2 Kings 5:1-152017-03-22T04:46:08+00:00

Biblical Commentary

2 Kings 5:1-14

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2 Kings 5:1-14

COMMENTARY:

REVELATION TO A FOREIGNER:

Naaman is a Gentile––an Aramean––the commander of an army often hostile to Israel.  Yahweh has blessed him with victories (v. 1), and it is quite possible that some of his victories have been at the expense of Israel.  Nevertheless, in this story, Naaman is shown to be the kind of good leader who listens to his servants (vv. 3-5, 13-14) and, ultimately, a righteous man who obeys the dictates of the prophet of Yahweh (v. 14) and who promises to worship only Yahweh (v. 17).

Israel is the chosen people of God, and both Old and New Testaments honor the distinction between Jew and Gentile.  However, from the beginning God made provision for Gentiles.  In the covenant that he established with Abram, God promised, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you” (Genesis 12:3).  The Torah includes a number of provisions to protect aliens living among the Israelites.  They are to observe the sabbath as a day of rest (Exodus 20:10; 23:12).  Israelites are forbidden to “oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21; 23:9), and Israelites are to “love him as yourself” (Leviticus 19:33-34).  Harvesters are to leave gleanings from vineyards and fields “for the poor and for the foreigner” (Leviticus 19:10; 23:22).

Both Rahab and Ruth are listed among the women in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1:5).  Rahab was not only a Gentile from Jericho, but was also a prostitute (Joshua 6:25).  Ruth was a Gentile from Moab (Ruth 1:4).

The prophet Isaiah promises that “Yahweh of Armies will make all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of choice wines, of fat things full of marrow, of well refined choice wines” (Isaiah 25:6), and “will wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isaiah 25:8).  He says that God’s servant “will bring justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1) and will be “a light for the nations” (Isaiah 42:6).  He says that God’s holy mountain “shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7).

In his sermon in the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus will remind the people (thereby arousing their anger) that God favored the widow of Zarephath, a Gentile, over the widows of Israel––and that God favored Naaman, a Gentile, over the lepers of Israel (Luke 4:27-30).

Jesus concluded his ministry by commanding his disciples, “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The early church was at first willing to include in its membership only Gentiles who first converted to Judaism.  However, God gave Peter a vision in which he commanded Peter to partake of foods considered unclean by Jewish standards.  The result of that vision and the subsequent visit to Peter of Cornelius, a devout Gentile, was to open the church to Gentiles without their first having to convert to Judaism (Acts 10).

All of this is to make the point that, while God covenanted with Israel from the beginning, God also made provision for Gentiles from the beginning––and reaffirmed this provision in various ways throughout Israel’s history.  This story of Yahweh’s healing or Naaman is one of those reaffirmations.

VERSES 1-5a:  NAAMAN WAS A MIGHTY MAN OF VALOR

1Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him Yahweh (Hebrew: yhwh – Yahweh) had given victory to Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 2The Syrians had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maiden; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “I wish that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would heal him of his leprosy.”4Someone went in, and told his lord, saying, “The maiden who is from the land of Israel said this.”5aThe king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

“Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master” (v. 1a).  Naaman means “fair,” or “gracious,” or “pleasant.”  This Naaman is a man of considerable standing––the commander of the Aramean army.  Not all powerful men are great, but our text assures us that Naaman “was a great man.”

Aram is located north and east of Israel, in the vicinity of modern Syria and the Transjordan (the area east of the Jordan River).  Aram (or Zobah, an Aramean city-state) is usually cast as Israel’s enemy (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 10:6-19; 1 Kings 11:23-25; 15:16-21).

This verse doesn’t give the Aramean king’s name, but he is probably Ben-hadad (6:24; 8:7).

“and honorable, because by him Yahweh had given victory to Syria” (v. 1b).  Though Naaman is a mighty warrior, he has been victorious, not because of his military prowess, but because Yahweh has given him victory.  There is no reason to believe that Naaman understands this, but the narrator wants to insure that we, the readers of this account, understand it.  We aren’t told why Yahweh has decided to favor Naaman in this way, but it seems likely that Yahweh is setting the stage for the drama that follows.

