A Bald Man, Two Bears, and Forty-two “Children”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #6

Categories: Biblical Studies, Misinterpreted Bible Passages, Old Testament

Stay Updated

Get notifications of new books, posts, and other media.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It’s been awhile since the last installment of this series (lots more to come), but this one should be fairly straightforward. 2 Kings 2:23–24 tells of the prophet Elisha calling a curse down upon a group of “children” (KJV), “youths” (NIV), “boys,” (NRSV/ESV), or “lads” (NASB), resulting in two bears (she-bears, if you must) mauling forty two of them. Here’s the passage:

“And [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel. While he was on his way, young juveniles* came out from the city and mocked him, saying, ‘Go up, bald-head! Go up, bald-head!’ When he turned back and saw them, he cursed them in the name of YHWH. Then two female bears came out from the forest and mauled forty two of those juveniles.

Note: the Hebrew word underlying what I have translated “juveniles” is notoriously difficult to translate in this context. The word can mean “child,” “servant,” “young man,” or several other possibilities, depending on the context. For example, it is used of the “young man” Absalom (1 Sam 18:5) and a group of 400 Amalekite warriors 1 Sam 30:17. The generally agreed meaning is that it is used of a young male (& can include females in the plural) who is not yet betrothed, setting the range from a mere boy to a young warrior. This passage uses the additional adjective “little” or “young” in the first case, which may tilt the meaning more towards the “children” end of the spectrum, but it’s certainly not clear. I’ve chosen the somewhat clunky “juveniles” to reflect this range, though the translation is admittedly less than ideal.

A Difficult Passage

This passage has disturbed many a reader, bringing up the question of how a prophet of YHWH could call a deadly curse down upon a group of kids for taunting him about something as insignificant as baldness. The following video is an outstanding (and, frankly, hilarious) example of this sort of misgiving:

The video certainly depicts the “youths” at the older end of the spectrum, but the basic sentiment is still there: as one of the video characters declares, “this seems like a disproportionate response” to insulting Elisha’s lack of hair.

Are Bald People Just Temperamental?

The first thing to dismiss is that this was an older man who reacted badly to taunts about his male pattern balding. According to 2 Kings, this event immediately followed Elisha taking over for Elijah; Elisha was still quite a young man at this point in the story, living about 60 years after this event (through the reigns of four more kings and into a fifth’s reign: Ahaziah, Joram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, & Jehoash/Joash). He wasn’t exactly an old monk as portrayed in the video, probably coming closer to the age of the older “children” in the group taunting him than to their parents. As an aside, given Elisha’s young age (and the possibility that his head would have been covered anyway), it isn’t clear the reference is to male-pattern baldness. It is just as likely that (were he actually bald) that his baldness was the result of the fulfillment of a vow before YHWH (which would make sense in the time immediately following Elijah’s departure). Some have also suggested that “baldy” was a reference to lepers or other outcasts who had to shave their heads. Either way, the baldness referenced in the passage is neither clear nor is it especially important.

Secondly, the emphasis in the passage isn’t Elisha’s baldness or that the juveniles bring it up—it’s that the youth of Bethel reject and scorn YHWH’s prophet (signaling a rejection of God himself). The problem is that, rather than receiving the prophet, they tell him to “go up”—the exact word (עלה) used to describe Elijah’s departure to heaven twelve verses earlier. That is, they tell him to stay away, that they wanted nothing to do with him or his God, that he should go join Elijah in heaven if he was really such a powerful prophet. That they call him “baldy,” though perhaps disrespectful, was not the cause of the cursing.

On that front, it is not insignificant that this event happens just outside Bethel, one of the two state-sponsored centers of idolatry (Dan being the other), complete with a golden calf set up by Jeroboam after the kingdoms divided. Bethel had been the center of another prophetic confrontation before—in 1 Kings 13, an unnamed young prophet cursed the altar of Bethel and its priests, with a sign performed when Jeroboam’s arm withered when he ordered the prophet siezed. A generation after Elisha, Bethel would again be the center of prophetic controversy, when Amos declared his prophecy against Israel (which we have in the book of Amos) in Bethel, cursing Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, declaring, “Thus says YHWH, ‘Your wife will become a whore in the city, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be divided up by a measuring line, and you yourself will die upon unclean soil'” (Amos 7:10–17).

In addition, if forty two of these young comedians were mauled by the bears, exactly how many are we to assume were actually present for this scene of mockery? When a pair of large wild bears run out of the woods and begin wreaking havoc, people tend to scatter rather quickly. In my experience, such large groups of people rarely form accidentally; from the numbers involved, the implication is that this is an organized public demonstration against Elisha and his God. Bethel’s rejection of YHWH—reflected in these youngsters’ hostile behavior towards the prophet—is what leads Elisha to curse these youthful hooligans “in the name of the Lord.”

The Key Point for Understanding the Passage

In fact, like Amos after him, Elisha’s curse appears to be a repetition of (part of) the curse for rejecting YHWH in the covenant from Sinai:

“If then you act with hostility and are unwilling to hear/obey me … I will send the wild beasts among you and bereave you of your children” (Lev 26:22–23).

This is of course exactly what happens in this case, suggesting that the knowledgeable reader should immediately know what curse Elisha invoked—a curse directly from the Israelite covenant. Much is made about the blessings contained in the covenant and the many blessings promised by God, but many interpreters seem to forget the other side of the equation—disobedience calls forth awful curses. That Elisha’s curse brings about swift comeuppance is no less a sign of his authority as a prophet and representative of the covenant (and thus the truth of his protests against idolatry) than Elijah’s victorious confrontation on Carmel had been.

Recall that in his first act as Elijah’s successor, Elisha had just miraculously purified the accursed, polluted water of Jericho, bringing blessing to those who received YHWH; this second act serves as a sign of God’s continued judgment upon covenant-breakers. Such a visible sign of judgment serves—just as Elijah’s drought and victory on Carmel (complete with the slaughter of 450 false prophets)—as a sign of YHWH’s reality and his covenantal claim upon Israel. In addition, given the fact that Elijah had been sought by the king and threatened with death by the queen, this kind of mockery and aggressive behavior serves as a threat—and as with Elijah before him, it becomes immediately clear that YHWH himself will look after the safety of his prophet(s), much to the disadvantage of their opponents.

God Will Not Be Mocked, So Don’t Taunt a Prophet of YHWH (Even if he is bald)

So, Elisha’s curse is not simply a case of a temperamental guy getting bit touchy about his appearance and calling down curses upon a group of kids for drawing attention to his baldness. Rather, it is a prophetic sign—at the very beginning of his service as God’s spokesperson—of YHWH’s displeasure at Israel’s covenantal disobedience, a warning that, without repentance, the other curses stipulated in the covenant were soon to come.

Granted, modern sensibilities tend to be at odds with any sort of divine retribution—”How dare God kill anyone!” (Then again, a rather high percentage of people tend to die at the end of their lives anyway, suggesting it’s just a matter of when God chooses to “kill.”) This tends to be even more the case when involving children. But such a complaint involves more of a problem with the essential worldview reflected in the Bible at large; this is by no means a problematic passage if one is willing to take the worldview reflected in the text and accept God’s authority as judge.

It is also important to note that God is the one who defends himself/his prophet here—no human being is taking into his/her own hands to defend God or himself against others in a violent manner. Elisha’s curse simply marks yet another occasion in which Israel’s rejection of God results in receiving the curses of the covenant, yet another milestone on the downward path towards the final, most serious of covenantal curses promised for disobedience—being scattered among the nations in exile.

Tags: , , , , ,

213 Comments. Leave new

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Craig L. Adams, Craig L. Adams and Jason Staples, Jason Staples. Jason Staples said: [blog] A Bald Man, Two Bears, and Forty-two “Children”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #6 http://bit.ly/baQcPM […]

  • […] read. Jason points to a post on true conservatism. Jason Staples has a very interesting post on the bald man with bears. A little while ago, Lindsey Nobles wrote a blog piece on being single, which led me to another […]

  • Mr. Jason Staples I just wanted to let you know that I’ve read all of your blogs about the misinterpreted scriptures. Keep doing what you’re doing because these things need to be known since many things are taught in the church incorrectly. God bless you.

    • What a made up bunch of BS. There is no substantiation for any of these claims. To bad you believe in fairy tales that you have to go way way out to justify. Your Bible is trash.

      • Thanks, Tim. Your carefully thought out response has made me question my faith, and renounce my beliefs entirely.
        Yeah, no. What a sad, sorry little person you are, needing to go on a site that is strictly for Bible verses, and then railing against people for their faith or belief.
        Your personality is trash.

        • Yeh, Tim is right. There is no need to justify immoral behaviour. God or not, killing 42 children for verbally insulting you is horrid.

          • I don’t think the authors of the text see much difference between God killing children and God waiting until they’re older to kill them of old age. For these authors, God is always the one who ends a life.

          • The 42 are described as ‘youths’ as per their subservient position as lesser prophets of the school of the major prophets Samuel and Elijah. They were not simply ‘young students’ but men much like Elisha had been prior to being chosen to replace Elijah the current Master. All actual prophets themselves who were supposed to follow God’s chosen chief prophet wherever he went.
            Elisha had gone from campus to campus meeting with the prophets who welcomed him because as prophets of God they had already heard the news that he was the new Master.

            Instead of rallying behind God’s new chief prophet and their new schoolmaster these men ran out to the road where he would pass so they could mock him en masse.
            Mind you, this was in the middle of a war. A rebellion.
            Maybe jealousy for some or unbelief/treachery for others but either way the hearts of these men were like those in the next chapter who bent their knee to Baal.
            They must have no longer been receiving messages from God and missed this was his new chosen chief prophet due to their hearts being turned to Baal.
            It is possible that this was the moment that ended the time of grace for them because the very next story is the death of the false prophets.

            But lets say they were teenagers, pre teens even,
            This was a town with a school and kids who reflected the words, attitudes, examples or teachings of their parents/teachers.

            And what they were saying was that Elisha was not hip. He was old fashioned. A ‘fascist’ or whatever. The bald comment reflecting the fuddy duddy “patriarchy” tag they were putting on him. They were saying that he was no prophet of theirs.
            These new school kids wanted to be cool rebels and hand out by the road and protest against God’s chosen and saying that his Yah worship and ‘miracles’ are out of touch with the new multicultural plethora of Baal cults available to the youth of their time period.

            They blasphemed the holy spirit.

      • steve ballow
        June 18, 2014 1:09 am

        Na, Tim’s actually right.

      • Instead lets take the vague explanation of Microbes turning into Microbiologists over millions of years, with NO proof whatsoever: in order to explain how we should LIVE! Atheism is a Religion in itself, stout on insulting other’s beliefs and faiths and ONLY ATTEMPTING to disprove a God you don’t believe in, in the first place, Atheism Needs God to exist!. You have no background to justify a “moral subject with your Moral compass if a moral law isn’t real to you!” You have no point of reference to even say WHAT a God you don’t believe does, is wrong or right. All you can say is it feels uncomfortable. You’re just space matter colliding into itself over time and you have NO purpose whatsoever with Atheism except to explain God’s Already Miraculous Creation. By the way, The Chicken came first!!!!

        • However you define it, killing 42 children is never right. Would you kill you neighbor’s children to teach their parents to respect you? If you say, or near yes, you are a delusional and probably psychotic bordering evil serial killer (yes, 1 is too much, 42 is plain evil)

          • This passage does not include a human killing another human. Everyone will die—from a theistic perspective, there’s no difference to God whether someone dies at 14 or 80. If God is to be censured for the death of a 15 year old, God is equally on the hook for an 80 year old. So from that perspective, your point is nonsense.

          • Are you pro-choice, an Atheist?

          • Julie from the Jungles of Oomba Boomba
            August 13, 2018 7:53 pm

            The word “lads” is the Hebrew naar and was used of servants, of soldiers and of Isaac when he was 28 years old. This was a crowd of young men, perhaps students of the false prophets, who were here as antagonists to Elisha’s prophetic ministry and authority. If not students, they were sent by the false prophets or idolatrous priests of Bethel to stop Elisha from entering the city. In Elisha Satan had an enemy and he was acting to protect his territory. Remember, however, Elisha was going to Bethel not to curse, but to bless.

          • The question is would you curse a group unbelieving “youngster” knowing that then wild beasts will appear and have their way with them? Would you still worship a god that would do so? Why not pray for god to sent them a sign of love?
            If anyone, it’s the prophet that should be torn up by bears for not having been able to keep all people obedient.
            Or god himself for not being willing to provide and inspire the prophet with enough material that would keep
            people under the covenant without having to resort to (pretended to have happened) semi terrorist attacks or threading with them.

            Clearly prophets and priests who propagate a specific god knew that terrified and anxious people are much easier to
            convert and to keep faithful and respectful.

            Their message was obviously not that obvious at all for people to believe in..

          • Silence Dogwood
            January 15, 2019 4:26 pm

            I love the response that *God* is killing them, so it’s fine. Because remember, of course, that God is good.

            I mean, not “good” in a human sense, but “good” in a godly sense, where having people slaughtered for making objectionable mouth-noises is good. When God is “good” in a way that comports with our human sense of goodness, then he’s good, OBVIOUSLY. But when he’s “good” in a way that would make a human who behaved the same way a depraved monster, then God is mysterious.

            Put another way, when our human sense of right and wrong indicates that God is right, then our human sense is a perfectly fine instrument for judging the works of God. When our human sense indicates that God is wrong, who are we to judge him?

            Got it?

          • This doesn’t make much sense. From a monotheistic perspective, if a person dies at any point, God has effectively killed that person. It thus makes no sense to differentiate between God killing a person at one time or killing a person at another.

        • wayne daugherty
          April 25, 2017 10:00 pm

          You are one serious wackadoodle.

        • Mr. Diyagi (If that is your real name……….)

          “Microbes turning into Microbiologists” – Actually more along the lines of microbes grouping up to form a larger societal being to accomplish larger tasks and produce different outcomes. Engineers, architects, construction workers, inspectors etc.. work together to construct a skyscraper. There’s generally very few people involved who amass responsibility for the whole – only part of the whole. Not exactly straight forward but if you give your tiny little brain a chance you might get where I’m going with that. We see evolution (not biological, that takes a bit of time) in so many different ways throughout the course of our lives, just step back and look.

          “NO proof whatsoever” – Except the fossil record, DNA evidence, etc…

          “in order to explain how we should LIVE!” – Continuation of your previous sentence, however I’m not sure how the two relate. And why do you need someone to tell you how to live anyways? The point of living is to live. Simple as that, however the way that you live your life is pretty much entirely up to you.

          “Atheism Needs God to exist!” – No, atheism needs believers in a god to exist. Theism – the belief in god or gods. A-theism is simply the lack of belief in a god. So if there were nobody who believed in a god, then the term would never mean anything. Well more specifically, if nobody believed in a god then everyone would be an atheist without knowing it.

          “You have no background to justify a ‘moral subject with your Moral compass if moral law isn’t real to you'” – You’re right. I, and many other atheists, don’t believe that absolute morality exists. Some people choose to do what they believe is moral, others believe things to be moral but disregard it. Morality is a societal thing; if you don’t believe me, then read your entire bible through. The morality of your god changes drastically through its progression (which deflates your idea that god is a basis for morality)

          “All you can say is it feels uncomfortable.” – Or I can just take a lesson from one simple fact: Life tends to (and I know you don’t believe evolution to be a real thing) evolve in ways which prolongs the living time of whatever it is that is living. From this fact, I understand that my actions can cause others to have limited life. So I choose to do things which will prolong peoples’ lives and not inhibit them. From the fact that I have emotions and nerves, I can infer that other people do too and I would rather people not punch me in the face. Therefore I don’t go punching people in the face. On a different note, I highly doubt you prescribe and live by every single thing the bible tells you. Even the most fundamentalist Christians I know tend to have a little bit of decency in their hearts. All because their are some lines in the bible which made them feel uncomfortable and chose to not adhere it as absolute truth.

          [And my favorite]
          “You’re just space matter colliding into itself over time and you have NO purpose whatsoever with Atheism except to explain God’s Already Miraculous Creation”. – Firstly, I don’t believe the purpose of life to be in explaining the universe. It helps progress life itself, however it is only a means to further life and the experience of life. I don’t claim to know a defined purpose for the entirety of life, however I can give myself purpose through life by my own choices and actions. On that note, I’d really like you to answer what your idea is of the purpose of life. Because as it stands, I don’t think there IS a purpose for life on earth, coming from a Christian perspective. Let me break it down for you:

          God creates the universe, heaven and life for the purpose of gaining his own worship. – Okay, the purpose is to worship god, correct?

          Wait! The actions in your life determine whether you will go to heaven (the place designed for the ultimate and eternal worship of god) – So the purpose thus far is to live a life which gets you to heaven, so that you can fulfill your purpose of eternally worshiping god. So life on earth is essentially a job interview for the position of eternal worshiper, and those who don’t get the job end up eternally tormented.

