Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 5:20

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, "Behold, my master has spared this Naaman the Aramean, by not receiving from his hands what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Covetousness;   Deception;   Falsehood;   Gehazi;   Joram;   Naaman;   Oath;   Servant;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Covetousness;   Gehazi;   Liberality-Parsimony;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Covetousness;   Servants;   Swearing, Profane;   Syria;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gehazi;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Covetousness;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Servant;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Gehazi;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Damascus;   Gehazi;   Lie, Lying;   Naaman;   Slave, Slavery;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gehazi ;   Naaman ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Naaman;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Elisha;   Gehazi;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eli'sha;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Elisha;   Gehazi;   Naaman;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

My master hath spared - this Syrian - He has neither taken any thing from him for himself, nor permitted him to give any thing to me.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This Syrian - The words are emphatic. Gehazi persuades himself that it is right to spoil a Syrian - that is, a Gentile, and an enemy of Israel.

As the Lord liveth - These words are here a profane oath. Gehazi, anxious to make himself believe that he is acting in a proper, and, even, in a religions spirit, does not scruple to introduce one of the most solemn of religious phrases.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-5.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

GEHAZI'S DISAPPROVAL OF ELISHA'S REFUSAL OF NAAMAN'S GIFT

"But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: as Jehovah liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And Naaman saw one running after him, and he alighted from his chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there are come to me from the hill-country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of raiment. And Naaman said, Be pleased to take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of raiment, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house; and he let them go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. And he said unto him, Went not my heart with thee, when the man turned from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and menservants and maid-servants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed forever. And he went out from his presence a leper white as snow."

This unhappy episode so closely allied with the healing of Naaman, as pointed out by Henry, strongly suggests the envy of racial Israel who rejected the Christ because of his receiving the Gentiles. Gehazi dearly despised and hated "this Syrian" and determined to take from him whatever he could get. There are spiritual overtones here of the very grandest dimensions.

Note this early example of crooked "fund raisers" who base their appeals upon helping others. Gehazi pretended to be seeking help for impoverished sons of the prophets, but he was merely a lying scoundrel seeking to enrich himself. Many "charities" of our own times are of that same character. "To the shame of all, a few continue to exploit unsuspecting persons on the pretext of giving aid to needy religious causes. Religious charlatans of the twentieth century are little different from Gehazi."[15]

Gehazi was indeed a skillful liar. His trumped up story about those two impoverished sons of the prophets who arrived just after Naaman left must have sounded like the gospel truth to Naaman.

"Is it a time to receive money ... garments ... oliveyards ... vineyards ... sheep and oxen ... men-servants and maid-servants?" (2 Kings 5:26). In these words, the prophet merely pointed out all of those material benefits which would in Gehazi's mind have resulted from that great gift he had extorted from Naaman.

"This is a constant warning to all who would magnify the externals of life at the expense of spiritual realities."[16] Did not our Savior ask, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul"?

"Gehazi was like Judas; his concern for money and material things blinded him to the great realities of Elisha's prophetic mission."[17]

"It was not merely for his avarice that God punished Gehazi, but for his abuse of the prophet's name.[18]

Hammond pointed out not merely the severity of God's punishment of Gehazi, but its immediacy also. "It fell upon him suddenly, as Miriam's leprosy had fallen upon her (Numbers 12:10)."[19]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-5.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But Gehazi the servant of Elisha the man of God said,.... Within himself, observing what had passed:

behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: he speaks contemptibly of Naaman, as an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and reproaches his master for letting him go free, without paying for his cure; when he thought he should have taken what he brought and offered, and given it to needy Israelites, and especially to the sons of the prophets, that wanted it; and perhaps it mostly disturbed him, that he had no share of it himself:

but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him; the word for "somewhat", wanting a letter usually in it, is what is sometimes used for a blot; and Jarchi observes, that Gehazi taking something from Naaman, was a blot unto him, and indeed such an one that he could not wipe off.

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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 5:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-5.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

Gehazi — One would expect Elisha's servant should have been a saint: but we find him far otherwise. The best men, the best ministers, have often had those about them, that were their grief and shame.

This Syrian — A stranger, and one of that nation who are the implacable enemies of God's people.