“he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper” (v. 1c).  Everything to this moment has been rosy.  Naaman, whose name means “pleasant,” is a great man and “in high favor with his master,” BUT Naaman is a leper.  This dread disease renders all his positive qualities and achievements moot.  His disease is ruinous personally and undoubtedly renders him ineffective professionally as well.

The word leprosy was used in Biblical times to refer to any number of skin diseases, some of which were quite serious and others less serious.  The detailed laws for dealing with leprosy found in Leviticus 13-14 give us a clear idea how seriously people took this disease.  Jewish law says that a leper shall “wear torn clothes, and the hair of his head shall hang loose. He shall cover his upper lip, and shall cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ … He shall dwell alone. Outside of the camp shall be his dwelling” (Leviticus 13:45-46).  In particular cases, leprosy was considered to be a punishment for sin (Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 15:5; 2 Chronicles 26:19-23).

We can be sure that Naaman’s leprosy is serious, because when it is later inflicted on Gehazi as a punishment, his skin becomes “white as snow” (v. 27).  Naaman, not being an Israelite, is not subject to Levitical law, but it is obvious from this account that Arameans also take leprosy quite seriously.  It is likely that, in spite of Naaman’s distinguished position, he is subject to quarantine and/or other restrictions.

“The Syrians had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maiden” (v. 2a).  As noted above, Aram is usually characterized as an enemy of Israel, a fact made even clearer by his mention of raids on Israel.  It seems likely that Naaman led some or all of these raids against Israel––that Yahweh gave him victory in these raids (v. 1b).  It is possible that he was leading the Aramean army in the battle in which King Jehoshaphat of Judah was killed (1 Kings 22:29-36).

In raids, victorious soldiers take prisoners as well as booty.  The prisoners become slaves to serve their captors.  The lucky ones serve as personal servants to senior officials.  The unlucky ones are required to perform the lowest, most miserable kinds of labor.

“and she waited on Naaman’s wife” (v. 2b).  This girl is one of the lucky ones.  She has been brought to Naaman’s home to serve as his wife’s personal servant.  This girl’s plight would be quite good compared to that of most captives.

“She said to her mistress, ‘I wish that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would heal him of his leprosy'” (v. 3).  The girl’s words reflect a genuine concern for Naaman and his wife, which suggests that they have treated her well.

The servant girl says that Elisha is a prophet and that he has the ability to cure leprosy.  The implication is that Yahweh has granted Elisha this power as a consequence of Elisha’s prophetic status.

“Someone went in, and told his lord, saying, ‘The maiden who is from the land of Israel said this'” (v. 4).  While unstated, it is obvious that Naaman’s wife has taken the servant girl seriously, has told Naaman of the girl’s comment, and has encouraged Naaman to avail himself of this opportunity.

Presumably, Naaman reports directly to the king.  Anyone in such a position is expected to be available at all times to advise the king or to respond to a crisis, so Naaman can’t just leave for Samaria of his own volition.  He must keep the king informed and get the king’s permission before leaving.  It is always possible that the king would be involved in a diplomatic intrigue that would preclude allowing Naaman to visit Samaria.

“The king of Syria said, ‘Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel'” (v. 5a).  The king is highly supportive of Naaman’s pursuing the possibility of help from Samaria.  He responds in a predictable way––sending a king-to-king letter to the king of Israel.  He intends not only to enlist the support of Israel’s king, but his letter will also make it clear that he is not sending Naaman to the Israelite king’s territory for some nefarious purpose.

VERSES 5b-7:  I HAVE SENT MY SERVANT THAT YOU MAY HEAL HIM

5b He departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “Now when this letter has come to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.” 7It happened, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Am I God(Hebrew: ˒ělō∙hîm), to kill and to make alive, that this man sends to me to heal a man of his leprosy? But please consider and see how he seeks a quarrel against me.”

