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 2nd KINGS 2:23-25

"And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria."

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

LESSON 1:

The Lord has chosen to reveal a number of miracles associated with Elisha the Man of God, the Old Testament Prophet.

One of these is quite unusual! In fact, to my knowledge there is none other exactly like it in all of Scripture.

Since the event occupies only two verses of Bible Text, we can easily read it together: "And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." These words are recorded in 2nd Kings 2:23-24.

First of all ... and this is the "thought" God has given me for us to study today ... notice what Elisha was doing when he was verbally assaulted.

He was traveling. That's right. Simply on a journey.

Apparently going from Jericho, where he had just cured their poisonous water supply, to Bethel.

The Scripture just says "he went up from thence to Bethel."

In the Bible Jericho is usually spoken of as being in a "downhill" direction. Geographically the city sits well below sea level! Recall as Jesus began the Parable of the Good Samaritan, He said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead." Luke 10:30

It would have been wise for that man to have stayed in the high country, in Jerusalem. That's where the House of God was located also! He "went down" in more ways than one!

Well, it seems that Elisha was "reversing" the itinerary of the Samaritan in Jesus' Luke 10 Parable. The great Prophet was going "up" from Jericho. And as you know, Biblically Jericho often seems to symbolize the world, the world-system of today that is controlled by the devil!

God's Man fell under attack from scoffers as he left the place that pictures "the world" and as he went to a city whose name means "House of God," Bethel.

Seems like that's how the devil works! If you're going "up," improving your life spiritually, getting closer to the House of God ... or better yet, drawing nearer the Lord Himself, old Satan will fight!

Next notice that the narrative, "and Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel," is one that leaves some things unsaid. We can only guess what business the Prophet had in Bethel.

The next thing Scripture tells us is that the Preacher is soon on his way to Carmel, then Samaria! Surprisingly, his work in Bethel is completely unmentioned!

I suspect that the trip to Bethel was just not that significant. Again, no record of any preaching or miracle other good work is recorded there. Not at this time.

And yet ... though perhaps on a rather trivial trip, the Man of God still was attacked!

Let me make an announcement. The devil does not only "hit" when we are driving to Church! Or Revival Meeting! No! He can and does assault us, often using the gossiping slanderous mouths of others, while we are merely on our way to ... say, the cleaners or barber shop or grocery store!

He can tempt anywhere anytime!

Then there is yet one more reason why I believe the devil might have wanted to hinder Elisha's going to Bethel. That was the city where wicked King Jeroboam had placed one of the golden calves ... his attempt to keep Israel away from Jerusalem and the true House of God! This was blatant idolatry!

Can you imagine how Elisha and those claves would "mix?" Think how such a backslidden compromising city would have received the old straight-preaching Man of God!

The devil had 42 young rebels on "stand-by" to hinder and harass this great Preacher, hoping to keep him away from the city of Bethel! Elisha, being the spiritual bulldozer he was ... so invested with the power of God ... just might have upset the devil's plans and goals for future syncretistic worship in that place! That strange adjective means the mixing together of a bunch of religions and practices and beliefs ... whether they are Bible or not! The devil just didn't want his little idol bothered!

Whatever the purpose of this attack on God's Man, it failed!

Come to think of it, most of them do!

Why?

God protects His Preachers!

"Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm," saith the Lord! In fact He said it twice; 1st Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15.

If God says something once, IT IS TRUE! If He says it twice, we had surely better take note!

Wait! Just one more verse to "encourage" you Preachers today. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." That's Isaiah 54:17. And that includes protection from smart-mouthed rebels too!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

I've heard folks, especially old-timers, use the expression for years. "By the way ..." an old Preacher friend used to quip several times a day! "By the way ...." He was simply going to introduce a parallel thought into our conversation, perhaps something forgotten earlier.

Elisha the Prophet was going on a trip. And he was going "by the way" when a problem developed!

"And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head."

Yes, he was verbally attacked by a bunch of young rebels. A "street gang" you might call them.

I'd like to speak to you today about that "way."

The "way" we're supposed to be walking for the Lord!