          But wait! There’s more.
          God is eternal and all-knowing, so he knows who will end up in heaven and who won’t; before they are born. Before he even created the universe, he knew which people he created would end up worshiping him for eternity and who would be tortured for eternity. So, why create the earth in the first place? It’s almost as senseless as a person having a scripted conversation with themselves (but not for entertainment purposes). He could simply skip the earth step, skip the part where billions of his creations end up in an eternal torture chamber, and simply create beings which just desire to bow down to him all day, every day, for eternity. It’s not hard to see how a belief in an all-knowing and all-powerful god negates any purpose someone would think would exist for life on earth. And isn’t god supposed to be all-loving as well? Sure does seem to love those people he created with the designed intent of sending them to eternal torture. It’s as if I designed a 5 hp go-kart, gave it sentience and the ability to feel, and then gave it the criteria that if it didn’t fly me to Venus, then it would be put into an eternal go-kart crushing machine. Just doesn’t seem loving, and takes the purpose out of having the go-kart.

          “The Chicken came first!!!!” – Depends on what you define as a chicken, but you’re probably wrong here as well.

          • Some Other Guy
            July 16, 2019 6:40 am

            I just want to reply to your reply because I like these kinds of discussions and because I think you have misconceptions on what the view of Christianity and the Bible is on our world. I often feel that atheists often point out straw man arguments, but their whole view of Christianity is one big straw man. I don’t think it is intentional, though. Anyway, here are my comments to your comments that you never asked for:

            1. I don’t think that evolution, defined as the slow/gradual change of something over a period of time, is being questioned. Biological evolution and the idea that these changes happened due to a series of random events and finally produce something that is able investigate that very process, all from a single cell organism, never mind from inorganic material, is hard to believe.

            2. Fossils show that there lived animals that are now extinct. It fits within the model of evolution, it does not prove it. DNA shows that there are similarities between species on the level of DNA. It fits within the model of evolution, it does not prove it.

            3. So if some one decides that he wants to abuse their own child, you won’t feel outraged by that? And if you do, you recognise that you actually have no reason or right to feel that way?

            4. Atheism needs the concept of God to exist at the very least. Believers are not necessary. But I get your point.

            5. -This is such a dangerous philosophy. So by your own view, when the German society decided to try and rid their streets from any group who they perceived as a threat, we have no way of judging or condemning their behavior? There was nothing objectively wrong about their actions?
            -Your comment on the Bible is one of those fundamental misconceptions that you have. The Bible’s morals actually do not change. It always points to the ideals of Genesis 1 and 2, and that were lost in Genesis 3. The laws given to the Israelites are not ideal, as Moses also says, but rather point to the ideals and move the nation, and later humanity as a whole, towards those ideals. So your observation is right, but your conclusion is fundamentally mistaken. Their is some sort of moral and religious progress, but it is not God’s character that changes. The ideals set by God is the same and it is the people that comes closer or moves further away from the ideals.

            6. -Would you say that drugging someone and raping them is immoral? They will not feel pain, won’t remember what happened and it will not effect their life expectancy.
            -Many rulers or elite class had/have the same view that you have. Acting in such a way as to preserve yourself and don’t punch someone that can punch back. That is why the teachings of Jesus are so radical when he teaches to care and treat kindly even those who cannot defend themselves. Why would you not take what you want from someone who will not and cannot fight back?
            -And to your last point in this section, the Bible is not really a moral law book. It is a story of God’s relationship with humanity which eventually leads to Jesus.

            7. -Setting arbitrary goals for yourself is not the same thing as what most people mean when they speak about purpose. Purpose is normally meant to mean a reason for existence, If there is no reason for existence, there is no purpose, I think. I might be wrong on this.
            -So I think in your last comments dealing with the Christian view on why man was created lies most of your misconceptions. If a evolution denier responded with objections to evolution by exclaiming: “How can evolution be true if there are still monkeys today?!” you would say to that person that his understanding of evolution is wrong. In the same way I am now saying that your understanding of Christianity is wrong. I do not expect that your mind will be change on anything, but at least recognise that your objections are based on faulty assumptions.

            7.a) “Okay, the purpose is to worship god, correct?” – No, God created man to rule with Him as stated in Genesis 1 and 2. That was his original purpose, Man decided not rule within God’s wisdom (Gen 3) and the creation suffered. Our purpose now, I would venture to say, is to help bring the Kingdom of God here by following the example of Jesus, thus moving the world a little bit closer to the Eden that we have lost.

            7.b) “The actions in your life determine whether you will go to heaven (the place designed for the ultimate and eternal worship of god)” – Heaven is described as the new earth, so I would think that it would be an continuation of Eden where we rule with God again. (For some reason I think you have a “straw man picture” of heaven as this place where everyone stands eternally behind church pews, singing hymns).
            -Your actions will always fall short and you won’t get into heaven by deeds. God extends grace to those who want it and wants chooses his wisdom above their own.

            7.c) -God gives us free will to decide whether you trust in God or not. As a parent, knowing that your child will make mistakes one day should not stop you from having children. All you can do is guide them and hope that they listen to you when you give them your wisdom.
            The intersection of God’s Will and man’s will is a difficult concept. We believe that man has free will and that God’s Will is supreme. God also knows what will be, but still leave us with absolute free will in a way that we truly decide our outcomes. I think it is a difficult concept because we are trying to conceptualise the place where our wills and minds (which is already a difficult thing to understand) and the the Will and Mind of God (which might be impossible for us to understand) intersect.
            -Like your version of heaven, your version of hell is a caricature, in my opinion. If heaven is the eternal presence of God, hell is the eternal absence of God’s presence. It is a place that you willingly place yourself in by rejecting God.
            -I don’t think God wants mindless robots to worship him day and night, but people who rule with him over this portion of creation.
            -His loving nature is shown in the way that He will help and forgive those who want to be image bearers, but fail to do so.

            Finally, I think a more apt analogy of the Christian worldview would be to say that it is like creating a go-kart that is designed to fly to Venus and giving instructions on how to do so. When the go-kart does not follow the guidance of the designer, it unsurprisingly does not work as intended. Your position seems to be denying the designer and the manual and coming to the conclusion that chance has created this earthbound go-kart.

            And thus concludes my overly-lengthy comments.

          • It’s nice to see that some others are out here attempting to free at least one person from the grips of religious dogma. People often ask me why I even try, and the answer to this is that one day I too was under the spell of religion (or maybe a better analogy would be to say I was afflicted with the mind virus of religion) but those that gave effort to speak logical sense to help out such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, etc. luckily did so or I may still to this day be suffering from the unrelenting thoughts of “am I good enough to get to heaven.” Such a nonsensical way to live life and it’s one that drove my dad to alcoholism to numb the constant mental torture. The Bible can be interpreted a million and one different ways and is only evidence that an infallible being did NOT write a word of it because unless your aim was to confuse your children, then why would you leave them with a set of instructions that divided them to the point of hating and killing one another? One day I allowed my mind to question all aspects of my belief system and the rest is history. That’s all it takes. For those who “just know” they are 100% RIGHT to join those of us in the healthy realm of “I think I’m right, but I’m open to changing my mind.” So that’s all I ask of everyone. Just don’t ever close yourself off to the fact that you may very well be wrong about your belief in your god and judging by the sheer number of deities to choose from, the odds actually say you MOST LIKELY ARE WRONG….. Good day.

        • Atheism is a religion like not playing football is a sport. I use to believe in evolution til i read in a book we were made out of clay 6000 years ago. Thats alot easier to understand and who cares about proof or facts. They just cloud the water.

      • Jesus still loves you more than anything in this world, I pray that he takes your heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh.

        • Walter M. Ellsworth III
          June 29, 2019 5:10 pm

          @Jason A. Staples: Atheism is NOT an attempt to claim a “universal negative”,as you say. Atheism does NOT say that there is no God. Atheism simply means that we do not believe that there is. Obviously we don’t know. No one does. Atheism is being honest with yourself, and acknowledging that there is no evidence or proof of the existence of any god. There is no evidence of any god, nor is there any proof whatsoever, that anything in the Bible is true. Faith is believing in something despite there being no evidence for it. Faith is believing that something is real or true, simply because you want it to be.
          I hope my post did not come across as rude at all. I truly did not intend it to be, and hope that I did not offend anyone.

          • You are mistaken, as your terminology is imprecise. You’re describing atheistic agnosticism, not atheism. Atheism involves the claim that there is no God. Agnosticism is the assertion that one does not know (or cannot know) whether there is a God.

            Your definition of faith is also mistaken. Faith involves a commitment to something as a first principle; many hold to faith positions that they would prefer not to be the case. The idea that faith involves believing in something “simply because you want it to be” is quite mistaken. Moreover, human existence requires faith in a great number of things, whether we “want them to be” so or not. For example, our monetary system depends on corporate faith in specific media of exchange. Our scientific research depends on unprovable first principles on epistemology and the nature of experimental data.

            It is important to be precise when discussing such things.

      • Tim. Jesus loves you. It is okay that you are scared and fearful. The Truth of God’s word makes you free. There was a little boy recently lost in the woods 4 days in frigid conditions. He was found a few days ago. Guess who he said kept him company? A bear! God can do whatever He wants to. He closed the lion’s mouth and kept Daniel safe. In 2018, He sent a bear to keep a little boy lost in the woods safe. Great explanation of this passage. Thank you, Mr. Staples!

  • Virgin births, biblical inerrancy, or not at Our Daily Train | A blog by Jeremy Styron
    August 2, 2010 10:46 pm

    […] message that the Bible presents? Do the contradictions and zany stuff (Forty-two children being mauled by two bears comes to mind) change the soul-saving message of a crucified Christ offering an eternal gift of […]

  • Updated: virgin births, biblical inerrancy, or not at Our Daily Train | A blog by Jeremy Styron
    August 2, 2010 10:58 pm

    […] message that the Bible presents? Do the contradictions and zany stuff (Forty-two children being mauled by two bears comes to mind) change the soul-saving message of a crucified Christ offering an eternal gift of […]

  • this is a very fucked up verse, like many others in the “good book”…..justify it all you want, you disgust me

    • Wow… Nice use of language and good job on completely lacking of an actual argument. I think if there is anything disgusting on this page it’s your use of language. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t even read the page that you are commenting on. Good job.

      • OMG it’s just a word get over it. How can a word be any more disgusting than another? That’s retarded.

      • The article lacks an actual argument.

        • That’s mainly because it’s not trying to make one. It’s explaining a particular oft-misinterpreted biblical passage, that’s all. The only arguments involve pointing out where the passage is often misunderstood. What you want to do with the passage after you understand it is up to you.

          • Jason, at the beginning there you asserted that the article is not trying to make an argument but you then proceed to inform Tim of the argument that you just stated is not there. I agree with Tim; you are not making an argument, you’re attempting to manipulate the definitions of things to make yourself feel better about believing in something so innately ridiculous. “Oh no they were maybe not young lets linger on minute details in a desperate attempt to alter the entire story. Even though god clearly ripped 42 children asunder in the form of two bears, we can make it sound better. It’s out of context. ” Young juveniles. It’s sad that you even made an attempt to twist that interpretation. It means kids. You’re not intelligent. The end. Fuck you.

          • Jon, where in the article does it suggest any sort of apology for the text? Objections about the subject matter are no excuse for being a poor reader. My concern here is that people learn to be better readers. After that, what they choose to do with the text is up to them. But refusing to read well is ignorance at its essence.

  • NowItsEvenWorse
    October 24, 2010 3:34 pm

    Victims of serious emotional and physical abuse often get to the stage where they will justify their captor’s actions, highlighting once again that if there is a god (YHWH), he is an evil, psychopathic entity with very, very low self esteem and rage issues second to none. Elisha being touchy about his baldness is understandable as he is a human, but god being touchy about a bunch of young upstarts, now that speaks volumes about the kind of entity which christians so masochistically wish to prostrate themselves before. We would have to be very afraid of a god like that and worship/respect would only be given out of pure fear, much like a kidnap victim will respect the wishes of the kidnapper if enough violence is dished out. Oh I forgot, he does all this bad shit to us…..but he luvs us?!?! Fortunately there is not a god.

    • He explained that it is not about baldness. It that they rejected God. In the Old Testament, there was a law. A just God is required to give the punishment. It is not something God wants. And your last statement is just wrong. You cannot prove “there is not a god.”

      • You can’t prove there is, so what’s your point? There is not a god until you can come up with the compelling evidence for there being one. For all the things that may or may not be, we don’t consider them to exist until we see reason for them to be so.
        Funny how indirectly rejecting god can be taken, making fun of a bald man, is somehow to be known as rejecting god just because he was a prophet, so that’s deserving to be mauled by bears? LOL. Nice intellectual gymnastics to protect your psychopath in the sky.

        • Jesus rose from the dead. There’s your proof. And I call that “proof” because, if you can get out of your own little world and examine the evidence surrounding what happened in 1st Century Judea, you would have to grapple with the facts that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and killed, His followers (cowards that they were) went into hiding for fear of having a similar fate befall them, He was buried in a tomb which (at the behest of His enemies) had elite Roman guards standing watch to prevent anyone from breaking in, SOMETHING happened in which Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb, and His followers suddenly grew cajones and proclaimed Him risen from the dead – not “alive,” as in survived His bloody ordeal, but risen, as in WAS dead, and is alive again. This teaching spread throughout the Mediterranean and Nar East, as far away as India and Africa, even to the Roman colonies in Britain. How do you explain this? If you think about it reasonably, the only plausible explanation, incredulous though it seems, is that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. And if He DID rise from the dead, what does that mean? It means that He is God. And if He is God, then perhaps you should reexamine your so-called “argument.”

          Because of the very nature of the supernatural (as in, it exists beyond what we are able to comprehend or explain), to demand proof of the supernatural is what philosophers call an “empty question,” on par with “could God make a boulder so big that even He couldn’t lift it.” It’s simply nonsensical, and that is why we look to miracles as evidence because they are an in=breaking of the supernatural into our plane of existence.

          Finally, if I can quote from an awesome YouTube video called “Donnell and Connell Meet Richard Dawkins” attached below, “Stop in the name of logic before you break my brain. Placing your failure to properly understand the justice of the Almighty aside for a moment, did you honestly just argue that God doesn’t exist because He’s mean?? Why, if being a jerk made you cease to exist, then every war in human history would have been over the second it started, Rosie O’ Donnell would have disappeared in a puff of smoke in 1998 instead of getting fired from ‘The View’ once every seven minutes, and that jerk who makes those ‘Lutheran Satire’ videos wouldn’t even be able to finish recor==” I’ll add to it by saying every troll, like yourself, would be gone from the face of the planet faster than you can say “South Park.”


      • Why don’t you worship Zeus then?

      • Can you prove there is?

        • Interestingly enough, you cannot prove the alternative, evolution, either. This leaves only two unprovable choices and thus your free will to choose. Ultimately, you will not be able plead ignorance before God.

          • J. Nunez
            Firstly, why is evolution the alternative to god? I know plenty of Christians who also understand the natural progression of evolution and they don’t seem to see a contradiction. Two other points however: firstly, science doesn’t work in proofs. All you can do is provide evidence for a claim, and based on that evidence form a theory about what is happening. Secondly, there seems to be a huge difference in the evidence presented for god and the evidence presented for evolution. One set deals with emotional evidence the other deals with physical evidence. When it comes to pleading ignorance before your god, I believe the evidence he provides is pretty insufficient, and therefore I will very easily be able to “plead ignorance”.

      • Alex Pyun, I can’t prove “there is not a god”, however if there were a god I would expect the evidence for his existence to far outweigh the evidence against his existence. Since the bible is quoted as being the evidence for god while also contradicting itself left and right, I would say that it’s incredibly more likely that there is no god, at least not one named YHWH.

    • @NowItsEvenWorse
      Here’s a thought experiment that we modern folks can appreciate…
      Imagine God as a robotics engineer and that humanity is an experimental line of AI robots with free will. The engineer – rather pleased with his creation of autonomous thinking machines – gives the robots a purpose and a set of instructions. However, the robots’ free will allows them to disobey. So, the engineer promises rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience; at the end of the project, the obedient robots will be preserved and upgraded and the disobedient robots will be scrapped.

      Is the engineer an amoral monster? No, he’s not because the robots are his creation and they are his to do with as he pleases. If you can accept the premise that God is our creator, then we are little more than intelligent biological machines created by Him. He does no wrong in ending our lives and He has the final say in our ultimate fate. Isn’t one of our greatest fears about the future that we might inadvertently create intelligent robots that would rebel against us (their creators)? It’s funny because that’s exactly what we did to God (our creator).

      We are instructed to fear God; however, that’s not the same kind of fear you describe. We should fear the wrath of God’s judgment of our sin more than we fear the harassment and violence of men, and more than we fear the loss of the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of sin. However, God is not an equal that we should judge Him. He is our creator; He has power over our lives and the fate of our souls. We owe Him the respect that any child owes his or her parent as well as the respect that any inferior creature owes to its superior.

