And he turned back, and looked on them
With a stern countenance, thereby reproving them, and in order to intimidate them, and make them ashamed, and cause them to leave off, but to no purpose; they repeated their mockeries with great vehemence:
and cursed them in the name of the Lord;
moved thereunto, not from passion and a spirit of revenge, but by an impulse of the Spirit of God:
and there came forth two she bears out of the wood;
which are fiercest, and especially when bereaved of their whelps, as these might be; the wood seems to be near to Bethel, perhaps in the wilderness of Bethel, of which see ( Joshua 8:15 ) ( 18:12 ) , and Reland F25 thinks it is the same with the wood of Ephraim, ( 2 Samuel 18:6 ) , though the Jews, to increase the miracle, say F26 there was no wood at all, and, if there was, that there were no bears in it; but though those creatures are mostly in northern countries, yet there were of them in Judea, see ( 1 Samuel 17:34 )
and tare forty and two children of them;
it seems there were more than these; but such a number of them they tore to pieces and destroyed; which was very extraordinary, and was an awful punishment for their wickedness, which they knowingly and willingly committed, and of their parents in them, who had trained them up in such impiety, and put them upon it, and sent them out to do it.
F25 Palestin. Illustrat. p. 378.
F26 T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 47. 1.