Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 5:14

So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Elisha;   Excuses;   Joram;   Jordan;   Leprosy;   Miracles;   Naaman;   Readings, Select;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Leaders;   Man;   Men of God;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Religious;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Jordan, the River;   Leprosy;   Masters;   Miracles Wrought through Servants of God;   Water;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Healing;   Syria;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heal, Health;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Nicodemus;   Number;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Elisha;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Damascus;   Elisha;   Naaman;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Bath, Bathing;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   Naaman ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Abana;   Naaman;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Elisha;   Gehazi;   Naaman;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eli'sha;   Na'aman;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Baptism (the Baptist Interpretation);   Baptism (Lutheran Doctrine);   Naaman;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Symbol;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Then went he down - He felt the force of this reasoning, and made a trial, probably expecting little success.

Like unto the flesh of a little child - The loathsome scurf was now entirely removed; his flesh assumed the appearance and health of youth; and the whole mass of his blood, and other juices, became purified, refined, and exalted! How mighty is God! What great things can he do by the simplest and feeblest of means!

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Seven times - Compare 1 Kings 18:43. In both cases a somewhat severe trial was made of the individual‘s faith. Compare the seven compassings of Jericho, and the sudden fall of the walls Joshua 6:3-20.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Kings 5:14

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan.

Naaman’s cure

The story of Naaman’s cure is a brief, yet beautiful, episode in the current of Jewish history. It is inserted in order to convey an impressive lesson. That lesson is, God’s particular interest in each individual.

I. Note Naaman’s disease. “He was a leper.”

1. There is a singular equity in God’s administration. In every station of life there is some drawback.

2. This affliction was specially severe. Whether it was the direct effect of personal sin in Naaman (as in others), history does not say. The core of the calamity was this: it was incurable by art or skill of man. If there be anywhere a remedy for leprosy stored up in the cells of herbs, it has never been discovered.

3. Leprosy is an emblem of human sin. The Jewish prophets were accustomed thus to view it. For, like leprosy, sin gradually spreads its malignant virus through the whole man. It degrades, and corrupts, and destroys every part. And as leprosy, in olden time, excluded a man from temple worship, so still the leprosy of sin creates a gulf between man and God. “Your sins have separated between you and Me, saith the Lord.”

II. Note the simple prescription. The prescription was that he should dip himself seven times in Jordan.

1. The prescription was marked by great simplicity. The prophet’s counsel was as plain as language could run. There was no difficulty on the ground of painfulness or expense. No course of treatment could be easier; nothing could be pleasanter than to bathe in the cool stream. If, disregarding so simple a remedy, he should retain his disease, would not his soul be stung with remorse? Would he not become a laughing-stock among his comrades? And is not the remedy of the Gospel equally simple? To repose a sincere trust in the Son of God is simplicity itself. The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son, cleanseth from all sin.

2. Yet the prescription was galling to Naaman’s pride. It is pride that keeps men back from a frank confession of their sins. Pride prevents our making reparation for the wrong done to others. Pride hinders us from putting our whole trust in God’s mercy. Pride blinds our moral vision, so that we do not see the baseness of our deeds; and often the pride in us disdains to be saved on the same terms as thieves and harlots. “Pride goeth before destruction.” “The proud, our God knoweth afar off.” Humility is the first essential to salvation.

3. The prescription obtained all its value from the power of God. “My soul! wait thou only upon God.”

III. Observe the speedy cure.

1. The cure was almost missed. Seldom has a man been so near the margin of ruin, and yet been rescued. His soldierly pride had been a tremendous stumbling-block. He had actually turned his back upon the healing stream; but the tender appeals of his own servants loosened the tenacity of his pride. An hour or two more, and his mettled steeds would have left afar in the rear the vale of Jordan, and death would have put his irrevocable seal upon him. The hour of opportunity was just about to close, the last days were fading in the west, when lo! his self-will relented. He turned his face toward Jordan.

2. The cure was sudden. Life was a new experience, the dawn of a better day. Speedily his home was invested with fresh charms, filled with an atmosphere more sacred than before. He would bestow an earthly fortune upon that little serving-maid. Already he foresaw the festive welcome that awaited him on the threshold of his palace. Already he heard the congratulations of his army, the congratulations of his king. The suddenness of his joy was a very peril to his life. The winter of his misfortune was in a moment transformed into summer glory.

