Chapter 68



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(2 Ki 5:1-3)  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 [i.e., won a war]: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper [1,2,3]. And the Syrians had gone out by companies [several different marauding armies], and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid [4]; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of [Heb: restore him from] his leprosy. [What is God spiritually talking about here?]

1.       Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary: leper = a person who suffers from a slowly progressing and incurable skin disease. Any contact with a leper defiled (made unclean or impure) the person who touched him. Sometimes leprosy victims were miraculously cured. Moses (Exo 4:7), Miriam, his sister (Num 12:10), and Naaman (2 Kings 5:1,10) are prominent examples of such miracles. The purpose of the Old Testament laws about defilement was to preserve the holiness of God’s chosen people.

2.       The Pulpit Commentary: Leprosy was a terrible disease – hereditary, painful, contagious, loathsome, and fatal. In all these respects it resembled sin.

3.       Wilson’s Dictionary of Bible Types: This disease is a type of [symbol of] sin from the standpoint of its being incurable and defiling. One of the outstanding features of this disease was its defiling influence on others. The leper must live a separated life. He must wear a cloth over his mouth and cry “unclean.” He must be shut out of the camp. All of this is true about an unsaved man as regards his relationship to heaven. He cannot enter heaven because of his defilement which is hopeless. Only God can remove it, only God has the remedy.

4.       Commentary: “a little maid” = The implicit innocence, gentleness, and obvious compassion of this little Hebrew maid who had been forcibly captured by an foreign army, abducted from her own land, and bound into Gentile slavery beautifully speaks of her righteousness, her right standing with God. From a most humble servile station in life, as a slave to her mistress in a strange land, and as our godly life-style example, she stirred two kings and their kingdoms with a single brief testimony of the work of God; and as a believing Jew, she in effect took the Gospel to the unbelieving Gentiles.

a.       (1 Tim 6:1)  Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

(2 Ki 5:4-6)  And one went in, and told his lord [the king of Syria], saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said [to Naaman], Go to [Israel], go, and I will send a letter [with you] unto the king of Israel. And he [Naaman] departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying [in the letter], 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.

(2 Ki 5:7)  And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent [Heb: tore] his clothes [a cultural convention indicating great sorrow, displeasure, or stress], and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man [the king of Syria] 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.

(2 Ki 5:8)  And it was so, when Elisha the man [prophet] 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 [Naaman] come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.

(2 Ki 5:9-12)  So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha [clearly manifesting his great pride]. And Elisha [typifying God] sent a messenger [typifying an angel, or us in evangelic mode] [1] unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth [Heb: very angry], and went away, and said, Behold, I thought [2], 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. 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.

1.       messenger = Heb: mal'ak'; to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; spec. of God, i.e. an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher):--ambassador, angel, king, messenger.

2.       The Pulpit Commentary: “I thought” is all-powerful with them [the unsaved]. Well does Menken observe, This ‘I thought’ is the most mighty of all mighty things upon the earth, and even if it is not the most ruinous of all ruinous things, it is yet certainly the most unfortunate of all unfortunate ones. This ‘I thought’ brought sin and misery and death into the world [Gen 3:6]; and it prevents redemption from sin and death in the case of thousands [billions]! These thousands, if they perish in their opinion, will begin the next life [in the burning lake of fire] with ‘I thought.’

(2 Ki 5:13,14)  And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father [an appellation of respect], 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? 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 [1], and he was clean.

1.       (Mat 18:2,3)  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted [Gk: to turn quite around or reverse], and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 (2 Ki 5:15,16)  And he returned to the man of God [1,2], he and all his company, and came, and stood before him [Elisha] [3]: 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. 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 [the Gifts of God are free and not to be bought, nor to be thought for sale as did Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:18) whose heart was not right; they are eternal and priceless].

1.       Commentary: This same action of being converted and then returning to the source, the well-spring of conversion in great thanksgiving and joy is repeated in the New Testament when the ten lepers, who all manifested obedience to Jesus, were cleansed from their leprosy “as they went” (sanctification) to the priests as commanded. All ten lepers were justified, born again, imputed for righteousness, but nine were “unprofitable servants” because they only did “that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). However, only a single cleansed leper returned “to give glory to God” (Luke 17:18), and that one was the “profitable servant.” Naaman is the archetype profile of a “profitable servant.” 

2.       Commentary: Please note that after receiving rational correction from his servants (2 Ki 5:13,14), that Naaman began to think differently, reconsidered (i.e., repented), obeyed Elisha, the man of God, and received his cleansing. 

a.       repent = Gk: to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (mor. feel compunction) /// to exercise the mind (observe), i.e. (fig.) to comprehend, heed:--consider, perceive, think, understand. [Understand that to obey God is life]

3.       Commentary: “and stood before him” = Types and shadows: presumably Naaman, in his new-found humility, this time dismounted (lowered himself – humbled himself) from his horse or chariot (symbols of earthly power - pride), left his impressive entourage behind (who were unsaved and could not follow), and entered into the man of God’s house and presence (heaven).

(2 Ki 5:17)  And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee [vocalizing new-found deference to the man of God], be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth [bags of earth of Israel that will fit upon two mules]? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD [1].

1.       Commentary: The first anomaly. Preparing to return home to his own country and to an idolatrous national religion, and having just stated “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel” (2 Ki 5:15), Naaman drew an association between the LORD and the earth of Israel, and asked for the earth of Israel as a token (whether he deemed it holy or not we do not know) of reminder from which he might either build an altar, or spread beneath himself in prayer as “holy ground.”

(2 Ki 5:18,19) [The second anomaly.] In this thing the LORD pardon [Heb: forgive] thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of [the Syrian god] Rimmon to worship there, and he [the king] leaneth on my hand [i.e., pulls me down], and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon [thereby seeming to worship an idol]: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon [2x], the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. And he [Elisha] said unto him, Go in peace [This is the Eastern form of saying “Good-bye.”]. So he departed from him a little way.

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