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Did Elisha Go Too Far?

"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. 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. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria" (2 Kings 2:23-25 KJV)


Bear There are some who believe that Elisha "went too far" in his response to the "little children" who mocked him. After all, "kids are just kids," right? Did Elisha go too far?

The original Hebrew of the Scriptures of 2 Kings 2:23-25 actually has 2 different original words, both of which are translated as "children" in the King James Version. The first, in verse 23, is (pronounced) nah-ar, and means a boy in general, aged from infancy to adolescence. The other original Hebrew word, in verse 24, is (pronounced) yeh-led and is more specific as to the sort of "children" that were harassing the prophet; it means a lad, or young man. Elisha was being "swarmed" by a gang of teenage thugs - a very big gang, larger than just the "42 of them" that were mauled. Human nature being what it is, Elisha was about to be attacked, and so he responded to a deadly threat with deadly self-defense force.

The second very important consideration is that they weren't just mocking someone at random, they were mocking a prophet of God, and therefore mocking God Himself. Elisha "cursed them in The Name of The Lord," but he had no power make wild bears do what they did. Only God had, and has, the power to do that. It wasn't Elisha's wrath that ripped those young thugs to shreds, it was God's wrath.

Fact Finder: In the 42 months prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ, will there be 2 prophets of God who will have God-given miraculous self-defense powers?
Revelation 11:5-6
See also Smoke On The Water, Fire In The Sky

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