After Eliyahu goes up to heaven, Elisha solves a water problem in Jericho and then heads to Bethel. On the way, some young children accost him, he curses them in the name of God, and two she-bears eat 42 of them (Melachim 2 2:23-24):
Rashi's comment on this is:
and some little boys: Heb. וּנְעָרִים, people empty [of any observance of commandments].
Go away, baldy: Go away from here, for you have made the place bald for us, for until now we would hire ourselves out to bring sweet water from a distance, and we would earn our livelihood thereby. And when the water became sweet, they lost their livelihood. Thus it is explained in Sotah (46b).
Even if Rashi's interpretation is correct, do people empty of observance (particularly children), whose proximate transgression is being mad about an economic matter, warrant being cursed and eaten by bears? I feel like there must be more going on here that I just don't understand.
What did the children do wrong? (Were they really children)? Did Elisha act properly in cursing them?