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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GEHAZI . Of the antecedents of Gehazi, and of his call to be the attendant of Elisha, the sacred historian gives us no information. He appears to stand in the same intimate relation to his master that Elisha had done to Elijah, and was probably regarded as the successor of the former. Through lack of moral fibre he fell, and his heritage in the prophetic order passed into other hands. Gehazi is first introduced to us in connexion with the episode of the Shunammite woman. The prophet consults familiarly with him, in regard to some substantial way of showing their appreciation of the kindness of their hostess. Gebazi bears Elisha’s message to her: ‘Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? Wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?’ On her refusal to be a candidate for such honours, Gehazi reminds his master that the woman is childless. Taking up his attendant’s suggestion, Elisha promises a son to their benefactress ( 2 Kings 4:8 ff.). According to prediction, the child is born; but after he has grown to be a lad, he suffers from sunstroke and death ensues. The mother immediately betakes herself to the prophet, who sends Gehazi with his own staff to work a miracle. To the servant’s prayer there is neither voice nor hearing; but where he falls, the prophet succeeds ( 2 Kings 4:17-37 ). Gehazi, like his master, had access to the court, for we read of him narrating to the king the story of the prophet’s dealings with the Shunammite ( 2 Kings 8:4-5 ). In contrast with the spirit of the other characters, his covetousness and lying stand out in black hideousness in the story of Naaman (wh. see). The prophet’s refusal to receive any payment from the Syrian general for the cure which had been effected, does not meet with the approval of Gehazi. He follows the cavalcade of Naaman, and, fabricating a message from his master, begs a talent of silver and two changes of raiment for two young men of the sons of the prophets, who are supposed to be on a visit to Elisha. Having received and hidden his ill-gotten possessions, he stands before his master to do his bidding as if nothing had occurred, quite unaware that Elisha with prophetic eye has watched him on his foul mission of deception. Dumbfounded he must have been to hear his punishment from the lips of the prophet: ‘The leprosy, therefore, of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed for ever’ ( 2 Kings 5:20 ff.). With this dread sentence, Gehazi is ushered off the stage of sacred history, never to reappear.

James A. Kelso.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gehazi'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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