2 Kings 5 (Naaman Healed of Leprosy)
Summary: Naaman of Aram was a leper. Elisha told him to wash in the Jordan and he was healed. Gehazi asked for a gift and became leprous.
5:1 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
5:2 Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.
5:3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
5:4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.
5:5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing.
5:6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
5:7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
5:8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
5:9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
5:10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
5:11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.
5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
5:13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
5:14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
5:15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.”
5:16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
5:17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD.
5:18 But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.”
5:19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said. After Naaman had traveled some distance,
5:20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
5:21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.
5:22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’ ”
5:23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi.
5:24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
5:25 Then he went in and stood before his master Elisha. “Where have you been, Gehazi?” Elisha asked. “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.
5:26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants?
5:27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.
Final Thoughts on Chapter 5:
The king of the Aramites had a commander named Naaman at this time, who although being well loved by the people, had the disease of leprosy. After he heard from a captive girl that there was a healing prophet in Israel, Naaman asked the Aramite king to vogue for him, which the king did by sending the king of Israel a letter explaining the situation. The king of Israel assumed it was some kind of a snare, and that there was some hidden agenda in it, and he became enraged.
Elisha soon heard about Naaman’s letter and explained to the Israelite king that everything would soon be okay. Elisha invited Naaman down to his home for the healing. When Naaman arrived, Elisha told him to wash seven times in the Jordan River for the healing. Naaman was at first furious at this idea, as he just wanted the prophet to quickly heal him, but in the end he agreed to try Elisha’s treatment. After he grudgingly took a bath in the Jordan, Naaman’s leprosy disappeared. Naaman was awed by the miracle and vowed allegiance to God only, but he asks for a free pass: he asks Elisha to allow him to worship God in his heart, but to avow another religion publicly so that he doesn’t lose his life or job back home. Elisha grants him this request.
And finally we come to the negative part about this chapter. After Naaman’s healing, he begs Elisha to pay for his services in some way. Elisha refuses and Naaman sets off on his way. Elisha’s servant Gehazi covets what Naaman was willing to give and he runs after Naaman. When Gehazi reaches him, he lies saying, “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’” For doing this, Elisha inflicts Gehazi and all of his descendants with leprosy “forever.” It appears to me to be an extreme punishment for Gehazi himself, but isn’t it the ultimate cruelty to cause an endless amount of descendants to have a terrible disease for something one of their ancestors did and of which they had no part?
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