3. Such gladness may be the symbol of our own. (J. Dickerson Davies, M. A.)

The cure of Naaman

But in studying our subject of the cure of Naaman, let us note:

I. That he got to the wrong house. In the community there are other houses which are strong beside those which seem so, which are strong on invisible and Divine lines. In estimating the forces which make for “the health of my people.” we must not leave out of count the most effective of all--those homes, whether rich or poor, where God is honoured, His laws observed, His name revered, His love enjoyed. These are the homes which are the healthgivers of the community, the places from which the Divine and vitalising leaven works which is to leaven the whole of the body politic. You cannot enumerate the salvatory forces of the world and leave the man of God out. He may be overlooked or sneered at, as he sometimes is, but the fact remains that if he is true to himself, to his fellows, and to the God whose commission he bears, he is one of the uplifting forces, and one of the strongest. Remove all such prophets, vocal or silent, and try to get on without them. Leave in those forces which work in the same direction, such as healthy writers and philanthropic institutions. They will run on for a time, like a coach slipped from a railway train; but at length there will be a slowing down, a stop, then a rush back down the recline to crash and wreck. Such men keep God’s waterway open, keep it from silting up; they are dredgers, if you like, true ministers, serving men’s best interests by bringing to bear God’s truth and power upon the world’s life.

II. When he got to the right house, he lost his temper. “And he turned and went away in a rage.” Now, what is it that is the matter with Naaman? It is that which is the fruitful mother of hindrances to God’s doing His best for men--“the pride of life.” Elisha’s method is “not good enough,” not great enough. Naaman wants something which shall be more on a level with his position, something more adequate to that society standard which is, of course, the unquestioned standard. By no means is Naaman without his modern representatives. Thousands of proud men do not understand, or will not recognise that, for the most part, the power of God moves on lowly levels. It is in a peasant child and in lowliest circumstances that He incarnates Himself when He comes for the world’s salvation; Divine and authoritative wisdom comes from the lips of the working man of Nazareth. His throne of redeeming power and grace is a Cross, and Naaman joins hands with those to whom the Cross is folly or a stumbling-block. Yet it is the power of God unto salvation. It is a pity when a man holds his head so high that he cannot see God at his feet. It is both a pity and a mistake when a man resents and forsakes the methods of God’s communication with him because theirs are “not good enough”; when the river of their spiritual Israel and of their healing becomes too small, or too something; when that Church or agency which has, under God, laid the foundation of our home, and has fostered all that is best in our character, is forsaken and ignored, and that not for conscientious reasons, against which, of course, no objection could be raised, but simply from motives which rule in the social world. It is a pity and a mistake both, when the birthright is sold. Abana and Pharpar are not better, for healing purposes, than all the waters of Israel.

III. Naaman had the grace and good sense to fall in with the Divine arrangement. New heavens and a new earth opened to Naaman when, coming up out of the Jordan waters, he found that his flesh was as that of a little child. The steadily accumulating mortal burden of years is lifted off, and he swings free, clean shoulders; the east wind fades out of the sunshine; the fatal flaw is remedied. How he must have longed to go post haste to tell his wife the good news! It says much for the natural goodness of this fine character that at once he recognised the God who had healed him. He will take home two mules’ burden of earth on which to erect an altar that he may always sacrifice to Jehovah. And so the story which begins in a heathen land, in a palace, in pride, in leprosy, finds a resting-place, for the present, in Israel, at the prophet’s humble door, m a lean heart and a right spirit, in cleanness and sweetness and health. It is on parallel lines with the whole Gospel story, with all the saving operations of the Almighty as we know them. The law of entrance is the humbling of our pride; the lintel of the door is low, and we must bend our heads to get in. But when we do bend our heads and enter in, the oppressive burdens are removed, the soul is cleansed from all its defilement of flesh and spirit, and we go free into all the gracious liberty wherewith God makes His children free. (J. Feather.)

God’s plan of salvation

We propose to take the narrative as illustrative of the great truth--the necessity of conforming with God’s plan to secure salvation.

I. That God’s plan is contrary to the expectations of man. So it was here. Naaman had been thinking within himself how the prophet would act. “Behold, I thought,” etc. Men would cross the ocean and wander in far-off lands in search of wisdom, they would survey the heavens, and descend to the lowermost parts of the earth, but God’s word of life is nigh unto us, in our mouth and in our heart. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

II. That God’s plan tends to humble the pride of man. Naaman thought there was some royal cure for a royal patient, and an honourable way to deal with such an honourable man. How indignant he felt when the prophet only sent a messenger to him, and the remedy prescribed being so humiliating too. So God’s plan of salvation is mortifying to the pride of the sinful heart. The Pharisees were offended at the Saviour for making no distinction between them and the sinners. We find Peter, having received the consent of the Master, walking on the sea; but the moment he began to trust himself, and feel safe in the power of his own strength, the boisterous winds and the treacherous waves frightened him, and, conscious of his weakness, he with gladness entered the ship, and was “safe in the arms of Jesus.” The gate is strait, and the road is narrow, but he who is humble and obedient is led at last to safety and bliss.

