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. 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. 2 Kings 2:23-24
The scripture above recounts an event occurring very early in the ministry of Elisha, shortly after his predecessor Elijah disappeared to heaven in a whirlwind. At first glance this account is disturbing to many. Does GOD punish those, even children, for mocking someone else?
When these events took place Elisha had just left Jericho and had traveled the short distance to Bethel. At this time Bethel was a place that celebrated the calf worship of Jeroboam. The "little children" involved in this passage of scripture were not irresponsible babies but morally responsible young people. The same word to describe these "children" was used to describe Joseph at seventeen years of age (see Genesis 37:2), Solomon (see 1 Kings 3:7) and Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 3:1:6-7).
Shortly before Elijah was removed to heaven, the sons of the prophets at Jericho and Bethel told Elisha, that the Lord would take away (up) his master. It is very possible that some of these same "sons of the prophets" from Bethel were now mocking Elisha.they used the same idiom." go up thou baldhead". What they were saying was one of two things. Either they meant for Elisha to leave the vicinity so they could continue in their wicked ways, as their culture dictated, or they were directly mocking the direct "rapture" of Elijah to heaven. To compound the mockery they ridiculed the fact that Elisha was bald or nearly bald. This personal affront was intended to shame Elisha and show how much distain and contempt these young people had for him directly, and the LORD almighty indirectly. They ridiculed GOD's prophet Elisha and were subsequently cursed in the Name of the LORD. The fact that there were forty-two participants suggests that the taunting was prearranged. Unfortunately for them the LORD prearranged the presence of two she bears! The fact they these obnoxious young people were "tare" indicates most probably that very serious wounds were inflicted, but the wounds were not fatal. Mocking GOD is serious business!
It is seen from this example that it is a very serious matter to either mock God or His servants. The book of proverbs very aptly describes in one verse, using the example of a she bear, the results of a mans folly.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly. Proverbs 17:12
A fool is defined as follows:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalm 14:1
One way to mock GOD is to say there is no GOD. The ultimate end of a fool, who says there is no GOD, is a one-way trip to hell. Proverbs says that the feeling a fool has when he finds himself forever in hell is worse than if he had found himself, during his life, with a couple of bear cubs and subsequently met the angry mother bear with the "goods" in hand. The thought of being torn to pieces and eaten is better than waking up in hell! Imagine an angry mother bear coming at you.and GOD proclaims that is better than being a fool.by far!