      God is not an abusive husband or a kidnapper; He is a benevolent king. Kings are heads of state who rule over the government, and governments punish those who break the law. A king who simply pardons murderers would be a rather unjust ruler. Kings also have every right to punish sedition and treason. That is exactly the crime these kids/teens were committing and they received their punishment. Should they have received such a harsh punishment? Well, that’s debatable; however, we see governments make examples out of people all the time. This was a critical time in which a new authority figure was being introduced to the people, so making an example of these little traitors served to establish Elisha’s in his new position, his appointment by God, and to reassert the authority of God.

      • Your response was very well thought out and I agree.

        • Thomas Miller
          March 8, 2017 7:02 am

          I see your point. One flaw you didn’t consider, well 2 flaws in my opinion, #1 if I’m the robots creator and I knew they were going to be this screwed up I wouldn’t have created them in the first place. Because I’m GOD I should know this right? So it’s really my fault because I intentionally created them knowing how they would turn out. #2 You said if they disobeyed they would get scrapped. Which in my opinion wouldnt be too bad. But according to the Good Book or the (Horror Book) in which I assume that you read they would burn in the eternal lake of fire forever and never cease to die. That’s really harsh and then you blame them for that degree of punishment when you knew as the (creator) what you were creating before hand. SHAME ON YOU.

          • Yes, God knew we’d turn out this screwed up and it was worth it to create us and bear the screwed up-ness knowing how he that is forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47). Without having become screwed up and seen the ugliness of that, humans would not appreciate goodness and purity and love properly, not knowing the alternative. He is letting us observe the opposite of Himself and goodness so that we learn to really appreciate and prefer goodness and love.

            You say the good book says the punishment is to burn in the lake of fire forever and that is really harsh and it also blames them for this degree of punishment unfairly. I disagree in part. If you do some more studying, you will find many Christians believe in universalism which is that all flesh shall see the salvation of God (luke 3:6) – that hell is not forever in the sense of the word we use today. Hell is only as long as people in their stubbornness continue to reject God and stay there in the afterlife, making that degree of punishment and the duration of it on them. When they humble themselves and come to the Lord and bow and confess Jesus is Lord and admit they were wrong and evil, He welcomes them with open arms like the prodigal son’s father does in the story. This is what I believe for the most part and is what the majority of the early church believed. There are also groups that believe in annihilationism which you alluded to – that God will just utterly destroy people in hell and then they won’t have to suffer eternal conscious torment which is sadistic torture and too harsh as you point out. This is not too bad as you point out. So really your problem is not with the Bible but with false interpretations of it that dominate today. I recommend you check out the book “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment”

            Note on the word forever: the book of Jonah also says he was in the belly of the whale forever (Jonah 2;6) – which was 3 days. So the Bible uses the word forever and doesn’t always mean forever as we use the word today – this supports lake of fire not being literally forever – which is ludicrous as you pointed out.

            Revelations 20:10 … They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

            the “for ever and ever” we assume means endless torment yes?

            well the original Greek says “eis” “ton” “aionon”
            which means “into” “the” “age” but the English translators decided to make “into the age” become “for ever and ever” – this is changing the meaning.

            aionon is Strong’s Greek 165 and let us watch these same translators
            call this an age which is not endless in ANOTHER NEW TESTAMENT VERSE:

            Galations 1:4 “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age”

            so here, the present evil age by no means would imply an endless evil age yes? So now the translators willy nilly change the meaning of Strong’s Greek 165 to mean an age that will pass away! – Yes, you read correctly, Strong’s Greek 165 is used in this verse too!

            “ek” “tou” “enestotos” “ponerou” “aionos” which means “from” “the” “to place on hand” “evil” “age” and translators made this say “from the present evil age” which is fine, but then why is it in rev 20:10, they did NOT make Strong’s Greek 165 say age? It’s because they are pushing a narrative of endless torment unbiblically and twisting the original Greek!

            But you say aionon and aionos may be different words? – no, they are both Strong’s Greek 165 and both point to the root word “aei” which is “age” and “aeon” also means age and is identical

            Note that the lake of fire many believe to be symbolic of just having the impurities burned away, the pride burned away, the rebellion burned away, and all of this while in the presence of God and the Holy angels (Rev 14:10). So even the notion of roasting people alive like marshmallows is highly implausible. The suffering will be regret and kicking oneself while in the presence of such a loving and perfect God, wondering why you were so foolish to reject Him and so evil all that time on earth and unable to face Him due to your overwhelming shame and feeling of dirtiness in His perfect presence. You will be screaming, “I’m not worthy!” It will take time to finally humble yourself and realize nobody is truly worthy and all have sinned and accept the free gift and come to God ashamed and say of Him only in the Lord is deliverance and strength (Isaiah 45:23-24), and bow and say Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:9). Until then, you will be tortured internally in hell. That is how I understand the Word.

            Also note: you say it would have been better if God didn’t create us in the first place knowing what we know. I disagree. Even if one of us was loveable by God, it was worth all the other scumbags that led to that one. Yet He loves every single one of us deeply, more than we love anyone is God’s love for the worst of us. So it was WELL worth it to God in the big picture.

      • Humans are not a robot, and besides, it’s NOT your god who kills humans, it’s humans insisting of gods plan. Never did your god do anything at all! it is all in your head!
        When you torment your creation on the outcome of your creation you are just a fool.

        • Stick to the discussion of the passage. In the passage, it is clearly the deity who is responsible for any of the deaths that occurred from the mauling of the bears. Your point is irrelevant and misplaced here. We’re just reading an ancient text, not talking about whatever you’re trying to extend it to.

          • was it? or was it Elisha? I believe Elisha was the one to curse them with power from God….but not God himself. Samson killed the Philistines himself… with power from God, Same with Moses striking the stone and causing water to flow showing that God gave him the power instead of God doing it himself due to the fact God was mad Moses did it so thats why moses didnt go to the promise land, Same with Jesus, God gave him power. or lastly the 2 witnesses in Revelations who are given power by God
            This to me, disproves your whole, whats the difference between 80 years and 5 years on Earth to God.
            Ezekiel 33:11
            “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’- Elisha didnt rebuke the young men, he just cursed them.
            Ezekiel 18:32
            For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
            Lamentations 3:32 -33 For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant loving kindness. For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men.

            If God didnt care about what age a person died then why isnt he just ok with just killing all the bad people since according to you they are gonna die anyway. I mean David was God’s beloved so why should God care about Uriah, Uriah was going to die eventually anyways so why did it matter that David speed that up?

            personally , I place blame on Elisha, only on the fact that Gods prophets were men and imperfect/incredibly flawed. Plus id rather no think of my God this way……..Remember Jonah, Jonah got mad at God because he knew that God would forgive Ninevah – a city filled with easily a couple thousand of those young men. Jonah wanted Ninevah to be destroyed yet unlike Elisha , Jonah gave Ninevah time to listen to his message and repent….this is an empire described for its wickedness and violence and Jonah/God gave them 40 days to repent, how long did those teenagers get? I believe they jeered at him and he cursed them….end of story.

            Compare this story to Luke 9:51-56, when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem he came to a village that did not welcome him….Do you know what his disciples asked him? they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them…..Jesus rebuked them….but realize in every major translation it does not say….Lord,will you call down fire…instead it was do you want us to call down fire, shall we call the fire……indicating that the disciples had the power to call fire……this Samaritan village was at the end of Jesus life when he was very popular and welcome yet they ignored him which to the disciples is to refuse the father as well, so on your point that the Kids had it coming to them, so did that Samaritan town yet jesus showed mercy and justified it by saying “for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”

            Also ask yourself, Hosea whole purpose was to describe how Israel was a whore, and rejected God for other gods which is worse? a group of non-Israelite young gentiles jeering at Elisha or the entire nation of Israel turning its back on God? Which is a more deliberate act?, yet even after God said this 1-9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God” and after that, God continued railing on Israel by saying Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them.”
            “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.”- God was saying about Israel…..
            He made it clear that his own priests were defiling his temples , yet where are the bear?????? Where is the Soddam and Gomorra ?

            Do you know what happens instead”
            Hosea -I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.”
            Hosea 11-8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused
            God forgives, God forgives these states that have committed the worst crimes against him, yet Elisha couldn’t allow those gentiles a chance at repentance?
            I do find it cold, how you justify the killings, I find it similar to how many other theologians carelessly talk about the killing of the newborns acting as if that was normal or even justified …….killing of the innocent infant, the first born, pride of mother and father due to an oppression that they had nothing to do with, as well as the Jews were a minority among the slave groups so by context their firstborns died as well and once the Israelites resettled in the promise land they had non-Hebrew slaves, that yes were by law to be treated better, yet a nonhebrew could be owned for life and be passed down by family…….and all I can think is that those slaves had no God to come and ransom them…. the Israelites were lucky,

          • A few things:

            1) It’s nonsense to blame Elisha for calling down the curse that—from the perspective of the narrator—God himself had already proclaimed.

            2) It’s not comparable to Luke 9:51–56, which doesn’t involve the apostasy of God’s people and the curses of the Torah that results in. It’s more comparable to Acts 5, when Peter confronts Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit and they are both struck dead by God.

            3) You’ve completely missed the point of Hosea, who proclaims that because the people have turned their backs on God, the ENTIRE NATION will be destroyed, with most being wiped out by Assyria and the remainder scattered throughout the world to the point that they will lose their ethnic distinction as God’s people. That’s what Hosea proclaims will happen to the people to whom he is prophesying. It is only after all that happens that God will again restore his people, though the prophet is clear that this will take something of a miracle since the people will no longer be distinct as God’s people once again.

            4) Elisha was not dealing with Gentiles in this passage. He’s dealing with Israelites who have broken covenant. Major difference from the perspective of the text.

            You may find it as cold as you’d like, but the point of this post is to explain the passage as it is written, not to justify or make specific modern theological points.

      • Renlov
        As an engineer, I can see where you are going. But the flaw is that being an all-knowing and all-powerful god, he as the engineer would have pre-determined that those “disobedient” actions. What I’m getting at is that if god is all-knowing, and all-powerful, then nothing we do is truly of free will. He willed us to do those “immoral” things. So the engineer in this case, if he is likened to god, would have specifically programmed in the “disobedient” actions, which makes his anger towards those actions senseless because in reality they are obeying the “disobedient” commands he programmed in. Take the juveniles in the story from the page we’re all commenting on. God knew before the universe was even created that the group of juveniles would mock Elijah, yet created and subsequently killed them anyways. They had no choice in the matter since day one.

        • You’re right, God did pre-determine those “disobedient” actions and nothing we do is truly of free will in a sense because it all falls into God’s sovereign will or foreknowledge that He must have approved/allowed beforehand in order for it to happen at all – that nothing can happen apart from God letting it. In a sense He did will us to do those “immoral” things, yes. He did program in the “disobedient” actions which does make his anger toward those actions seem senseless in a sense. However, His will including stuff that we experience and do that is not in His nature and during that part of the story playing out God having temporary feelings of disgust, that does make sense. Yes, He allowed it, but that doesn’t mean He has to like it while it is happening and playing out. But it is a necessary evil to lead to the ultimate Good. Remember that God takes evil and turns it for good. He takes the person that has sinned much and makes them someone that is forgiven much and loves much – more than the person who was forgiven little in fact. So the payoff is worth the temporary disgust that God feels in the interim. So it is sensible for God to be angry and disgusted during parts of his own story that He doesn’t like yet wrote in advance anyways for the payoff that results afterwards. You conclude that God having a sovereign will and foreknowledge and a unshakeable or changeable plan means there is no choice. I disagree. There is still choice as we know it in the limits of what we can know here. In the eternal perspective we see free will was always an illusion, but in the temporal existence we reside in, choices are seemingly very real. They just seem to lose their reality when you realize that choice was already carved in stone before you were born. Then it seems less like a choice. It all depends on your perspective. For the sake of our limited temporal understanding and existence, the choices we make are real and do exist, they just always fall within God’s sovereign plan and are allowed by God and were written down by God before we were born – doesn’t mean He likes the choice in the moment it happens – just means He approved it for the sake of the overarching story it falls into which is a story worth all the ups and downs along the way which ultimately work out to good ends for all. Philippians 2:9

  • Professor Chaos
    November 7, 2010 2:46 pm

    I don’t see your point. It’s still a disproportionate response. Even the worst verbal abuse and hate speech and slander imaginable could never ever warrant physical violence, especially the kind delivered of she-bears onto 42 people. Who cares how old the priest is and how old the youths are?(Although if you ask me, youths don’t have full beards.) The fact that God cares if you mock him should be a flashing neon sign flashing that god is a whining little girl with an ego problem. And by the way, I blaspheme every chance I get and have never felt the wrath of God. So this story, if anything, teaches me first that God isn’t real, and second, if he was he’d be evil.

    • I don’t see your point. ANY punishment for the rejection of God would be a disproportionate response to someone who doesn’t believe in God. lol!

    • Bible defenders quickly find ways to correct those who “misinterpret” passages, no matter how clearly they are stated. “juveniles came out of the city and mocked him” does not mean they mocked him. “Ask, and it shall be given you” does not mean you will be given what you ask for. If it doesn’t fit the narrative then you just misunderstood. You would think the divinely inspired word of god would not need interpretation. My writings often leave the reader wondering what I intended, I would expect more from a supreme being.

      • Perhaps it’s because “a supreme being” didn’t write 2 Kings, human beings did. And human beings have transmitted it through the ages and translated it into English.

        That fact doesn’t, however, negate the need to read the text properly and correct misinterpretation.

        • Matthew 5:44
          But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

          Thank you Jason Staples dont stop its obviously impacting peoples lives although its hard to see because of all the slander but you keep doing what you are doing BROTHER.

    • Regina pendleton
      September 19, 2016 4:14 am

      Do you believe in bears?

  • children call it the way they see it. They don’t hold back to be polite like adults. Elisha was bald because he had a shaved head. He was mourning…17th of tammuz is the beginning of 21 days of mourning ending on the 9th of Av. 21 more days brings you to the end of the year… INGATHERING. Each bear averaged 21 kills for a total of 42. This is also the 127 days (provinces) plus one week feast of King Ahasuerus (Esther 1)…134 days from Passover (Nisan 15). It is also one month after a major feast. Just as Moses and Hezekiah understood that the feast of Tabernacles could be celebrated a month later, this ingathering feast is exactly one month after the true Pentecost which was 102 days after Passover (Elijah called for a captain plus 50=51 to be struck dead twice over for a total of 102). Ingathering is at the turn of the year. Elul is the new year for tithing animals. Ingathering happens a day before this obscure new year. New wine needs to go into new wine skins! peter lindner

  • Dear Jason,

    From this blog, I understand that you are justifying, or at least trying to justify, that God destroys those who oppose him. I have a hard time believing this. Yes, it was wrong for all those people to gather to mock God and his prophet. However, does this justify killing them? When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s directions, were they punished with death? When Jesus was crucified, did God sentence those responsible for His son’s crucifixion to death? You cannot have a God who wants to be in loving relationship (covenant) with you and say that Him killing all those people in the Bible is ok. Please think this over and answer my question when you can Jason. Thanks!



    • Excellent questions, Alex. First of all, I want to make it clear that this “Misunderstanding the Bible” series isn’t really about justifying the various passages under discussion. Rather, the point is to discuss passages that have been misread and misinterpreted and suggest better ways of reading these passages. As for your questions themselves:

      1) Yes, Adam and Eve were punished with death for their disobedience. That’s actually the point of the story. They’re told that if they disobey, they will die, and when they disobey, they are cast out of the garden, cut off from the Tree of Life (the fruit of which presumably would have made them immortal), and ultimately die as promised. Like I said, that’s pretty much the point of the whole story.

      2) Yes, every person responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion (and all those not responsible also) died.

      Ultimately, presuming the existence of God, God is responsible for the death of every human since God could presumably keep everyone from dying were he so to choose. Once that’s understood, the question isn’t really about death or whether it’s “okay” for God to “kill” people (since he does so every day), it’s really about the timing of each individual death. One thing that the biblical authors fundamentally agree upon is the idea that God has the authority to create and to destroy/kill. Human beings, on the other hand, are commanded not to murder one another, as they do not have this authority since they are not God.

      Actually, this notion of God’s authority is foundational to the “turn the other cheek” concept in the Sermon on the Mount, as it rests upon the assumption that God, being just, will ultimately set things right and repay everyone according to what he/she deserves. Given that, people should never repay evil for evil or respond with violence, as doing so only makes them equally ripe for God’s judgment. This isn’t the only concept underlying this teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, but it’s definitely one upon which it all rests. The basic concept is “God will judge justly and has authority to dispense whatever is right, so leave it to him.”

      Finally, the Israelite covenant that you mention actually included the promise that if Israel was unfaithful to the covenant, God would cause the wild animals to attack and kill them. This was part of the “loving relationship (covenant)” spelled out in the Torah. It’s certainly distasteful to us moderns, but it’s internally coherent and we should read it on its own terms if we want to see how they understood the character of the God of Israel.

      Does this help?

      • Thank you very much for answering my questions Jason. This does help me in a way to understand how some things in life work. It’s 12:24 A.M. and my mind is a bit elsewhere so I’m going to re-read your reply again in the morning for it to be ingrained in my mind. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions Jason! Hope you have a great day/night.


