2 Kings 5


As we enter this chapter, it’s worth noting and remembering, the relationship between the people of Israel and the people of Aram, because the two groups of people were actually related. Abraham was of Aramean heritage because his family came from Haran, Genesis 12:1 / Genesis 24:4, Jacob was also called an Aramean, Deuteronomy 26:5, as was his uncle Laban, Genesis 25:20, and his grandfather, Bethuel, Genesis 25:20 / Genesis 28:5.

Naaman Healed Of Leprosy

‘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. Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. ‘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. 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.’ 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!’ 2 Kings 5:1-7

We read here that Naaman was the commander of the king of Aram’s army, and he was highly respected by the king because, through Naaman, God gave victory to Aram. It’s very possible that God gave Aram victory over his enemies because God was working through Naaman to create this opportunity to heal Naaman.

This event shows us how God was actually concerned about other nations, not just Israel. Israel was supposed to bring other nations to God and here we read about a leader of Aram who was brought to God’s prophet, Elisha, by doing so, God would be known as the One true God among this nation.

A young slave girl from Israel was taken captive by Aram’s raiders, when she found out that Naaman had leprosy, she told his wife that she knew of a prophet who could cure him of his leprosy.

Her faith is incredible, as she has the courage to even suggest such a thing to Naaman and his wife. She was well aware that there was only one God, and His prophet was more than capable of healing Naaman.

Naaman asks permission from the king, to go and see the prophet and so, he goes and takes with him silver, gold, clothing, and a letter from the king of Aram to the king of Israel.

However, when the king of Israel read the letter, ‘he tore his clothes’, it appears that the king totally misunderstood the reason for Naaman coming. Naaman was doing the right thing by going to the king of Israel and he brought the gifts to the king as a way of being courteous.

The king of Israel was well aware of who Naaman was and he was well aware of the king of Aram and his military might and so, it’s highly likely that the king of Israel thought that Naaman was here to start a war. Unknown to the king, Naaman was in the land to be healed, not to start a war.

Coffman says the following in his commentary.

‘Joram’s failure to think of Elisha in this situation was not due to his ignorance but to his unbelief and his unwillingness to accept the authenticity of Elisha’s prophetic ministry. Joram’s mistaken notion that Ben-Hadad, the probable king of Syria, who sent Naaman to Samaria sought a quarrel with him, was not altogether unreasonable. It will be remembered that Ben-Hadad, seeking the subjugation of Ahab, had made unreasonable demands of Joram’s father, 1 Kings 20:3-6.’

‘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.’ So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 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.’ 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. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage. 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’!’ 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.’ 2 Kings 5:8-14

Here we read of the purpose of the miracle, which was going to happen, Naaman would know that there was a true prophet in Israel and by default, he would know that there is only One true God, the God who could actually heal people, 2 Kings 5:15.

Elisha tells Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan river and he would be healed, but Naaman obviously thought that doing such a thing was a long way for a shortcut.

He obviously has some kind of faith because he thought to himself, if Elisha just comes out and says the ‘word’ and waves his hand over him, he would be cured. It’s also worth noting that Naaman actually knew the name of the God of Israel, Romans 1:21.

The reason he mentioned the rivers in Abana and Pharpar which were located in Damascus, is because these were freshwater mountain rivers, they were a lot cleaner than the river Jordan. It’s clear that Elisha told him to go to the Jordan river because he wanted humble Naaman.

It should be noted that the word for ‘wash’ used here is ‘rachats’ and it means ‘dip’ or ‘immerse’ and it’s identified with baptism, ‘baptizo’ in the New Testament, John 9:7 / Acts 2:38. In other words, Elisha commanded Naaman to be ‘immersed’ seven times in the River Jordan.

We must remember there were no healing powers in the water itself, Elisha’s instructions were designed to humble this great warrior. After being calmed by his servants, he finally obeyed the instruction of Elisha, immersed himself seven times in the Jordan and was cured.

We can only imagine what was going to Naaman’s mind as he dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, but more importantly, we should note that if he had only dipped himself, once, twice or even six times, he would not have been healed. He had to follow God’s instructions to be healed and likewise, today, if we want to be saved, we too must follow God’s instructions.

We must hear God’s Word, Romans 10:17, we must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, we must confess His Name before others, Romans 10:9-10, we must repent of whatever sin that is in our lives, Luke 13:3, and we must be baptised for the forgiveness of our sins, Acts 2:38. There are no shortcuts to salvation.

‘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. So please accept a gift from your servant.’ 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. ‘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. 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 have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.’ ‘Go in peace,’ Elisha said. After Naaman had travelled some distance.’ 2 Kings 5:15-19

The purpose of the miraculous healing of Naaman was achieved because Naaman now knows that ‘there is no there god, except the God of Israel’.

Naaman wanted to give Elisha some gifts because he was healed but Elisha refused. He asks that God will forgive him when he ‘bows down in the temple of Rimmon’, Rimmon was a pagan deity worshipped in Damascus.

Did Elisha actually give his approval to what Naaman suggested here? Some people believe that because Elisha told him to ‘go in peace’ this meant that Naaman received assurance that God understood his heart, but this isn’t clear.

The words ‘go in peace’, could actually just be a farewell expression, which means that Elisha wasn’t approving or disapproving of what Naaman was going to do but simply saying that God’s peace be with him as he went away.

Whatever is meant in these passages, we know that not only Naaman came to know the one true God but his servants who witnessed the healing in the Rover Jordan and it’s highly probable that when they returned to Aram, they would have told others what the God of Israel had done to Naaman.

‘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.’ 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. ‘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.’ ‘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. 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. When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, ‘Where have you been, Gehazi?’ ‘Your servant didn’t go anywhere,’ Gehazi answered. 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—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.’ Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.’ 2 Kings 5:20-27

Earlier, Naaman offered Elisha some kind of payment but Elisha refused to take any payment, and it appears that Gehazi, Elisha’s servant was greedy and his greed led him to lie. Even after spending all this time with Elisha, it appears that Elisha didn’t have any influence on Gehazi because he wanted some kind of payment for something which he hadn’t done.

Because of his greed, he lies to Naaman and tells him Elisha now wants to be paid for the healing, he also tried to lie to Elisha about his whereabouts and as a result, Gehazi and his descendants end up with leprosy. Notice that the leprosy happened straight away, Numbers 12:10.

This is a perfect example of reaping God’s curse because of trying to gain a financial reward for something which God has done, Philippians 1:15 / 1 Timothy 6:5 / Jude 1:11.

This event shows us that God didn’t just want Israel to have the right relationship with Him, but all the nations of the world.

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