Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2 Kings, Chapter 2

Is this what Sarah Palin means when she talks about 'momma grizzlies'? Seriously read to the end and tell me.

Elijah is getting old and god has promised to carry him to heaven on a whirlwind. As David Plotz points out, this is the first mention of heaven and the only person who goes there on a whirlwind. I think this book was written at different times by different people and so yeah, it's inconsistent. There's some back and forth with Elisha, his apprentice, who knows Elijah's dying, even though he's not supposed to know. Elijah keeps running around the country trying to die in peace, but Elisha insists on going with him each time.

Finally, they come to the Jordan river, which Elijah smacks with his mantle so it parts, just like Moses did! Elijah tells Elisha to make a wish. Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit, not that he's greedy or anything. Elijah says if he sees him after his death, he'll get it, but otherwise he won't. Then Elijah dies, and not only does a whirlwind appear, a horse and chariot comes, too! Ya'll, I think this might be a metaphor. I think Elijah got an elaborate funeral, possibly featuring show ponies. Elisha cries for a bit, then picks the mantle up and hits the river with it. It parts! I guess this is where the expression 'passing the mantle' comes from.

The other prophets acknowledge him as their new leader, then go looking for Elijah's body. They look for 3 days but don't find it. Then they start getting him to do tricks. First, they say the city's water sucks, so he throws some water in the river and 'heals' it. Then, as he's leaving the city, some kids start making fun of his bald head. He curses them, and two she-bears come out of the forest and kill 42 of them. Awesome! Go team god!

Now, Christian apologists will bend themselves into knots trying to say that the 'small boys' were really men up to age 40 and they deserved it and so on. Here's the thing: this didn't happen. It's a fairy tale written by a bitter bald guy to scare his mouthy kids into shutting up about his follicle issues. Or something like that. My explanation is just as good as the book's.

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