III. That he who truly feels his need will accept God’s plan. Though Naaman was at first most seriously disappointed, and turned away in a rage, yet on the counsel of his servants, strengthened by his own need and his inward conviction, he complied with the directions given by the prophet. When the sinner really feels sin a burden, and believes that the meek and lowly Jesus is powerful to remove it, he will not quarrel with the method of salvation, but will Come at once and cast his burden down, and when he truly feels his guilt he will come to the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness.

IV. That conformity to God’s plan will secure a man’s salvation. Naaman obeyed, and he was accordingly cured. “His flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

1. Some means are generally used. The miracles of the Old and New Testaments are similar in this, that means were used in bringing about such wonderful deeds.

2. The means were not sufficient in themselves apart from the blessing of God to cure his leprosy, but as it was God’s plan it effected its purpose.

3. Naaman’s cure was instantaneous. What a happy moment for him when he discovered that the cause of his anxiety, trouble, and humiliation was removed. So the man who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, and flees to Him for refuge, is from that moment free from condemnation. The Son hath made him free, and he is free indeed.

4. His cure was complete. His flesh was made like “the flesh of a little child.” So he who accepts God’s plan is wholly renewed, created anew in Christ Jesus. (H. C. Williams.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Kings 5:14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-kings-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God,.... He listened to the reasoning of his servant, and his passion subsided, and did as the prophet ordered him:

and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child; clear and fresh, soft and tender as an infant, quite new flesh:

and he was clean; from the leprosy, and all the filthy symptoms of it.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan — Persuaded by his calmer and more reflecting attendants to try a method so simple and easy, he followed their instructions, and was cured. The cure was performed on the basis of God‘s covenant with Israel, by which the land, and all pertaining to it, was blessed. Seven was the symbol of the covenant [Keil].

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 5:14 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, and he was clean.

Ver. 14. Then went he down, &c.] He was not so morose or self-willed, though now in a great pelt, but that he would hearken to reason, though it came from servants.

According to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh, &c.] Long enough might Naaman have washed there in vain, if Elisha had not sent him, and said to him, Go, wash in Jordan seven times, &c. It is the word, the ordinance of the Almighty, which putteth efficacy into those means which by themselves are both impotent and improbable. What can water in baptism do of itself to the washing away of sin? Some tell us that by that water Constantine the Great was cured of a leprosy; but that was not, saith mine author, by the efficacy of the water, nor yet by the efficacy of baptism precisely and properly - since it was instituted for another purpose, - but because the baptismal water was to him divinae voluntatis et propheticae iussionis instrumentum, as Ambrose hath it of Jordan’s water to Naaman, a means to convey good to him both for body and soul.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-5.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

2 Kings 5:14

I. The slaughter of the Innocents suggests a thought on the sufferings of children. A man seems to require suffering or to bring it on himself, or to have remedies, or a recompense, or the self-command to bear it. But the case of childhood is utterly different. Pain, and weariness, and aching limbs, and the slow agonies of death are natural in the close of a laborious, overtasked, sin-defiled life, but that infant features should be so discomposed is a thought that offends our natural reason. The question, Is it just? is it the ordinance of a God of mercy? can only be answered by revelation. (1) Reason knows nothing of original sin; it is revelation that instructs us in it. Death and its preceding sufferings entered by sin; and if even infants suffer, they suffer for sin. If these words implied that actual sin is the cause of children's sorrow, they would not only be harsh, but untrue; but that children born in sin are heirs to suffering is a true saying, and not unkind. (2) Children's sufferings imply their need of a redeemer. Christ at His birth drew within the magic circle of His influence representatives of His whole creation. Angels, shepherds, kings, widows, and aged priests are associated with His infancy, and here are infants also. By their death in connection with Christ they seem to signify their acceptance by Him and their seat in His heart.

This thought adds tenfold to the charm and dignity of the age of infancy.

