Your Friday Firestorm #15

And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: 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.

(2 Kings 2:23-24)

Discuss.

Comments

  1. I applaud the Lord for defending bald people with such ferocity. Shame on those children for insulting the Lord’s annointed.

  2. John Scherer says:

    My kids were making fun of my fatness the other day, so I used this scripture for our daily study. The looks on their faces were priceless. I then asked them to raise their hands if they really thought that god would send a bear to attack children for making fun of a bald guy. Luckily none raised their hands. It was a good lesson for them about how we need to read the scriptures (especially the Old Testament) prayerfully and decipher the things that have value for us and toss the rest out.

  3. Why isn’t this or this in the Gospel Art Picture Kit?

  4. Wow! And I thought I was too easily offended.

  5. And yet… We find it much harder to blow off other random violent statements from the Old Testament.

  6. My father cited this scripture many, many times in my childhood. Having a full head of hair, however, he generalized it as a lesson against all mockery of old people.

  7. This scripture exemplifies how to magnify your calling. The she bears didn’t just scare the children away, or hurt a few of them. None of this “Never at any time have I shed the blood of man” talk. The she bears didn’t even merely kill the children–they “tare forty and two children of them.” If only I could be as valiant in my home teaching.

  8. Norbert,
    I laughed and laughed at the art work. Thanks. You made my day.

  9. When reading this, I thought of an interview I heard this week on a Radio 4 podcast with Karen Armstrong, who has just written The Bible: A Biography. In it, she argues the Bible, especially the OT, is best seen as a collection of tales, and only fundamentalists would take the whole thing literally. I have to say this kind of thing makes her argument more convincing.

  10. There’s a BYU prof. who’s taken a good stab at this in BYU Studies.

    ” Elisha and the Children: The Question of Accepting Prophetic Succession

    The account of Elisha’s curse of the forty-two young people and their seemingly unjustified fatal end when attacked by two bears has puzzled Latter-day Saints as well as other students of the Bible. An enlightening solution to this unusual incident, as I argue here, also leads to a clearer view of an important underlying issue: the acceptance or nonacceptance of divinely approved succession among prophetic personalities, in this case Elisha’s succession to the prophet Elijah.

    Most scholars who have analyzed the problematic passage in which Elisha is called “baldy” or “baldheaded” (qereah) by a group of youths agree that this word should be translated literally (2 Kings 2:23–24). But the issue does not end here. Philological and contextual evidence suggests that the word qereah is being used figuratively to denote a person who is a usurper of authority. In this light, the question of how qereah is to be interpreted on a figurative level should be approached systematically, beginning with an analysis of the Hebrew text that underlies translations of 2 Kings 2:23–24″

    Link to pdf
    .

  11. “Stab” is right. Or “lacerate.”

    As Daniel Ludlow notes in his book A Companion to Your Study of the Old Testament (p. 238):

    Ellis Rasmussen has provided the following commentary on these verses:

    The stories of Elisha are mostly tales of his “good-turn” miracles for people, but this initial one is different. He was insulted by youths (Hebrew na’arim is “youths” usually, rather than “little children”) who challenged him to ascend (as they had perhaps heard that Elijah had ascended), and taunted him with the dishonorable epithet “bald-head.” Note that the account does not say the bears ate the children, nor even that they killed them, but tore them. The Hebrew word also means to “lacerate.” (IOT 2:11.)

    These punks needed to be roughed up a bit to teach them a lesson.

  12. I heard a rumor from a guy who knows a guy who has a friend that knows a guy who said that the Church purchased 200 she bears to let loose at general conference.

  13. A teenager who shares my house and last name wasn’t making much progress in seminary with the prescribed scripture mastery verses. As an alternative, his teacher allowed him to select scripture passages on his own and memorize them for credit.

    He did this one, and the one about women being silent in church (his teacher was a woman) and some from the Song of Solomon.

  14. This was not torture. It was simply an aggressive interrogation technique.

  15. This passage also brings to mind an experience from Wilford Woodruff’s mission in the southeastern United States:

    We started about sunrise and crossed a thirty-mile prairie, apparently as level as a house floor, without shrub or water. We arrived at timber about two o’clock in the afternoon. As we approached the timber a large black bear came out towards us. We were not afraid of him, for we were on the Lord’s business, and had not mocked God’s prophets as did the forty-two wicked children who said to Elisha, “Go up thou bald head,” for which they were torn by bears.

