There is little hope for one who is more concerned about his dignity than his disease,
but full blessing is assured to one who will humble himself as a little child and walk in the light of God’s commands.
II Kings 1
1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
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.
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.
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 ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten 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.
7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, 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 God 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.
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 seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
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?
14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
15 ¶ And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
16 But he said, As the LORD 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 the LORD.
18 In this thing the LORD 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, the LORD 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 God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD 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 two changes of garments.
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 maidservants?
27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
II Kings 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Kings 5:1-14 – The Cure for Leprosy.
From Assyrian monuments we learn that at this period Syria regained her independence from under the yoke of Assyria, and probably it was during this struggle that Naaman gained his great victories. Note the suggestiveness of the phrase, “The Lord had given,” which teaches that the hand of God was guiding heathen as well as Hebrew history. The realm of God’s providence is as long as time, and as broad as the earth.
The destruction of this poor child’s home and her captivity must, at the time, have seemed to be an unexplainable disaster from which there could be bo relief; and yet it enabled her to bring about a great deliverance, which has shone on the page of Scripture, giving inspiration to tens of thousands. She rose above her sorrows, and by faith wrought victory out of defeat. By preferring his own way to God’s, Naaman came dangerously near returning home unhealed. We must adopt God’s method of salvation, however humbling to our pride. “I thought,” will wreck us; “To thee, O Lamb of God, I come,” will save us. Note the combination of a warrior’s strength with the flesh of a little child, – strength married to purity and simplicity.
The waters of God’s blessings flow downward, and he who would drink them must stoop. (Dixon)
2 Kings 5:14—Like unto the flesh of a little child.
Is there any fabric woven on the loom of time to be compared in perfect beauty to the flesh of a little child, on which, as yet, no scar or blemish can be traced? So sweet, so pure, so clean. It was a wonderful combination, that the strong muscles and make of the mighty man of war should blend with the flesh of a child. But this may be ours also, if we will let the hand of Jesus pass over our leprous-smitten souls. At this moment, if you let Him, He will touch you and say, “Be clean,” and immediately the leprosy will depart, and you will return to the days of your youth—not forgiven only, but cleansed—not pardoned only, but clad in the beauty of the Lord your God, which He will put on you.
We do not count a little child to be free from the taint of sin. It is conceived in sin, and inherits the evil tendencies of our fallen race. Its innocence of evil is not holiness. Jesus gives us more than innocence, He makes us pure and holy. But there are other childlike qualities which our Savior gives. The humility of a little child, who is unconscious of itself, and who is not perpetually looking for admiration. The unselfishness of a little child, who seeks its companion to share its luxuries and games. The trust of a little child, which so naturally clings to a strong and loving heart, willing to follow anywhere, to believe in anything. The love of a little child, who responds to every endearment with sunny laughter and soft caresses.
There is a great difference between childish and childlike. The former is put away, as we grow up into Christ: the latter we grow into, as we become more like our Lord. The oldest angels are the youngest: the ripest saints are the most childlike.
2 Kings 5:15-27 – The Penalty of Greed
Naaman was so grateful that he came twenty miles out of his way to render thanks to the man of God, bringing a great sum as a gift. Notice his whole-souled desire to worship Jehovah, as shown in his fear lest his official connection with idolatry might be held to compromise him; and in his ready beneficence toward Gehazi, who, he supposed, had come in Elisha’s name. All these are symptoms of a noble soul on whom the Holy Spirit had been at work. We are here reminded of Cornelius, Naaman’s counterpart in the New Testament, Acts 10:1. What a comfort it is to believe that God has been influencing men like this in all the centuries, fashioning them, though they knew him not, till the hour arrived when He spoke to them through prophet or apostle.
Gehazi is the sad counterpart of Judas. Like the traitor, he revealed the hardening effect that association with pure goodness may have on the human conscience. If it does not produce life unto life, it issues in death unto death. The same sun that bleaches linen, tans the hand that exposes it to the sunlight.