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2 Kings 2:19-25

Context
Elisha Demonstrates His Authority

2:19 The men of the city said to Elisha, “Look, the city has a good location, as our 1  master can see. But the water is bad and the land doesn’t produce crops.” 2  2:20 Elisha 3  said, “Get me a new jar and put some salt in it.” So they got it. 2:21 He went out to the spring and threw the salt in. Then he said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘I have purified 4  this water. It will no longer cause death or fail to produce crops.” 5  2:22 The water has been pure to this very day, just as Elisha prophesied. 6 

2:23 He went up from there to Bethel. 7  As he was traveling up the road, some young boys 8  came out of the city and made fun of him, saying, “Go on up, baldy! Go on up, baldy!” 2:24 When he turned around and saw them, he called God’s judgment down on them. 9  Two female bears came out of the woods and ripped forty-two of the boys to pieces. 2:25 From there he traveled to Mount Carmel and then back to Samaria. 10 

1 tn Heb “my.”

2 tn Heb “miscarries” or “is barren.”

3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Elisha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Or “healed.”

5 tn Heb “there will no longer be from there death and miscarriage [or, ‘barrenness’].”

6 tn Heb “according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.”

7 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

8 tn The word נַעַר (naar), here translated “boy,” can refer to a broad age range, including infants as well as young men. But the qualifying term “young” (or “small”) suggests these youths were relatively young. The phrase in question (“young boy”) occurs elsewhere in 1 Sam 20:35; 1 Kgs 3:7 (used by Solomon in an hyperbolic manner); 11:17; 2 Kgs 5:14; and Isa 11:6.

9 tn Heb “he cursed them in the name of the Lord.” A curse was a formal appeal to a higher authority (here the Lord) to vindicate one’s cause through judgment. As in chapter one, this account makes it clear that disrespect for the Lord’s designated spokesmen can be deadly, for it is ultimately rejection of the Lord’s authority.

10 sn The two brief episodes recorded in vv. 19-25 demonstrate Elisha’s authority and prove that he is the legitimate prophetic heir of Elijah. He has the capacity to bring life and blessing to those who recognize his authority, or death and judgment to those who reject him.

map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.



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