Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 5:27

Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever." So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Covetousness;   Curse;   Disease;   Elisha;   Gehazi;   Joram;   Judgments;   Leprosy;   Miracles;   Servant;   Vicegerency;   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Disease;   Elisha;   God's;   Judgments, God's;   Lepers;   Miracles;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflictions of the Wicked, the;   Judgments;   Leprosy;   Miracles Wrought through Servants of God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gehazi;   Leper;   Miracle;   Snow;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Disease;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Leper;   Naaman;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Damascus;   Elisha;   Lie, Lying;   Naaman;   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;   Leper;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eli'sha;   Father;   Leper, Leprosy;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Elisha;   Gehazi;   Heredity;   Jehoahaz;   Leper;   Lie;   Naaman;   Snow;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Color;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The leprosy of Naaman - shall cleave unto thee - Thou hast got much money, and thou shalt have much to do with it. Thou hast got Naaman's silver, and thou shalt have Naaman's leprosy. Gehazi is not the last who has got money in an unlawful way, and has got God's curse with it.

A leper as white as snow - The moment the curse was pronounced, that moment the signs of the leprosy began to appear. The white shining spot was the sign that the infection had taken place. See on Leviticus 13:2; (note), and the notes at Leviticus 13:58; (note).

  1. Some have thought, because of the prophet's curse, The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and thy seed for ever, that there are persons still alive who are this man's real descendants, and afflicted with this horrible disease. Mr. Maundrell when he was in Judea made diligent inquiry concerning this, but could not ascertain the truth of the supposition. To me it appears absurd; the denunciation took place in the posterity of Gehazi till it should become extinct, and under the influence of this disorder this must soon have taken place. The for ever implies as long as any of his posterity should remain. This is the import of the word לעולם leolam . It takes in the whole extent or duration of the thing to which it is applied. The for ever of Gehazi was till his posterity became extinct.
  • The god Rimmon, mentioned 2 Kings 5:18, we meet with nowhere else in the Scriptures, unless it be the same which Stephen calls Remphan. See Acts 7:43; (note), and the note there. Selden thinks that Rimmon is the same with Elion, a god of the Phoenicians, borrowed undoubtedly from the עליון Elion, the Most High, of the Hebrews, one of the names of the supreme God, which attribute became a god of the Phoenicians. Hesychius has the word Ῥαμας Ramas, which he translates ὁ ὑψιστος Θεος, the Most High God, which agrees very well with the Hebrew רמון Rimmon, from רמה ramah, to make high or exalt. And all these agree with the sun, as being the highest or most exalted in what is called the solar system. Some think Saturn is intended, and others Venus. Much may be seen on this subject in Selden De Diis Syris.
  • Let us not suppose that the offense of Gehazi was too severely punished.
  • 1. Look at the principle, covetousness.

    2. Pride and vanity; he wished to become a great man.

    3, His lying, in order to impose on Naaman: Behold even now there be come to me, etc.

    4. He in effect sells the cure of Naaman for so much money; for if Naaman had not been cured, could he have pretended to ask the silver and raiment?

    5. It was an act of theft; he applied that to his own use which Naaman gave him for his master.

    6. He dishonored his master by getting the money and raiment in his name, who had before so solemnly refused it.

    7. He closed the whole by lying to his master, denying that he had gone after Naaman, or that he had received any thing from him. But was it not severe to extend the punishment of his crime to his innocent posterity? I answer, it does not appear that any of Gehazi's children, if he had any prior to this, were smitten with the leprosy; and as to those whom he might beget after this time, their leprosy must be the necessary consequence of their being engendered by a leprous father.

    Reader, see the end of avarice and ambition; and see the truth of those words, "He that Will be rich, shall fall into temptation, and a snare, and into divers hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition." - St. Paul.

    1. We have already remarked the apparently severe and manifestly kind providence of God in this business.
    1. A marauding party was permitted to spoil the confines of the land of Israel.

    2. They brought away, to reduce to captivity, a little maid, probably the hope of her father's house.

    3. She became Naaman's property, and waited on his wife.

    4. She announced God and his prophet.

    5. Naaman, on the faith of her account, took a journey to Samaria.

    6. Gets healed of his leprosy.

    7. Is converted to the Lord; and, doubtless, brought at least his whole family to believe to the saving of their souls. What was severe to the parents of the little maid was most kind to Naaman and his family; and the parents lost their child only a little time, that they might again receive her with honor and glory for ever. How true are the words of the poet!

    "Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face."

    And see the benefits of a religious education! Had not this little maid been brought up in the knowledge of the true God, she had not been the instrument of so great a salvation. See my sermon on this subject 2 Kings 5:12; (note).

