Destruction of Children by the Bears.
"When Elisha went up into Bethel, as he was going up on 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 looked back behind him, and saw them, and cursed them in the name of Jehovah. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare in pieces forty and two children of them" (2 Kings ii. 23, 24). It cannot be known why the little children were cursed by Elisha, and therefore torn in pieces by two bears because they called him bald head, unless it be known what Elisha represented, and what a bald head signifies, and also what is signified by the bears. That this was not done by Elisha from immoderate anger and without just cause might appear from the consideration, that he could not be so cruel to little children for only saying, "Go up thou bald head." It was indeed an offence against the prophet; but not such that they should be torn in pieces by bears on account of it. But it thus came to pass because Elisha represented the Lord as to the Word, and so the Word which is from the Lord. By a bald head the Word deprived of the natural sense was signified, which is the sense of the letter; and by the bears out of the wood was signified power from the natural or literal sense of the Word; and by those children they were signified who blaspheme the Word on account of its natural sense because it is such as it is; by forty-two blasphemy is signified. Hence now it is plain that the punishment of blaspheming the Word was represented, and therefore signified, by these things. For all the power and holiness of the Word resides concentrated in its literal sense. Indeed if this sense were not there would be no Word; for without this the Word would be like a house without foundation, which would tremble in the air, and then fall to the ground and go to pieces; and it would be like a man without the skin which envelopes and holds together the included viscera in their position and order. And because such a condition is signified by a bald head, and the Word was represented by Elisha, for this reason the children were torn in pieces by bears; which signified power from the natural sense of the Word, which is the literal sense, both with the good and with the evil. From all this, moreover, it is clear that the historical particulars of the Word equally with its prophetical contain a spiritual sense. (A. E. n. 781.)
They are called drunkards who believe nothing but what they comprehend, and therefore inquire into the mysteries of faith;