It’s time once again for Fun with Biblical Interpretation!
In this installment, we delve into the second chapter of the second book of Kings, in particular verses 23-24-—everyone’s favorite tale of heavenly vengeance and wild animal attacks!
2 Kings 2:23-24 (KJV)
23 And he (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.
24 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.
Whoa. Pretty gnarly. But let’s backtrack and break this down a little.
This particular tale deals with a famous character in the bible named Elisha. Elisha was a sort of new-age healer, prophet and magician who was also known as a curmudgeon with no sense of humor. This is likely due the fact that he was going bald and had a girl’s name. No doubt these two things combined to give Elisha a terrible inferiority complex.
For many years Elisha worked for a guy named Elijah, which probably caused much confusion amongst the uneducated worshipers of The Angry Desert God. It is often speculated that God took Elisha’s hair from him to help avoid this confusion.
But we are getting off topic.
So it came to be that, on this particular day, Elisha was heading up to the thriving metropolis of Bethel to take care of God’s business. Not being on a tight schedule, he thought it would be okay to eat some magic mushrooms. They were obviously very potent, as Elisha had many wonderful visions of fiery chariots and parting waters. That’s one story. The other is that when Elijah died, he gave Elisha the power to part and “heal” waters with a “pinch of salt” before ascending into heaven on a fiery chariot. The second version, the biblical version, seems much more logical, so we’ll just go with that.
He had almost reached the city when, suddenly, several small children of Bethel appeared and began to mock poor Elisha! They called him mean names and made fun of his bald head. This was more than Elisha could take—he had suffered at the hands of bullies and lived in shame of his receding hairline for far too long. This time, he wasn’t going to cry and run away. He was going to teach the children a lesson!
Those little fuckers had picked the wrong day to fuck with Elisha.
Elisha threw his hands toward the heavens and, using his newfound magical powers, asked The Angry Desert God to punish these small, small children. The Angry Desert God thought on this for a second and perhaps, because he was omnipotent and all, considered this an opportunity to teach Elisha a lesson in humility… but in the end The Angry Desert God, because He was so angry, decided to answer Elisha’s prayers instead.
God clapped his hands, lightning crashed and two hungry she-bears burst from the trees! Before the children knew what was happening, the bears were upon them, biting and slashing and tearing at their evil little bodies! Elisha laughed and laughed as the carnage quickly got out of control. When it was all said and done, 42 children had been slain by the she-bears sent by The Angry Desert God.
Elisha looked once again to the heavens, thanked God for sending the bears and promised that he would now be on his way to Bethel to do his godly work.
The Angry Desert God heard this. And He was very pleased. Amen.♥
Wow! That’s a heck of a story. Angry gods, spiteful bald magicians and bears that attack on command! I think I’ll be reading this one to my five-year old right before he goes to bed tonight.
Well, that’s all the time we have for this episode of Fun With Biblical Interpretation, but if you are interested in hearing more stories of vengeance, child murder, jealously and godly pettiness, I suggest you run out and buy a copy of The Holy Bible. You can probably get one at your local used book store for a couple of dollars, or you can just wait until the next time you stay at a motel and take the “complimentary” bible out of the nightstand. Wherever you get you’re new bible, just make sure it has the Old Testament included—that’s where they put all the really good stuff!
Author: Nick Allison is just a banged-up combat infantry veteran of the War in Iraq. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife, their children and two big, dumb, ugly mongrel dogs.
Please feel free to send your love letters and hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter: @ChaosSection.com or @NickAllison80
5 thoughts on “Fun With Biblical Interpretation, Part 2: Elisha, She-Bears and The Angry Desert God”
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I think both militant atheists and religious fundamentalists fail to see the humour in this story. My interpretation is that it was written by a bald man who was teased about his lack of hair and thought up this story as a revenge fantasy. Of course I’m the opposite gender as Elisha so perhaps a man wouldn’t see the humour in it.