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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-5.html. 1832.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever,.... As long as any of his race remained; as through his covetousness he had his money, so for his punishment he should have his disease:

    and he went out from his presence; as one ashamed and confounded, and discharged from his master's service:

    a leper as white as snow; a leprosy of which colour is the worst, and is incurable.

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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.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-5.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy p seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper [as white] as snow.

    (p) To be an example to all, by whose covetousness God's word might be slandered.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-5.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    leper as white as snow — (See on Leviticus 13:3). This heavy infliction was not too severe for the crime of Gehazi. For it was not the covetousness alone that was punished; but, at the same time, it was the ill use made of the prophet‘s name to gain an object prompted by a mean covetousness, and the attempt to conceal it by lying [Keil].

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

    Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

    “And let the leprosy of Naaman cleave to thee and to thy seed for ever.” This punishment took effect immediately. Gehazi went out from Elisha covered with leprosy as if with snow (cf. ex. 2 Kings 4:6; Numbers 12:10). It was not too harsh a punishment that the leprosy taken from Naaman on account of his faith in the living God, should pass to Gehazi on account of his departure from the true God. For it was not his avarice only that was to be punished, but the abuse of the prophet's name for the purpose of carrying out his selfish purpose, and his misrepresentation of the prophet.

    (Note: “ This was not the punishment of his immoderate δωροδοκίας (receiving of gifts) merely, but most of all of his lying. For he who seeks to deceive the prophet in relation to the things which belong to his office, is said to lie to the Holy Ghost, whose instruments the prophets are ” (vid., Acts 5:3). - Grotius.)

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    Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-kings-5.html. 1854-1889.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    READER! though I have already detained you, as we have passed through this chapter, with several suitable reflections, as they appeared to my view, and arose in my mind, yet I would call upon you before we close the book, to gather up a few more of a spiritual nature, which I pray the Lord to make profitable.

    If we have been reading the history of Naaman's leprosy, as a matter remote from ourselves, and simply no other than a transaction which occurred in the annals of Israel, many years since; we have lost all the gracious designs which the Holy Ghost had in view, in causing such a memorable event to be recorded. Reader! you and I, and every child of Adam, bring with us into the world the leprosy of sin. Behold! (says David) I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Are you, Reader, sensible of this? Do you know it? Do you believe it? Oh! then, I say as the captive maid in Syria; Would to God you were with the Prophet that is in Samaria, even the Lord God of the prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ, for he would recover you of your leprosy!

    And, Reader! do not come, as the Syrian did, with chariots and horses; do not seek with gifts and rewards to purchase redemption. Our Jesus is too rich to need our gold; too gracious to accept anything from his creatures. He hath a fulness, a suitableness, an all-sufficiency in himself; and his precious blood cleanseth from all sins. Dearest Jesus! behold I come to thee. No Naaman, no leper at the foot of the mountain; no Ethiopian can need cleansing more than I the cry of my soul is, Lord! if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean! Oh! then put forth thy gracious hand; put forth thy sovereign grace in my soul, and pronounce the healing word, I will; be thou clean; and immediately my soul shall be healed. And healed by thee, like Naaman, my soul will he fully convinced that there is no God in all the earth, no other name under heaven given among men, whereby sinners may be saved! Oh! for grace to know with Paul, now that we are washed, that we are sanctified, that we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. And shortly we shall then come to sing that song with all the congregation in heaven, who were once leprous as ourselves, but have been cleansed in the same laver of redemption; thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-kings-5.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

    For ever — That is, for some generations; as that word is often used and as may be thought by comparing this with Exodus 20:55. (?) White - Which is the worst kind of leprosy, and noted by physicians to be incurable. Those who get money by any way displeasing to God, make a dear purchase. What was Gehazi profited by his two talents, when he lost his health, if not his soul, forever?

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "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 5:27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper [as white] as snow.

    Ver. 27. The leprosy therefore of Naaman.] As thou hast his money, so take his leprosy, a filthy disease for thy filthy lucre; a sad bequeath to thy children whom thou thoughtest to have raised for ever. Gain got by a lie will burn our fingers, burn in our purses, rot our estates, root out our posterity: it is like a bundle of plague clothes, &c.

    A leper as white as snow.] How much better to Gehazi had been a light purse and a homely coat, with a sound body and a clear soul! Peter Martyr compareth the Pope to Gehazi.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-5.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    2 Kings 5:27. The leprosy—of Naaman shall cleave unto thee A sentence which Gehazi justly deserved, for his crime was aggravated by a greedy covetousness, which is idolatry, prophanation of God's name, a downright theft, in taking that to himself which was given for others, deliberate and impudent lying, a desperate contempt of God's omnipotence, justice, and holiness, a horrible reproach cast upon the prophet and his religion, and a pernicious scandal given to Naaman and every other Syrian who should chance to hear of it; while we are hence taught that God knows our sins, though committed in secret, and will punish them; and particularly that his wrath pursues all those, in general, who are given to covetousness and dishonest gain; and that goods acquired by wicked means carry a curse with them, which often descends from parents to their children. See Poole and Ostervald.