    When the bear got within eight rods of us he sat on his haunches and looked at us a moment, and then ran away; and we went on our way rejoicing.

    (Leaves from My Journal, p. 16)

  16. I think the comments so far show how easy it is to misunderstand a text when no effort is made beyond reading it in the KJV. Outdated language combined with lack of ability to understand the text in its own cultural context leads to misunderstanding. Not to pick on John, but I don’t think “god would send a bear to attack children for making fun of a bald guy” is an accurate summary of what’s happening.

    Granted, this text in the KJV lends itself really easily to this kind of comment :)

  17. John Scherer says:

    Nitsav,

    I make no efforts to hide my ignorance in this matter :). I appreciate the education.

  18. Nick Literski says:

    Matt W. #12, ROTFLOL!!

    On its face, the story sounds an awful lot like a cautionary fairy tale. You know the drill. Little Red Riding Hood is told to go straight to Grandma’s house, but the little dear just can’t help but detour for the alleged “good intent” of picking some flowers for Grandma on the way. What does her disobedience get her? Why, she gets eaten by the Big Bad Wolf! Of course, lest the little darlings hearing the story have bad dreams, Red gets rescued by the handsome woodsman who brutally chops the wolf open with his axe.

    Here’s another take. What’s the first thing you think of, when you hear of a “she-bear” going on the attack? Defending her cubs, right? I can imagine a scenario where these youth are not only mocking Elisha, but also messing with one or more bear cubs (the native bears in that region have been extinct since the early 20th centry, btw), bringing on an attack. Wouldn’t it be easy for religiously inclined (dare I say “superstitious,” given the time frame?) to attribute the attack to divine retribution against anyone bold enough to blaspheme deity’s chosen one.

  19. I have a diferent perspective of this scripture. We are sometimes conditioned by our upbringing or media influences to presuppose the gory, horrific and/or sensational to cause emotional reactions within us to capture our attention.

    However, if we analyize the word “tare” we find there are many differing definitions and usages.

    For example one definition means to “pull apart or in pieces by force.” This is most often the presumed horrific and sensational conclusion we draw.

    Other definitions are “to distress greatly”, think scared or frigthened, and “to divide or disrupt”, think scattered running away in all directions.

    Given these definitions of the word “tare” we can perceive this scripture to mean that the she bears “frightend and scattered running away in all directions” forty and two children of them.

    This would seem to be a more realistic event that I would believe that a loving God would indeed do to chasten and teach His children a lesson.

    Thanks and God Bless

  20. About this time is when the bears won their last superbowl too, BTW…

  21. I’m indignant that the author made it a point to specify the gender of the bears. The sexist. He bears are just as capable as she bears of tearing children limb from limb.

  22. I agree with JNS in #5. This is a good illustration of how we pick and choose what to accept from the Bible. It’s easy to dismiss this story because it doesn’t sound like something the Lord would really do. But this story is much less violent and much more plausible than a global flood that killed virtually every living being on the earth.

    As an aside, our LDS KJV does not include a Joseph Smith translation note for the she-bear story. This could potentially persuade some to believe in this story more literally (although I personally don’t view the JST as a definitive correction of everything that was errant or not “translated correctly”).

  23. An edited version of the original thought question:

    Raise your hands if you really think that [G]od would send a two she-bears to attack children young men for making fun of accusing a bald guy the prophet Elisha of “being a usurper of [prophetic] authority, an act that warranted serious consequences for speaking evil of the Lord’s prophet” [cf. Lev. 26:21-22.

  24. Tanya Sue says:

    Matt W #12- I just had to explain to someone at work why I started laughing to hard. Classic.

  25. Re #18:

    I noticed that Adam Clarke suggested that the youth had killed some cubs here.

  26. John Scherer says:

    Now Justin,
    Now how can I use THAT as retribution for my kids making fun of me :) .

  27. I’ve been thinking about biblical literalists and strict constructionist approaches to the constitution, and how they could be related. All of us liberal Democrats better be on our toes here. Never know when a she-bear (Ann Coulter?) is going to come out of the woods after us on our morning jog.

    Good thing my hair is only going gray, rather than bald.

