The Second Book of Kings
2-Kings. Chapter 5. Elisha Cures Naaman of Leprosy
To Hear a Talk based on the Text below:
2-Kings. Chapter 5. Elisha Cures Naaman of Leprosy.
(ca. 16 minutes)
Talk includes points not mentioned in the text.
2 Kings 5
The story related in this chapter tells how a foreign general was healed of
leprosy and how Gechazi the disciple of Elisha was afflicted by this same
leprosy due to his greed for material reward. The overall theme is the power of
the Almighty and HIS relation with Israel. God does miracles for other peoples
for the sake of Israel and in order that Israel may recognize HIS might! ("Olam
HaTanaach" on 2-Kings).
commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the
eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was
also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.
Naaman in Hebrew means "Pleasant Person". A related name is "Naama". Naaman
(according to "Olam HaTanaach" on Isaiah) was also another name for Tammuz and
Syria in Hebrew is Aram and in Biblical Times was an entity that stretched to
the north and east of modern Syria. Present-day Syria at times was ruled by "Aram"
and at times by Israel. In Hebrew the names for present-day Syria are Gilead and
Bashan. All of Syria in effect is part of the Promised Land of Israel.
but a leper. Leprosy in Biblical
Terms is probably the same illness known as Hansen's Disease or leprosy today.
Other sicknesses may also have been involved. There were and are different types
of leprosy. Some types are quite contagious whereas others are relatively safe.
Bearers of leprosy in Biblical terms were considered "impure", needed to be
periodically examined and quarantined.
And the Syrians had gone out on raids,
and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on
a young girl: In Hebrew "naarah katanah". Naarah is usually taken to imply
someone in her adolescence though it could have other applications. "Katanah"
means "little" or "young". Here we have a "little girl" contrasted to Naaaman
who was considered "a great and honorable man".
Then she said to her mistress, If only
my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his
We find here that the young Israelite girl was speaking in a matter-of-fact
manner about the healing abilities of the Prophet Elisha. In other words, Elisha
must have already healed many people. His healing abilities were well-known in
Israel and taken for granted. There was no doubt about them. It is almost as if
the Israelites at that time had no need of doctors or hospitals. They simply
went to the Prophet.
went in and told his master, saying, Thus and thus said the girl who is from the
land of Israel.
She was only a little girl, a captive, yet she is spoken and related to as
someone with innate importance. Her report is believed with little further ado.
It is as if having come from the Land of Israel added to her status. She in her
own right however must have had an impressive personality to be taken so
Then the king of Syria said, Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of
So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of
gold, and ten changes of clothing.
a letter. In Hebrew "sefer" meaning literally "book" but applied to anything of
importance applied in writing. Most writing in those times seems to have been
done on papyrus which is made out of reeds or on the skins of animals. Neither
of these materials last long in a mildly wet climate which is why hardly any
written remnants from Israel or Syria are extant today.
Then he brought the letter to the king
of Israel, which said,
Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent
my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.
And it happened, when the king of Israel
read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, Am I God, to kill and make
alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore
please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.
So it was, when
the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent
to the king, saying, Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me,
and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of
sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your
flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.
became furious, and went away and said, Indeed, I said to myself, He will surely
come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his
hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.
Similar events have probably happened to most of us so we can sympathize with
Naaman. Ever had a problem and needed medical or legal attention or something
similar? For you this may be a letter of almost life and death but when you
bring it before the expert he hardly considers it worth his attention and
proposes some solution of almost ridiculous simplicity.
Are not the
[Amanah] and the Pharpar,
the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash
in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
The word "Abanah" is traditionally read "Amanah" as may be noted in Hebrew
printed editions of the Bible. These are rare occurrences in Scripture but they
do exist and there is a reason for them.
Amanaa and Pharpar are identified with confluents of the Barada River near
Brit-Am (in the light of earlier researchers) says that the Biblical Damascus
was in the region of south-east Turkey.
"Brit-Am Now"- 402
#3. The NORTHERN BORDERS of Biblical Israel
Another opinion says that Damascus was in the region of Gozan on
the Habor River. This is somewhat east of where we locate it but nevertheless in
the same general area.
And his servants came near and spoke to
him, and said, My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great,
would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, Wash, and
The servants of Naaman the Syrian general smitten with leprosy urged him to do
what the prophet Elisha had instructed and immerse himself in the Jordan River.
Hebrew words reflected in the English of the above verse:
"And" Hebrew: ad (pronounceable as "a-n-d") meaning "as well as, including,
Came H. Kam meaning "arose, came".
My H. mo meaning "belonging to".
You H. (y)u ?a suffix meaning the second person i.e. you, cf. English "thou"
from the Hebrew "atho".
Something from "some" H. sum, shoom, "approximation, any, some".
Not H. ni,
When H. ve-im (pronouciable as"we-im[n]")
clean H. kal meaning "lighten".
He H. who, hi(F) meaning "he, she".
See our article:
The Similarity Between English and Hebrew
So he went down and dipped seven times
in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was
restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
And he returned to the man of God, he
and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, Indeed, now I
know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore,
please take a gift from your servant.
now H. na
that H. et
no H. ni
all H. coll
earth H. erets
But he said, As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing. And
he urged him to take it, but he refused.
said, Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth;
for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to
other gods, but to the LORD.
# two mule-loads of earth # The earth was evidently to build an altar upon by
which he could make offerings to the God of Israel on foreign soil.
Yet in this thing may the LORD pardon
your servant: when my master goes into the temple of
to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of
when I bow down in the temple of
Rimmon, may the LORD please
pardon your servant in this thing.
Then he said to him, Go in peace. So he
departed from him a short distance.
It is doubtful that Elosha agreed to Naaman bowing down together with his king
but neither was he obligated to give up his life in order not to do so. Even
though the non-Israelite Gentiles were (like the Israelites) also forbidden to
worship false gods the Law is much less stringent for them. Leniencies and
exceptions applying to non-Israelites under certain circumstances are not
necessarily applicable to Israelites obligated by the Law of Moses.
the servant of Elisha
the man of God, said, Look, my master has spared
this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the LORD
lives, I will run after him and take something from him.
saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said,
Is all well?
And he said, All is well. My master has
sent me, saying, Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have
come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver
and two changes of garments.
Garments in that age were usually made out of linen. They were woven with great
kill, were comfortable and durable. They were also very expensive (in man-hours
of labor or its monetary equivalent) compared to what we pay to clothe
said, Please, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of
silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his
servants; and they carried them on ahead of him.
When he came to the citadel, he took
them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go,
and they departed.
Now he went in and stood before his
said to him, Where did you go,
And he said, Your servant did not go anywhere.
Then he said to him, Did not my heart go
with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to
receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and
oxen, male and female servants?
Therefore the leprosy of
shall cling to you and your descendants forever. And he went out from his
presence leprous, as white as snow.