Abraham's servant, when traveling to procure a bride for Isaac, records that it was when "in the way" God led him precisely and clearly! "And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren." Genesis 24:27

Isaiah preached about that "way!" Hear him: "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21

But, best of all, look where Isaiah was asked to go to share the great Message about the Virgin Birth of Jesus! Here are the Prophet's instructions: "Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field." That's the way to find the Truth. Walk according to the Lord's instructions! Be WHERE God wants you to be!

Look where Isaiah got the message about Jesus, about His coming as a Virgin Born Saviour! On the "highway" please. The word, "mesillah," means a raised public road! It is literally a "high" way! One that can't be overlooked! Prominent! Spiritually speaking, if we ever learn about Jesus, it will be on God's terms! By the ways of the Lord! And God's highways are clear! Well marked! Not hidden! Not subject to erosion or windstorms or enemy armies!

Then notice the exact point on this highway where King Ahaz is to learn of Jesus the Virgin Born Lord. At the field of the fuller. He's the equivalent of today's normal dry-cleaning establishment. He professionally and thoroughly cleans stains out of garments! Jesus' Blood cleanses us white as snow you remember! This is a picture of forgiveness and holiness! That's the only place one can learn of God the Son! At the real Fuller's field!

Also you must preach of Jesus near "the upper pool" out on the highway, Isaiah. The word "upper" is spelled "elyon" in Hebrew and many of you immediately recognize it as one of God's Names! It means "most high!" Often our great God is called "the Most High God!" Dozens of times! "El Elyon!"

What "hints" of the deity of Jesus these are!

Downright proclamations in fact!

Isaiah, go to the end of the conduit where the water pours forth please! That's where you are to speak of the coming Messiah! The word "end" is "qatzseh" and means "mouth!" The noun "conduit" is "tealah" and means river or watercourse or trench! What a word picture of Jesus! John 7:37-38 declares: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Jesus is that River of Life! I'm so glad for the day I stood beneath His cleansing Flow and was washed clean and pure! First with His Blood when I got saved, then consistently thereafter with the flowing water of His precious Word!

But, get this! "Tealah" is also used in our King James Bible twice of healing or physical cures! Using this word, Jeremiah 30:13 speaks of "healing" medicines! And Jeremiah 46:11 talks about folks being "cured!"

WHERE Isaiah preached that glorious day is nearly as important as WHAT he preached!

Yes, I'd say the "way" is important!

And if that "way" brings revelation and instruction as with Isaiah, praise God!

If it beings "accusation and ridicule" as with Elisha, praise God as well! For after all, God indeed mightily protected his Servant!

Better to be in God's "way" walking obediently ... even if abused,  than to be in the "tents" of wickedness reveling with the world!

Amen!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

One day a Man of God, Elisha the Old Testament Prophet, was walking up the road. He was just going to his next "assignment" from the Lord.

Then it happened!

An attack!

This event consisted merely of mockery and verbal assault and heaps of disrespect. Yet it was an act of gross rebellion against God's Preacher of that day.

Here's what the historical and inspired Book of 2nd Kings says about it: "And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him ...." 2nd Kings 2:23

But Preacher Bagwell, these were just "little children!"

Indeed!

But that word in the King James Bible for "children" is used elsewhere in the same King James Bible with an expanded meaning. Let me explain. This noun, "naar," is found 238 times in Scripture, in the Old Testament since it's Hebrew mind you. Of those 238 times our King James Bible renders it "babe" once, "children" or "young children" 22 times, "lad" 33 times, "youth" 6 times, "servant" 44 times, but "young man or men" 76 times!

Now I suggest to you that these "little children" that accosted Elisha were not babies. Seldom do 42 babies travel together anyway! They were not preschoolers either! They were more like "young men" I expect.

The first Bible use of this word is located in Genesis 14:24 where a group of "young men" in the employ of Abraham constituted the army which traveled north to rescue Lot from the wicked confederacy of kings who had kidnapped him. These "young men" were fighters!

Its second Bible use is found in Genesis 18:7 where a "young man" killed and dressed a fatted calf for Abraham's special visitors, including the Lord I believe.

However we must keep in mind that the adjective "little" is affixed to the noun "children" and "qatan" means small, least or youngest!