As the Lord — He swears, that he might have some pretence for the action to which he had bound himself by his oath; not considering, that to swear to do any wicked action, is so far from excusing it, that it makes it much worse.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 5:20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, [as] the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

Ver. 20. But Gehazi … said, Behold, my master, &c.] Ubi observa λογισμον hominis avarissimi. Covetousness is a complexive evil, the root of all evil, saith St Paul. David maketh it a violation of all the commandments. [Psalms 119:36] See how fast this covetous captive in the text breaketh them: (1.) He accuseth his holy master of prodigality, "Behold, my master hath spared"; (2.) He speaks contemptuously of so noble a convert, calling him "Naaman this Syrian," this ethnic, this enemy; (3.) He sweareth a great oath, and therewith bindeth his wicked purpose; (4.) He telleth various loud lies - [1.] to Naaman, [2.] to Elisha; (5.) He playeth the thief, hiding the money, and interverting it to his own use. Take heed, therefore, and beware of covetousness:

H φιλοχρημοσυνη μητηρ κακοτητος απασης.”

There is a mint of mischief in a worldly heart.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Naaman this Syrian; a stranger, and one of that nation who are the implacable enemies of God’s people; whom therefore my master should not have had so much regard to as to the Lord’s prophets, who before deserved and more needed the money which he offered than Naaman himself did.

As the Lord liveth; he swears, that he might have some pretence for the action to which he had bound himself by his oath, not considering that to swear to do any wicked action is so far from excusing it, that it makes it much worse.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". 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

GEHAZI’S CURSE, 2 Kings 5:20-27.

20.Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God — This individual has been introduced to us before, in the previous chapter, and once, at least, not to advantage, when he attempted to thrust away the weeping Shunammite from the feet of Elisha. 2 Kings 4:27. The stately and solemn style in which he is here mentioned — the servant of Elisha the man of God — is in fearful contrast with the covetousness and falsehoods which are immediately to be told. Gehazi has well been called the Judas Iscariot of the Old Testament.

This Syrian — These words breathe a spirit of contempt; as if a Syrian, a Gentile, ought to have been taxed.

As the Lord liveth — By this solemn oath he makes his course a matter of conscience and religion. For a perverse heart, stubbornly bent on sinning, may even presume to swear its darling sin into a virtue.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "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 5:20. Gehazi, the servant of Elisha — One would have expected that Elisha’s servant should have been a saint; but we find him far otherwise. The best men, the best ministers, have often had those about them that were their grief and shame. My master hath spared this Syrian — A stranger, and one of that nation who are the implacable enemies of God’s people. As the Lord liveth — He swears, that he might have some pretence for the action to which he had bound himself by his oath; not considering, that to swear to do any wicked action, is so far from excusing it, that it makes it much worse.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Liveth. How unnecessary was this oath! But the Simoniac has no regard for any thing but money. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

servant = young man.

somewhat = a trifle.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "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

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. The respectful courtesy to Elisha, shown in the person of his servant, and the open-handed liberality of his gifts, attest the fullness of Naaman's gratitude; while the lie, the artful management in dismissing the bearers of the treasure, and the deceitful appearance before his master, as if he had not left the house, give a most unfavourable impression of Gehazi's character.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "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

(20) Said—i.e., thought.

This Syrian.—He justifies his purpose on the principle of “spoiling the Egyptians.”

But, as the Lord liveth, I will run.—Rather, by the life of Jehovah, but I will run. (Comp. Note on 2 Kings 4:30.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
Gehazi
4:12,31,36; Matthew 10:4; John 6:70; 12:6; 13:2; Acts 8:18,19
my master
Proverbs 26:16; Luke 16:8; John 12:5,6; Acts 5:2
as the Lord liveth
6:31; Exodus 20:7; 1 Samuel 14:39
and take
Exodus 20:17; Psalms 10:3; Jeremiah 22:17; Habakkuk 2:9; Luke 12:15; 1 Timothy 6:9-11; 2 Timothy 4:10; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:2; 2 Peter 2:14,15
Reciprocal: Genesis 14:23 - That I;  Genesis 21:26 - I wot;  Joshua 7:21 - 1coveted;  1 Kings 1:29 - As the;  2 Kings 5:16 - I will receive;  2 Kings 6:15 - servant;  2 Kings 8:4 - Gehazi;  Proverbs 1:19 - every;  Proverbs 28:20 - but;  Ecclesiastes 1:16 - communed;  Jeremiah 35:4 - a man;  Zephaniah 1:9 - which;  Matthew 10:8 - freely ye;  Matthew 13:22 - the care;  Matthew 26:9 - GeneralLuke 7:39 - he spake;  Acts 1:18 - with;  2 Corinthians 12:17 - GeneralPhilippians 4:15 - in the;  1 Timothy 3:3 - not covetous;  1 Timothy 6:5 - supposing;  1 Timothy 6:11 - O man;  Titus 2:10 - purloining;  3 John 1:7 - taking

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-5.html.