  28. Nick Literski says:

    I don’t see any evidence that an LDS notion of “prophetic authority” existed in ancient Israel. Therefore, I think the idea of deity sending bears to attack someone for questioning the “authority” of a prophet is highly questionable.

  29. Steve Evans says:

    Nick, notions of prophetic authority are all over the O.T. Whether or not they correspond to LDS notions is another matter, but the Old Testament is very much a history of establishing the LORD as the true God and Elijah, Elisha, etc. as the real-deal prophet.

  30. It just goes to show, nobody reads anything anymore. If any of you had dug deeper into Mark Twain, you’d have got to Pudd’n’head Wilson, whose wisdom exceeds that of the whole blogosphere combined. His commentary on the passage:

    There is this trouble about special providences–namely, there is so often a doubt as to which party was intended to be the beneficiary. In the case of the children, the bears, and the prophet, the bears got more real satisfaction out of the episode than the prophet did, because they got the children.

  31. MikeInWeHo says:

    New translations like the NIV tend to use the word “maul,” right?

    This scripture reminds me of when I was a young child, maybe 8, sitting in (Lutheran) Sunday school. It was that age when I was learning new words but not their meaning and appropriate use. For some reason I called the SS teacher a fool. Instantly she pointed her finger at me and bellowed Matthew 5:22 (“whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”). It was a verbal mauling in front of the entire class, and I have been religiously traumatized ever since. Life lesson: Don’t mess with German Sunday School teachers. They play hardball.

  32. And, kudos to Wilford Woodruff for his ability to estimate distance in rods! (Had he worked as a surveyor while a lad?) Is there any among us who even knows what a rod is–without googling it? I thought I did, but was a foot and one-half off.

  33. Nick Literski says:

    Steve, I’m not speaking of authority to speak the word of deity, or even the legitimacy of inspiration. Rather, I’m talking about prophets as authority figures who are so divinely entitled to deference, that one would expect deity to punish anyone who treated them disrespectfully. In the Old Testament, prophets aren’t a particularly rare commodity. Warnings abound for failing to heed them, and for assasinating them. Even in the New Testament, Jesus comments on failure to heed the prophets, and killing the prophets.

    Do you see anything in the Old Testament that suggests that entire congregations would feel compelled to stand when a prophet entered the room? Or that his associates would be sure that he passed through doorways before anyone else, to be followed by others in respective rank? These are signs of respect and admiration that exist in LDS culture toward a singular “THE” prophet (as opposed to the other 14 people sustained as prophets), but there simply isn’t an analogue in ancient Israel—and especially not such that deity would send wild animals to enforce it.

  34. Attack by wild animals is a common covenant curse, cp. Lev. 26:22, Deut. 32:24, 1 Kings 13:28, Hela 7:19. If the children are from Jericho then they would be particularly ungrateful, as he had just purified their water supply in the preceding verses.

    JNS (5), the link is to a chapter that contains a laundry list of purity issues, many of which are sexual offenses, most of which are considered capital offenses. How are they “random”? These laundry lists were largely reactionary to local Canaanite cultures, which prominently featured human sacrifice and ritual cult prostitution associated with fertility rites, and the Lord is telling Israel to stay away from all of it. There is nothing random about the rejection of homosexuality along with adultery and incest in this context. The context of Lev. 20 is a set of purity guidelines given to keep Israel pure before the Lord and it lacks any specific instance as a guideline, unlike the current passage in 2 Ki 2, it is not a morality tale. Lev. 20 is a set of regulations the Lord expects Israel to uphold, 2 Ki 2 is a specific instance of a morality tale wherein the Lord defended His prophet from the mockery of ingrates. Apples and oranges.

    Tom (21), not necessarily the case, it depends on the type of bear. I have no idea what type of bears this would be in the Bible account, living around Israel, but the US East Coast variety of black bears generally avoid humans in the wild with the exceptions of mothers defending cubs. Black bears are the variety that used to be trained for circuses. Brown bears and Grizzly are the equal opportunity people eaters.

    I suppose Steve’s underlying premise is to say those who mock the speakers at the imminent Gen Conf are setting themselves up for divine retribution. And rightly so, if not sooner, then later. One doesnt have to be torn by a bear to ultimately fall under a covenant curse.

  35. Nick Literski says:

    Dang, E.D. Usually I’m the one who gets accused of trying to interject comments about homosexuality into unrelated threads. Unless you’re talking about two male bears in the woods, why are you even going there?