    REFLECTIONS.—Of all men in Israel, there was not one from whom we might expect more exemplary piety than from the favoured Gehazi, the companion almost, rather than servant, of the prophet, blessed with his daily conversation, and beholding continually his bright example; and yet we find him as vile and hardened as the most idolatrous Israelite. Note; The best of men and ministers cannot change even those under their own roof. Nay, to their grief, they behold them sometimes more insensible and stupid than any others.

    1. Gehazi's sin was great. A lover of filthy lucre, he could not see the gifts without hankering for them, and blaming his master's refusal: a liar and robber, careless what dishonour he brought on the prophet; or what disgust Naaman might take against God from such a procedure: crafty and dissembling, and as if he could deceive the Spirit of God in his master, seeking to cover one lie by a worse. Note; (1.) The love of money is the root of all evil. They who resolve to be rich, resolve on their destruction and perdition, 1 Timothy 6:9. (2.) Covetousness and lying are nearly allied. (3.) When the heart is hardened by one sin, it is more easily disposed to a greater. (4.) Hope of concealment and impunity is the great encouragement to do evil.

    2. His punishment was exemplary. Elisha silences his lying tongue. His spirit followed him to the chariot, and to the place where the robbery was deposited, and clearly foresaw how he designed to lay out these wages of unrighteousness: but short enjoyment shall his wickedness afford him. The curse of God is denounced upon him, the silver of Naaman is turned into his leprosy to eat up his flesh, and the disease entailed upon his latest posterity. Elisha's doors are immediately shut against him, and he departs a leper, loathsome as incurable. Note; (1.) The joy of prosperous wickedness is short-lived, transitory, and terminates in sorrows bitter as endless. (2.) Thus shall God at last lay open men's folly, sin, and shame; and, speechless before him, they shall be driven from his presence, to suffer the just reward of their deeds.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-5.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    And unto thy seed for ever, i.e. for some generations; or for a long time, as that word is oft used, and as may be thought by comparing this with Exodus 20:5 24:7.

    He went out from his presence; being confounded with the sense of his guilt, and shame, and misery, and banished from the company of others by God’s law, Le 13 Le 14.

    A leper as white as snow; which is the worst kind of leprosy, and noted by physicians to be incurable. See Exodus 4:6 Numbers 12:10 2 Chronicles 26:19,20. Nor was this punishment too severe for Gehazi’s wickedness, which was great and various; horrid covetousness, which is idolatry; the profanation of God’s name by a wicked oath; downright theft; deliberate and impudent lying, and that to a prophet, which was in a manner a lying to the Holy Ghost, like theirs, Acts 5:3; a desperate contempt of God’s omniscience, justice, and holiness; a horrible reproach fastened upon the prophet, and his religion; and a mischievous scandal given to Naaman and all other Syrians that might hear of it.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". 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

    27.Unto thy seed forever — “Who can tell but that the victims of this horrid plague, now seen about the city [Samaria] and at Nablus, the present home of all the Samaritans, may be the heirs of this heritage of Gehazi?” — Thomson.

    He went out from his presence — And from that time forth he seems not again to have ministered unto Elisha, though he might afterwards have been often called the servant of Elisha. See on 2 Kings 8:4.

    A leper as white as snow — Hence we learn that the disease of Naaman and the curse of Gehazi was the white leprosy. Comp. Exodus 4:6; Numbers 12:10.

    Let not the punishment of Gehazi be thought too severe. Important principles were involved in his conduct, for, according to 2 Kings 5:26, it was a time when the representatives of the sacred office needed to observe the greatest caution against the spirit of worldliness. Then, too, Gehazi’s acts on this occasion were a complication of wickedness. He showed contempt for the judgment of his master in the matter of receiving gifts: he meanly misrepresented the prophet by making him ask for what Naaman had just heard him most positively refuse: he invented a false story to blind the eyes of Naaman: and finally told a miserable lie in the hope of escaping detection from Elisha. Add to all this the foul spirit of covetousness that actuated him through all this evil course and his curse will not appear too great.

