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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Naaman

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NAAMAN (Luke 4:27 Νεεμάν, Textus Receptus ; Ναιμάν, Tisch., WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] ; Heb. נַעֲמֶן = ‘pleasantness’).—The famous captain of Benhadad ii., whose cure by the instrumentality of Elisha is related in 2 Kings 5, and who was referred to by our Lord as ‘Naaman the Syrian’ in His discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth.

Whether our Lord’s visit to Nazareth took place early in His ministry as here related by St. Luke, or later on as some think (cf. Matthew 13:54-58, Mark 6:1-6), or whether there were two distinct visits, does not concern this article, since the purpose of our Lord’s reference to Naaman is the same at whatever period of His ministry He may have made it. He suggested to His audience that they were ready to quote the proverb ‘Physician, heal thyself,’ and to say, ‘Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.’ ‘And (better ‘But’) he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.’ His hearers apparently inferred from these words that He had determined to work no miracle among them, and were irritated accordingly, although perhaps our Lord intended to imply no more than that He had little hope of being able to do so (cf. Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5). Then, to justify and to illustrate His action in Working miracles outside the limits of His own city, He referred to the cases of the widow of Sarepta and of Naaman, which were instances of blessings bestowed through the instrumentality of two of Israel’s greatest prophets on persons who were not of the house of Israel at all. This afforded a complete justification of His own action, and was, further, a very pointed rebuke to them if, as seems the case, they were annoyed that He had neglected them for Capernaum, which, situated in that region known as ‘Galilee of the Gentiles,’ might be considered as less a Jewish town than their own. And, further, our Lord in these words rebuked Jewish exclusiveness in general, and quite clearly indicated the great truth that the benefits of His gospel, whether bodily or spiritual, were not only for the Jew, but also for the Gentile. It is probable that it was this underlying suggestion, coupled with His application to Himself of the great passage from Isaiah 61, which caused the final outbreak of His hearers’ wrath (cf. Acts 22:22; Acts 28:28-29).

Albert Bonus.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Naaman'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/n/naaman.html. 1906-1918.

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