  36. Steve Evans says:

    Nick, please keep your criticisms of current LDS practice in check. No one has suggested either that ancient Israel stood for the prophet or that there are she-bears at the disposal of the COB. Give it a rest.

  37. Nick apparently reads the passage as “the youths failed to stand when Elder Elisha entered, so he sicked the bears on them.”

    Nick, I largely agree with you that those things aren’t present in the OT, but I think you’re reading too much modern in.

    This wasn’t a case of respect or deference. This was calling Elisha a false prophet without authority to speak on God’s behalf.

    At least when understand the text that way, as restated by Justin, it moves from the realm of unbelievable BS to vaguely plausible. At least, it provides us with more reasonable or understandable cause.

  38. Nick Literski says:

    Steve, my #33 wasn’t intended to criticize current LDS practice toward the president of the church. It was intended to be comparative, because I get the impression that some here are reading modern LDS treatment of “THE prophet” into ancient standards of behavior toward “a” prophet. I apologize if I was unclear.

  39. To Go along with Nitsav on the plausability, this is the same God who sent fire down from heaven and incenerated a bunch of priests of baal not to many chapters before this…

    Steve #36, sorry for comment #12 then…

  40. Matt and Nitsav,
    When you say “plausible” do you mean plausible in its OT setting or plausible in that it really happened?

  41. I mean plausible from an OT perspective. It’s extremely difficult to imagine God killing children for calling a prophet bald. Less so the other way.

    I assume it was an Israelite tradition available to the writer/compler/editor of the Deuteronomistic history. Whether it actually happened, I know and care not :)

  42. Ronan,

    When trying to read the text historically, you should recall sometimes things in OT history get conflated for didactic purpose. For example, Isa. 37:36-38 spans years, but is presented in the text as a matter-of-fact cause and effect that happened seemingly on short order. The historical details are commonly reinterpreted in the view of religious context, so the tearing by the bears might have been some event some time later, which to us today might have been an unrelated act, but to the author they were connected, naturally, because these brats were cursed by a prophet of God.

  43. I meant that it fits in the context of the story at the time, and wasn’t commenting on whether it really happened or not. My main thought was that I see a lot more people uncomfortable with this who don’t blink an eye at priests getting roasted by fire from heaven just a few chapters before… I’d ask what makes the one a popular faith promoting story and the other an embarrassment, but I already know the answer, which is presentation

  44. Matt W., bears are just awesomely frightening. Way more scary than fire. Just ask Stephen Colbert if you don’t believe me. People expect their false priests to be fire-roasted. But opening up a can of bear-whoop-ass? That’s faith-promotion right there.

  45. Unless their care bears, except maybe these care bears.

  46. Matt W., you mean these Care Bears.

  47. p.s. I’ve decided to begin policing the inevitable Dorito vs. Literski battle. I just can’t bear it.

  48. I’d pick bears over fire anyday… that way you at least have a small amount of chance.. something my Dad always tells people:

    “In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Alaska Department of Fishing and Gaming is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert of bears while in the field. The department has posted the following notice:

    We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle any bears.
    We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear.
    It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity.
    Outdoors men should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear feces. Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear feces has little bells in it and smells like pepper.”

  49. Nick Literski says:

    The historical details are commonly reinterpreted in the view of religious context, so the tearing by the bears might have been some event some time later, which to us today might have been an unrelated act, but to the author they were connected, naturally, because these brats were cursed by a prophet of God.

    At the risk of Hell freezing over, I agree with E.D. entirely on this. I brought up the same basic concept with my #18, suggesting this could be a situation of mother bears protecting their cubs, but interpreted by others as the result of the youths’ behavior toward Elisha.

  50. Nick Literski says:

    #45:
    Keep in mind that the “fire from heaven” story is one where the priests of Baal were challenging El himself, rather than just a prophet. I think that context makes a considerable difference, in terms of how the result is viewed.

  51. Nick Literski says:

    #49:
    Good idea, Steve. We need to stop it now. While you’re deleting, however, I hope you’ll also delete the patently false accusations in #40. (And yes, I’m ending it there.)

