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CHAPTER 5 Aug. 31 
Elisha Heals Naaman
Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him Yahweh had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valour, but he was a leper. 2The Syrians had gone out in companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maiden; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, I wish that my lord would visit the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would heal him of his leprosy. 4Someone went in, and told his lord, saying, The maiden who is from the land of Israel said this. 5The king of Syria said, Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. He departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter has come to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy. 7When the king of Israel had read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends to me to heal a man of his leprosy? Surely he is seeking a quarrel against me. 8It was so, when Elisha 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? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. 9So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean. 11But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy’. 12Aren’t Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 13His servants came near and spoke to him and said, My father, if the prophet had asked you do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’ 14Then went he down, and dipped himself 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. 15He returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and stood before him; and he said, See now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. Now therefore, please take a gift from your servant. 16But he said, As Yahweh lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none. He urged him to take it; but he refused. 17Naaman said, If not, then please let two mules’ burden of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will from now on offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice to other gods, but to Yahweh. 18In this thing may Yahweh pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon. When I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, may Yahweh pardon your servant in this thing. 19He said to him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way. 
Gehazi’s Greed 
20But Gehazi the servant of Elisha the man of God said, My master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought. As Yahweh lives, I will run after him, and take something from him. 21So Gehazi followed after Naaman. When Naaman saw one running after him, he came down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? 22He said, All is well. My master has sent me, saying, ‘Behold, even now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing’. 23Naaman said, Please take two talents. He urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants; and they carried them before him. 24When he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and stored them in the house. Then he let the men go, and they departed. 25But he went in, and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, Where did you come from, Gehazi? He said, Your servant went nowhere. 26He said to him, Didn’t my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, to receive garments and olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male servants and female servants? 27Therefore the leprosy of Naaman will cling to you and to your seed forever. He went out from his presence a leper, as white as snow.


5:3 The girl said this in total faith; because at that time, no lepers had been healed by Elisha in Israel (Lk. 4:27). This girl had great spirituality; she had been taken captive by the Syrians (:2) and so had almost certainly been raped and abused, and now she was a domestic slave, possibly still liable to abuse. But she so loved her enemies that she wanted the army commander to be healed- when he was the visible figurehead of the organization (i.e. the Syrian army) which had abused her.
5:9,10 Naaman was the chief of the Syrian army and could easily have killed Elisha or destroyed his home. But Elisha isn’t courteous to him, doesn’t open the door of his home, but just sends someone to Naaman to tell him to go and wash in Jordan. This wasn’t rudeness, but rather a desire for Naaman to respond to God’s word. Sometimes God presents His word to us in such a way, without any attractive packaging, just bald demands- to test and develop our obedience.
5:14 The way Naaman was effectively born again by dipping in water looks forward to Christian baptism, which also requires humility to accept.
5:15,16 Elisha was accustomed to thinking of himself in terms of a man who stood before Yahweh, in His presence, before His face (3:14 Hebrew). Naaman and his "company" 'stood before' Elisha. Remember that this was the Syrian army General, standing with a "company" in Israelite territory, at Elisha's house- at a time when 'companies' of Syrian soldiers carried out raids upon Israel (:2). Any Israelite would've been terrified. But Elisha responds that he 'stands before' Yahweh more than before Naaman (:16). Elisha was so aware of how we live in God's presence, before His very face, that he wasn't the least phased by this. If only we can share this sense, of standing in God's presence... the most frightening of human situations will have little effective 'presence' because we know we are ultimately in God's presence, 24/7. But how, concretely and actually, did Elisha come to have this serenity? A clue is to be found in how in 6:17, Elisha prays that God will open the eyes of his frightened servant to behold the Angelic horses and chariots around him. Elisha was so confident they were there, that he didn't ask to see them himself. He knewthey were there; he simply asked that his servant be enabled to see the unseen reality which he calmly knew was there. He of course had had first hand experience of the Angelic horses and chariots (a kind of cherubim) when he had been parted from Elijah in 2:11. This must have left an abiding impression upon him- he knew that those Angelic horses and chariots were in fact permanently encamped around him (cp. Ps. 34:7). And so we see significance in the way that Naaman came to Elisha's house with his horses and chariot- for this is surely a development of a theme of connection between Elisha, horses and chariots (:9). Most other Israelites would've been petrified to have the horses and chariots of Naaman and a company of Syrians pull up at their door. But Elisha was quite unphased. He didn't even bother coming out to meet Naaman, knowing this was an insult to Naaman's pride, and was humanly certain to result in Naaman simply killing him and burning his house. Surely the horses-chariot-Elisha connection taught Elisha that in fact there were Angelic horses and chariots around him- he need not fear any human horse and chariot. There is no hint that Angelic activity is any less, or operates in any different way, for us today.
5:17 This shows that Naaman was influenced by the surrounding superstition that one could only worship a god of another nation whilst on their soil. But this is not explicitly corrected by Elisha; he simply but powerfully comments: “Go in peace”. In other words, Elisha was saying that the peace experienced by Naaman in his daily life was so wondrous that it obviated the need for worshipping on Israeli soil. This is a similar approach to that taken by Jesus with regard to demons. See on 5:27.
5:18 This disproves the theory of guilt by association. God was willing to tolerate this believer in Him still being associated with a pagan religion. This concession of weakness shouldn’t be used to justify us in living lives which are indistinguishable from those of unbelievers; we are the light of the world, and if we hide that light, then it will go out (Mt. 5:14). But there are times when our faith in the true God is a matter of the heart, and our external appearance may have to be otherwise because of the life situation we are in; and God is understanding of that, as we should be towards other believers. And yet Naaman chose a lower level of serving God than he could have chosen. The higher level would surely have been, as Daniel’s friends, not to bow down to an idol. And when we ask what the rest of the Jews in Babylon did on that occasion, it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that they took the lower level which Naaman did- and bowed down. But when we choose a lower level of service, God works to inspire us to take higher levels- see on 6:11.
5:27 The idea of transference of disease from one to another was a common Semitic perception, and it’s an idea accommodated by God although it’s incorrect. God threatened to make the diseases of the inhabitants of Canaan and Egypt to cleave to Israel if they were disobedient (Dt. 28:21,60). Here too, as with the curing of Legion, there is Divine accommodation to the ideas of disease transference which people had at the time. This explains why the New Testament can speak of ‘demons’ whilst also denying their actual existence- it’s an accommodation to the ideas of the time. This is in harmony with similar accommodations in the Old Testament. See on 5:17.