2 KINGS 5
1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria [ Na'aman, Sar Tzeva Melech Aram], was a great man with his master, and honourable [ish gadol before his adon and highly honored], because by him Yahweh had given deliverance unto Syria [Aram]: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper [ gibbor chayil, but metzorah (having leprosy)].
His name means, "Pleasantness; Beauty," but his defiled nature belied his name. Yet he possessed mental characteristics attractive to Yahweh, who overlooked his life to salvation from the dread disease in his flesh.
The hideous disease of leprosy represents active sin which is in our members, a living death (1Tim. 5:6). Yahweh alone could cure leprosy (v. 15).
There is nothing within the entire range of human phenomena which illustrates so impressively the divine power of the Redeemer, and the nature and extent of his work of mercy on man's behalf, as this leprosy. There are many most striking analogies between it and that more deadly leprosy of sin which has involved our whole race in one common ruin.
It is feared as contagious; it is certainly and inevitably hereditary; it is loathsome and polluting; its victim is shunned by all as unclean; it is most deceitful in its actions. New-born babes of leprous parents are often as pretty and as healthy in appearance as any other, but by-and-bye its presence and working of leprosy become visible in some of the signs described in Lev. 13.
Similarly sin is contagious, hereditary, and becomes worse as time goes by, until its ravages of malice and wickedness are apparent to all. The innocent child with its engaging prattle and pretty ways hides that which can grow into a Judas Iscariot, a Nero, a criminal. Discipline from the beginning is required.
There is but one real cure; one Physician who can cure the leprosy of sin, and he has described the infallible means: Luke 17:14; Romans 6. The atoning work of Yahshua, being the full meaning of baptism, is the only means by which the leper can be made clean. - GEM, Logos.
2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
Was she freer to serve the true God in Syria than near the corrupting influences of Jezebel and her children? ...It is not impossible that Naaman may have shown special kindness to his captives-perhaps to the little maiden who formed so important a link in the carrying through of this particular chain of events. Such would be quite in harmony with the divine fiat concerning Israel:
"I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee."*
3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
Love ye your enemies - Lk 6: 5
Well spoken, little maiden. That you have gained the respect of the household for sober, truthful speech, the sequel shows. Further, your words evince that you are no cherisher of animosity and resentment.
...we might pause to ask whether the Christadelphian maidens of the present troubled times gain the esteem of those with whom they are thrown in contact, for sober, impressive, truthful speech? Are they willing to forget injuries and return good for evil. They do well to remember that it was no easier for the little captive to do this than it is for them, and that it is quite as noble for them to do it as it was for her.*
4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him 10 talents of silver, and 6 000 pieces of gold, and 10 changes of raiment.
6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
THE miracle [v14]... took place in the apostate, troubled times of the last monarch of Omri's dynasty, Jehoram, the son of Ahab and Jezebel. Although Jehoram "put away the image of Baal," it is written concerning him that he
"wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord."
He was a firm supporter of the state religion which Jeroboam had faithlessly deemed it imperative to establish in place of the worship instituted by Yahweh.
...How could the kingdom be preserved if the people were permitted to worship at a temple in another king's capital city? Such was the reasoning of those who left God out of account. The purely natural mind always leaves God out of account, and allows appearances to guide it. *
7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I Elohim, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of Elohim had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
Why did not the king at once seek Elisha's aid?
There is an explanation. In days gone by Jehoram and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, had joined hands in fighting the king of Moab, and were confronted with disaster. Elisha, at the king of Judah's request, was visited by the kings, and his help implored that the oncoming defeat might be averted. The prophet seized the opportunity of addressing a stinging rebuke to Jehoram:
"What have I to do with thee? Get thee to the prophets of thy father and the prophets of thy mother. . . . As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee nor see thee." 2 Kings 3: 13
...although the impending defeat was turned, by Elisha's miraculous intervention, into victory, Jehoram was apparently only too glad to dismiss from his cognisance one whose friendship could only be won by an apparently dangerous reversal of state policy. So Jehoram stood by his golden calves, and Elisha dropped from his horizon.
But it was not God's will that Elisha should be lost to sight. It would have frustrated the benign purpose which He had in "sending his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them." The prophets' miracles were intended to enforce rebuke and instruction and to bear witness to the God of heaven.