        Alex Le

  • for the exact word of god do you see how a simple paragraph needed so much in apologetics to shoe horn it into being normal? For a book written by illiterate bronze age shepherds for all people it sure is a mess. So either “god” is a poor example of what a deity is to be, or people are really stupid. But hey we can always happily bash our children on the rocks… I bet you have some bullshit apologetics to fix that..now why does the word of god need fixed so much? Tolkien told a very involved make believe tale and he doesn’t have near the trouble being understood

    • Excuse me? Who said we’re talking about “the exact word of god” here? What is the reasoning for this rant?

    • I find it really offensive that you have such an elitist attitude toward the people who came before us….Why on earth would you think that the people of the bronze age were ignorant and illiterate? If the people of the ages before us were so lame and such a dumber version of the enlightened us, how did we manage to move forward? It is shameful and ridiculously neglectful of the history of human beings to be so close minded and superior thinking. To get from the first ages to now took a whole lot of creativity, ingenuity, and genius. Try picking up a book instead of watching tv for your impression of how we have revolutionized our being. Really you think one or two brilliant minds were enlightened and all the sheeple fell in line generation after generation after generation…..Edwin you are sorely uneducated in your own history, obviously by choice, because you have an opinion….I believe your mind is unable to think true logic because you are self- righteous.

  • I think most people’s “God” is too human, if you will. God said His thoughts/ways are not OURS! We just want to make Him in OUR image! HE MUST adhere to OUR image of Him! WE are “superior!” to God! He MUST be “Good” on OUR terms! Otherwise, He really Isn’t God!! We can’t understand His actions, Him, therefore, HE doesn’t exist! OR, He isn’t actually “Good!” Of course! Then actually He isn’t really GOD! Inherent in the idea of GOD , is a being who is so far superior to us, that we can’t comprehend Him…because HE is GOD! But we humans INSIST on making HIM ‘bend’ to OUR idea of HIM! Sorry God, didn’t like that passage! Didn’t like that story! But it is so interesting to me, that in that book called the Bible, these stories don’t portray GOD in an “acceptable to Humans’ manner! All the UGLY hangs out in the Bible! Humans are SO human there…and God is SO GODLY there…and so many people just don’t like it!! It is SO real! David has a man sent to the front, hoping he will be killed, and takes his wife. They have a child, but the child dies! Why would God allow that in HIS BOOK, if His goal was to please people, make them think “highly of Him?” No, He wants to let us know THE TRUTH! I LOVE the BIble! It is SO REAL!!! And if God wanted (or the writers of the Bible wanted) better “PR” for God, they would have left all that messy, hard-to-accept.deal with stuff OUT!

    • Well said!..:)…it is amazing ,but understandable, given man’s nature, how people really have such a hard time with the idea of God “judging” these people. If I first recognize that “God is”, and that He created us, not the other way around; then perhaps I can begin to understand that He has a perfect “right” to do with us as He pleases. If He is truly God, and He is, then He knew the Hearts of these people and was/is perfectly justified in what He did…and probably more importantly, He, even though He is perfect and also loving, being God doesn’t need our justification. Skeptics you might want to read Psa. 2..:)..actually you better just start reading the whole Bible since you will have to answer to it….that’s good advice not meant to stir up your hate folks!

  • You can choose to believe in God or not. That’s the wonderful thing about having free will. I choose to believe, though I find it difficult to subscribe to the religious structures imposed on us.

    What makes people believe children are not worthy of extreme punishment? Or can do no evil? There are enough stories of children stabbing, raping and robbing people today. Do you believe things were better in “uncivilised” times?

    The view of God as a kind and generous being transcends religions. Unfortunately, too many people seem to have fallen under the impression that He is some kind of sap and everything is a one way street. Much in the way of the Adam and Eve story — where it’s been twisted to portray the protaganists living horrible lives and the Master endlessly persecuting them — these tales have been twisted to paint a picture in which the older generations were at fault and those that came after them and wrote the texts were just and wise.

    At the same time, we should really reconcile the teachings of Jesus with those of prophets from other religions. From these, we can find common threads of teachings for all people of the world that have not been subjected to tampering. Note, the Christians were being persecuted and were outlawed worldwide. The period between BC and AD is not known, neither is the age of Jesus. Even though we have recorded details of the death of Julius Caesar in 14 BC. What happened after Jesus’ death? We know that the temple was sundered. Was no one punished? The tale ends too abruptly, the dates are fudged… How many years of misery and suffering for those that did not fight for the Lord, who betrayed Him?

    One common thread between ALL religions. A Day of Judgment comes. Call it Judgment Day, Kalyug, or whatever. But all questions will be answered, no doubt. 2000 years is not such a long time ago, if you think about it. Maybe 40-50 generations for all of us.

    – Jimmy Rage

  • This is one of the passages that made me question my faith, which was absolutely wonderful that it did.

    The old testament is scripture that, as the apostle Paul said, is “God breathed and valuable for inspiration and knowledge.” (I forget his exact words). The new covenant did away with the old covenant though, as Paul put it, it is slowly disappearing to the point it will be entirely gone (and he said that 2000 years ago.)

    This is the time of the Lord’s favor. This is the time where he wants a covenant of love. People make the mistake of melding the old and new testament (and that’s a very clear mistake, why are the old and new covenants glued together like that? They should be distinctly separate, and people should encourage the knowledge of the two covenants as different.)

    God did NOT want a covenant of love back then. He wanted a covenant of obedience from people who had to kill some seriously distasteful folks. Anyone who ever saw the movie “Road warrior” would understand what modern society would be like if we let people like that run the show. We wouldn’t have a United States of America, we’d have barbaric slave pits and burned offerings to baal. We scoff at the notions of “Primitive people” like that, and nobody wants to live in a world like that. Well…that’s why God had to clean house, and he didn’t just use the Israelites.

    People like Alexander the Great also did. He said he was lead by an angel in his dreams to victory, who looked very similar to Israel’s current king (at the time.) There’s no record of Alexander conquering Israel, because he didn’t. God uses everyone to perform his will, whether or not they are his people, provided they have a good enough heart to want to perform good enough change.

    We look down on the murder of the very same people who would have made our current world look like the mongol empire. Sadly, as much as people hate this truth, some people just had to die. If we never offed hitler, how many innocent people would have suffered and died?

    Yet, this is the new covenant — the time of God’s favor. God would have let hitler convert, repent, and stop his murderous ways (preferably before he even started them!) The new covenant literally means everyone has a chance, whereas before God just laid down the law and did as he willed to stop the leaking of sin into the boat, which would have destroyed the whole world.

    My hard time with my faith was the idea that the old testament contradicted Jesus. I didn’t understand, because the Holy Spirit doesn’t contradict himself. They called Elisha humble, and I yelled “What? He killed 42 children!” They called Moses the most humble man who ever lived, and I yelled “He ordered the death of men, women and children — even animals!” Then you have a sobering realization — maybe back then, that was humility. It’s a very scary realization, and it leads you into realizing God knew what he was doing. God could have easily started a second flood, said “Y’know what? Noah didn’t quite work out as I had hoped.” and just started fresh, leaving everyone to a fate in hell. But he gave up his own Son to be able to save people who basically spit in his face, even Christians who at times judge and doubt him.

    He was willing to adopt us…who he has shown quite clearly he has no problem tearing us to pieces with bears. He would rather sigh at our stupidity and continue to rear us like children in the hopes of us becoming a success in his eyes than treat us like enemies — which formerly we were.

    The two biggest problems that modern churches pose in their sermons are this:

    God loves everyone, which makes him seem contradictory to his love. God does love everyone — in modern times — and because of Jesus. God is very strong and very just. He has no problems wiping those out who defy him. His love is in the fact he’s willing to give us a chance; not that he loves us, yet he’s crazy. Some may view this as stockholm syndrome, but in reality, most people even consider the ‘mindless masses’ as ‘virus like locusts, killing the world.’ We can fathom this and we don’t even know the scope of the damage, yet the bible says God knows every hair on your head, every sparrow. We can’t even fathom how enraged he must be.

    Secondly, the churches preach this weird mish-mosh of the old and new covenant. If the old covenant was black and the new was white, they preach the gray covenant. Beyond this, they do it for selfish reasons. The new testament doesn’t talk about specific tithes. They want money, so they make sure we believe the whole bible as one covenant so we give them the same tithe amounts they used to back then, whereas the new covenant basically calls to “Give what you can.” They want the fear of the old covenant as well as the grace of the new covenant, but John clearly states that love as no place with fear and vice versa. They’re pharisees — by choice — because they’d rather lead a church than preach the genuine truth of the new covenant over-riding the old. As Paul said, “Does this mean we go on willfully sinning? God forbid.” Sin is still bad….but it’s a whole new ballgame where we are given the opportunity to keep trying until we get it.

    Before, we were strangers obeying a landlord. Now we are children obeying a Father. The game has changed, and the biggest schism between believers and nonbelievers is nobody knows how to make sense of the convergence of covenants. Yes — we really ought to look at the old covenant as secondary, look at it like something that, valuable because it is God breathed, does not apply anymore. Not in the sense it used to. In fact, in the new testament, there is repeated warnings for trying to fulfill the law because if you do, you’re bound by the whole of it. Losing my faith was the best thing for my faith that ever happened to me, because now I can have faith in Jesus and the ‘new’ plan God has, as opposed to this pharisaic trickery of modern religion (I call it a cult of Christ — and it is patently absurd and wrong, leading many people to hell and leading many away from Jesus — to the point you will never hear Jesus mentioned more than ‘God’ where both Jesus IS Lord, and he is also the intercessor for our sins — whom we place our hopes.)

    Sorry for the rant…I felt the need to get it out 🙂 I think it’s a message more people need to get out, and I think it will help ease a lot of atheist’s misunderstanding of the bible (we’re not here to please men, but how are we ever going to reach lost souls so long as we do not even know what we’re following ourselves, or treat people who believe differently than us as an enemy? Jesus said to love our enemies, but people cling to the old testament, and thus, fight them still. Thus putting more hopes in Elisha than in Jesus, which is wrong and probably hell-bound.)

    • Athiests don’t misunderstand the bible, they understand that people make things up all the time when they are confused. When people are especially confused they think the stuff the just made up is devinely inspired. The only surprising aspect of this set of facts is that there are still mature adults who think these deluded tales are somehow related to the Devine.

    • Until recently, I had never read the entire Bible (cover to cover), just a chapter here, a book there. After reading the entire Bible (the New Testament one year) and the Old Testament the next year), I was amazed at just how much of the NT is also found in the OT and vice versa. They absolutely are complementary. So much of what we read about Jesus in the NT is either alluded to or directly pointed to in the OT. Also, after reading the number instances in the OT of God showing up and essentially saying, “Enough! You’re through!” The NT references to the “judgement” and/or “wrath” of God (or even the book of Revelation), no longer surprised or confused me.

  • I don’t quite understand why people who don’t care for the system of life provided in the Bible feel a need to be so nasty to those who do believe. I would also add that those who do believe should not throw any nastiness towards the unbeliever. God is perfectly willing to let you believe or not believe while you exist during the time when it is possible to have the choice.

  • […] The youths of Bethel are purposely setting themselves against the Protagonist’s spokesperson (Professor Obvious). In essence, if one mocks the spokesman, one mocks the […]

  • But when he is the one actually in dire situation, crucifiction, he didn’t poofed to existence those bears. Instead, he won’t on and doubted his self by calling his self, then just died.

    Whatever reinterpretations you do, the bible is still full of stupid loopholes just like any other fairytales that should’ve not been believed by thinking people.

    • This last comment seems entirely ignorant. it completely ignores the whole premise of Jesus sacrificing himself for the sins of others. I can’t help but wonder why people who don’t know the first thing about the Bible go on forums like this except to simply slander divinity without any real knowledge of the subject matter. I hope that you will sometimes try to read it and try to understand it- it may change your life for the better.

  • […] For full post, click here. […]

  • Great blog Jason. I love your thought out explanations. This is really helpful.as I’m still new on this blog I hope I will be able to find an article about a proper understanding of the sermon of the mount re: the intensification of the law. I am always reminded that Jesus said at the end – he that hears and does implying that it is to be obeyed. Yet the argument that it is impossible is so prevalent in so much church teaching.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  • People make up stories all the time and then they repeat them. Jack and Jill went up the hill… Mercury stealing the heard… Zoroaster… Gilgamesh… Noah… Elisha… Yossarian… Harry Potter… Many of these stories are inspired by genius, or idiocy at the same time. But they are all just tales written by smart primates misinterpreted to be anything else. Obviously the bible is an amalgamation of human tales, and obviously most of them are what we now call fiction.

  • God didnt do it…elijah did the curse..so yu all stop blaming God on this

  • Reply
  • Many of the stories in the Bible were never meant to be taken literally. This is one of them. They are intended to teach spiritual lessons whilst entertaining the audience, and metaphor and humour are tools of the writers of these stories. If some of these stories seem over-the-top and not literal, it’s because that’s the writer’s intention. To either take them too seriously and believe they are literally true, or on the other hand criticise them for nastiness, misses the point the writer was making. See also: Balaam’s donkey.

  • P.S. As a bald man, I was absolutely cheering for the bears.

  • It’s not that hard to figure out: a group of more than 42 people were following a prophet around and harassing him. Let’s see… When has a group of angry young men ever done something rash and dangerous? Ignore the KKK, the Roman Mob, every war crime, Jihad, and you’ve got several examples in other places where a group of men harassing a minority led to violence. I say they die. God has the right to kill whoever he wants, and killing a few Baal worshippers doesn’t bother me. The world is better off without them.

    • The Lord Is My Shepherd
      January 20, 2017 3:45 am

      ^This right here! Yes! Forty-two young men? These weren’t a few kids hanging out and having a laugh. This was a mob. My guess is they were there to intimidate Elisha at best and do real bodily harm to him at worst. Think about what they were saying in the context Jason provided as a reference to Elijah’s rapture: “Go up, bald-head!” If they’re telling Elisha to go join Elijah in heaven, that sounds like a death threat if I ever heard one. God sent the bears to defend His prophet from this potentially violent mob, and they did.

      Also, to those of you who seem to think young people are just too innocent to be held accountable for their actions, what would you say about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (the Columbine shooters)? Adam Lanza (the Newtown shooter)? Dzokhar Tsarnaev (one of the Boston marathon bombers)? All young people under 21. You think they didn’t know what they were doing when they were gunning kids down, blowing truly innocent people to bits? Great intentional evil can reside in anyone, and it can take root at a very young age.

  • David Burnett
    April 3, 2016 8:13 am

    God is better than we think He is!

    To the atheists and to the most devout Christians.

    God is better than we think He is.

    No matter who you are or who you think you are, God is better than we think He is.

    Why 42? Why would there be 42 children? Why would the Bears be female? God is writing this story, right? God does not waste His Word right? Was Jesus wasted? No He certainly was not. God leaves clues that seem like nothing but they end up telling the story. The seemingly insignificant words are the ones that end up being the ones that matter. At least that’s what I have been seeing. Like Mephibosheth (breathing out shame -Hebrew)…..when he fell and became lame. That tells a whole story right there. Like when Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. God said, …..your son, your only son”. That tells a story of Jesus but it does something else. It omitted Ishmael. God didn’t see Ishmael as Abrahams son. It is the little things that say the most.

    The 42 children is the 42 months that the two witnesses will be here. This is going by moon cycles. There will be 42 new moons.

    The two female bears are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. The two constellations of bears.

    Ursa comes from the name Ursula. Ursula was a Christian princess. If you have never heard the story, you really should read it. She was martyred (along with 11,000 virgins) and became a Saint in the Catholic Church.

    Side note: Bear in Hebrew is dov.

    Here’s another side note.: The bear has difficulty in giving birth. It has a thick amniotic sack. So it takes a lot of care and a lot of time and a lot of difficulty to bring its Cubs into the world.

    God is telling us something. What? I don’t fully know, but I know that God is better than we think He is. Do you really think that we won’t all be surprised to finally see one day that God is SO MUCH better than our perception of Him is right now? We will all be humbled.

    Glory to God

    • So constellations in the sky are stars are angels are sometimes donkeys and beings with animal features so why not she bears?
      She bear angels.
      So Russian grandmas with cleavers?

  • So, it would be wrong to kill children for making fun of baldness, but killing young adults for telling you “Get lost!” is completely justifiable. Good to know.

  • Quote from – David Burnett
    “The 42 children is the 42 months that the two witnesses will be here. This is going by moon cycles. There will be 42 new moons.
    The two female bears are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. The two constellations of bears.
    Ursa comes from the name Ursula. Ursula was a Christian princess. If you have never heard the story, you really should read it. She was martyred (along with 11,000 virgins) and became a Saint in the Catholic Church.
    Side note: Bear in Hebrew is dov.

    – Love the conspiracy theory you got going on there Mr Burnett – You almost had a rational thought then failed terribly ..

