2 Kings 5 – “Elisha Cures Naaman’s Leprosy”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Naaman asks Elisha to cure his leprosy. Although Elisha cures him, he eschews his gifts. Elisha’s servant is struck with leprosy when he asks Naaman for the gifts.

II. Photo
Elisha cures Naaman’s leprosy: “So he went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had bidden; and his flesh became like a baby boy’s, and he was clean.” (v. 14)

III. Important Verses
1-3: Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was important to his lord and high in his favor, for through him the LORD had granted victory to Aram. But the man, though a great warrior, was a leper. Once, when the Arameans were out raiding, they carried off a young girl from the land of Israel, and she became an attendant to Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “I wish Master could come before the prophet in Samaria; he would cure him of his leprosy.”
10-14: Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angered and walked away. “I thought,” he said, “he would surely come out to me, and would stand and invoke the LORD his God by name, and would wave his hand toward the spot, and cure the affected part. Are not the Amanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? I could bathe in them and be clean!” And he stalked off in a rage. But his servants came forward and spoke to him. “Sir,” they said, “if the prophet told you to do something difficult, would you not do it? How much more when he has only said to you, ‘Bathe and be clean.’” So he went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had bidden; and his flesh became like a little boy’s, and he was clean.
17-19a: And Naaman said, “Then at least let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will never again offer up burnt offering or sacrifice to any god, except the LORD. But may the LORD pardon your servant for this: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow low in worship there, and he is leaning on my arm so that I must bow low in the temple of Rimmon — when I bow low in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD pardon your servant in this.” And he said to him, “Go in peace.”
25-27: He entered and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He replied, “Your servant has not gone anywhere.” Then [Elisha] said to him, “Did not my spirit go along when a man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to take money in order to buy clothing and olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? Surely, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” And as [Gehazi] left his presence, he was snow-white with leprosy.

IV. Outline
1. Naaman, the Aramean general, suffers from a leprosy
2-3. An Israelite girl tells him about Elisha
4-5a. A plan is made to visit Israel
5b-7. Naaman demands that the king of Israel cure him
8. Elisha summons Naaman
9-10. Elisha tells Naaman to bathe in the Jordan
11-13. Naaman’s servants convince him to listen to Elisha
14. Naaman is cured
15-16. Elisha refuses Naaman’s gifts
17-19. Elisha pardons Naaman’s role in the temple of Rimmon
20-24. Gehazi makes a request from Naaman in Elisha’s name
25-27. Elisha transfers Naaman’s leprosy onto Gehazi and his descendants

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Photo taken from http://www.podiatrytoday.com/files/imagecache/normal/photos/pt08_congenital_pic0.jpg