2 Kings 2:24
Parallel Verses
New International Version
He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

King James Bible
And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

Darby Bible Translation
And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of Jehovah. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tore forty-two children of them.

World English Bible
He looked behind him and saw them, and cursed them in the name of Yahweh. Two female bears came out of the woods, and mauled forty-two of those youths.

Young's Literal Translation
And he looketh behind him, and seeth them, and declareth them vile in the name of Jehovah, and two bears come out of the forest, and rend of them forty and two lads.

2 Kings 2:24 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

cursed them

2 Kings 1:10-12 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven...

Genesis 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.

Deuteronomy 28:15-26 But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God...

Judges 9:20,57 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo...

Jeremiah 28:16 Therefore thus said the LORD; Behold, I will cast you from off the face of the earth: this year you shall die...

Jeremiah 29:21-23 Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah...

Lamentations 3:65 Give them sorrow of heart, your curse to them.

Amos 7:17 Therefore thus said the LORD; Your wife shall be an harlot in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword...

Mark 11:14,21 And Jesus answered and said to it, No man eat fruit of you hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it...

Acts 5:5,9 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things...

Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Acts 13:9-11 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him...

2 Corinthians 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

she bears

2 Samuel 17:8 For, said Hushai, you know your father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds...

Proverbs 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

Proverbs 28:15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

Hosea 13:8 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the lobe of their heart...

children of them

Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God...

1 Kings 13:24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcass was cast in the way, and the donkey stood by it...

1 Kings 19:17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapes the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay...

1 Kings 20:36 Then said he to him, Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as you are departed from me...

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
Nehemiah 13:25
I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God's name and said: "You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves.

2 Kings 2:25
And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

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