    And…,most of the comments here are “Good Christians”?
    Quote from – Garrett Stock – another compassionate human being.
    “I say they die. God has the right to kill whoever he wants, and killing a few Baal worshippers doesn’t bother me. The world is better off without them”
    – laughable! But don’t tell prophecyjeremiah29 – he’s in denial with this profound statement.
    “God didnt do it…elijah did the curse..so yu all stop blaming God on this”

    Aha the pièce de résistance …, well that comes from the owner of this website Mr Jason A. Staples.
    Please let me quote. “That seems like a poor reading since no human being kills any other human being in this story.”

    I will translate Mr Jason A. Staples answer so LadyEvil can understand it.
    “Na-Na, Nanny Freakin’ Boo Boo” – go here for source reference on this phraseology. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Na-Na%2C%20Nanny%20Freakin%27%20Boo%20Boo

    I quote Mr Staples – “In addition, if forty two of these young “comedians” were mauled by the bears, exactly how many are we to assume were actually present for this scene of MOCKERY?
    Well said! – the whole fuss is a “mockery” isn’t it – you sound as though you doubt this historic literature.

    Quote – ” no human being kills any other human being in this story.” soooo…, god backs up his homies so back off or god will put a cap in yo ass!! Man doesn’t kill humans – god does!
    or not? – prophecyjeremiah29 just can’t get on board with you on this one –
    “God didnt do it…elijah did the curse..so yu all stop blaming God on this” – Ha, I just can’t get over this. SO it was the CURSE that did it. No one is to blame.

    Efficacy of Blessing and Cursing.

    It is note-worthy that the word “curse” should have numerous synonyms, whereas for “bless” we have only one word. Both “blessing” and “cursing” were founded upon the belief that the individual, the tribe, or the nation could use its relation to the Deity or to the supernatural world for the benefit or the injury of others – Source – http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3369-blessing-and-cursing

    Logic just doesn’t work but BLIND FAITH wins every time.

    So I guess I can tell the ammosexuals to stop cleaning their guns and start cleaning their bibles. because humans don’t kill humans – god does. From the Curse of course.

  • My God you people kill me. Instead of admitting that this book is made up and patently ridiculous you attempt to twist the actual words written in it in the attempt to make it palatable to the masses you preach to. There is no other interpretation, it means what it says. Some kids made fun of a bald guy and ‘God’ sent two bears to rip them apart. That’s awesome. It’s no difference than any other fairy tale but I love the writer’s use of a vicious animal attack to get his point across. Tell me though. Two bears maul 42 kids? Why didn’t some of them get away? Bears are pretty bad ass but they aren’t going to kill 42 kids simultaneously, some of the kids could have escaped. I’m just sayin.

    • In your efforts to mock the story, you’ve just demonstrated you’re a bad reader. It says 42 of the youths were mauled. That’s a partitive phrase that implies there were more than 42 youths involved; the story thus implies that some did escape damage.

      Not sure to whom your violent rhetoric is directed anyway. Ensuring the story is read well (better than you seem to be interested in doing) has nothing to do with the story’s historical veracity.

      • Duane Parsons
        June 1, 2018 6:18 am

        The children are not human. They’re only part human. These are some of the children of the Fallen Angels

        DNA seed of the devil. And that’s how only two bears could kill 42 of them. Not a fairytale Absolute Total truth. Research the name Anunnaki

    • Correct! How could 2 bears maul 42 troublemakers? I’m sure their parents were wondering the same thing. I’ll tell you how, miraculously. I’m willing to bet those parents, and the rest of the town, knew then not to mock God’s prophets. After all, they’d already been warned in leviticus not to attack God’s chosen. Maybe while bandaging up their young they had time to reconsider Elisha’s message.

  • Vincho Vaselino
    November 7, 2016 8:43 pm

    Another example of intelligent men trying to make sense of nonsense. Cf. St. Augustine et el

  • Spoiled children are anything but innocent. They lie, deceive, steal, and bring all sorts of problems upon the irresponsible parents who have raised them. There are those individuals who misinterpret Jesus’ admonition to be innocent like children and believe that children are above punishment from God’s Law. There are some grown men and woman who are pure in heart and mind; this is innocence, while there are spoiled children who are adulterated and impure.
    A person who is under the Holy Spirit’s of Wisdom and Truth does not re-misinterpret a “misinterpretation”. A person governed by the Holy Spirit of Humility certainly wouldn’t engage anti-Christian idiots who came to this site for the thrill of trolling by pushing Christians buttons because he would have nothing to prove. A person who is blessed with the Holy Spirit of Humbleness doesn’t need to be seen, so there would be no pictures of him anywhere, unless, of course, he is seeking gory and admiration (when all glory belongs to YHVH). A person who is beneath the governance of the Holy Spirit of Love and Peace certainly wouldn’t respond to this comment with arrogance or pride because then he would be beneath the influence of the Devil.

    Jesus told us that we need not worry what to say because in that hour, the Holy Spirit would teach us what to say, thereby implying that we would not already know what the answer is. Just because a person is well versed in Bible scripture, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, does not mean that they know everything. Jesus taught many things that were not found in the Torah and the Pharisees and Sadducee hated him for this (“From where do you get this authority, said the Pharisees?”). This is there very reason that so-called Christians cannot silence ‘serious minded’ atheists, and Pagans. The Bible says not to kill and commit adultery, yet King David killed a man to have sex with his wife. One of the greatest kings of Israel came from the union of David and Bathsheba. Samson had a weakness for prostitutes, yet was a judge of YHVH. The only mistake Samson made was revealing his secret to whore; a filthy woman who care for nothing but money and pleasure. These are the kinds of contradictions that atheist and pagans use to attack Biblical credibility all of the time, yet receive no palatable answer except, because it was God’s will. So why did YHVH allow those things He has condemned to take place? Wisdom knows all things, and anything you need to learn, The Holy Spirit will teach you when you need to know it!

    And so called Christians wonder why they are losing the war to pagans/Babylonians/New World Order/Illuminati; hypocrisies full of contradiction that cannot be explained rationally.

    November 22, 2016 9:32 pm

    “Our Rabbis taught: Elisha was afflicted with three illnesses: one because he stirred up the bears against the children, one because he thrust Gehazi away with both his hands, and one of which he died; as it is said: Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died” (The Babylonian Talmud – Sotah 47a ).

    It seems that even some Rabbis can be more human than some Christian apologists and sophists.

  • Thank you for a thought provoking blog. I especially appreciate tying this story to the curses described in Leviticus 26. Seldom do teachers or preachers consider the fulfillment of these curses cited on Mount Sinai with the events that befall Israel for failure to observe God’s commands. You have done well putting this unusual narrative in perspective of the overall message of scripture – God wants all men everywhere to be redeemed, but man has the choice to accept redemption or not. Moses pleaded with Israel to choose life through obedience. The only other option is to choose death and destruction. The time of Elisha was a very dark time spiritually and morally for Israel. It is a sad story illuminating the destruction that comes from disobedience.

  • Wow. Thank you so much for explaining just what makes this scripture and this book so furvently disgusting and antihuman. I couldn’t have done better myself.

  • holy shit…. people like this actually live on the same planet as us and legitimately believe this.. think about that.

  • You can “contextualize” it all you like but if one of us caused 42 people to be killed for a petty offense, we would find it reprehensible, regardless of our reasons. More jumping through ridiculous hoops, trying to make everything in the bible “right” (if only we knew the “real story”).

    • 1) You are assuming that explaining the passage equals “trying to make everything in the bible [sic] ‘right.'” This is mistaken.

      2) Everyone dies. The idea that the deity is somehow especially culpable if someone dies through being mauled by a bear or some other “tragic” end is nonsense.

  • So why didn’t Jesus Christ call forth two she bears to rip to shreds all the ” immature Men ” who mocked Him in his hometown of Nazareth and elsewhere ?

  • The human mind can not understand God’s actions. JUST BELIEVE AND STOP DISSCUSSIONS

  • So you’re conflating murdering rambunctious children for teasing a dude about baldness with allowing a person to die of old age? Sounds a bit flimsy. I’ve looked up explanations for this passage in the Bible and have found 0 satisfactory explanations. I don’t know what I believe faith wise, I think I’d say I’m a Christian (mediocre at best but working on it) but let’s just admit that sometimes we don’t have a clue about some of the stuff in the Bible rather than doing mental gymnastics.

    • Murder is by definition inapplicable to God. You are making a mistake in distinguishing between “allowing a person to die of old age” and a person dying in any other way. It is not as though God “allows” a an old person to die versus causing the death of another. In each case, God ends the bodily life of the person in question. It’s only a matter of when and how, but ultimately God brings everyone’s life to an end.

      • I think the bottom line is do you think it was just to kill 42 people in the name of God. For teasing a bald man??? I don’t think anyone cares so much about the ages or the number of victims or extent of injury so much as the injustice of it. Killing people for saying someone is bald??. It’s a simple question.

  • Samuel Clemens
    January 31, 2017 4:31 pm

    Mark Twain once referenced this specific 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.”
    — Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”

    In other words, perhaps these were just two particularly favored bears being rewarded with a mob of children?

  • I love watching Christians come up with excuses for evil done in the name of God. Who needs Satan right?

    • Where did you see an example of this and why would you comment about it on my site instead of wherever you saw it?

    • David Burnett
      July 10, 2017 1:46 am

      Mona Haddad,

      What makes you think that the 42 children (or (unmarried lads) were killed?

      IF they were actually killed, what makes you think that is evil and not justice?

      I think we should discover the meaning of the story before we declare God an evil being who enjoys tearing apart children.

      We don’t know really what is being said, yet. But already, there are people trying to condemn God! How arrogant is that? The truth is that we are all evil, compared to God. We all deserve to not only die but burn in hell for eternity. Why? Because we have transgressed multiple times to an infinitely good God.

      If you reject God, then reject Him. But don’t blame Him when you have done nothing but transgress against Him your whole life!

    • If a mob of at least 42 was coming after you and someone, something, or say a couple of bears showed up to defend you, would you try and chase away your helpers?

      • They didn’t defend , the bears attacked on verbal aggression. That’s called disproportional self defense.
        Most people justify it by claiming there was more the just verbal aggression, otherwise the bears wouldn’t have attacked.
        nor the prophet would have cursed. But anyway, if you have an intervening god by your side, there must be plenty, I can think of easily hundreds , of less aggressive ways of solving this problem.

  • Richard A Munson
    April 3, 2017 9:42 am

    Wow. The ones who are attacking you are lacking knowledge and need to shut up and listen. Like most people, the attackers look at everything from a modern west viewpoint. You can’t study the Bible from that view. They look at the Word in the descriptive greek view. When we read the Bible we have to understand that it was written to the people of that time not to us now. Written in a way they could understand what God was telling them. They had an ancient near eastern view of the world. They viewed the world in the functional eastern view. For example, a car. Modern westerners looks at a car and describes it. It has wheels, what color it is, and so on. An Ancient near easterner would look at the car and describe it as transportation for people. So, all the attackers don’t even know they do this and it is so sad. I pray they grow in knowledge enough to be saved by Jesus one day! Good Article Jason.

      December 10, 2018 10:20 pm

      The Babylonian Talmud (Sotah 47a) quoted above, does not represent a modern west viewpoint, nor a Greek view. It’s Jewish, it’s writen some thousand years before this article of this “Christian” apologist and it clearly condemns Elisha for misapplication of his spiritual powers. But of course, you know better.

  • According to Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters, especially if it is a bullshit cult like CrossFit. For he will do kippling pullups down at the ‘box’ while looking like a douchbag and injury himself, or he will watch Greg Glassman videos where the cult leader drinks diet soda and has a pot belly. He will one day realize he had spend thosands of dollars to eat paelo and look at girls who have no breasts.” We pray you find enlightenment and get some sleeve tattoos.

  • Peter Spencer
    May 9, 2017 6:05 pm

    Jason, thank for the insight. I think we should consider the author’s intent, the author’s purpose and audience, when we read. And we should be careful to be aware that we may be injecting our own meaning into the text. Again, thank you for the thoughtful analysis.

  • Randy Tompkins
    June 4, 2017 11:21 pm

    the fool has said in his heart there is no God you cannot reason with a fool because he has no reason and God is a god of reason

  • Randy Tompkins
    June 6, 2017 4:36 am

    concerning Jason A Staples blog: A Bald Man, Two Bears, & 42 Children Jim/tithes yes Jim tithes are not mentioned in the New Testament per se but I can’t think of a better way to support our church; lights, temperature control, sound equipment, etc.Of course we don’t have to have these things not even a building but they are convenient. However you give, do it with a glad heart. As for the rest, it’s not just about law . . . the Psalms are prayers & thanksgiving & grievances . . . the proverbs are instructions which if followed, will stay you from certain grief & sorrows . . . and Jesus said (John 5:39&40) You search the scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life, but the scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life.(NLT) the only scriptures Jesus had where the Old Testament. Jesus also said,”Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man . . . which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52) (KJV). jcoleman – yes God is & God knows our hearts & He will have them in derision (Ps (2:4) The heart is deceitful Above All Things and desperately wicked who can know it? (but the LORD) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.(Jeremiah 17:9&10) (KJV). Remi – well said, God doesn’t sugarcoat anything; what unredeemed/unrepentant man & woman, refuse to recognize is that all the evil in the world (the curse upon mankind & the earth) is man’s doing, the result of his actions – disobedience/rebellion . . . and this was incited,directed,& cheered by devils – Satan and his lot. Sharon (on Edwin’s ignorance) Thanks for your stance & defense of those who came before; they are often belittled even by our own. Professor Chaos – read the book of Job (it’s a start).
    Renlov & Robots – totally relate (used the same analogy regarding fruit and fall).
    Nick – says,”There is not a god until you can come up with compelling evidence for there being one.” Oh, that’s genius! Wow Nick, you really stumped us there. Stump, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s stump. You may as well say bumblebees can’t fly because science and physics say it’s impossible – gee, there’s your compelling evidence – one of thousands! (Henry Ford & Sons – Mustang) But hey, you’re right; let the Redeemed of the LORD say so . . . and I say so!
    Jason A. Staples – concern it’s for people to become better readers – yes Jason, reading comprehension is invaluable to understanding a text, but that alone will not suffice in understanding God – it takes faith! Without faith it is impossible to please God. You first must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him . . .rightly dividing or rather assembling the word of Truth.
    To ad hominem (wayne daugherty) if you would only adhibit ad hoc the calling of God through Jesus Christ & adhere to His message
    Mr. Diyagi – kudos! Thanks for the very insightful & relevant rebuke.
    And most of all, Thanks to Jason Staples for initiating this discourse. It’s my first time on the blog. Forgive me for not adhering to strict subject matter.
    Xavier – love you & your zeal for God & the Faith. Yes, Tim is sad, but hopefully he’ll become sorry & repent & embrace the one & only God who loves him.
    And really, thanks to everyone who had a comment, regardless the acerbity or brevity. It must have interested you. God got your attention.
    One last thing for Garrett Stock. I’m totally on the same page with you but with tongue – n – cheek. Actually, sometimes I have to bite my tongue because God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) and neither should we . . . that doesn’t mean we should let wickedness run rampant in the streets especially when it’s violent – we should put an end to it!

    • Keep in mind that the biblical tithe is to be eaten two out of every three years. That doesn’t help keep the lights on or support the church. The earliest Christians did not teach tithing as a means of support for the church; it is a modern innovation.

  • Randy Tompkins
    June 7, 2017 6:38 pm

    I agree

  • David Burnett
    July 10, 2017 1:39 am

    I am not an astronomer. I am not a theologian either. But I did read the story. I studied the story and when I got done, I prayed on it. And I looked for answers. I don’t fully understand it but I would like to, and I would like to be of help if it is possible, I discovered a few things. I discovered there are a few other verses about female bears. Specifically, they refer to bears who have lost their cubs. The bears have a very thick ambionoc sack and have great difficulty in giving birth. So when they lose a cub, it is with a lot of grieving and I suppose a lot of anger to anyone who may have interfered with the child birth. If anyone caused the bear to lose her cubs, heaven help that person.

    Also, the scientific name of a bear is ursidae. There was a female Christian saint named Ursula who was a virgin and had many virgins with her when she was martyred. It is a very good story about how she was to marry someone and wanted him to be converted. She went to see the pope to convince him to accompany her to the wedding. They were intercepted and killed.

    Ursa minor and Ursa Major are also two constellations of bears.

    Why were there forty two children? What if the children represented moon cycles. Then it would be forty two Hebrew months, right? Three and a half years. The same amount of time that the Two Witnesses were to prophecy.

  • Michael Badassia
    July 17, 2017 1:06 am

    Your “God” impregnated Mary without her consent nor her permission, and that by its very definition if RAPE. So i ask you, why do you willingly worship a rapist??? 0_O

    • First of all, this comment is irrelevant to the passage in discussion and is inappropriate for any analysis of the text.

      Secondly, the comment is ridiculous and silly. Presuming God exists, every pregnancy is facilitated by God. Thus any woman who gets pregnant when she doesn’t intend to would similarly qualify as raped by God. It’s similar nonsense to the “God is immoral for killing people” argument, which again neglects that if God exists, every death (even death by old age) is governed and ultimately facilitated by God. Once the existence of God is granted, this kind of distinction between “natural” and “divine” causation is problematic.

