Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 6

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-33

Now Naaman was the captain of the host of Syria, he was a great man with his master, he was honorable, because the LORD had actually helped him to subdue many nations. He was a mighty man and very brave, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and brought away captives out of the land of Israel and a little maid happened to be the servant of his wife. And she said, It's too bad your husband isn't with the prophet there in Israel, because he could heal him of his leprosy. And so it was told to Naaman and he told the king that there was a prophet in Israel that could cure him of his leprosy. And so the king of Syria Benhadad sent a formal letter to the king of Israel [and sent Naaman down] ( 2 Kings 5:1-5 ).

And in the letter it said, "I want you to heal my general of this leprosy." So when the king of Israel saw Naaman come in, knew who he was, this captain of the Syrian host and all, and when he gets this note, "I want you to heal this guy of his leprosy," the king just became excited and concerned.

He said, "Look how this guy is trying to pick a fight. Am I God that I can heal him of his leprosy? The guy is just looking for trouble. He's trying to start a fight. And so the king had torn his clothes and was all upset."

And word came to Elisha of how the king was so upset because of this demand. And he said, "Send him down to me, and he will know that there is a God in Israel." And so Naaman came to Elisha's house and Elisha didn't even go out to meet him but sent his servant Gehazi out with the orders, "Go down to the Jordan River and just dip in the Jordan River seven times, and after you've dipped seven times, you'll be cleansed of your leprosy." So Naaman became enraged. He said, "That guy didn't even have the graciousness to come out and meet me himself. Sent a servant out to me and then tells me to duck in that Jordan River. We've got better rivers up in Damascus." And he headed home in a rage. Just mad. And as they were going along, one of his servants said to him, "You know, had that prophet told you to do some great deed, you know, go out and slay the dragon and get the seven golden apples, had he given you some great deed to do, you would be glad to do it. Because it's just such a simple thing, why don't you try it? What's it going to hurt?" And so they came to the Jordan River and Naaman dipped himself in the Jordan River, and when he came up the seventh time, his flesh was pink like a baby's flesh. The leprosy was gone.

He was so excited he headed back to the prophet's house because he was loaded down with all kinds of gifts that the king of Syria had sent. And he came to Elisha and he sought to give to Elisha some of these gifts that he had brought from Syria and Elisha said, "No, I don't want your gifts. Keep them." Now in coming back, he acknowledged that there was no God in all the earth but in Israel. "I know that," he said. "I pray that you'll take this blessing."

But Elisha said, As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing. And Naaman urged him to take it; but he refused ( 2 Kings 5:16 ).

Now I told you that a fellow that would have this kind of a gift would have problems. And unfortunately, some people who have had a ministry of healing or whatever have been guilty of using that to enrich themselves. People become very excited when they see God work. They want to lavish the servant of God with gifts. But here is Elisha refusing the gift. Rightfully so. He didn't heal Naaman. The Lord healed Naaman. Why should Elisha receive a gift for him? And the guy urged him, but still he refused.

In the healing of Naaman we find some interesting things, and one of them is that typically, we, all of us, really have difficulty with just accepting the grace of God. We would all of us like to do some great wonderful thing for the Lord. You know, I would like to go out and conquer a thousand giants or something. I want to do some great thing for God. Just to receive from God the simplicity with which God gives to me. And the fact that He gives to me so freely and in such a simple way that I can't get any credit for it. Somehow I would like to deserve or earn God's blessings. But I can't. I can only receive by grace the goodness of God.

And salvation is such a simple thing. The Lord says just "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" ( Acts 16:31 ). Oh how simple it is. But we rebel against that simplicity. "Now Lord, I'm going to serve you and I'm going to go out and witness, and I'm going to pray, and I'm going to do this and... " I'm telling God all of the things that I'm going to do for Him because of what He's done for me. It's awfully hard to accept grace gracefully, isn't it? Just to accept the fact that God loves me and to receive His gifts gracefully.

Now the servant Gehazi, when he saw Elisha turning down these gifts, he began to think, "Wow, what I could do with just a little bit of that loot. I could buy an olive orchard, a vineyard. I can hire me some servants. Man, I could be set up if I just had a little bit of that loot." And he started thinking of what he could do with some of that reward that Naaman was offering.

And so he went chasing after Naaman. And they said, "Hey, it looks like the servant of the prophet's coming." And so he said, "Let's wait. Maybe something's gone wrong." And when Gehazi came up, he said, "Is everything fine?" He said, "Yea, everything's fine, except that my master had a couple of young prophets come in and they didn't have much. And so, he'd like a couple of changes of apparel for them and a talent of silver."

And Naaman said, "Here, take a couple of talents of silver," and he was happy to give it to him. And in fact, they sent a fellow back carrying a bag. But when they got to the gate of the city, Gehazi said, "That's great. I'll take it from here." And he took it and put it in his house. And came whistling in.

Elisha said, Where have you been? Didn't go anywhere. And he said, Did not my spirit go with thee, [when you received] when you went out to their chariot and stopped them and you received the money, and you received the garments, and the oliveyards, and the vineyards, and the sheep, and the oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? ( 2 Kings 5:25-26 )

Now you see, he starts to read his mind at this point, or he starts to discern what was on his heart. These are the things he thought he would buy with the money: the oliveyards and vineyards, he's going to have servants of his own. He was going to buy some oxen, and then he's going to buy some sheep. He's going to set himself up. And the prophet starts laying out the things that he had in mind to do with this money. And he said,

The leprosy that was upon Naaman is going to be upon you and your family. And so Gehazi went out from his presence a leper ( 2 Kings 5:27 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Kings 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-kings-6.html. 2014.
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