Elisha is being mocked and derided by at least 42 of these young hooligans, whatever their age.

Freethinkers!

Maybe even atheists!

Haters of God's Men!

Secularists!

Rebels!

Now let's notice the word "mocked," a verb that's spelled "qalas" in Hebrew. It is only used 4 times in the whole Bible. Twice our King James Bible translates the word "mock" and once "scorn" and once "scoff."

"Mock" is a word that comes to us from a French term that means "to jeer." It is believed to be derived from a Latin term that means, of all things, "to blow one's nose!" As a dishonoring and hateful gesture of disrespect I mean. Then the word next develops the idea of "imitating" something or someone as does the "mocking bird." But even here it means making fun of someone by acting like or sounding like them.

"Scorn" has a literary history that flows from a French word for "contempt." It in turn is associated with a word for "disgrace." The Latin word "excornare," which may also be a related term, means "off" with one's "horns." Horns were a symbol of power and respect in those days. They are defrocking Elisha! Stripping him of honor and respect!

"Scoff" is a Scandinavian or Danish word! It means "contemptuous ridicule!" "Skof," its parent, means jest or sport. A related word is scold!

These 42 "kids" meant harm and evil to the Prophet.

They apparently hated him!

How sad!

God's Men are to be respected!

Even with "double honour" says Paul! "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." 2nd Timothy 5:17

Let your Preacher know this Lord's Day at Church that he has your respect ... and that you are teaching your children the same thing!

Preachers to this day are still treated contemptuously by man, young and old!

I plan to live my days loving and honoring the true Bible-preaching Men of God who are left in our land. An ever diminishing number it seems.

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The young people who mocked the great Prophet Elisha, used some rather theological terms.

Nearly every preacher remembers somebody laughing at them while they proclaimed God's Word. I sure do! But that's nothing compared to what Elisha endured here.

The precise words hurled at him were: "Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head." 2nd Kings 2:23

The whole verse reads: "And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head."

Two things at least need to be noticed.

Both verbs, "mocked" and "said," are imperfect in tense structure. This indicates continuous action. These rebels did not just say once or twice "Bald head!" Or "get out of here!" They yelled these barbs of bitterness again and again.  Constantly for some time they accosted God's Man.

Much as Paul tired of the little fortune telling girl's ranting and yelling, Elisha had endured all he could! Besides, this sin goes deeper than just clamour and revelry. It is sheer irreverence for the things of God!

Let's study their deadly words. Deadly to them I mean!

"Go up!"

Twice they said it!  "Go up," Elisha!

The verb "alah" here means "to ascend" or even "to climb!"  In both instances it is expressed as an imperative! They are commanding the powerful and godly Preacher Elisha to get out of town!

I personally would not recommend that anyone demand the Bible-believing Preacher to do a lot of things! Let God lead him!

I really believe this crowd means for Elisha to get lost, go away!

Hey, they are trying to run the Preacher off, away, to another place! That's happened a few times through the years!

But their precise words are important here, as always is the case in Holy Scripture!

"Go up" is likely a play on words, with Elijah's recent departure in mind!

Elisha, just like your Master before you, "go up" ... ascend to Heaven ... depart in a whirlwind or chariot of fire or something! Just be gone! Away with you!

This gives us a "hint" at the public reaction to Elijah's glorious home-going! While we Christians recognize it as a signal honor and sign of respect on the old Prophet, the worldly folks around which he lived thought of it as "good riddance!" God cleared him out, didn't He?

Next comes a bit of ridicule about Elisha's very appearance!

"Go up, thou bald head!"

Again, keep in mind these are many times repeated insults!

"Bald head," both words, are translated by one Hebrew adjective serving in context as a substantive here. "Qereach" means exactly what it says, no hair!

The only other time "qereach" is used in our Bible is Leviticus 13:40. "And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he clean." I have marked it for you to see.

They are laughing at Elisha's head! A head that thinks holy thoughts, godly meditations, fixed on the Lord God Almighty!

People, I would advise your being very careful mocking a Preacher, a real Preacher of God's Word!

Nor would I allow it of my children or grandchildren!

