2 Kings 2.23

[ELisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”

And he turned around, and when he saw them he cursed them in the name of the Lord.

And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the bears.

From there he went on to Mt Carmel, and thence he returned to Samaria.

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2 responses

  1. Someone needs to tell David (from the Luke thread) that this passage is a classic example of a Quaker potluck. David, nothing personal. Just my stupidity in antagonizing Quaker bears. I’ve seen a few Quaker she-bears. And a few Quaker bald heads too. No matter how polite they appear at a potluck, you don’t want to press your luck. I don’t know whether Quakers have bear markets and bull markets at pot lucks. I do want to know why my NASB has the bears tearing up forty-two lads? Not forty-two bears? Is forrest giving us a biblical literacy test? “.. And he turned around, and when he saw them he cursed them in the name of the Lord ..”What’s worse? Cursing without the name of the Lord? Cursing in the name of the Lord? Or not cursing at all and having bears come without warning? If curses are a blessing of advance notice (Jonah to Nineveh), sort of like our contemporary requirement of publishing criminal laws (publishing rather than leaving them secret), then did this meme of the bears spread throughout the countryside (‘don’t disrespect Elisha’)? I feel that Quakers have an indispensable witness to peace. Despite my ‘fighting’ Quaker predilections. I feel that Quakers practice peace and calm at high levels. I wonder whether Quaker vocal ministry ever includes these kinds of curses? Are these left unspoken? Not felt at all? Felt, but privately weighed in silence and considered not speakable? Would it make much difference if vocal ministry contained a meme or a feeling defined from the start of Quaker origins — that curses, like our published criminal laws, are a blessing of advance notice of immanent harm from harmful behaviors? And a chance to change course? Have vocal ministers like Jerry Falwell tainted the meme pool of curses so that Quakers want to save the appearances? – save the appearances of being confused with cursing contemporaries? Open questions. Wondering out loud.

  2. Let's see… if one is cursing someone 'in vain', then the Name is strictly discouraged.Elisha doesn't get to curse anyone in vain. I bet he doesn't do this anymore…"Not nursing anger at your brother" (or your bratty nephew, whomever) comes down to required discipline, if words, thoughts, feelings etc are admitted to have power– as people want them to… but gee, those kids were really ticking me off, but still!I forget who it was who read this as a small boy, and promptly decided that he should be an atheist. Somebody I used to like to read, anyway.And this needs to be here:Lines and Squares by A. A. MilneWhenever I walk in a London street,I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;And I keep in the squares,And the masses of bears,Who wait at the corners all ready to eatThe sillies who tread on the lines of the streetGo back to their lairs,And I say to them, "Bears,Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."And some of the bigger bears try to pretendThat they came round the corner to look for a friend;And they try to pretend that nobody caresWhether you walk on the lines or squares.But only the sillies believe their talk;It's ever so portant how you walk.And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,Just watch me walking in all the squares!" —–I haven't seen any small children eaten at a Quaker potluck.Probably some bald-headed guy put this in. Or somebody who'd been thumped a lot on his way to school.There's supposed to be a commandment, that if a kid is really bad you should take him out and stone him. The rabbis were reading this part, and shaking their heads. "Take him out and stone him? What kind of a kid is this?" They tried and they tried, but finally decided: "Hey, nobody's kid is that bad!" Then they were faced with the problem: "Why did Hashem put that one in there, anyway?" Which they figured out: "So we could have the pleasure of arguing about it!"

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