“He departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothing” (v. 5b).  This is an incredibly rich treasure.  A talent is approximately 75 pounds (34 kg), and is the equivalent of 3,000 shekels.  Naaman is therefore taking 750 pounds or 12,000 ounces (340 kg) of silver and 150 pounds or 2,400 ounces (68 kg) of gold.  At today’s prices (2007) the silver would be worth in excess of $150,000 and the gold in excess of $1.5 million (you can update these figures by checking gold and silver prices on the Internet and multiplying those prices times the number of ounces).  The ten sets of garments are surely garments fit for a king and worth thousands of dollars each.  They constitute a personal gift to supplement the less personal (but more valuable) gold and silver).

It is clear that the Aramean king and Naaman are serious about enlisting the support of Israel’s king.  These lavish gifts serve not only to honor the king of Israel but also to obligate him––as well as to demonstrate the seriousness of the intent of Naaman and his king.

“He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, ‘Now when this letter has come to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy'” (v. 6).  This account doesn’t tell us the name of the king of Israel, but it is probably Jehoram, “did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh” (3:2).

The Aramean king’s letter fails to give a full accounting of his reasons for sending Naaman to the king of Israel.  It makes no mention of the conversation between the servant girl and Naaman’s wife.  It makes no mention of the prophet who lives in Samaria.  The Aramean king obviously believes the king of Israel to be aware of the healing resources available within Israel and expects him to point Naaman in the right direction––to put him in contact with the right people––to use his power to see that Naaman is healed.

“It happened, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he tore his clothes” (v. 7a).  Tearing one’s clothes is a sign of anguish.

“Am I God (elohim), to kill and to make alive, that this man sends to me to heal a man of his leprosy?” (v. 7b).  In verse 1, the word translated “the Lord” is yhwh – Yahweh––the name of the God of Israel.  In this verse, the word is elohim, a general word for any god, which is also used in the Old Testament to speak of the God of Israel.

The king of Israel equates the ability to cure leprosy with the ability to give life and rightly ascribes the power of life and death to God.  The king knows that he doesn’t have this power, and feels threatened by this expectation that he cannot fulfill.

“But please consider and see how he seeks a quarrel against me” (v. 7c).  The king, trying to make sense of a nonsensical situation, casts about for understanding and comes to the only conclusion that comes to his mind––the king of Aram is trying to pick a fight by asking the impossible of him.

VERSES 8-9:  LET HIM KNOW THAT THERE IS A PROPHET IN ISRAEL

8 It was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash (Hebrew:werā∙ḥǎṣ∙tāˊ) in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.”

“It was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel'” (v. 8).  Elisha’s name means “God is salvation,” and this verse identifies him as a man of God.  He has demonstrated his power by working miracles (2:19-25).  Kings recognize his power.  When faced with potential disaster, Jehoshaphat summoned Elisha, who predicted victory (3:9-20).  On another occasion, Elisha restored life to a dead boy (4:15-17, 32-37).  When we hear Elisha’s name, we can almost hear the sound of cavalry coming to the king’s rescue.

We don’t know how Elisha learns of the king’s woes.  News travels slowly in those pre-technological times, but it is possible that Yahweh reveals the incident to Elisha.

Elisha sends a message to the king.  There is no reason for despair.  There is a prophet in Israel, and Elisha is that prophet.  The king of Israel needs only to send Naaman to Elisha so that Naaman “shall know that there is a prophet in Israel”.  Note that Elisha doesn’t say, “so that Naaman may be healed.”  That will happen, too, but the greater purpose is to reveal God’s power and mercy to this foreigner.

There is surely a significant lag––probably several days––between the time that Naaman first presented himself to the king and the time that the king receives this word from Elisha.  We aren’t told what the king does with Naaman during this delay or how he explains to Naaman that he must go to see Elisha.  It is doubtful that the king tells Naaman that he (the king) is powerlessness.  More likely, he implies that Elisha is on his staff and is in charge of healings.

“So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots” (v. 9a).  Naaman is accustomed to traveling in style.  Not only is he riding in a chariot pulled by imposing horses––transport better suited to battle than to casual travel––but his entourage is also riding in chariots or mounted on horseback.  How else could they keep up with Naaman?

