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The {} sign/s[edit]

One or more of the sign/s: {{NPOV}}{{expansion}}{{Cleanup}} placed on this page without any discussion, explanation or reasoning have been removed pending further discussion. (The category Category:Bible stories is now up for a vote for deletion at Wikipedia:Categories for deletion#Category:Bible stories) Thank you. IZAK 11:02, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Is Elisha and Jesus the same person?[edit]

According to Paramahansa Yogananda, Jesus Christ's last incarnation was Elisha and John the Baptist was Elijah. In the Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda also made a claim that Jesus' spiritual teacher was John the Baptist. This is also mentioned in the Bible in a very subtle manner. I am not sure how many Christians are aware of this piece of information but I am sure this revelation is going to stir up some debate. As I personally do not belong to any religious group, my stand is neutral in this respect. But I would like to see some comments about this from a Christian point of view. Self-Realization members and disciples of Yogananda have long embraced this view but I do not see this being mentioned in the other Christian sects. --Siva1979Talk to me 15:15, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

That's a great question, but you don't even have to resort to Yogananda; for instance, see the ultra-controversial New Chronology and some conclusions (or contentions) there. Among them, that the New and Old Testaments were being written at about the same time, that they often tell the same events and refer to the same historical personalities as they had been retold by different people and different cultures through time, Elijah being John the Baptist and Elisha, Jesus. The similarities are really striking, anyway.

I think it's obvious that Jesus and Elisha are two different people. You can't just look at someone else's work without checking the Bible. There are no similarites between them. I see that you are thinking that Elisha is like Jesus because Elijah is like his mentor. And you are thinking that John the Baptist Is like Elijah because you think that John was Jesus' Teacher. First of all, Elisha sinned; Jesus didn't. Secondly, The Bible says that John did not feel worthy enough to baptize Jesus because Jesus was the Messiah. Would a teacher think that the first time they met their student? Jesusinmysock 19:33, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I certainly agree with Jesusinmysock. John the Baptist--the very first time he met Jesus--said to him, "I need to be baptized by you" (Matthew 3:14). Hardly the words of a Master to his disciple. The Baptist also said, "He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). Furthermore, reincarnation is incompatible with the Bible (Hebrews 9:27). You can't accept part of scripture as a foundation for faith, but reject another; it is either a reliable spiritual source or it's not. You can't pick and chose according to your own opinion. When Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elias (Matthew 11:12-15, 17:10-12; Mark 9:12-13) he meant that John came "in the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke 1:17), not that he was actually Elias himself--obviously, since Elias was taken, still alive, into heaven (in other words, he did not die), whereas John the Baptist was born according to the normal human biological fashion. I think even proponents of reincarnation would agree that a person has to die before he can be reincarnated. MishaPan (talk) 18:59, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Using the Bible as a source to refute speculation is begging the question. Two stories by different people about incidents 2000 years ago could differ wildly.YAC (talk) 05:22, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Elisha and Jesus share the same soul. The soul of the messiah. Their stories tell the evolution of the soul of the messiah with its culmination in Yeshua. Elisha means "Yahweh saves", the same meaning as Yeshua. Elisha/Elijah and Yohannen/Yeshua both share the teacher/student narrative and the river Jordan setting for transference of initiation. Reincarnation is part of Jewish teachings. Hebrews 9:27 is not a refutation of reincarnation. This verse talks of the Nefesh dying. The Nefesh is like the branch to the Neshamah of the trunk of the tree. Elisha requested a "double-portion" and this was achieved at John's baptism of Jesus. Of course when we call Jesus by the name Yeshua we ground him in the culture and teachings of his time and not in literalist-evangelical mistakes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:43, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Of course not Elisha was a jewish prophet!!!!— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 22 November 2009

In a word: no. This is not scriptural and seems like an attempt to graft Christianity onto some other religion. In addition to that, when Elisha died, he remained dead. Jesus rose again the third day.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:26, 2 November 2010


I think this man is most commonly known in English as Elisha. Tom Harrison Talk 21:08, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Common among whom? There are lots of English-speaking Roman Catholics, and a number of Eastern Orthodox also. Why is their spelling "wrong", but the Protestant spelling "right"? MishaPan (talk) 18:59, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Generally, it comes down to Protestants following the lead of the King James Version which gives the name as "Elisha."— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:26, 2 November 2010