  52. ED #34, thanks for making my point. For some reason, that one passage in Leviticus 20 we take more seriously today, even though we disregard a substantial amount of the rest of the chapter. This, for example, is a passage most Mormons wouldn’t take at all seriously today. One of the major crimes (carrying a penalty of exile!) listed in Leviticus 20 is having sex with a woman while she’s having her period. There may have been a reason why this mattered once upon a time, but it’s clearly pretty arbitrary and meaningless as a moral code in modern society. While I would highlight verse 18, I think that the varying levels of punishment for, and emphasis on, different acts in all of Leviticus 20 is pretty bizarre from a modern LDS perspective. Another example is verse 14, an injunction that was repeatedly violated during the days of 19th-century Mormon polygamy.

    And the overall point I hoped to make was that we really just pick and choose which violent statements in the Old Testament to take seriously. We mostly disregard the story of God sending a bear to savage a bunch of rude or insubordinate kids, as well as the injunctions to exile men and women who sleep together while the woman has her period, etc. But there are a handful of violent gems that we just have to clutch to our bosoms for whatever reason. The entire narrative of the conquest of the promised land in Joshua is another example, for what it’s worth.

  53. Nick Literski says:

    Good point, JNS. When I studied folklore, I was taught that the content of stories wasn’t as important as why they were told. The question, then, is why is this story (believed and) told in preference to others?

    In an LDS context, I suspect the story is seen by many as reassuring evidence that deity will protect and defend those who are on deity’s errand. What LDS missionary, or LDS missionary’s parent, doesn’t want to believe that deity watches over those who serve? Stories like “Elisha and the bears” reassure believers that deity affords this kind of protection, and thus the story is seen as having value.

  54. Nick Literski says:

    Can someone please direct me on how to contact moderators offlist, rather than clutering the thread? Thanks!

  55. JNS (54), we take plenty of stuff about Lev. 20 seriously, not just that one verse. Lev. 20:18 is making reference to a Canaanite cult fertility ritual, so, of course, we wouldnt be concerned about that, we arent living among them now. The underlying principle would remain (i.e., the Lord’s people are to keep themselves pure, not sully themselves with the traditions of local heathens), but the specific application is no longer relevant. Instead, we have GA statements that are related to our contemporary culture, such as addressing body piercing, tattoos, clothing, media consumption and so on. Culture-based commands obviously give way with the times, hence the need for modern prophets. I dont see this as making your point as one set of text is a rigorous set of general admonitions and the other is a specific historical event with didactic value.

  56. Steve Evans says:

    Nick, the site administrators can be contacted at admin at by common consent dot com. Please allow a reasonable time to convene the dark and secret council.

  57. Why does this scripture remind me of that old Fox special “When Animals Attack!”?

    It also reminds me of Bob Marley’s “Crazy Baldheads”. I wonder why she bears never attacked him. . .

  58. #9 – Those dumb fundamentalists . . . who do they think they are, for actually believing that some of these Bible stories really took place? No way, God could do anything like that. God could never bring evil to anyone, especially young people.

  59. I dont see this as making your point as one set of text is a rigorous set of general admonitions and the other is a specific historical event with didactic value.

    Hmmm. See, this distinction is extraneous to my point. Texts can always be divided and subdivided in infinitely many ways, but they can also be compared to highlight certain aspects of similarity. I think most modern readers who encounter the passage in Steve’s post are struck simply by the seeming arbitrariness of the violence therein. I think the same things strikes us about many of the statements in Leviticus 20, so the comparison does what I wanted it to. What’s interesting is how each of us chooses, out of the large collection of (what from a modern perspective are inevitably primarily experienced as) basically arbitrary violent episodes, some subset to take seriously while a large subset of others are dismissed and disregarded.

  60. Nick Literski says:

    Thanks, Steve! When you convene, could you wear one of those black robes, with ominous hoods? They make dark secret counsels SO much cooler looking! ;-)

  61. Antonio Parr says:

    My prior post about not calling people covenant breakers was deleted. This is problematic, since, I, like a certain prophet of old, am verily bald.

    May a she-bear; nay, may two she-bears, exact appropriate revenge on the offending party.

