Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Elisha, 42, and a Bear or Two

(I originally wrote "a She-Bear or Two" but it seems the gender of the bears was not specified as female in the text.)

What's With the Story of Elisha and the Bears?
11th March 2022 | Testify

Testify posits that Elisha has authority and it is effective from God, even if God doesn't approve. The scene where the sons of Zebedee offer to make a curse like Elijah had done and Christ going to Crucifixion, not taking the twelve legions of angels, are to him suggestive that God "didn't necessarily" approve of Elisha's use of his authority.

5:36 Let's be clear, Our Lord will send two witnesses, probably Enoch and Elijah, and these will be acting much as Elisha does here - up to when they are killed in Jerusalem.

This is clear from Apocalypse 11.

So, Our Lord has another service to minister to : paying the price of our guilt to His Father. Any time He would have been killed, He could have offered that up - but even more, as God, He could perfectly control situations in a way that Elisha could not. Like the time when the Jews set out to stone Him and He just walked through.

Neither does He give all His servants that kind of control over situations, nor does He require that degree of sacrifice from everyone.

I hear now for the first time of the gloss na'ar maybe not being exclusive to a certain age, though the Latin "puer" and the French "garçon" should have alerted me, the one being how masters adressed slaves in Rome, the other meaning waiter in a restaurant. And for the first time they maybe weren't killed. I must confess I am not so tenderhearted that I squirmed at the story before these realisations. I just defended Joshua killing babies from Canaaneans because they were maybe Ba'al worshippers in the Molochist sense already (the Law contains a ban on Molochism suggesting this), and in the time of Elijah and Elisha, the Israelites were often enough bending knees to Ba'al (except for 7000), so, the 42 did not exactly have my closest sympathies.

7:22 Two key differences, that go together.

1) Christ was preparing for a world wide, not nation bound, discipleship, (starting in a Roman Empire without legally endorsed Molochism)
2) which usshered in the "age of grace".

By contrast,
1) Elisha (and Joshua) were preparing for and defending the fidelity of exactly one nation (in a very hostile and evil environment)
2) which happened in the "age of the law".

It was a harsh law that said that a virgin who voluntarily lost virginity while not yet married and living in her father's house should be stoned, but it served a specific purpose in a specific condition:
1) keeping the genealogy of Our Lord clean (four women in it have some disapproval, and one of them, Athalia, is not even mentioned)
2) in a neighbourhood where both Babylonians and Canaaneans served (among other things) false goddesses part of the service of which was making oneself a prostitute. In Babylon, temple prostitution was the legal way to lose virginity, which one needed to do before marrying.

Obviously, the sons of Zebedee, who earned a rebuke that day, were not quite sensitive to the changed circumstances.

Here is the Challoner comment:

[24] : This curse, which was followed by so visible a judgment of God, was not the effect of passion, or of a desire of revenging himself; but of zeal for religion, which was insulted by these boys, in the person of the prophet; and of a divine inspiration: God punishing in this manner the inhabitants of Bethel, (the chief seat of the calf worship,) who had trained up their children in a prejudice against the true religion and its ministers.

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