Never!

It's dangerous!

I can only think of one other Biblical Preacher who was so openly mocked for his appearance, the Apostle Paul. They said of him "his speech is contemptible!" His "bodily presence is weak." Both arrows are dipped in mockery and are directed at Paul's physical attributes!

What's God's idea about how a Preacher looks?

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7

And better yet: "And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:15

Old Testament ... and New, calling Preachers lovely, at least their feet!

Feet are not generally know for their comeliness either.

Two things we need to say about our godly Preachers, the relatively few that remain in America.

Number one, stay Men of God, stay with us as long as God will allow! We need you! You are priceless! As a group you are irreplaceable! You are worth more to our nation that all the gold in every vault of every bank ... or all the weapons in our armories!

Number two, you ... while maybe not handsome by the world's standards ... are to us Believers in Jesus absolutely lovely in the words you speak. In the way you live! In the behavior you exemplify! In the glow of your countenance! In the warmth of your smile! In the firmness of your handshake! In the purity of your thoughts! In the singleness of your eyes! And in the daily separation form sin that you model for us all!

We love you in the Lord!

Friend, let your Preacher know this soon!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

It seems out of character!

Elisha, unlike his mentor Elijah, was so kind and gentle!

Yet one day, while traveling on foot to another city, he was "attacked" by a gang of young people.

Verbally attacked, but nonetheless attacked.

And possibly, we just don't know, this attack could have led to physical harm. It may have been escalating!

Either way, Elisha "turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD." 2nd Kings 2:24

They obviously were behind the great Preacher, following him and yelling and taunting and mocking all the way!

So "he turned back."

"Panah," in addition to "turning," can mean "preparing or regarding" something or someone. Elisha was, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, deciding how to respond to this anarchy! He turned "back," the Hebrew word being "achar" ... "after" them or "behind" them! The old Preacher doubled back behind this crowd! He wanted to keep his eye on them. I believe there was a greater element of danger in this attack than we at first realize.

Next Elisha "looked" at the young folks. "Raah" means to inspect or consider or perceive a situation. Here he is exercising godly discernment.

And, quickly, he has determined the next course of action. Without a second of hesitancy, Elisha "cursed them in the Name of the Lord!" What a verb we have here! "Qalal" means to think lightly of someone! To consider them a light thing! Three times in the King James Bible it means to despise something! It also carries the idea of something done swiftly, quickly! But predominantly in Scripture, 39 of 82 times, it means "to curse."

This is not a secular blasphemous curse, mind you. It is a declaration of the judgment of God upon a person. "God, place upon these rebels the sentence you have already righteously determined is theirs! Amen!"

Scripture never looks casually upon disrespecting God's Men!

Never!

Again I remind you of Isaiah 54:17 and ask you to notice the capitalized section please. "No weapon that is formed against thee (written especially to God's Men, Preachers) shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."

Elisha sure obeyed this verse that day, didn't he?

By the way, if you feel this is too harsh and "Old Testament" like ... read what Paul said about some enemies of the grace of God. "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:9

As for me and my house, we are going to love and honor God's Men!

How about you?

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

The word "bear" occurs 13 times in the Bible.  It is spelled "dob" in Hebrew and "arktos" in Greek. Usually the bear somehow represents great anger or revenge as in Proverbs 17:12. "Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly."

Or see Hosea 13:8 where God, chastening Israel, says: "I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them."

To express my thought succinctly, bears get angry quite easily!

Bears also are several times pictured as tools in God's Hands, instruments to execute the Lord's mighty wrath! If God is really "after" you, there is no escape! For example, Amos 5:19 says: "As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him." No need to run! Something is going to get you!

Well, one day Elisha the Man of God pronounced God's judgment upon a group of reprobate young people. I don't know what today's "youth crazy" society is going to think about this! This "gang" had dishonored and belittled and attacked the man of God mercilessly.

No sooner had the curse been issued ... and "there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."

Look!

Just like dogs licked wicked King Ahab's blood and the same wild beasts ate the flesh of heathen Queen Jezebel and dozens of worms devoured ungodly King Herod ... two she bears ripped these kids to pieces!

