2 Kings Chapter 5 |
1Naaman, 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.
2Once, 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.
3She said to her mistress, “I wish Master could come before the prophet in Samaria; he would cure him of his leprosy.”
4[Naaman] went and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said.
5And the king of Aram said, “Go to the king of Israel, and I will send along a letter.”
He set out, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel. It read: “Now, when this letter reaches you, know that I have sent my courtier Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he rent his clothes and cried, “Am I God, to deal death or give life, that this fellow writes to me to cure a man of leprosy? Just see for yourselves that he is seeking a pretext against me!”
8When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, he sent a message to the king: “Why have you rent your clothes? Let him come to me, and he will learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”
9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and halted at the door of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha 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.” 11But 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. 12Are 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.
13But 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.’”
14So 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.
15Returning with his entire retinue to the man of God, he stood before him and exclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in the whole world except in Israel! So please accept a gift from your servant.”
16But he replied, “As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept anything.” He pressed him to accept, but he refused.
17And 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.
18But 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.”
19And he said to him, “Go in peace.”
When he had gone some distance from him, 20Gehazi, the attendant of Elisha the man of God, thought: “My master has let that Aramean Naaman off without accepting what he brought! As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” 21So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he alighted from his chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” 22“All is well,” he replied. “My master has sent me to say: Two youths, disciples of the prophets, have just 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 he wrapped the two talents of silver in two bags and gave them, along with two changes of clothes, to two of his servants, who carried them ahead of him. 24When [Gehazi] arrived at the citadel, he took [the things] from them and deposited them in the house. Then he dismissed the men and they went their way.
25He entered and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He replied, “Your servant has not gone anywhere.” 26Then [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? 27Surely, 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.