    • Both Mary and Joseph were told before conception exactly what was going to happen. If you’d actually read the scripture you’d see it was a spiritual conception, i.e., miraculous. Both accepted this gift. Joseph was from the “house of David” and being Jewish, they understood the lineage of the Messiah. .

  • Trevor Daughtery
    July 30, 2017 5:36 pm

    As a theology minor myself, I always find it fascinating when people attempt to justify an unjustifiable bible passage. It’s possible to say, “Yeah, this one just doesn’t make sense nor does it jive with modern moral and ethical standards.” We as Christians don’t do that enough.

    • I always find it fascinating when people aren’t interested in fully understanding the meaning of a passage of literature and would rather jump to criticism before actually understanding what it says. Criticizing the morality of a passage is perfectly fine, whether a passage of the Bible or a passage in The Lord of the Rings. But one really ought to understand what the passage is saying before one begins to apply critiques to it, otherwise one will simply reveal oneself to be a fool.

  • Scott Brunner
    August 10, 2017 9:58 am

    The fact that mauling 42 people with bears is acceptable by Christians by any interpretation should terrify us all. This is only one verse of insane cruelty by God and why we should all be worried about Christian dogma.

    Should we mention God killing everyone on earth by drowning them to death? I am sure Lot’s wife would protest her death by pillar of salt which led to Lot and his daughters having incest. This is the good book? The attempt to mask this or explain it away or interpret to something other thanit reads is irresponsible.

    The tired Christian answer of “oh gosh well we don’t know God’s ways” is purely immoral. You do know God’s ways. He kills millions in the Bible.

    According to the Christians and the bible, God created all things remember? This inlcudes the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the devil and sin. The bible never mentions freewill nor does it even imply it. A sick and immorall book the teaching of which to our children should stop. It is harmful.

    • Actually, according to the Bible, God has killed (or will kill) every human being who has ever or will ever live. So your point is moot to begin with. Presuming the existence of an immortal divine being ultimately in charge over human affairs, the timing of when that being chooses to end a human life is irrelevant.

  • Jason your blog post shed light on the passage being addressed. I admire your patience with some of the responses.

  • Jason – a question and an observation:

    Q: What is the actual lexical meaning of the word “youth” used in describing those who mocked Elisha? I’ve heard in the new testament (Timothy) the word translated from Greek can refer to someone of military service age, and I think I recall hearing elsewhere that it means a man without a beard (which was only allowed when you were ready to be married – although maybe I’m thinking of the Amish!). I’ve heard people say that this was likely a bunch of around 20 year-old “student prophets” from one of the competing, idolatrous temple/schools, which I think you almost argued.

    O: This doesn’t sound like a bunch of little kids taunting an old man, as you said. At minimum, this was a crowd of 42 and very likely more, probably late-teens or older vs ONE man. It doesn’t say if any of them were armed, but given that there were wild bears in a forest nearby, it would seem likely.

    In order words, this was a mob scene at best, and it seems likely to me that it was a deliberate ambush! How likely is that 42+ “youths” would suddenly appear in the middle of the forest, away from any human help for Elisha? I wouldn’t doubt the *true* prophet of God, Elisha, was in immediate danger of his life from fierce opponents of God, possibly out for revenge for what Elijah had done to their religion over the years. God had “gotten rid of” Elijah for them, and they wanted to eliminate Elisha as well, telling him to disappear like Elijah, and it looks to me like they were ready to do the job themselves.

    So God defended him. That’s the way I see it, anyway.

  • Jason, thanks for this blog post. Someone brought up the bears and bald men at work and although I have read the whole Bible, I didn’t remember reading this passage. It is certainly interesting to see the reactions of non-Christians in the discussion with their typical; God has no right to punish people attitudes. I am very happy that I won’t be facing God’s judgement for all eternity. I am thankful that Jesus has saved me. The mob that was mocking Elisha is still burning in hell right now as we speak. I think of other people that knew from my childhood that rejected God and were taken early. My great uncle rejected God on his death bed. He has been burning in hell for over twenty years now.

    Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. .

  • Let’s say God sends His man into Chicago to show Chicago that God is in charge. When Elisha reaches Chicago, a bunch of gang bangers acting like little children, decide to surround Elisha to intimidate him. Elisha warns the gang bangers of God’s wrath but they continue in their intimidation, maybe pull out a knife or gun. Start calling him names and using intimidating language to “go off” much like “go up”. You want to dance old man? (Baldy) Elisha, decides to teach the gang bangers that God is not something to laugh at and that His people are not those you want to intimidate so Elisha curses them in a way that I’m sure they were laughing when he said it and then out of nowhere a couple of Bears show up and bring a little intimidation of their own. I’m sure that when the story got back around to the parents, that the thought of God being real and in charge might have crossed their mind. Hey, how did you get that scar? a bunch of us were making fun of God’s prophet and God sent these two bears to attack all of us. What did you learn? When God is trying to rescue you from eternal damnation, don’t make fun of Him or His people. Perhaps we should mind our own business and leave others alone.

    • Excellent explanation sir. I find it telling that people turn “maul” into “killed” which does not necessarily have to be true. In World of Warcraft, playing as a bear, you have maul, bite, and various other attack abilities. Using a single attack does not necessarily kill nor even put someone into critical condition. A maul from a bear can mean a swipe/hit from the hand of the bear.

      and mauled
      וַתְּבַקַּ֣עְנָה (wat·tə·ḇaq·qa‘·nāh)
      Conjunctive waw | Verb – Piel – Consecutive imperfect – third person feminine plural
      Strong’s 1234: To cleave, to rend, break, rip, open

      So they got a SCRATCH.

      You will note that the Bible mockers assume each and every one of the 42 perpetrators has good motives and were innocent children in the 4-7 year old range, just learning to speak and loved the prophet Elisha with all of their hearts and loved the Lord their God deeply and were just telling Elisha an innocent joke about his male pattern baldness and encouraging him genuinely to show them a trick of going up into the sky like Elijah did and presumably to land again on the ground after to their applause – sort of like the hobbit kids with Gandalf wanting a firework show. They then assume there were not possibly any more than 42 kids and all 42 were caught by the bears and killed utterly as well as eaten to the last bite of protein prior to the bear chasing down the next innocent child. Never does it cross their mind that there could have been thousands of armed young warriors who literally worshiped Satan and did human sacrifices regularly who had gathered in mass to slaughter Elijah and were in the process of surrounding him and throwing a noose around a tree and lighting up a fire with a stake in the center, deliberating on whether to slowly hang him or burn him alive. They never consider that a bear could run into a mass like a group of people at a music festival and swipe around scratching people causing a stir while nobody catches onto what is happening right away but just hear a commotion in the back and a stampede beginning but nobody in the center can really move or go anywhere as they are surrounded on all sides by other people. Instead, the mockers assume all 42 are gathered in a large circle with nobody standing nearby, they all see the bears coming from miles away and have a head start to begin running in all directions, but the bears manage to follow their footprints for many miles to kill each one, as expert trackers, sometimes even getting them in their beds days later, tracking their scent and being guided by angels to their home addresses or some combination thereof. You see, mockers go out of their way to dismiss, ridicule, and paint a picture of ridiculousness of the story due to their preconceived biases that the Bible is wrong and they fail to even use common sense to understand or paint a picture of the details surrounding a given passage that makes the passage logical.

  • Better yet, Elisha goes to the West Bank to try and share the truth, and a bunch of Palestinian youths decide to berate Elisha with their anti-Jewish sentiment and call him names and threaten him, maybe even throw a few rocks. Does this picture seem more realistic? He comes to them to help save them and they reject, ridicule, and try to intimidate him. They need some kind of spanking wake up call, and God provides them with one. Bet they think twice before doing that again.

    • Good points. Also, nobody considers the possibility that the youth in their pride turned on the bears and tried to kill the bears – that the youth were armed and trained fighters – and that they youth even succeeded in killing the bears – and that the bears managed to scratch 42 of their attackers before themselves being killed. Meanwhile, Elisha managed to escape fleeing for his life, the bears having created enough of a distraction for Elisha to slip away.

  • Thanks, by the way, for bringing up Leviticus 26:22-23. That helped tremendously!

  • Wait, so it is allegory and, therefore not to be taken as fact? Well, that should go perfectly with all that “the word of god” nonsense around the world. I love it when people try to justify books that retell oral tradition preceding the events they claim to depict, which were written decades after the alluded non-specific imaginary events. It is easier to actually accept gods characters look awfully familiar to those of the people that made them up.

  • Garry Blakeney
    February 15, 2018 6:41 am

    “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” C.S. Lewis ( former atheist)

  • Nice reading, Jason, but let’s push this just a bit further. Taken within the context of the entire book of Kings, we see Elisha, the newly empowered Levitical successor of Elijah, going up to the ancient sacred high place of Bethel, which he apparently feels he has a right to do even though Jeroboam had fired the legitimate priesthood and hired in their place men “from among the people who were not sons of Levi.” The Hebrew term for children is indeed yeledim, literally “children”; however, the Bible writer, who disapproves of Bethel being turned into a state supporting shrine, demeans the illegitimate priesthood–much the same way a modern man might put down another man by calling him “boy.” (I suspect this principle also applies to Jeroboam’s golden calves, which were probably bronze-plated, rip-snorting bulls). At any rate, one sees earlier in the chapter that the annoying professional priests travel in groups of fifty. When they taunt Elisha–who either bears a cicatrix (a special mark on the head that sets him apart as a Levitical priest) or has taken a Nazarite vow (taunting someone on the basis of physical characteristics often involves an inversion of adjectival nouns, like Shorty for a tall man, or Slim for an obese one)–he calls out the two mama bears to wreak havoc among them. While the Hebrew term bâqa’ does mean to maul, shred, or tear up, it also means to split or divide up–not unlike the chips that go flying from a split log. So this seemly horrendous story of mauled children is simply an episode in the life of Elisha that established him as a true biblical prophet according to the Bible writer. He is able to call out bears to send forty-two of fifty of Jeroboam’s illegitimate priests packing.

    • I also thought that this tearing up might just mean to disperse, get rid of the crowd. But on the other hand, it’s bears, they do have a way of shredding up their victims. And as Mr Staples cited
      “If then you act with hostility and are unwilling to hear/obey me … I will send the wild beasts among you and bereave you of your children” (Lev 26:22–23).
      it’s rather difficult to maintain that no killing, bloody wounds etc…was meant to be understood by the writer.. Most people would (?) understand
      a child been bereaved by a wild animal, as being killed by it.
      Anyway, your info about those 42 being part of those 50 is very revealing.. So Elisha managed to get 8 on his side i suppose…
      Probably the wild beasts in question were bears because of the location , and maybe even recycling a true incident, involving female bears.
      Or there might be some more metaphorical reasons / figurative meanings involved, as with the “sending wild beasts among you” part
      Maybe just an way of expressing anger, as in “i will unleash my dogs upon you” can be said even if you don’t have dogs.

  • Your capacity to distort the plain language of this “story” is breathtaking. If the underlying message of this fable is what you say it is, the Word of God sire went about it in a thick-headed and obtuse way. Faith, which is nothing more than hoping something is true without the benefit of evidence, really makes someone like you to obfuscate the obvious. Your analysis of this scriptural story is such a stretch it is laughable.

    • Psalms 18:26 to the pure, you show yourself pure, and to the morally corrupt, you appear to be perverse.

      This psalms summarizes why the Bible is full of mysteries and parables and layers or depth and understanding. Bible mockers make assumptions about the text and then condemn God or the writers, assuming its all fake and there is no God. Thus fulfilling what Psalms 18:26 says. People who know God will not jump to such foolish conclusions and will dig deeper and think more, mediating on the text until understanding comes.

      Now supposing it really was young children ages 4-7, saying who are we to judge God is right and fair – He knows all things right? People hate God because He let Hitler live and rise and do the Holocaust – they say why didn’t God stop Hitler, perhaps strike him dead between the age of 4-7 when he began to become evil and
      lose respect for his elders? That would have been just of God to end Hitler when he started becoming
      evil to prevent all the evil Hitler went on to do later in life before it happened – but then they flip
      and say God has no right to kill anybody who is young if God kills 42 satan worshippers who would have
      been Hitlers… see the moral double standard? How many human sacrifices to Baal would these 42 young
      men have done in their lives? How many women would they have raped and murdered in their lives? How
      many old men passing through had they killed prior? How many traveling caravans did they loot, burn,
      and rape the women and kill everyone prior to now? The Bible mockers never ask a single one of these
      questions about these youth… We know VERY LITTLE about the circumstances in this story and surrounding
      this story, yet the Bible mockers want to stand as God’s judge, assuming moral superiority over God Himself
      in their pride, and assuming they know best and are more intelligent than God! Or they assume it has nothing
      to do with God and its a fable – but even in that case, they fail to consider the events surrounding and
      preceding this and all the evil that was prevented following this event had Elisha been killed or just
      taunted and walked off – it is possible these 42 youth seeing God was real, in addition to the other potentially
      hundreds of youth present that day later caught up with Elijah and got on one knee and in tears apologized
      for the taunting and said truly, the Lord is with you and we see that now! Tell us, what has the Lord shown
      you!? Teach us the ways of the Lord, His chosen prophet, servant of the Most High! We didn’t believe before
      but now we know God is truly real! We want to know Him more, tell us about Him! We have burned down the
      idols of our parents in our homes and we have told our families that we have found a man who knows the
      one true God and has the Lord’s favor! Our whole families are turning away from Baael worship and
      wanting to know the Lord now! But of course not, of course the Bible mockers have not considered ANY of
      this amazing positive outcomes from the bears’ attack, they just have to assume the kids died and the
      town hates God even more now, the prophet was not confirmed in the land by this in any way, and nothing
      good at all came from the events – it was just mere insecurity about a hairline and immaturity on the part
      of Elisha and/or God – what a JOKE!

  • Rather than call out the immorality of the passage, this article is an attempt to rationalize what happened and shift the interpretation so that God comes out on top.

    It’s intellectually dishonest.

    • Nope. It’s simply making sure people read the passage correctly. It’s up to you what conclusions you draw about the justice of anything that happens in the passage once you read it correctly.

  • Steven Green
    May 11, 2018 5:57 am

    Please don’t use Flash. Hardly any browsers play it these days.

  • I hate it when people are willing to tolerate God looking bad. The story of Elisha (who had less hair or no hair) was made fun of by a gang of teenagers (from my study) and the she-bears mauled 42–there is no valid reason to say they were mauled to death! (Sad every commentary I looked at has been fooled on this one by our slick Adversary — Satan who lives up to his name of being a Deceiver!

    This short relay by Sonja gets it right!

    November | 2016 | Heart Talk w / Sonja
    1 post published by sonjakkemp during November 2016

  • I think this is more a comment on men’s sensitivity about receding hairlines than any theological message. I suspect this story was written by a man who was constantly taunted by his lack of hair and this was a bit of a revenge fantasy. Actually, not taking the Bible literally, I find this story rather humorous (a bit like jokes about rows of rabbits stepping backwards). Then again, I’m of the opposite gender as Elisha, so I might see the humour here where a man would not. Women with hair loss usually invite sympathy rather than ridicule because more often than not, they’re losing hair because they have had cancer and undergone chemotherapy. So maybe there’s some symbolism in the bears in this story being female?

  • David Welsh
    July 4, 2018 8:10 pm

    I stumbled across this website while doing a study on the prophet Elisha. Since this website is for Christians, I was amazed at the number of unbelievers posting hate comments. Yet most unbelievers I know and see on the news have no problem with killing thousands of unborn and half born (partial-birth) babies every year. Judgment Day is coming. Make sure you’re ready!

  • Rhys McCartney
    July 17, 2018 11:12 am

    >trying to justify mass murder

  • Hi Jason. Thank you for your research into this biblical passage. Would you please be able to do one for Hosea 13:16? Thanks!

  • Brian Bolland drew the best depiction of this story. I love the smug expression on Elisha’s face at the end, and the utter callousness of the final sentence, as if this was just one day like any other. This story illustrates how evil the character of God can be in the Bible.

    There is no moral justification for believing this story is real and trying to explain it away. It is simply contemptible.