Horses and chariots are instruments of war.  Soldiers ride them as much for intimidation as for transportation.  People would hear the noise of horses and chariots at a distance and recognize the sound as a military procession.  They would be frightened, not knowing what the soldiers might do.  They would move back from the road.  Women would gather their children indoors. Dogs would queue along the side of the road to bark their warnings from a calculated safe distance.  The faithful would pray for mercy.

“and stood at the door of the house of Elisha” (v. 9b).  Naaman has grown accustomed to the grandeur of palaces, but would not be uncomfortable in a more modest setting.  Soldiers spend lots of time in modest settings.  We can be sure that Elisha’s home is modest––nothing like the king’s palace or Naaman’s home.

Naaman surely derives pleasure from arriving in grand style at a modest dwelling.  The clatter of horses’ hooves and the rattle of chariots and the clanking of swords and armor would announce his arrival.  People would peek out of their windows to see what was happening.  The mayor would come out to appease the soldiers.  Naaman would be very much in charge.

“Elisha sent a messenger to him” (v. 10a).  But Elisha is not impressed with horses and chariots.  Naaman’s soldiers and horses will draw their next breath only at Yahweh’s good pleasure, and Elisha is a servant of Yahweh––not of the king of Israel––and certainly not of Naaman the Aramean.  Elisha doesn’t deign even to come to the door, but instead sends a messenger to tell Naaman what to do.

“Go and wash (Hebrew: werā∙ḥǎṣ∙tāˊ – see the note on v. 14) in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean” (v. 10b).  Elisha delivers (via his messenger) a simple prescription.  If Naaman will wash in the Jordan River seven times, not only will his leprosy stop its progression, but the damage already done will be undone.  He will be clean once again, no longer required to maintain his distance from other people.

In the Hebrew culture, particular numbers (3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 40) have symbolic value, and  seven is the most important of these.  God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day, making it holy (Genesis 2:3).  The Jewish people are expected to observe the sabbath (the seventh day), abstaining from work on that day (Exodus 20:8-11).  They are expected to observe sabbatical years and the Year of Jubilee––the latter being a sabbath of sabbaths (Leviticus 25).

There is a cleansing ceremony for leprosy in Leviticus that requires sprinkling the blood of a bird on the infected person seven times.  The infected person is to live outside his tent for seven days, and on the seventh day is to shave all his hair and to wash his clothes and to bathe his body in water so that he might become clean (Leviticus 14:7-9).

While there is nothing magical about the number seven, it is not surprising that Elisha requires Naaman to wash seven times in a ritual that has more to do with Yahweh’s grace than with medicine.

VERSES 11-12:  BUT NAAMAN WAS ANGRY AND WENT AWAY

11But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leper.’ 12Aren’t Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them, and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

“But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, ‘Behold, I thought, “He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Yahweh (yhwh – Yahweh) his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leper“‘” (v. 11).  But Naaman isn’t accustomed to being dealt with second-hand.  When he appears, important people make time to see him––to seek his opinion––to negotiate terms––to win his good will.  Naaman says, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me (for someone of my stature and importance)…”  For Elisha to send a messenger feels like a slight to Naaman––an insult.  If Elisha has the power to cure Naaman’s leprosy, he should do that!  Naaman is not a trifling man, and he believes that Elisha is trifling with him.  But “the aim was to teach (Naaman) humility and faith….  God often tests us with small things” (Wiseman, 207).

Naaman expected Elisha to call on the name of Yahweh, Elisha’s God.  As an Aramean, he would worship other gods, but he knows the name of Israel’s God.

Naaman is surely conscious of the fact that his soldiers are watching.  They know him to be a decisive man––fair but tough.  The soldiers are watching to see how Naaman will respond to this slight––to this public humiliation.

“‘Aren’t Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them, and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage” (v. 12).  Naaman didn’t need to travel to Israel to find a decent river for washing.  He didn’t need to get his king’s permission to travel.  He didn’t need to bring gifts worth a fortune.  He didn’t need to visit this prophet’s little house.  He didn’t need to submit himself to this humiliation.  The rivers of Damascus “made the ancient city… a beautiful oasis.  The Arabs called it the Garden of the World” (Dilday, 288).  Naaman could have stayed home and washed in one of those rivers.