The bears "came forth" from some nearby woods it seems. This verb "yatzsa" is expressed here with the action being incomplete. The bears came at these scoffers slowly, increasing their tension and fear exponentially!

Sometimes it just is not wise to criticize God's Preachers!

Notice the number of of bears also ... two of them. Likely they were both mother bears. The noun "dob" is feminine here. I once read that mother bears are meticulous with their children, training them carefully. They have been observed turning their little ones over and "spanking" them for wrong behavior as well!

Often in Scripture two is the number of witness. "At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established," so stated the Israelite legal code in Deuteronomy 19:15. Two "she bears," under oath, might be telling us all that we would be wise to teach the young people over whom we have responsibility to respect their elders! Especially the men of God! What witnesses these creatures are!

Had these children's Fathers or Mothers chastened them for earlier rebellion, their lives well might have been spared.

Had they just kept the young people at home that day, there would have still been two hungry bears roaming the woods too.

Any one of these "children" could have, and should have, learned from Proverbs 1:10. "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause. My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path. For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood."

The bears "tore" the young people. This verb, "baqa," means to split, to cleave, to break open, to divide or to rip up! Sounds rough! Again, we have an "imperfect" verb, indicating progressive action. Probably a feast was held that day, for the animals anyway. I can think of another feast when God is going to feed the wicked dead of this world to a host of vultures gathered in the valley of Megiddo!

Yes, I doubt these forty two infidels survived the mauling they endured.

Instead of a "party" mocking the Preacher ... several dozen "funerals" will be conducted! I doubt Elisha was asked to participate either! But no doubt there were plenty of liberal preachers back in town who would have said wonderful things about each of these wayward souls.

And why did God give us the exact number, forty two?

Not only does He number the hairs of our head and the sparrows that fly and the stars at night and the days we shall live ... but also the wicked who hate God's Men!

Today usually judgment does not fall so swiftly. Therefore Ecclesiastes 8:11 again proves true. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

God's Preachers today are maligned and hated and slandered with impunity.

However God is keeping the record.

He knows what's best.

And be sure of this: "God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

So, as the above verse, Galatians 6:7, said at its beginning: "Be not deceived."

Amen!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

The Prophet Elisha was indeed a "focused" man.

Even after the incident where two she bears attacked a young gang of rebels, likely killing forty two of them ... Elisha plods onward! He never stopped for any accolades or recognition, or hesitated due to any censure from the townspeople ... he just kept serving the Lord!

What faithfulness!

Here's what I specifically have in mind. I will capitalize the pertinent verse: "And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria." 2nd Kings 2:23-25

There were places to go and things to do ... all for the glory of the Lord!

Notice the great Man of God's itinerary. First to Mount Carmel he must go! He retraces the steps of Elijah his predecessor. There the great contest with the prophets of Baal was held! There the fire of God fell! There powerful prayer was offered! There the sound of abundance of rain was heard! There the miraculous strength of God was given!

Mount Carmel ... a good place to go!

No doubt Elijah preached and taught and encouraged the people of God in that place. Maybe a conference for the sons of the prophets was held! It was a place of victory and excitement and glory! By the way, Carmel means "garden land!" Sounds fruitful, doesn't it?

A spiritual retreat!

Then, just as quickly, Elisha comes back down the mount to go forth unto Samaria. This place was as mundane and ordinary as Carmel was spectacular! Samaria was the place of false worship. The northern kingdom of Israel did not have one godly monarch in all its history! It reeked of compromise and backsliding and apostasy!

But that place needed a Prophet too! A real one!

Yes, they had plenty of commercially paid "yes men" who do nothing but please the king and preach according to the politically correct winds of their time!

But not many real Men of God had been through that land!

I suspect that when Elisha left Samaria they said of him, as was later said of Ezekiel, they knew a prophet had been among them! See Ezekiel 2:5 and 33:33 please.

On goes the Ministry!

Of course there are forty two less rebels in the world!

And one very active but unpopular preacher too!

But the Truth of God shines more brightly because a Prophet of Heaven boldly proclaimed judgment as well as grace!

Grace at Jericho ... just before the Bethel incident here, this she bear event! There Elisha healed the poison waters of the whole city!

