Somewhere I ran across Dan Kimball's blog, where he posts every Wednesday about an unusual sounding Bible verse and tries to offer some explanation of it. Dan comments:
There are plenty of very weird passages from the Bible to be looking at...But I think if we only are reading or focusing on the nice, encouraging cheery verses, then we can subtly only paint one part of the BIble to the exclusion of other parts. Or get only one understanding of God's character and the full Bible narrative and neglecting parts we don't like. It's easy to just focus on the nice, cheery understandable verses (which is needed and wonderful!). But we better not ignore God's Word and also explore the not-so-cheery-verses and not-too-easy-to-understand often weird sounding verses as well.
Now for the actual bear story. Again, quoting Dan Kimball:
A classic and well known almost cliche example of a strange story from the BIble I will start with today is from 2 Kings 2:23-25. The story goes:
"From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys."
So basically, Elisha gets made fun of by some youth for being bald. Elisha then calls a curse on them and two bears kill all 42 boys.
For us, the moral of the story: don't make fun of bald Ultrarunners in bear country. Of course, lest you think you'd be safe in making fun of a bald Ultrarunner if, say, you were in Rhode Island or Kansas, states not known for their bear populations, better think twice. You could equally be mauled by a pack of aggressive weasels or raccoons, I suppose.
So better not make fun of anybody anywhere, it's just not nice.