Confusing redirects[edit]

The main article of this talk page, Prophet Eliseus is a redirect to Elisha, whose talk page is a redirect to here. Wouldn't it make more sense to have both the main article and talk page have the same name? I think that Elisha would probably be preferred, as it is I believe the more common name in use in the English language. John Carter 17:11, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Looks like an incomplete page move. I moved this talk page to match the article. -- Pastordavid 18:57, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

"Young men" mauled by bears?[edit]

The first two citations (some of the very few in the article) are obviously inserted to try to provide an inappropriate (and inaccurate) spin on a pretty nasty biblical story. Much of the stuff cited there is either debatable or flat-out wrong. These citations should be removed or replaced with more scholarly exegesis. Just for one example, the article says that these were "young men" mauled by bears. There is no standard biblical translation out there that translates the phrase that way. It's simply wrong, and attempts in the links to compare other verses that use those Hebrew words are either incomplete (only one of those words is used) or inapplicable because the words are separated or otherwise changed in sense by context.

Just for a few examples of translations:

  • "young lads" The New American Standard Bible,
  • "small boys" English Standard Version,
  • "youths" The New King James Version,
  • "little children" The King James Version (Authorized),
  • "small boys" The Holman Christian Standard Bible,
  • "little children" Third Millennium Bible,
  • "youths" New International Version,
  • "boys" The New Living Translation,
  • "small boys" The New Revised Standard Version,
  • "small boys" The Revised Standard Version,
  • "boys" The Good News Translation,
  • "little boys" The Douay-Rheims Bible,
  • "little kids" The Message,
  • "boys" The Complete Jewish Bible,
  • "boys" New Century Version,
  • "boys" God's Word,
  • "young lads" Hebrew Names Version of World English Bible,
  • "young lads" World English Bible,
  • "little boys" The Bible in Basic English,
  • "little youths" Young's Literal Translation,
  • "boys" Today's New International Version,
  • "young fellows" New International Reader's Version,
  • "little boys" The Darby Translation,
  • "little children" Webster's Bible Translation, etc., etc.

Yes, it was "little children" or "small boys" who were mauled by the bears. I have corrected the article and removed the links to pages with obviously unreliable and speculative material. I suggest if anyone wants to restore those links, they should be able to provide some generally accepted biblical scholarship (like, for example, a standard translation that actually implies anything close to what those links suggest). Better yet, provide links to more realistic interpretations of the passage. (talk) 17:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I also edited the latter (and redundant) section of the article that refers to this passage, cleaning up the interpretation and getting rid of the "men" idea again. There was a parenthetical that made assertions about the Hebrew word na'ar, which in different contexts can refer to anything from a young boy to a young man, but when qualified by the Hebrew for "little" in this passage, it's very clear that children are being referred to. (Again, this strange interpretation is the result of misleading statements on the pages that used to be linked here. Any attempt to revert these things should be accompanied by scholarship and a reference to any standard Bible translation that implies these may have been adults. As far as I know, no such translations exist... because scholars know better.) (talk) 19:51, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
"a pretty nasty biblical story" Bias noted. Unsupported "fixes" reverted. (talk) 23:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I have added the previous edits again. I thought that TWO DOZEN of the most common Bible translations, NONE of which agree with the strange interpretation given in the article might have some impact. But apparently those changes were "unsupported." At a minimum, the changes should have been added to the information already in the article, but apparently it's easier to revert. Anyhow, I've added references to three websites that discuss this information, some of which point out the previously-noted bias. It's difficult when discussing such obscure material to find internet sources, particularly when an apparent internet meme that has a non-scholarly (and incorrect) interpretation has spread around so much. Therefore, the best and simplest reference is to the Biblical text that is mentioned here. As I have previously supplied, there are plenty of translations that contradict the old version of the article, and NONE (that I have yet found) which support it. I will again repeat what I said before: please do NOT revert until you have some verifiable scholarly evidence or at a minimum at least one mainstream Bible translation that agrees with the old version of the article. Thank you. (talk) 00:17, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Aside from your tone which sounds like you are negatively-biased on the subject, some of the terms you mentioned ("boys," "young lads," young fellows," and "youths") can certainly be applied to males older than "little kids." These terms are appropriate for males in their late teens or in their twenties. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Alas, the two apologist references have been restored. I'll try to find more scholarly and objective citations, but since most biblical exegesis is done by believers who might be tempted to present the story in the best light possible, it maybe difficult. Maybe Isaac Asimov's commentaries cover it? I'll check. Luitgard (talk) 05:30, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I would not rely upon Asimov's commentary for anything. He had an axe to grind against religion and the Bible and his opinions are worthless on the subject, especially since there are better commentaries available. (I see someone below mentioned John Gill's commentary. I highly recommend Gill's commentary. He's mostly forgotten today, but a great source of information.) An additional source that supports the idea that these were not little kids is the Jewish Encyclopedia (online at —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