    • This dude trying to say that god is responsible for all human deaths therefore these deaths are no different is about the most deluded attempt at justifying anything I’ve literally ever heard in my entire 37 years on Earth. The lengths the religious will go to defend their beliefs are truly incalculable. “All logical arguments can be defeated by the simple refusal to reason logically.” – Steven Weinberg

      • they say the 42 youths were ages 4-7 and completely innocent; they say the youths actually loved Elisha and were just making a joke about his receding hairline and Elisha was so immature, he decided hairline jokes were worthy of the death sentance and God agreed with him about this; they say that the 42 youths saw the bears coming from miles away and it is impossible for the bears to have killed 42 of them because bears can’t move that fast to catch 42 people one at a time and kill them; they say there could not have been more than 42 present and so all present were successfully ran down, not a single one escaped; they say all 42 died when it says mauled which means scratched and says nothing about the bears killing them or eating them; they conclude Elisha and God are murderers who kill for hairline jokes and especially kill innocent children who were just outside having recess and one kid said a cheeky joke to a stranger walking by before promptly apologizing and saying maybe that was a little insensitive and wishing him a great day! Only to have him walk away then stop and say, no, I’m not going to let it go, you little brat, you are going to die today! She Bears, COME FORTH! – people in their imaginations create the worst possible picture to support hating God and hating the Bible;

  • Misinterpreted eh? A prophetic sigh eh? …wow, what a bunch of religious retarded fucknozzles, LMFAO

  • If this bear attack really happened, it will have been an incident that afterwards got recuperated for religious storytelling and was adapted to
    serve the purposes you mentioned. Positive thing about it is that neither god nor the prophet had anything to do with it, And that the writer leaves it to god to get even.
    A prophet might be told of to have an exceptional relation with god with instant satisfaction in case of trouble, but ordinary believers reading this and who are victim of adversary
    will have to be instructed to wait a bit longer, preferably to the afterlife to get release for their resentment..
    So as things like that never happened it’s partly mere psychotherapy for frustrated believers to help them live with it.
    If it had it’s affect on listeners to make them respect prophets, “Listen and don’t muck us, or else…”.. making them believe the story to be true, that’s a kind of intimidation,
    unworthy of god, but no doubt justified for higher purposes, the writer is clearly a Macchiavelian.
    The main thing to remember here is It’s hard to be a prophet, so we better pat them on the shoulder then mock them.
    Evidently, if anyone is thinking, prophet or not, because of this story of releasing two wild animals on a crowd for any reason,
    with help of god or not, , he should seek out professional advice. first. You should have mentioned that in your comment.
    God must indeed be very wise to let himself getting abused like this, even if it’s just by name in fiction, , But he’s a big guy and can take it
    And maybe there really are people around who need to be made believe in the wrath of a bloodthirsty god to stop mocking or harassing others.

  • The question is would you curse a group unbelieving “youngster” knowing that then wild beasts will appear and have their way with them? Would you still worship a god that would do so? Why not pray for god to sent them a sign of love?
    If anyone, it’s the prophet that should be torn up by bears for not having been able to keep all people obedient.
    Or god himself for not being willing to provide and inspire the prophet with enough material that would keep
    people under the covenant without having to resort to (pretended to have happened) semi terrorist attacks or threading with them.

    Clearly prophets and priests who propagate a specific god knew that terrified and anxious people are much easier to
    convert and to keep faithful and respectful.

    Their message was obviously not that obvious at all for people to believe in..

    • The Bible never says Elisha knew wild beasts would appear and have their way with the kids. Also, you assume the bears won. You have no idea how many youngsters were present and how well armed they are nor their intentions toward Elisha nor how evil they were. You assume the worst at every turn. What makes you think the bears didn’t try to help Elisha who was facing death by this mob? What makes you think the mob did not kill the bears who only tried to scatter the mob but then the mob drew blood on the bears and surrounded the bears with their swords only for the bears to fight back in self defense managing to scratch 42 of them before bleeding out themselves? So you immediately jump from failing to even think through one of hundreds of scenarios that would make the bears victims, God, a just defender of an innocent prophet, and Elisha, someone who prayed for these youngsters and pled with them for his life prior to finally saying “then let God deal with you, the Lord rebuke you” which caused God to step in and send the bears at the last moment before they slaughtered Elisha. Of course you never considered that! Mockers assume the worst always. Shoot first, attack the Bible at the first sign of potential disagreement, then walk away having confirmed your preconceived biases against it because it calls your out for your own wicked heart.

      You say why not pray for God to send them a sign of love? What makes you think Elisha didn’t do just that? “Heb 12:6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” What if Elisha prayed as follows: “Lord, I love these kids so much and can’t get through to them! They just mock and are deafened by their own false beliefs about you and about me, your servant! Please discipline these kids and show yourself to them so that they will learn to honor and respect you and not grow up to be Baal worshippers! But be easy on them Lord, don’t kill them on my account, have mercy on these youth, there is still hope for them surely! They know not what they do!” And God, hearing his prayer, disciplined them with loving mercy by sending two she bears to give them a scare and scratch them to leave a small scratchmark to remind them of how merciful the Lord is, remind them of the day that the Lord revealed Himself to them, a mark they show with great delight the rest of their lives as they travel the land proclaiming the Lord is real and is good and loves us all and just gave us a little scratch when we were kids to put the fear of God into us and humble us and cause us to become students of his servant Elisha who we then went on to train under in the ways of the Lord for years to come. And thus this sign was carried out and all these kids and their families greatly feared the Lord that day and burned all their idols down and worshiped God. What a wonderful sign of love God gave that day!

      You say Elisha should have been killed that day because he was not able to keep children in a distant, strange city he was passing through obedient, meeting them for the first time in his life. I disagree. I don’t see how it is possible for a man to make children obedient children having never met them before. The best hope for a person encountering wicked kids is to pray for those kids – that the Lord send a sign to them that He is real and to send the rod of correction upon them to cause them to be fear Him and be obedient kids. The best thing to do if lecturing the kids doesn’t work is to turn to the Lord for help in correcting children in need of correction who just won’t listen. So this display of Elisha’s love for those kids is what you feel is Elisha’s crime punishable by death to Elisha for praying it. Your idea of justice is horrifying and yet you call the Bible unjust. How ironic.

      You say God himself should have been killed by the bears for not being willing to provide and inspire Elisha with enough material that would keep people under the covenant without having to resort to semi-terrorist attacks. I disagree. God gave Elisha the faith and wisdom to know that the only way to correct young kids who reject God and His prophets is to put fear into them and show them a sign that God is real and loves them. So God did exactly that and the kids surely fell down and worshiped God that day, immediately converted from their Baal worship and now fearing God for the first time in their lives and surely turning their families to the Lord with the story of all that happened. In fact, their families, not believing the story the kids told were gasping with shock and awe when the kids remembered they had on scratch on their back to prove they weren’t lying and turned and showed it to their parents who then fell down humbled and began to worship the Lord in total amazement and signed up their children to go and study under Elisha as students.

      You say prophets and priests know that terror of God makes people much easier to turn into servants of God. I agree. Of course, “Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” I can think of no greater gift to my rebellious child than for God to reveal Himself to them while they mock a pastor to his face in a mob by having a bear come chase them and scratch them, making them realize God is real, He is not mocked (Galatians 6:7), He loves them and is merciful, and leaving a mark to remember the lesson and be able to show with proof the event when they share their testimony of the day they became a believer and follower of God!

      Psalm 23:4 reads, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” – the bears were the rod of correction for the children which is for their comfort, knowing the Lord is real and cares for them because He chastizes the ones He loves to teach them right from wrong – as a parent who does not wish to spare the rod and spoil the child. The staff is his guidance and direction – the wisdom and teachings available from Elisha are the staff to guide the people back to God. Many went on to train under Elisha. See 2 Kings 6 – these could very well be the same kids from that day who went on to become Elisha’s students.

  • There are no bears in middle east so the whole story is a hoax or a fable. Get a life and give up on religion. Its all nonsense.

    • Wow. That comment is definitely one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in awhile.

    • If God can do anything, is He capable of creating a bear in the middle east? I would certainly think so. Not only that but God happened to create man from the dust of the ground. Is there dust in the middle east from which God can create a living being? Last time I checked, dust is about the most prevalent thing in the middle east…

  • It’s so funny to see the rambling atheist snowflakes calling God unjust and evil by using biblical morality.

    How stupid can one be? If there is no God there are no objective moral values, then all of morals are just subjective. So how can you say then that God is evil?

    Instead of being driven by your emotions just learn some basic philosophy. With the internet there is no excuse anymore to be ignorant. You have all the information of the world within seconds so it would be a brilliant idea to use instead of repeating the same ignorant lame atheist tirades and come up with thoughtful objections.

    Thank you Jason for your inside on this specific verse.

  • daniel balogun
    January 10, 2019 8:47 am

    I need you all to understand this,
    God never killed those children… though had the power to stop Elijah’s anger.
    but God already gave Elijah the power to do things(Call down fire and more)…
    Elijah’s own personal behavior and impulses decided the fate of those children,, God is LOVE, Jesus clearly showed us who God is by coming to earth to show us who he truly is.. In the old testament, the prophet didn’t really understand the true nature of God..
    Power was available to them for use.. God didn’t put a restriction on this power. But yes he did give them the power.

    Read the Bible with understanding Please…..
    Esp the book of Moses!!!

    • This is mistaken. Elisha is clearly depicted within the text as operating with God’s authority, and the text is clear that Elisha is a proper representative of God’s nature, which at least in the Bible is consistently portrayed as both kind and severe.

    • The point you make about calling down fire is a great one. If dealing with adults, call down fire and they are done for. If dealing with “youths”, maybe there is still hope for them – call in some bears to put the fear of God in them, leave a small mark to remind them of the day and verify their testimony when they tell others they met a real prophet and God is not mocked and here is proof He is not mocked, and Elisha even told the bears do not break a bone or kill a single kid – this is just a lesson – the first of many as they will become my students.

  • The bottom line is that young men (not children) should not disrespect a man of G-d. His prophet’s and messengers. The Lord was protecting his man.

  • Just Wondering
    March 6, 2019 11:21 pm

    Jason, you commented in one of the replies the following:

    “From a monotheistic perspective, if a person dies at any point, God has effectively killed that person. It thus makes no sense to differentiate between God killing a person at one time or killing a person at another.”

    If this is the case, then why are so many Christians pro-life? Why does it make a difference whether that baby dies in utero, or at the end of a long life?

    • Very simple: it’s all about the agency leading to the death. In such a perspective, murder is immoral because it’s a human killing another human and thereby encroaching on divine prerogative. If a baby dies in utero without human intervention, it’s morally akin to a death at the end of a long life. But if a man murders another man, that is a different category altogether.

  • No, people did not misinterpret this story. Lol rationalize this however you like. God is good my ass. Personally I would worship such a vengeful and vicious god. The idea that, to you, letting your sons live a long and fulfilling life before dying of old age, is the same as actively making bears maul them to death without the chance to change their mind… You’re fucked up. And if there’s no way to judge a god’s mysterious reasons for their actions as a lowly human being, what’s the point? Give up your free will, logic and morals. Become mindless thralls.

    • So how can you possibly know whether they misinterpretted the story? Were you there? Did the kids live? Did the bears live? Did the kids go on to become Elisha’s students after surviving the attack? Were the kids armed? Was Elisha’s life in danger? Did Elisha pray for the Lord to send the kids of sign but not kill them? Could Elisha have just called down fire? How many “youths” were present in total and what were there intentions and how did this huge mob know Elisha was coming? Did these youths perform human sacrifices? Were these youths violent? You can’t answer a single one. Yet you KNOW God was unjust for sure in this story. What a joke your pride presents.
      You say you won’t worship God. I disagree. You will worship Him in the fullness of time. Isaiah 45:23 By Myself I have sworn; truth has gone out from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow before Me, every tongue will swear allegiance.’”

      You say that God did not give the kids a chance to change their mind. I disagree. The text never says that and God surely could have given them a chance to change their mind. You don’t even know how long Elisha could have talked with them and pled with them for his life prior to sending the bears forth.

      You say God for sure let the bear utterly kill the boys. I disagree. If Elisha wanted them dead, why not call down fire from heaven like Elija did with mobs of men. Why bears and why does the text say they mauled the boys only – why doesn’t the text say killed and ate 42 of them if this were the case. You are injecting things into the text that are not only no there, but never implied, highly implausible, improbable, and illogical. I counter that after being scratched, the boys went home in wide eyed amazement, fearing the Lord now, KNOWING that Elisha was a legit prophet of God, and begging their parents to let them go and train under Elisha to also become prophets which then went on to do and the Bible speaks about people training under Elisha in great numbers. These could have been the first to join his school for prophets and highly likely were so.

      You say Jason is wrong to accept that God can give and take away, blessed be the name of the Lord? How is it wrong to trust someone’s judgement who is infinitely superior to you, created all things, vows that all will bow before Him and confess that Jesus is Lord and swear allegiance and all that raged against Him will come to Him ashamed and say of Him only in the Lord is deliverance and strength. Seems like the Lord wins the hearts of all men in the end to me and is just. What is so wrong about admitting the Lord is higher than we are and trusting that He decides things based on factors we don’t know about necessarily. He is all knowing and omniscient and omnipresent. Do you think you are smarter than God? What a prideful fool you are to question Jason’s humility and trust in God. Jason takes a stance to just say God gets to choose and Jason is right. I have gone further and taken a stab at understanding why God did the thing, the factors God weighed in His mind prior to making the judgement call, and I am then testing and proving God’s perfect will. I filled in gaps on the factors we don’t know using common sense and creativity and made the story extremely logical and just. You assumed all sorts of things not written and created a case based on conjecture and hung God, Jason, and Elisha in your impatient fury. A fool rushes in and does not consider a matter carefully. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

      You say there is no way to judge God’s mysterious reasons for His actions. I disagree. The Bible says to test and approve God’s perfect will. Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – This tells us that if we renew our minds, we will be able to test and approve God’s will and this is what I do for all situations. I test what God decided and figure out a plausible scenario where the decision makes sense and was justifiable. That is the foundation of apologetics as a field in fact. There need not be anything illogical about it. If the Bible is true, it must stand up against scrutiny and I challenge that it very much does.

      You say that to follow the Bible you have to give up free will, logic, and morals and become mindless. I disagree. In fact, the opposite is true. Denying Christ and the Word is giving up free will, logic, and morals, becoming a mindless lost person, a slave to sin ruled over by sin, devoid of a sound mind, reprobate, and evil to the core as to morals. Which appears to be you sadly.

  • Robert J. Rank
    April 10, 2019 11:08 am

    I believe this is just story and never really happened.. This is not what God is like and it wold be ridiculous to think that he is.. An all mighty. all knowing eternal God is going to slay some stupid teenagers for making fun of a bald guy. So this prophet got mad and whistled up the creator of the Universe to take vengeance on these teens to make an example of them and make Israel tremble. If super mind God is that unstable and needs to get his purpose accomplished using these methods then yes, he terrifies me.
    This is either a complete an utter fairy tale or it is a total embellishment and exaggeration of a true story about a couple of kids who got mauled by a bear.. At any rate this is yet another story straight out of the mind of a finite, little peanut brained human being. God is so far beyond our understanding that it isn’t even measurable. This is yet another example of man giving God petty human characteristics…I just can’t live in this self delusion any longer by believing that the bible is perfect and infallible.

    • Completely irrelevant to this discussion, but thanks!

    • You said the youths were “slain” but the Bible says they were scratched (mauled), not slain. Show me the verse the Bible says “slain” – it doesn’t say it. So you are reading the text and adding to it.

      You say the full extent of the youth’s offense is making fun of a bald guy. You fail to consider whether they also threatened his life. You also fail to consider who the bald guy represented and the significance of their mocking. You even fail to consider that Elijah was “taken up” in a fiery chariot and they were saying “go up” indicating that they knew who Elijah was, the tremendous fear and fame Elijah put into the people of the land, and their rejection of his true successor Elisha. So more was at stake than egos surround hairlines and they knew who this man was supposedly claiming to be – the next big dog prophet of the land. This was no mere commentary on hair line recession which you are falsely turning it into with the intention of painting the youths as innocent with the ultimate intention of painting God, Elisha, and the Bible as wicked – to your own disgrace.

      You say using bears to put the fear of God into people is a bad method. What is your improved method for putting the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom into people? Give them a book called the Bible? Seems that isn’t working for you. It seems really that you could use a bear mauling to put the fear of God into you. You assume a scratch from a bear is such a bad thing. I am sure being scratched is well worth being woken up from a life of evil and human sacrifice at the alter of Baal. How many lives were saved by scratching them rather than letting them go on to be as bad as Hitler later on? Now they get to live holy lives fearing the Lord.

      The instant you see a story you don’t understand, you decide to call the author peanut brained when you in fact show far more peanut brained qualities by failing to seek understanding of the story and see one of hundreds of scenarios where the story makes sense.

  • You didn’t reinterpret anything, you justified your evil god. Your whole death cult is pure evil. It’s obvious that the prophets of god are actually evil Sorcerers, cursing anyone who upsets them with Sorcery of the Tetragrammaton.

    Satan ain’t the bad guy.
    In the Garden, the YHVH god says if you eat of this tree you will surely die. Satan as the serpent said,
    “You will not surely die, your eyes will be opened and you will become as gods knowing good and evil.”

    They ate, their eyes opened and they realized that they were naked. God was pissed that they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and kicked them out.

    Christians try to explain this as the Serpent lying, and that Adam and Eve received a spiritual death, but that’s another lie, a spiritual death would mean people were souless, and we’re not. Nor did it enact that we would die eventually, it was understood that their lives were limited, that one day they would die, the tree of life was removed from them so they wouldn’t become immortal, but they lived 900+ years before dying, no where near what people die at today.

