I’m not going to lie… this passage troubled me. It says:
“2 Kings 2:23-24, “Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.”
The site, https://carm.org/why-did-god-kill-42-lads-merely-saying-elisha-was-bald gives the explanation, “Given the challenge of the youths, their intimidating number which could constitute a mob, their veiled threat, the contemptuous attitude, and the fact that Elisha was the prophet of God, the Lord allowed the youths to be destroyed. But, God did not break his own moral law. The Bible says do not murder. Murder is the unlawful taking of life. But, all people have sinned against God and are worthy of death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). So, God had them killed according to the Law.”
This site has a better explanation: https://www.gotquestions.org/Elisha-baldhead.html “In summary, 2 Kings 2:23-24 is not an account of God mauling young children for making fun of a bald man. Rather, it is a record of an insulting demonstration against God’s prophet by a large group of young men. Because these young people of about 20 years of age or older (the same term is used of Solomon in 1 Kings 3:7) so despised the prophet of the Lord, Elisha called upon the Lord to deal with the rebels as He saw fit. The Lord’s punishment was the mauling of 42 of them by two female bears. The penalty was clearly justified, for to ridicule Elisha was to ridicule the Lord Himself. The seriousness of the crime was indicated by the seriousness of the punishment. The appalling judgment was God’s warning to all who would scorn the prophets of the Lord.”
I think it is fair to take into consideration that in this time, God was more visible to the people, and with his spirit and presence be obviously observed in his servants, to mock and disrespect him has severe consequences. It worries me thinking about how badly people mock God, Jesus, and Christianity as a whole. I am guilty of terrible thoughts, statements, and the likes. While I feel I am better than before, now that I have been in the word, I still am guilty of disrespect. I still fear for those who regularly mock God and take his name in vain. Reading the Old Testament really shows you how disrespect to God will invoke his wrath, and rightfully so. I implore anyone reading this to ask for forgiveness for yourself and others.