II. This day brings before us in vivid colours the loveliness of the life to come. Children are something like angels to tell us tales of heaven. (1) Their ignorance of evil gives us a faint image of the blessed state of those whose souls are so cleared of sin that they remember it not, and see no trace of it, and feel no breath of temptation. (2) The perfectness of their joy suggests to us of sadder experience something of the security of joy in heaven. Their happiness has something of an unearthly savour. (3) Some of the subtle beauties of heaven are suggested to us by the delight which children have by instinct in glorious colours and musical sounds. (4) We learn, finally, that joy is prepared for the satisfaction of those who suffer in Christ's spirit and for His sake on earth.

C. W. Furse, Sermons at Richmond, p. 273.


References: 2 Kings 5:14.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 113; C. Girdlestone, Course of Sermons for the Year, vol. ii., p. 257. 2 Kings 5:15-19.—G. B. Ryley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 330.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/2-kings-5.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Like unto the flesh of a little child, i.e. fresh and pure, free from the least mixture or mark of the disease.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.His flesh came again — Whether Naaman began to be cured at the first washing, and gradually lost his leprosy as he continued to wash, or whether the cure was instantaneously wrought at the last washing, we are not informed. In either case the means prescribed by the prophet were thoroughly effectual, and showed Naaman that his cure was effected, not by a magical touch of the prophet, but by the living God of Israel.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-5.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 5:14. Then went he down and dipped himself, &c. — Upon second thoughts he yielded to make the experiment, yet probably with no great faith or resolution. However, God was pleased to honour himself and the word of his prophet, and to effect the cure, notwithstanding his evil reasoning and unbelief. His flesh came again like the flesh of a little child No doubt to his great surprise and joy. And he was clean — Fresh and pure, free from every the least mixture or mark of the disease. This he got by yielding to the will of God, and obeying the injunction of his prophet, which he at first despised as unreasonable and foolish: and it is in the way of observing, not in the way of contemning and neglecting divine institutions, that we must expect the cure of our spiritual diseases.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Clean. If bathing seven times in the Jordan had been an infallible remedy, there would soon have been no lepers in the land; and our Saviour plainly intimates that the cure was miraculous, Luke iv. 27. The leprosy of Naaman, though inveterate, was cured in an instant. To bathe in a rapid stream, is allowed to be very salutary for removing the diseases of the skin. (Calmet) (Vales. 38.) --- The fathers discover in this miracle, a figure of the Gentiles called to the faith by the Synagogue, which is in servitude, Galatians iv. 25. Baptism cleanses us from all the seven capital sins, (Tertullian, contra Marc. 4.) so that no vestiges remain. (St. Ambrose, &c.) (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

came again. The tenth miracle of Elisha. See note on 2 Kings 2:15.

child = boy.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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, and he was clean.

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan. Persuaded by his calmer and more reflecting attendants to try a method so simple and easy, he followed their instructions, and was cured. The cure was performed on the basis of God's covenant with Israel, by which the land, and all pertaining to it, was blessed. Seven was the symbol of the covenant (Keil).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) Then went he down.—And he went down: scil., from Samaria to the Jordan bed. The Syriac and Arabic, and some Hebrew MSS., read “and he departed;” probably an error of transcription.

Seven times.—“Because seven was significant of the Divine covenant with Israel, and the cure depended on that covenant; or to stamp the cure as a Divine work, for seven is the signature of the works of God” (Keil). In the Assyrian monuments there is an almost exact parallel to the above method of seeking a cure. It occurs among the so-called exorcisms, and belongs to the age of Sargon of Agadê (Accad), before 2200 B.C. Merodach is represented as asking his father Hea how to cure a sick man. Hea replies that the sick man must go and bathe in the sacred waters at the mouth of the Euphrates. It thus appears that in bidding Naaman bathe seven times in the Jordan, Elisha acted in accordance with ancient Semitic belief as to the healing virtue of running streams.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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, and he was clean.
went he down
Job 31:13; Proverbs 9:9; 25:11,12; Ezekiel 47:1-9; Zechariah 13:1; 14:8
according to
2 Chronicles 20:20; John 2:5; Hebrews 11:7,8
his flesh
10; Job 33:25
and he was clean
Luke 4:27; 5:13; Titus 2:14
Reciprocal: Exodus 4:7 - it was turned;  Leviticus 13:58 - be washed;  Leviticus 14:3 - be healed;  Leviticus 14:7 - seven times;  1 Samuel 9:10 - Well said;  1 Samuel 25:17 - that a man;  2 Kings 6:10 - sent to the place;  2 Kings 8:4 - all the great;  Jeremiah 35:4 - a man;  Hosea 9:8 - with;  Matthew 8:3 - immediately;  Matthew 11:5 - the lepers;  Luke 17:14 - as

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-5.html.