  62. Has anyone considered the possibility that Elisha really just wanted to bear his testimony?

  63. Kaimi, you’re not my father-in-law in disguise, are you?

  64. Thanksfully, Ray, that’s not a burden that I must bear.

  65. He’s old and bald, so at least he fits the general conversation.

  66. anothernonymous says:

    Several years ago I read and have on file at home an interpretation of this passage as being figurative of Elisha’s ascent to heaven. The she-bears were representative of the equivalent constellations in the heavens, the children were also a metaphor. Essentially it was Elisha’s visionary experience equivalent to Jacob’s ladder. I’ll post that if I find it in my files at home tonight.

  67. JNS (61),
    Your comparison struck me as stretched, too–the two texts are functioning in a fundamentally different way. In Leviticus, a law is being laid down, with punishments attached. I may disagree with the law and/or the punishments, but I don’t have the same visceral reaction because nobody’s being killed. A better comparison would be the story of the gay man being killed for his homosexuality viz the bears eating the kids.

    Even still, there’s not the same sense of arbitrariness. We might argue that the law is arbitrary, that the punishment is so out of proportition to the “crime” as to be laughable if not sad, etc. But nonetheless, the legal framework has been laid out. At least in the KJV language, we don’t see what the kids have done that warrants death–there is no law we have preserved in the OT mandating death for making fun of bald prophets (if that’s what they were doing).

    That’s not to say that the punishments decreed in Leviticus are good; it’s just to say that there is something fundamentally different–and so I react in a fundamentally different way–between law/punishment (which, if I don’t like, I protest or lobby for change or practice jury nullification or whatever) and fait accompli (which if I don’t like, doesn’t matter–the kids are still eaten or mauled, and there’s nothing I can do).

  68. I know, this story sounds terrible. But really, didn’t we all agree to do the same thing, when we were baptized?

    ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light . . .

  69. Like Noah’s rainbow, we have a promise (in the hymns) that this will never happen again.

    Once all things he meekly bore
    But he now will bear no more
    But he now will bear no more.

  70. So much for camping this weekend.

  71. I’ve reacted two different ways to this story in the past (ignoring my Ann Coulter reference for now). First, was to totally discount it as folklore/OT Urban Legend.

    After consideration, I’ve wondered if there were some grain of truth to this story, as is often the case with urban legends. Perhaps a group of children or teenagers did indeed make fun of Elisha for being bald, for no other reason than that is what kids sometimes do (I triple-dog-dare you!). Sometime later, maybe some of those same children actually got attacked by bears while they were hanging out in the wilderness. Someone connected the dots from two or three days or weeks downstream, and started telling the story to their kids to keep them from making fun of other people, or perhaps, even prophets.

    If there is any truth to the story, that seems the most likely scenario to me. Kind of a prototypical 3 nephites tale.

  72. This blog has certainly created some warm and fuzzy feelings and producing a great Kodak moment and experience.

    I must paws to reflect on this grizzling ordeal.

  73. I also now have new understanding about the parable of the wheat and the tares.

  74. I didn’t know bears ate wheat.

  75. Only vegan bears, Ray.

  76. Reading several of the last few comments makes me ask: Are bears funnier than the Three Nephites?

  77. Before the sun sets on this remarkable Friday and its delightful firestorm, let us all gather at the river and sing that old hymn beloved of deacons and other scamps, “Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear.”

  78. CS Eric, you judge.

    In my best Jeremiah Johnson voice:

    Kids: Baldy! Baldy!
    Elisha: Do you kids know how to skin a bear?
    Kids: Aieeeeeeeeeeh!
    Elisha: Today’s kids! (Sigh)

  79. Kaimi sheds light on one more typo in the hymnal. Shouldn’t it be:

    “Once all things he meekly, boar”?

  80. SC Taysom says:

    Nick,
    Your comment about folklore reminded me of something that one of my professors in graduate school used to say. He was an expert in Chinese Chan Buddhism (Chinese version of Zen), and one of his cardinal rules for studying various Buddhist stories went like this: “It is not true, therefore it is more important.” In other words, invented stories (or narrative innovations that accrete around and become the media for true “core” events)tell scholars a great deal about the needs, beliefs, fears, etc., of the story tellers.

  81. kevinf – why does your Elisha remind me of this.

    For full effect, go to about 1:45.

  82. I found out the Bible wasn’t all roses and baby’s breathe from this text from Genesis 34

    24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

    25 ¶ And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.

    Ouch Squared.

  83. MikeInWeHo says:

    Mauled children, mass adult circumcisions….isn’t the OT fun? When I read all these accounts and find myself marked for death as well (Leviticus 20:13)….gosh…..we’re all in trouble.

