“¶ And he went vp from thence vnto Bethel: and as hee was going vp by the way, there came foorth little children out of the citie, and mocked him, and said vnto him, Goe vp thou bald head, Goe vp thou bald head.”
1611 King James Version (KJV)
2:23 To Beth - el - To the other school of prophets, to inform them of Elijah's translation, and his succession to the same office; and to direct, and comfort, and stablish them. Children - Or, young men: as this Hebrew word often signifies. It is more than probable they were old enough to discern between good and evil. The city - Beth - el was the mother - city of idolatry, where the prophets planted themselves, that they might bear witness against it, and dissuade the people from it; though, it seems, they had but small success there. Mocked him - With great petulancy and vehemency, as the word signifies; deriding both his person and ministry, and that from a prophane contempt of the true religion, and a passionate love to that idolatry which they knew he opposed. Go up - Go up into heaven, whither thou pretendest Elijah is gone. Why didst not thou accompany thy friend and master to heaven? Bald - head - So they mock his natural infirmity, which is a great sin. The repetition shews their heartiness and earnestness, that it was no sudden slip of their tongue, but a scoff proceeding from a rooted impiety and hatred of God and his prophets. And very probably it was their usual practice, to jeer the prophets as they went along the streets, that they might expose them to contempt, and if possible drive them out of their town. Had the abuse done to Elisha been the first offence of the kind, they might not have been so severely punished. But mocking the messengers of the Lord, was one of the crying sins of Israel.