Judgment at Bethel ... where iniquity had apparently reached its fullness!

Like Paul said in Romans 11:22 ... "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God."

Amen!

And in case you're wondering, God's judgments are without error! "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments." Revelation 19:2

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

For the last week to ten days we have been studying the Old Testament account of Elisha and the she bears. Today's Lesson ends that series of Bible studies. It is simply a review, but still mentions several pertinent facts not covered in the previous material. Someone let me know if you have found these articles helpful.

The study we've just completed is based upon verse-by-verse exposition, primarily using a good Bible dictionary and a Hebrew lexicon.

Naturally the great Preachers and Teachers of Scripture have, through the years, offered many outstanding comments on this Bible event, the account of Elisha and the she bears!

Here are some nuggets, based upon what dozens of them have had to say.

Again, our Bible Text ...

"And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria."  2nd Kings 2:23-25

Proverbs 26:2 promises: "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." Our verse here is well illustrated in this Text, 2nd Kings 2:23-25. These youthful rebels deserved exactly what they got!

The very spirit of the disrespect shown toward Elisha is verbalized in 2nd Chronicles 36:16. "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy."

Here see the brash hatred for God's Man. It's much like that in Jeremiah 8:12. "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD."

Matthew Henry call these "little children" a generation of vipers!

The two bears are ministers of wrath!

Such scoundrels need worry not only about bears! "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." Proverbs 30:17

Even artwork of bygone years depicted this event! I saw a picture focusing on the bears actually rending a young man!

Listen to this warning from God to Israel: "And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate."  Leviticus 6:21-22

Elisha was only about 25 years old at this time of this incident it is believed. The term "bald head" might have been derisive ... but not literal.

God once used a lion to devour a disobedient Prophet! See 1st Kings 13:24. "And when he (the prophet) was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase."

Lepers were often bald and outcasts to society also!

In Scripture God commanded fiery serpents, a great fish, little donkeys, flying quail, crowing roosters and some day in the future, hungry vultures!

The Prophet Hosea called Bethel by another name, Bethaven, meaning house of trouble or even house of wickedness!  "The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it." Hosea 10:5

These rebels were mocking the idea of "rapture" to Heaven! "Go up!" as did Elijah!

One preacher noted what Elisha did NOT do: turn and run!  Argue or debate! Compromise his message! Complain! Or get discouraged!

Two bears ... not three! And here we have no Papa, Mama and baby either! Just two angry she bears ... on a mission!

In our immediate Biblical context we have ... a blessing in the city of curse, Jericho! And curses in the city of blessing, Bethel!

Jericho is some 1300 feet below sea level! While Bethel is some 2000 feet above sea level! Quite a hike!

Rebellious youth who hate God and His Men are today no longer torn and rent by bears ... but by their own passions and lusts and habits and sins!

The word "little" in our Text is often used in the King James Bible for the "youngest" member of a family.

It is believed that Elisha lived some 60 more years ... after this event!

Baldness was scarce in the day of Elisha, especially among young men.

Besides, his head would likely have been covered anyway! And Elisha would have been wearing an outer cloak, a mantel, Elijah's! Which article of clothing these rebels might have recognized anyway!

The devil likes to attack any young Bible Preacher ... at the beginning of his ministry!

"Ascend, thou empty skull!" Dumb Preacher! That's the essence of what these reprobates were saying.

But the people of Bethel and Israel did NOT learn their lesson! In 721 BC their whole country was overtaken by Assyria ... for rebellion against the Lord God Almighty!

This incident was just a warning ... an unheeded one at that.

What a Lesson we have here on respecting the Man of God!

Hebrews 13:7 commands: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."

Hebrews 13:17 instructs: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

And 1st Timothy 5:17 teaches us to: "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."

Amen!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

I PRAY THE LORD HAS TAUGHT US ALL VALUABLE LESSONS ABOUT RESPECTING THE MAN OF GOD! AND TO YOU PREACHERS, THERE IS MUCH HERE WE CAN LEARN ABOUT RESPONDING TO CRITICISM AND MOCKERY!

 

 

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