    The Book of Enoch holds much Occult Knowledge which is why it never made it into the Bible. It is referenced in Genesis chapter 6, the removal of this knowledge, specifically the Sorcery of Methuselah caused mankind’s limit to be only 120 years, not because the false god ordained it.

    The Serpent told the Truth.
    The YHVH god lied.
    The Christian god has been a liar from the beginning. And a murderer if you count the Great Flood and these passages.

    Lucifer/Satan does not demand worship, only the false god of the Christians does. Lucifer simply wants people to know themselves. Jesus was the only one who learned from Satan the teachings of Sorcery and demonstrated them.

    Everything you’ve been told by Christianity is a lie. The Church doesn’t want people to know the truth, they don’t want another Jesus Christ, should he ever arise, he would be quickly assassinated.

    Jesus wasn’t teaching people to have Faith in him, he was teaching how to generate and manifest Faith (Evocation), he was teaching the disciples his Sorcery.

    Sorcerer Jesus wasn’t all powerful, but he did have some powers, he didn’t want people knowing and bragging about his Sorcery, but at the same time he couldn’t stand by and watch others suffer, often after helping people he would ask for them not to say anything about his magic. (John 9:6-11)

    Of course, people couldn’t keep their mouths shut, and bragged. Was he a god, or was he a Witch? Well the powers that be at that time didn’t want this “Messiah” teaching others to do this Magick, they couldn’t have everyone knowing this, their whole system would collaspe, they needed people to be dumb, ignorant, and illiterate so that they could get these “slaves” to do their bidding.
    To this day, this system of control is still in effect.

    The greatest lie ever told was that Jesus died for everyone’s sins, when in fact he was crucified for being a witch.

    Christians claim God hates Witchcraft and Sorcery, but you only hear them raising Hell about it, you never see this all powerful god enforcing his authority. So why does an all-powerful god need piss-ants to enforce his bullshit? Because he’s not all-powerful. God is limited in what he can do. (Case in point, God has Moses paint blood over the Israelite’s doors to indicate to the Angel of Death, who not to kill, an all-powerful god who supposedly knows how many hairs are on each and everyone’s head somehow can’t differentiate between Egyptian and Israelite.)

    The extremely watered down ritual of Christian Worship is exactly the same ritual for Spirit Summoning, except that in Christian Worship, the name of god is unknown and the sacrifice uses wine or grapejuice, not the real stuff, blood.

    Sorcery is the manipulation of astral forces to achieve a result. Demons are the original gods before Christianity bastardized them. Christianity is entirely man-made/made up, borrowing heavily from pagan stories and traditions.

    The Goetia, or the Magick of Solomon goes into great detail the powers of each demon, and how a Sorcerer who knows how to communicate to these demons can achieve the powers to do miracles. Every power Sorcerer Jesus did is written about in the Magick of Solomon. Not only can the demons perform these actions, but under willful possession they can teach you how to manipulate your internal astral energies (Chakras, prana/Kundalini) to cause change to happen.

    Of course to do any of this would require you not fearing the demons. But the Church and Hollywood have ingrained in the minds of everyone that Demons are evil. I’ve always wondered where do they get their nonsense from? They can never tell me.

    In the bible, never is anything said about demons, but what is said about is the disease infesting, death causing, murderous assassins of god, the Angels.

    The Bible is the recorded history of Jewish Sorcery. If you want to be like Jesus, study Sorcery.

    • Completely irrelevant to this discussion, but thanks!

    • You say Jason didn’t reinterpret anything. That’s a lie. He pointed out some definite interpretive errors – which shows you care not for facts and are happy to lie like your father Satan.

      You call Christianity a death cult that is evil. How is loving neighbor as thyself and loving God evil? That is our core stance we aim to live by. That is the opposite of evil.

      You say that prophets of God curse anyone that upsets them. I disagree in part. There are instances of curses being handed out, but they are few and far between and only curse people embodying evil to just punishment and no more than that. The intention would also be to correct them through the punishment in order to bring them enlightenment ultimately and pull them out of that darkness and evil. So the curse is always rooted in love as the source of the curse. God also tells us to bless and not curse as a preferred means of dealing with enemies – bless those who persecute us (Romans 12:14).

      You say satan isn’t bad. I disagree. He’s the Father of Lies (John 8:44). Lying is bad in most cases. Satan is prideful, foolish, conniving, and is the thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). These are bad qualities.

      You defend Satan causing Adam and Eve to eat from the fruit that was forbidden and in so doing disobey God who up to that point gave them perfect utopia. How is that in Adam and Eve’s best interests to lie to them and trick them into losing their blessing? It isn’t. Of course, God turns what the enemy meant for evil for good, but that is surely not Satan’s motive here. (Romans 6:1)

      You say Adam and Eve dying spiritually entails that people now are souless. I disagree. Adam and Eve did die spiritually which means that they lost their spiritual connectedness to God and became spiritually estranged from God, no longer loving Him and being one with Him in the same way. This holds true today. Sin separates people from God which is a spiritual death. Now, does dying spiritually mean you no longer have a soul and become “souless”? No. Even in a state of spiritual death (in sin), you still possess a spirit, body, and soul. These 3 make up who you are. You just don’t possess the same intimate connection with God and right standing with him and purity before Him. That is all this means. When we are in sin, we still have a soul. You just don’t seem to understand the spirit soul and body concept nor the concept of spiritual death. Hope that helps. They did die spiritually that day.

      You say that prior to eating from the tree, Adam and Eve’s lives were understood to be limited. I disagree. Nowhere does the Bible say that and it is illogical. Immortality was possessed by them at the beginning and eating from the tree meant that they would physically die now. Had they not eaten from that tree, they would not have died physically at any future point. Genesis 3:22 tells us the tree of life would give immortality to man and they had access to all trees including that one with full permission so of course they would live forever with permission to access that tree prior to getting barred from it after they sinned.

      You say the book of Enoch contains occult knowledge which is why it never made it into the Bible. That may be true, but it also was not divinely inspired and actually contradicts the Bible so it has no business being in the Bible period – cult knowledge or not.

      You say the sorcery of Methuselah loss is why man is limited to 120 years and not God. I disagree. If only sorcery can extend life past that, then God setting the age to 120 is confirmed. People lived well into hundreds upon hundreds of years prior to Methuselah being born even if he did have such a sorcery. Also, the book of Enoch does not contain a sorcerers guide to extended life magic.

      You say God is a murderer and liar. I already disproved easily He didn’t lie. As to murder, you show ignorance of its definition: Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse. First of all, God cannot do that which is unlawful since His Word and actions are the law coming forth. He cannot do what He does not want to do and whatever God wants to do is the law. So God breaking His own law is a impossibility. This makes God unlawfully killing a human an impossibility. The fact that God did the killing would in itself make it a lawful killing. Who do you think makes the laws for God other than God? He can’t defy Himself if He is the standard of law. A change of mind for God would merely mean a new law. He can’t disobey Himself. As to justification for the killing – you then go on to infer that God was lacking proper justification for killing the people in the flood. I disagree. The people of that time literally thought of evil at all times. (Gen 6:5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.) So imagine living in such a world if people were THAT BAD. It would be like Jeffery Dahmer and Hitler wrapped into one is the most righteous person of that day. You could not leave the house without being raped and murdered. People were all then hiding in utter terror for their lives, having to be like scared rabbits if they walk from point a to point b and another person was around. It would be utter hell on earth. If a judge in human court gives the death sentence to a murderer, it is just. If God does it to people 1,000 times worse in the days of the flood, you say there was no reason for it. What a horrible double standard you use. We have people who hate God for letting Hitler live and do what he did, but if God wipes out people worse than Hitler, you hate him for it. God knows the heart and is just and did what He had to do in order to make the earth not a utter nightmare. You think it is bad now? People are half way decent now. Imagine if everyone you knew literally thought of evil continually, not a single good thought. That is horrendous! Not to mention the people were half demon half human (literally, demon sex produced hybrids) and spoiling the bloodline of pure humans that was needed for the lineage of Jesus to be pure. These were the ones destroyed, but I digress.

      You say Satan doesn’t demand worship. I disagree. Worship means submission. Worship of Satan means not worshiping God. That is all Satan wants. If you don’t submit to God, then you automatically are submitting to Satan by default. Satan is getting just what he wants then. In this life, there is either submission to Satan, the god of this world, or God, the God the loving creator of all things, even Satan, who cannot do anything unless God allows it and who will bow to God in the fullness of time. Isaiah 45:24 By Myself I have sworn; truth has gone out from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow before Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24Surely they will say of Me, ‘In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.’” All who rage against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. ”

      You claim Jesus learned magic from Satan teachings. I disagree. Jesus is God. Why does God manifest in a human body need His enemy to teach Him magic? What a silly made up narrative. The Holy Spirit gave Jesus power to perform signs, wonders, miracles, not Satan magic.

      You say the church doesn’t want another Jesus Christ. I agree. Why would Jesus’ followers and bride want to have a false messiah come forth? Yet if one did, and they do all the time, the church does not quickly assassinate them as you claim. They are all over youtube claiming to be Jesus Christ for many YEARS deceiving many. There goes your false theory.

  • Murder is immoral. By God’s hand or man’s. Fulfilling a curse made by an insecure man is evil, whether he is old or young.
    Why is Jason focused on age? Does the age of Elisha save boys/children from being mauled in a time without decent medical care.?
    How does a man so petty have a direct connection to God?
    Unless God is also petty, angry, vengeful. (Noah’s Flood, among others.)

    Poor rationalizations like these are one of the reasons fewer people are going to church.

    • None of this is relevant. First of all, murder is a nonsense category when applied to God since all deaths are ultimately God’s doing. Secondly, this post has nothing to do with rationalizations or anything else. It’s an interpretation of a specific literary passage in its historical and literary context. But thanks for stopping by!

      • Still doesn’t make sense. If you look at chapter 6 further on, he makes a feast for his enemy’s and sends them back. Surely a feast for the kids would have been better than getting torn apart from bears??. A prophets job is to deliver the message. Not to maul children.

  • Lee Litherland
    July 20, 2019 9:02 pm

    Evil is evil no matter how young or how old it is and should be destroyed. By not believing you are on the wrong road to the coming end. By not accepting God as your savior you have made your decision from a choice of 2. Heaven will not be crowded and the Bible plainly says the road is narrow to salvation but there is a highway to hell. Believe what you wish for only you will suffer the consequences of your choice no matter what that may end up being.

    • The Bible also says that ants think independently and have no leader, that stars can fall out of the sky and land on Earth, and that you can test for adultery by making a woman drink a cursed liquid and watching to see if her thigh rots off. If the best you’ve got is the Bible, you’ve already lost the debate, before you’ve left the starting gate. Your veiled, insidious, EVIL THREAT at the end is meaningless, and we don’t care what you have to say ,but….thanks for proving just how insane and sinister the religious truly are, gleefully loving the idea of someone suffering for all eternity because they don’t share the same brain-fever delusion. This is what religion does to people: creates bloodthirsty, vindictive psychopaths.

  • A hilarious bit of ignorant stupidity first off if 42 kids can’t escape that’s one thing but just having God send bears to kill kids in stead of revealing himself to show guidence to children just proves what a evil God he is not real it is all crap

    • Guidance? They rejected God, what guidance could He have given them if they wanted to mock HIM and have nothing to do with God. We have free will to accept or reject God and they chose the latter, unfortunately, it caused a curse that they didn’t see coming.

  • Jason must be thinking = why didn’t Jesus ever say (anywhere in the New Testament in any version) that he is GOD or to worship him, ????
    As well as that – Jason needs to defend the killing of children. I hope your not bald Jason…

    • Jesus did not have to say He was God point blank because of the prophesies (Isaiah 9:6) doing that for Him. He spoke in parables and mysterious language rather than plainly face to face which is reserved for those with whom He has a intimate relationship (Numbers 12:8). The Bible is written for both the wicked and the righteous to read. Both the haters and the lovers of Christ. Many truths contained therein are hidden and are only shown to certain people at certain timings. This is why we have to keep reading it and waiting for deeper revelation and understanding which comes as a reward for diligently meditating on it by the Holy Spirit. I am still learning TONS after 20+ reads cover to cover. This is why we call it a Living Word. It is a supernatural book that seems like nonsense for those not truly seeking truth with an open heart and mind and filled with pride and rebellion. You also have no evidence Jesus didn’t say He is God to the disciples point blank. Many things Jesus did and said were not written (John 21:25) Yet He rebukes them for not knowing He’s God for sure when He says, “John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” Essentially, Jesus went around revealing He was God and when it registered, people dropped down and worshiped Him. This theme was consistent. To say, “I’m God, worship me” everywhere He went defeats the purpose of revealing Himself strategically and gradually to those with eyes to see. Many are called and few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). Not all are called and most are not chosen. He speaks to those with eyes to see and ears to hear (Isaiah 6:10).

      You say Jason needs to defend the killing of children and that Elisha kills them relating only to baldness. I disagree. Number one, the Bible never says they were killed. It says they were scratched (mauled) which by no means indicates they were killed. They more than likely worshiped God that day and became Elisha’s students after that event having seen for themselves that this was truly God’s prophet with a legit sign and a scratch on the back to prove it. That said, Abraham was commanded to kill his son. The firstborn of Egypt were killed too. David’s son was killed. Can we defend this? Yes. Jason already has. God made us all and has every right to kill us (ie end our life) according to His timing and purposes. He will end our life at the precise moment He determines is the best moment. The best moment is the moment that makes the most sense for the overarching plan that is playing out from the beginning. God works out all things for good in the end (1 cor 15:28). The timing of each death is going to be strategically determined by God. Would you presume to know best when a death should occur? Can you see into the future? Can you know every impact of every event down to the last generation through all the ages and all the ripple effects of each action across all the ages? No? Then who are you to condemn God as not deciding on the ideal moment to determine the ending of a life. God ends each life on this earth in His own perfect timing. You also assume death on this earth is such a big deal that God should not do it “too soon” as though it matters soooo much how long we are on this plane of existence. It really is insignificant whether you live 1 year or 100 years on this earth compared with all of eternity ahead, considering that we are all immortal creations who go on into an afterlife that has no known ending. Him ending a life is no more significant than removing a piece from a chess board and placing it into another chess board – it is moreso of a transportation from point A to point B than a death considering only your body dies. The body is merely a vehicle of transportation of you. He moves you out of that vehicle to another location when you no longer serve a beneficial purpose in your present location here on earth in his plan for the history of the earth he wrote down before any of us were born. The idea of accusing him of injustice for moving pieces around on his own chess board is beyond dumb.

  • Excellent breakdown. I read another article on this matter as well, but you broke it down even better.

    Thanks Jason!

  • You did the right thing you never said anything to bring them down or be mean. You should go to church so you can have a good afterlife. He is a nice Christian man explaining things to people. It was not nice for you people to comment on these things.

  • That’s a lot of contortions, and “interpretations” worthy of a mental gymnast to try to justify the slaughter of 42 young people by bears. The passage stands on its own, and is indicative of the sort of vengeful and violent god the dominates the old testament. Fortunately, the story is certainly fictional.

    • No passage that is part of a larger work ever stands on its own.

      • So what you’re saying is that we can’t judge this passage (and therefore God) because it’s “part of a larger work”?

        Lol, bringing the rest of the Bible into this isn’t going to help your case. But of course this is all irrelevant because the simple truth is that we believe what we want to believe, and disbelieve what we don’t want to. It’s just human nature.

  • This reminds me of the time I got a men’s group a little riled up by bringing up Amos 3:6 when the the idea of “innocent people who didn’t deserve to die because of a tornado” and how “it couldn’t have been God’s doing” and I asked, “Why not?” After all, as I once heard Alistair Begg say, something to the effect of their being no such thing as an untimely death in God’s eyes (nobody’s death takes God by surprise). I reminded them that we like to say that “God is in control” and “all powerful”, so that means that when “bad things happen to good people” (and none of us is as good as we probably think we are), God either caused it or allowed it to happen. Our problem is that our very finite minds are trying to fully comprehend the thoughts and motives of an Infinite mind – we always come up short (that’s why we’re told to have faith and to trust.

  • Natas Reficul
    May 22, 2022 8:00 pm

    god is a petulant immature evil child. it’s a good thing he doesn’t exist.

    he literally admits to creating all of the evil in this world.

    he loves to torment people for no reason whatsoever. just ask Abraham who was ordered to take his son, tie him up, stab him to death and then burn his corpse. Abraham was about to plunge a knife into his son’s bound body when one of god’s pyscho helpers came out of nowhere and said, “Just kidding, nevermind!!!!”

    yes, god is a psychotic a$$hole.

    his son is no better. jesus once destroyed a fig tree because the tree had no figs. that’s because figs weren’t in season. that not only makes jesus evil but also an idiot.

    good thing god doesn’t exist. too bad there are so many idiots out there who believe in that invisible psycho in the sky.


  • i love god

  • Thank you Jason. A good article I felt, from which I learned. Appreciate your scholarship. Praise YHWH. Keep it up.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Jason Staples Icon
Paper Accepted for Synoptic Gospels Section at 2010 SBL
Jason Staples Icon
Resources on the Bible and Homosexuality