John Gill's commentary on the passage gives some good information on the passage. The meaning of "young men" as opposed to "little kids" makes sense when you take into consideration that these guys were outside the city and on their own when they confronted Elisha. Little kids would not have been out there. "Little children" does not mean toddlers.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:26, 2 November 2010

I think this is a distraction. The bible is attempting to show that idolators, who encouraged the youths to mock Elisha, were "rebuked" to say the least. "The Lord takes care of His own." Speculation that the youths were 30 years old, or the bears were grizzlies or marauding elephants from India that had lost their way, is not relevant neither to this scripture nor to the biography of Elisha. And attempting to find in English a one-for-one correspondence of even Western languages is problematic enough, Ancient Hebrew is asking too much IMO. And the King James, while pretty, is not really scholarly enough for meticulous arguments IMO. Student7 (talk) 20:48, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

On the contrary, the King James version is "scholarly enough for meticulous arguments." Given a choice between the opinions of John Gill and Student7, I'll take my chances on John Gill. (talk) 20:41, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible is significant enough to have been included in List of biblical commentaries since March 2007.
As Student7 wrote in 2010 that KJV is "not really scholarly enough for meticulous arguments", his deletion of that cited commentary and reversion to KJV with the edit summary "can see in kjv. says LITTLE children, in fact" appears not to be pursuing WP:NPOV.
Here is a link to the commentary on the passage by John Gill, commended above, who states "the word for 'children' is used of persons of thirty or forty years of age". Jewish Encyclopedia likewise states on Elisha, "The offenders were not children, but were called so ("ne'arim") because they lacked ("meno'arin") all religion (Soṭah 46b)." Enough already. – Fayenatic London 16:27, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
My Catholic Study Bible says that this subchapter is meant to convey a "popular understanding" of the dignity of the prophet. Told in a popular vein, it becomes a caricature in which neither Elisha (who would never do this), not the bear (who not only does not normally attack people, it would never attack people en masse) behave in character. It likens it to the story told under 2 Kings 1:12 where the fire consumes 50 men. The story intending to convey a point which was not that Elisha/God would kill 50 men to make the point that he was not subject to the king. But an exaggerated point that the king shouldn't have (written some time afterwards) be giving Elisha orders.
So I guess I am happy with "children", given this consideration. But to upgrade them to "young punks" unsubtly misses the point IMO. It's not that Elisha was intimidated by the (altered) "punks" but that he should be treated with dignity. Student7 (talk) 20:51, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Would we agree on "boys (or youths)"? – Fayenatic London 12:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not really into emending biblical text. As far as I can tell, the text did not seem to specify the sex of the children. So "boys" doesn't seem accurate.
"Youths" are beyond my capability of analyzing. The KJV translators clearly thought these were children (i.e. under age 12) and not "youths," which I would think could translate to "teens" nowdays.
It would be helpful to know why it was changed from the KJV from "children." If it were changed to make Elisha/God seem more reasonable, then I would object. This is taking the tale too literally. "Small" seems more prevalent in the translations above. I'm guessing that "children" is the correct translation.
If it were changed because the translation was incorrect, that is another matter.
It wouldn't hurt to look at Brown_bear#Bear_encounters to understand the unlikelihood of this story. Yes, bears can be dangerous. But initiating an attack on 42 children would not only be in the Jewish Bible, but nearly every record in the ancient world would have contained this incident! After this report, there wouldn't have been a bear left in Eurasia! They would have all been hunted to extinction! It is just an "instructive story" not to be taken literally. Student7 (talk) 21:49, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
The word choice of the NKJV and NIV translators is significant enough to note it in the article, and the commentaries justify it. – Fayenatic London 07:37, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
