Old Testament Bear Poop

photo by Robert Caputo, by way of National Geographic.

I accompanied an elderly man to church this morning, out of general human kindness, and to help assuage his fears concerning my soul.

One of the scripture readings was 2 Kings, chapter 2, describing Elijah the prophet being taken up into heaven by a chariot of fire.

(OK, there are reasonable explanations for this, bear with me…)

Elisha, his apprentice, is now left behind to lament and rend his clothes, accept the adulation of his followers, and carry on the prophets work:

“23And 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.”

“24And 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.”

Way to go, Elisha.

Head prophet for how long and you’re so sensitive about being bald that you curse little children?

But I almost laughed out loud at verse 24… two she bears came out of the woods and ripped apart 42 children.

I’m still looking up data to support there even being bears in Canaan, much less two females together, much less them being so wantonly savage as to take the time to shred 42 children.

I call bear poop on this one.

7 thoughts on “Old Testament Bear Poop

  1. Think you got a good point there, Raven. The bible is filled with riddles and contradictions and yet people swear by that book written by humans. Elisha was not a very nice person. He was “So Vain”. Isn’t vanity a cardinal sin?

  2. Thanks for the post Raven. Part of the problem is how VERY many times the bible has been translated, in different times, with different agendas and political climates.. Early on, scribes who did the transcribing by hand of the entire bible (whichever version they had, and also, unclear if given scribes depending on the area were even literate). No, the bible wasn’t published at the beginning, there were no printing presses, there were no scanning machines, yadda yadda yadda.. Each copy was hand written – with mistakes. Thousands of them. Then those copies with mistakes were copied again by hand, by scribes in different areas who may or may not have been literate. There is just no way to know.

    A really good study on this is Bart Ehrman’s books “Misquoting Jesus” and “Jesus, Interrupted”. REALLY interesting reads. Worth reading. He started out as an evangelical and seminarian who ended up an Agnostic. I’ll tell you, he knows his stuff, and has studied this stuff for YEARS and studied the original texts in the original languages (well, as early as there is..).

    You can’t take any of this literally. Everyone has their own interpretation of this stuff according to their own believe and agendas. How does anyone know what is meant and what is not..

  3. Aren’t the fundies currently re-writing the bible so that it has a ‘conservative’ bias?

    Ah, yes here it is Conservative Bible Project.

    The Conservative Bible Project is a project utilizing the “best of the public” to render God’s word into modern English without liberal translation distortions.

    One of the most difficult things as an interpreter is to translate, verbatim, improper syntax and all. Not what you ‘think’ the speaker means.

    And since there is no ‘god’ to write this stuff – someone is taking liberties, me thinks!

  4. When I was a lad, I was an absolutely voracious reader. I would often have three or four books going. At one point I had a bible, classic Greek mythology, a collection of Native American myths and legends and ERB’s John Carter of Mars. It was something of a challenge because I would often have to ask myself, why is the first one not fiction like the others?

    I finally realized, it was.

  5. I got into a (pointless) debate on another forum with a rightie about the bible. He swore that the King James Version was the official bible, and that newer translations were the work of the devil.

    We then pointed out that the KJV was in fact a translation. The rightie said God told James what to write.

    We pointed out that James didn’t actually do the translating, he simply authorized that it be done. Undaunted, the rightie (who was a bit of a troll) said that God told the translators what to write.

    I asked why God doesn’t tell the modern day translators what to write? The rightie simply said that there was no need to alter the perfection of the King James bible, and thus we were back at the beginning of our debate.

    • zxbe,

      My own sister, who I love dearly and who is not a stupid woman, will say with a straight face that we must take it on faith that God told the translators what to write.

      I just don’t go there with her anymore.

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