    The extending of his curse to his children after him is but another exhibition of the terrible consequences of human sinfulness. Gehazi’s posterity were innocent of their father’s sins, but, like many others, they were compelled to bear the consequences of ancestral crimes. That thousands of innocents are subjected to suffering because of the sins of others is a fact which none can deny. Why this is permitted, under the government of an all-wise God, is a question which he has not seen fit fully to answer.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "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 5:27. The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and thy seed for ever — That is, for some generations, as the expression is often used, and as may be thought by comparing this with Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:7. This was a sentence which Gehazi justly deserved, for his crime was aggravated by a greedy covetousness, which is idolatry, profanation of God’s name, a downright theft, in taking that to himself which was given for others, deliberate and impudent lying, a desperate contempt of God’s omnipotence, justice, and holiness, a horrible reproach cast upon the prophet and his religion, and a pernicious scandal given to Naaman, and every other Syrian who should chance to hear of it. We are taught from hence that God knows our sins, though committed in secret, and will punish them; and particularly that his wrath pursues, not only the unrighteous, but all those in general who are given to covetousness and dishonest gain; and that goods acquired by wicked means carry a curse with them, which often descends from parents to their children. He went out from his presence a leper as white as snow — Which is the worst kind of leprosy, and noted by physicians to be incurable. Those who get money by any way which is displeasing to God, make a dear purchase. What was Gehazi profited by the two talents of silver, when he lost his health, if not his soul, for ever?

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    Bibliographical Information
    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-5.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    For ever. Not perhaps to those who might be already born, unless they were accomplices in the crime. The leprosy is hereditary. Giezi was punished for simony, in selling the miracle, as well as for lying and disobedience. (Calmet) --- He might also have given occasion to Naaman to judge ill of his master; as the false prophets were noted for such avarice, Micheas iii. 11. But Eliseus would probably take care to give him better information. (Tirinus) --- He did not require his servant to give up what he had unjustly received, as the general had made over the property to him; and he thought proper to leave it in the hands of Giezi, to indemnity him for past services, and that he might have wherewith to support himself, as he now dismissed him from his company. (Salien, the year before Christ 903.) --- Snow, and therefore more incurable. (Tirinus) --- See Leviticus xiii. (Calmet) --- "All the covetous and misers, together with their riches, possess the leprosy of Giezi:" thesaurum criminum congregarunt. (St. Ambrose) Giezi prefigured Judas, the false apostles of Christ, and all those who buy or sell spiritual things. By their avarice, they procure infamy in this world, and damnation in the next. (St. Augustine, ep. 208, de Temp.) (Worthington)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-5.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    cleave. Elisha"s eleventh miracle. See note on 2 Kings 2:15.

    a leper. One of the nine afflicted with leprosy. See note on Exodus 4:6.

    as snow. i.e. completely a leper; but not clean ceremonially. See note on Leviticus 13:13.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "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

    The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

    Leper as white as snow - (see the notes at Leviticus 13:3.) This heavy infliction was not too severe for the crime of Gehazi. For it was not the covetousness alone that was punished; but at the same time the ill use made of the prophet's name to gain an object prompted by a mean covetousness, and the attempt to conceal it by lying (Keil).

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "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

    (27) Shall cleave.—Or, cleave! i.e., let it cleave. The prophetic sentence is naturally expressed as an imperative.

    A leper as white as snow.—Comp. Exodus 4:6, Numbers 12:10. A sudden outbreak of leprosy may follow upon extreme fright or mortification (Michaelis).

    Unto thy seed for ever.—Like other skin diseases, leprosy is hereditary. If it be thought that the sentence is too strong, it should be remembered that the prophet is really pronouncing inspired judgment upon the sin of Gehazi, and milder language might have produced erroneous impressions. Covetousness and lying are never spared in Scripture, and it is well for mankind that it is so. (Comp. Acts 5)

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-5.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
    leprosy
    1; Joshua 7:25; Isaiah 59:2,3; Hosea 10:13; Malachi 2:3,4,8,9; Matthew 27:3-5; Acts 5:5,10; 8:20; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Peter 2:3
    unto thy seed
    1 Samuel 2:30-36; 2 Samuel 3:29
    a leper
    15:5; Exodus 4:6; Numbers 12:10 Reciprocal: Leviticus 13:2 - the plague of leprosy;  Leviticus 13:10 - shall see him;  1 Kings 2:33 - return upon;  1 Kings 13:8 - go;  2 Kings 6:15 - servant;  2 Kings 7:9 - some mischief will come upon us;  2 Kings 8:4 - all the great;  2 Chronicles 26:19 - even;  Psalm 101:7 - He that worketh;  Psalm 109:10 - GeneralProverbs 10:22 - he;  Proverbs 15:27 - He that is;  Proverbs 27:18 - so;  Ecclesiastes 5:17 - much;  Jeremiah 29:32 - punish;  Hosea 9:8 - with;  Matthew 8:2 - a leper;  Mark 1:40 - a leper;  Luke 5:12 - full;  Luke 17:12 - which

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:27". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-5.html.