Naaman’s analysis is correct, except for one thing.  They do have rivers where he lives, and he could have washed in them.  But if he had done so, he would not have been healed, because he would not have been submissive to Yahweh’s will.  It is not the water of the Jordan that will restore his health, but submission to the will of Yahweh.

Naaman starts to go away in a rage.  It is a wonder that he doesn’t send one of his soldiers to drag Elisha out of the house so that Naaman can redress this insult.

VERSES 13-14:  HIS FLESH WAS RESTORED, AND HE WAS CLEAN

13His servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had asked you do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?'” 14Then went he down, and dipped (Hebrew: wǎy∙yiṭ∙bōlˊ – plunged, dived) himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

“His servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you,“Wash, and be clean?“‘” (v. 13).  Once again (see v. 3) it is a servant who speaks the word that Naaman needs to hear.  Naaman’s pride has clouded his understanding.  His servant, less prideful, sees what Naaman cannot. “The humble have once again exhibited more insight than the exalted” (Provan, 192).

It was to the credit of Naaman’s wife that her servant alerted her to the possibility of healing in the first place (see v. 3).  That would not have happened if Naaman’s wife had treated her servant poorly.  It is to Naaman’s credit that this servant speaks up now.  The servant wouldn’t risk making this suggestion if he feared Naaman’s reaction.  Naaman is angry––in a rage––and angry people can be dangerous.  The fact that this servant speaks up says that Naaman has chosen his servants well––and that he treats them with respect.

Naaman has already shown his willingness to do what is needed.  He has secured his king’s permission to travel.  He has brought gifts worth a fortune.  He has sought help from the king of Israel and has traveled to the prophet’s house.  If the prophet had required him to take another difficult step, that would have seemed appropriate.  But the prophet asked something that seemed trifling, and that is what sparked Naaman’s anger.

“How much rather then, when he says to you,‘Wash, and be clean?’ (v. 13).  The servant’s concern is apparent, as is his affection for Naaman.  His logic is compelling.  If Naaman would be willing to obey the prophet’s command to do something difficult, shouldn’t he be willing to do something easy!

“Then went he down, and dipped (wǎy∙yiṭ∙bōlˊ – plunged, dived) himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God” (v. 14a).  It was to Naaman’s credit that his servant could challenge him, and it is to his additional credit that he listens, calms down, and does what is needed.

In verse 10, Elisha commanded Naaman to wash himself in the Jordan seven times.  In verse 14a, Naaman immerses himself (a different word), symbolizing his wholehearted obedience.

“and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child” (v. 14b).  The reward of Naaman’s obedience is restored health.  Not only has the progress of the disease been halted, but his flesh has been restored “like the flesh of a little child”.  The ravages of sun and wind and time have been erased.

The mention of “a little child” parallels the mention of “a little maiden” in verse 2––a nice literary touch.

“and he was clean” (v. 14c).  Being clean means far more than being free from disease.  It means that Naaman is now able to move in social circles without inspiring fear or disgust.  It means that he is now able to touch his wife and children without having to worry about infecting them.  It means that he has been restored physically and socially.  It means that he can enjoy a normal life again––and can expect normal longevity.

VERSE 15:  NOW I KNOW THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT IN ISRAEL

15He returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him; and he said, “See now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. Now therefore, please take a gift(Hebrew: ḇerā∙ḵā(h)ˊ – a gift or a blessing) from your servant.”

NOTE:  The lectionary readings for two of the weeks cut off at verse 14.  The third reading goes through 15c.  “Yet from the standpoint of the theology of the passage, much of the weight of the text lies in 5:15-19….  Without vs. 15-19, the passage seems to be just ‘another’ miracle story….  Therefore, the preacher will probably wish to consider 5:1-19 as a primary theological unit” (Newsome, 412).