The objections to the KJV being noted, I see that the translation of the KJV agrees in meaning with almost all of the other translations, with the exception of a very small number of outliers (the only significantly popular one being the NIV). For that reason, I suggest using the KJV translation, since it is the literary standard for Biblical texts, and it is most certainly not inaccurate in this verse. Rwflammang (talk) 18:25, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
When it comes to bias, I feel it's not reallt bias to exclaim that a story like this is apalling, even with the "youths"-hypothesis. On the other hand this has been a conscientious topic because atheists frequently use it as an example of "how horrible the Bible is", while it's obviously not its intention. As people say, it's obviously splitting hair as the original story which started by showing how Elisha treats "faithful" cities by clearing their well of poison when punishes that which has "brats" that chide him for being bald. It makes more sense for them to be children in a more literal sense, since children are more or less seen as "property" anyway, especially boys were of value, and losing 42 of them is a major blow to the city. I don't think it means to prortray it as horrible, since horror like death happened all the time, but 42 is unusually high, because they insulted God's prophet. Because most people are unaware of this, Christian apologists (especially) have tried to tone down this story and even trying to imply these were thugs and murderers through various (ridiculous) ways to attempt to translate it. Why not just look how the word is used elsewhere in the Bible (not just looking how other prominent scholars have translated before there even WAS an apologetic bias), and it's clear that the word is mainly used in the context as "little children", or in some cases the context is entirely altered. In either way, this "problem" with interpretation is a post-modern-biblic-criticism issue, and should really be a non-issue. It would be more accurate to simply use NKJV, and perhaps make another section further down with "Apologists' criticisms of Bible translations" and mention it there. The main translations and sources are in no way in conflict. Let's not make this into a discussion such as the "anthripic global warming hoax". --Leord (talk) 16:52, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Despite your suggestion, the scholars responsible for the NKJV thought otherwise; and as it was produced as an update to the KJV, this adds significance to their word choice – all the more so as this not only a break from the traditional wording, but from formal equivalance. I also challenge your categorising the NKJV as not "significantly popular", given its current rank at third place in US Bible sales.[1]Fayenatic London 17:12, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Proper Placement of the Pictures[edit]

Why in the world does the picture of the Syrian Brown Bear come after the picture of Naaman in the article when in the Bible the bears are mentioned first and Naaman later? Invmog (talk) 17:48, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

I moved the pictures, but I don't understand why there are two different ones of "Elisha refusing the gifts of Naaman" by Pieter de Grebber. Did he paint this twice?— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 2 October 2009

Divine Name[edit]

The article previously said that Elisha cursed the youths "in the name of God". Since the Divine Name is used in the text, "God" is not the best word to use. I think "Yahweh" is the best phrase to use, rather than "YHWH" or "the Lord", and that seems to be the usualy practice here. But we really ought to discuss the matter here rather than edit war. StAnselm (talk) 08:02, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The tetragrammaton, usually pronounced adona (meaning "lord") in spoken Hebrew is translated as "lord" or its equivalent (e.g. dominus, KYPIOS )in almost all translations, ancient and modern. The only mainstream English translation I know of which translates it as a proper name is the Jerusalem Bible, used by a fraction of English speaking Catholics, who even so change "Yahweh" to "the Lord" when using it in the liturgy. Jehovah's Witnesses famously use a translation which translates the tetragrammaton as "Jehovah". But these examples are clearly outliers. Our source, which I presume should be a main stream English translation, says "the Lord". Rwflammang (talk) 17:08, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
King James version says "The Lord." While that doesn't speak to the Jewish version it seems classic for English otherwise. KJV IMO is always a classic unless it differs in substance from other versions. (BTW, I am Catholic). Student7 (talk) 14:05, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

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