    I’m reminded of a song that you won’t hear in Primary:

  84. anothernonymous says:

    With reference to comment 67, “… [the Gemmatria] approach can be applied to 2 Kings 2:23-24. The number 42 already had a reputation before it appeared in this passage. “[Forty-two is factored by] 6 and 7, which stand for man and completeness [respectively]. It is man in his fallen condition, here the Man of Sin, fully manifested. Forty two stands for intensified apostasy. Thus Numbers 33 gives the various stopping places of Israel in the wilderness as forty two in number. Judges 12:6 tells us that the number of the apostate Ephraimites which fell before the Gileadites were forty two thousand” (Pink, 1). Thus, by the time Elisha’s story makes it into the canon, 42 is already a powerful symbol, and it enhances the meaning of the passage if taken beyond its “literal” meaning. (See also Rev. 13:5 to see how John used the number 42). Sampson wrote, “It is because many of the prophetic writings contain these [Kabbalic] structures that the Jewish scholars have often viewed with disdain the efforts of the Christian world to interpret scripture” (21). Our literal reading of passages are apparently too superficial in the eyes of [some] Jewish scholars. …
    a Mormon writer has employed Kabbalic techniques to find a much deeper interpretation of the passage, associating the interpretation through Kabbalist and Mormon perspectives.

    “This scripture is an enigma for most Christians, many of whom criticize Elisha for being so mean to the children. But let us take a look at the scripture itself. Elisha was going up to Beth el, or what St. Augustine called “Civitas Dei” or what we today would call the City of God. In order to make this ascension, he was going up the middle pillar of the Tree of Life as stated “as he was going up by the way.” In fact he had ascended beyond the cities of the fallen gods. The little children represent the prejudices and ignorance of the fallen gods, who taunted the true heir by calling him bald. Kabbalically, one of the frustrations of the fallen gods was the inability to make an offspring capable of receiving the spirit, represented by the hair of the head, which is why the scriptures call the hair of the woman her glory. Here, then, we have the children of the fallen gods scoffing at the true heir who had been able to ascend beyond themselves. They could not accept any ascension beyond their own. We know that Elisha had ascended beyond them because he turned back to look on them. Because they represented the distortion of the ascension, blocking the paths to Godliness, as Christ accused the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13, Elisha cursed them in the name of the Lord (YHVH). The two she bears are representative of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, or the local gates to our solar system. The gods within these gates obeyed the voice of YHVH as stated through the Priesthood by the mouth of the Prophet Elisha. They tare(9) forty (representing Neptune, or the gods of the underworld), and two, (representing the first two steps of ascension, Malkuth and Yesod controlled by the fallen gods). Four also represents Daleth, the Door to eternity, and two represents Bayth, the camel, or the eye of the camel, meaning the Law. In other words, Elisha cursed the fallen gods and their offspring, took the Law and the Door and hmmm…4 2 = 6, or Vav, the Nail in the Sure Place. In effect, Elisha realigned the local solar system to the Universe by placing the Law and the Door back on the Nail in the Sure Place so that man could make the ascension into eternity. Suddenly this obscure scripture is rich with meaning, and we have hardly begun to make a full Kabbalic interpretation.”

    Cited: Fairbanks, Joseph Neil. “Gematria and the Book of Mormon.” (1998).
    Pink, Arthur W. “The Number 42.” (1998)

  85. Some people think too hard. This passage was included so I would have a handy story to scare my children when they call me a bald, old man.

  86. MattW #20 – It is important to state that the Bears at least have won a superbowl. Secondly, it is even more important to understand that without George Halas and the Bears there would be no Super Bowl – not even an NFL!

  87. StillConfused says:

    “And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.” Umm yeah.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Comment on Your Friday Firestorm #15 by anothernonymous With reference to comment 67, [the Gemmatria] approach can be applied to 2 Kings 2:23-24. The number 42 already had a reputation before it appeared in this passage. “[Forty-two is factored by] 6 and 7, which stand for man and completeness [respectively]. It is man in his fallen condition, here the Man of Sin, fully manifested. Forty two stands for intensified apostasy. Thus Numbers 33 gives the various stopping places of Israel in the wilderness as forty two in number. Judges 12:6 tells us [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,416 other followers