“He returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him” (v. 15a).  When Naaman first came to Elisha’s house, he came expecting a quick healing and solicitous treatment.  Now he has been humbled, and he returns to Elisha to express his gratitude and his faith.

“See now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel” (v. 15b).  This is an extraordinary affirmation of faith from a man who has been accustomed to worshiping many gods.  Having experienced Yahweh’s power, Naaman now believes only in Yahweh.  “The high point of the story is not the restoration of his flesh….  It is, rather, (this) confession….  That is the story’s goal” (Tucker, 322).

“Now therefore, please take a gift (ḇerā∙ḵā(h)ˊ – a gift or a blessing) from your servant” (v. 15c).  Naaman wants to give Elisha a gift, but Elisha refuses––perhaps because it was Yahweh’s power rather than Elisha’s power that healed Naaman––and perhaps because he wants Naaman to remember that he is Yahweh’s debtor.  When Elisha refuses Naaman’s gift, Naaman asks to receive a gift from Elisha––”two mules’ burden of earth” (v. 17).  He wants, after returning home, to be able to stand on the good soil of Israel to worship Israel’s God––and promises that he “will from now on offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice to other gods, but to Yahweh” (yhwh – Yahweh).

Naaman knows, however, that once he returns home he will be expected to bow in the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he asks Elisha for pardon on that one account––and Elisha tells him to go in peace (vv. 18-19).

Then Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, coveting the gifts that Elisha refused, intercepts Naaman and solicits a gift under false pretenses.  Naaman gladly gives what Gehazi asked, but Elisha punishes Gehazi by inflicting Naaman’s leprosy on him. “Thus the conversion story is concluded with an ‘excommunication’ story.  The ‘outsider’ Naaman became an Israelite ‘insider,’ religiously speaking, while the ‘insider’ Gehazi became an Israelite ‘outsider.’  This same motif is present in Jesus’ appeal to this story in Luke 4:27-30” (Spina, 252).

SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible.  The World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament.  The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc.), which the WEB has updated.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Brueggemann, Walter, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary:  1 & 2 Kings (Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Incorporated, 2000)

Devries, Simon J., Word Biblical Commentary: 1 Kings, Vol. 12 (Dallas, Word Books, 2003)

Dilday, Russell H., The Preacher’s Commentary: 1 & 2 Kings (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987)

Fretheim, Terence E., Westminster Bible Companion:  1-2 Kings (Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press, 1999)

Hens-Piazza, Gina, Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries: 1-2 Kings (Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 2006)

Hinton, Linda B., Basic Bible Commentary: First and Second Kings (Nashville:  Abingdon  Press, 1988)

House, Paul R., New American Commentary: 1, 2 Kings, Vol. 8 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995)

Inrig, Gary, Holman Old Testament Commentary:  I & II Kings (Nashville:  Holman Reference, 2003)

Leithart, Peter, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible:  1 & 2 Kings (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006)

Nelson, Richard D., Interpretation Commentary: I and II Kings (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1987)

Newsome, James D. in Cousar, Charles B.; Gaventa, Beverly R.; McCann, J. Clinton; and Newsome, James D., Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV–Year C  (Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press, 1994)

Provan, Iain W., New International Biblical Commentary:  1 and 2 Kings (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995)

Seow, Choon-Leong, The New Interpreters Bible: 1-2 Kings, Vol. III (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999)

Smith, Norman H. (Exegesis) and Sockman, Ralph W. (Exposition), The Interpreter’s Bible: Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Job (Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 1954)

Spina, Frank Anthony, in Van Harn, Roger (ed.), The Lectionary Commentary:  Theological Exegesis for Sunday’s Text.  The First Readings:  The Old Testament and Acts (Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001)

Tucker, Gene M. in Craddock, Fred B.; Hayes, John H.; Holliday, Carl R.; and Tucker, Gene M.,Preaching Through the Christian Year, C (Valley Forge:  Trinity Press, 1994)

Wiseman, Donald J., Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1 & 2 Kings (Downers Grove, Illinois:  Inter-Varsity Press, 1993)

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