So God adopts an expedient for again directing the attention of the unwilling king and his people to Elisha and his message. Naaman, a famous general of one of Israel's invading kings, is singled out to be the subject of a mighty miracle at the hands of the prophet.*
9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan 7 times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
11 But Naaman [Na'aman] was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold [Hinei], I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name [Shem] of Yahweh his Elohim, and strike his hand over the place [wave his yad over the makom], and recover the leper [ give recovery from the metzorah].
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers [Avana and Parpar, naharot] of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? [mayim of Yisroel? ] May I not wash in them, and be clean? [tahor?]So he turned and went away in a rage [chemah].
Men impose upon themselves, with their sacrifices of prayer, and praise, and pious talk, as a substitute for obeying the truth. Thus, like Saul, they reject the word of the Lord; therefore he will reject them from being kings over his realm in the age to come... The Lord's people are known to him by their childlike obedience to his word. All is mere talk that falls short of this.
The obedience of faith is God's test by which he tries the professions of the children of men, who are generally so perverse that, like Naaman, the Syrian, they are ready to do any great thing he does not require, but stubbornly refuse to submit to the simple action he prescribes.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1854
Let us not be indifferent to God's kindness. Let us keep ourselves sensitive to rebuke (which now comes through the channel of the Word and exhortation from faithful brethren) and chastening that we be not, like Israel, hardened in sin, and engulfed in apostasy. *
13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
The case of Naaman is very instructive
Naaman was a "natural man," and gave utterance to "the mind of the flesh." Elisha told him to "go and wash seven times in Jordan, and be clean." Though Elisha was a man of God, he enunciated a simple order, or command, unaccompanied by any pious or godly drapery, rite, or ceremony, so pleasing to the flesh.
The flesh, called Naaman, rebelled at this simplicity. It required a show of godliness; a demonstration of respect to a great man; and some holy action. It was willing, and would have delighted in being commanded, to do "some great thing." It would then have felt like making itself famous for something; but simply to do what it was commanded, conferred upon it no glory or renown. Poor human nature, alas for thee!
The flesh is always devising for itself yokes of bondage which God hath not imposed. This propensity to be doing what it is not asked to do, and of neglecting to do what it is told, is the foundation of all
"the will worship and humility and austerity of body,"
which constitutes the godliness of the Old Adam. The world is full of it. We see it in the superstitions of Rome, Wittemburg, Geneva, and so forth; and we would be glad if we could say, that we did not see it among those who have believed and obeyed the gospel of the kingdom of God.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jun 1860
14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of Elohim: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
'And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. (Lk. 4: 27).
The prominence of Naaman and the circumstances attending the healing-the long journey, the argument with his servants concerning dipping seven times in Jordan-were such that the miracle was beyond all gainsaying. High and low, Israelite and Syrian, were bound to admit its reality.*
15 And he returned to the man of Elohim, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no Elohim in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
16 But he said, As Yahweh liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
17 And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto Yahweh.
18 In this thing Yahweh pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, Yahweh pardon thy servant in this thing.
19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of Elohim, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as Yahweh liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?
22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and 2 changes of garments.
Although a constant witness of Elisha's exercise of divinely-bestowed power, yet Gehazi had not sufficient belief in the One who controlled Elisha to be obedient to his master's expressed wish that no gift should be received in return for the blessing bestowed on Naaman; or to think that his disobedience and resultant lying would be detected.
Truly, the human heart is
"deceitful above all things and desperately wicked."
Well may the apostle enjoin upon us heedfulness:
"Lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Let us... be heedful, remembering that the same God who healed Naaman brought upon the privileged Gehazi dreadful retribution. There is abundant provision for escape from human depravity in apostolic counsel. Let us strive to closely follow it. *
The Christadelphian, Oct 1916
23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.
24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidserv
27 The leprosy [tzara'at] therefore of [Na'aman] shall cleave [make its deveykus] unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever [zera l'olam]. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow [metzorah, like sheleg].
The curse of leprosy, a physical ailment of the flesh of Naaman, is cured by obedience and baptism. Naaman, the Gentile captain of Syria, finds a solution to his personal physical problem at the hand of the Hebrew prophet. The Lord Yahshua took Elisha's healing of Naaman as a predictive prophecy that he himself would be sent to redeem all people of the curse of moral leprosy. (Lk. 4:25-27).
And yet, in the cleansing of the Gentiles, an Israelite is defiled.