also visit the altars of Bethel...

Amos 4:4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning...

Amos 5:5 But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity...

Amos 7:13 But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.

little children The words () not only signify {little children} but {young men}; for {katon} signifies not only {little}, but {young,} in opposition to {old;} and () signifies not only a {child}, but a {young man} grown to years of maturity: thus Isaac is called () when {twenty-eight} years old, Joseph when {thirty-nine}, and Rehoboam when {forty.} These idolatrous {young men}, having heard of the ascension of Elijah, without believing it, blasphemously bade Elisha to follow him. The venerable prophet, from a Divine impulse, pronounced a {curse} `in the name of the Lord,' which was immediately followed by the most terrible judgment; thus evincing the Source from which it flowed.

Job 19:18 Yes, young children despised me; I arose, and they spoke against me.

Job 30:1,8 But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock...

Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Proverbs 22:6,15 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it...

Ecclesiastes 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Isaiah 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD...

Isaiah 3:5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor...

Jeremiah 7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven...

mocked

Genesis 21:9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born to Abraham, mocking.

2 Chronicles 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets...

Job 30:1,8,9 But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock...

Psalm 35:15 But in my adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yes, the attackers gathered themselves together against me...

Isaiah 57:3,4 But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore...

Galatians 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

Go up

2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire...

Matthew 27:29-31,40-43 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him...

Library
The Translation of Elijah and the Ascension of Christ
'And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.'--2 KINGS ii. 11. 'And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.'--LUKE xxiv. 51. These two events, the translation of Elijah and the Ascension of our Lord, have sometimes been put side by side in order to show that the latter narrative is nothing
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Gentleness Succeeding Strength
'He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14. And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. 15. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
1. The Greek word canon (originally a straight rod or pole, measuring-rod, then rule) denotes that collection of books which the churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books included in it the term canonical is applied. The Canon of the Old Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth extending through
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Call of Elisha
God had bidden Elijah anoint another to be prophet in his stead. "Elisha the son of Shaphat . . . shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room" (1 Kings 19:16), He had said; and in obedience to the command, Elijah went to find Elisha. As he journeyed northward, how changed was the scene from what it had been only a short while before! Then the ground was parched, the farming districts unworked, for neither dew nor rain had fallen for three and a half years. Now on every hand vegetation was springing
Ellen Gould White—The Story of Prophets and Kings

Cross References
Leviticus 13:40
"A man who has lost his hair and is bald is clean.

2 Kings 2:22
And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.

2 Chronicles 36:16
But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.

Psalm 31:17
Let me not be put to shame, LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead.

Psalm 31:18
Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

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