Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Kings Chapter 5

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-25)
Theme: A Divided Kingdom (c 1-17)
Message: The Healing of Naaman the Leper  (v 1-27)

2 Kings 5 Commentary 

(5:1) Leprosy is Feared - Leprosy was one of the most feared diseases of the time. Some forms were extremely contagious and, in many cases, incurable. In its worst forms, leprosy led to death. Many who had leprosy were forced out of the cities into quarantined camps, not only because they were contagious, but also because their disease made them ritually unclean and so unable to live and worship in the community. Because Naaman still held his post, he probably had a mild form of the disease, or perhaps it was still in the early stages. In either case, his life would have been tragically shortened by his disease. (For more about leprosy in biblical times, see the note on Leviticus 13:1-46.)

(5:2) Syria and Naaman - Syria was Israel's neighbor to the northeast, but the two nations were rarely on friendly terms. Under David, Syria paid tribute to Israel. In Elisha's day, Syria was growing in power and frequently conducted raids on Israel, trying to frustrate the people and bring about political confusion. Israelite captives would often be taken back to Syria after successful raids. Naaman's servant girl was an Israelite, kidnapped from her home and family. Ironically, Naaman's only hope of being cured came from Israel.

(5:3-4) A Little Girl's Faith -  The little girl's faith and Naaman's quest contrast with the stubbornness of Israel's king (5:7). A leader in mighty Syria sought the God of Israel; Israel's own king would not. We don't know the little girl's name or much about her, but her brief word to her mistress brought healing and faith in God to a powerful Syrian captain. God had placed her with them for a purpose, and she was faithful. Where has God put you? No matter how humble or small your position, God can use you to spread his Good News. Look for opportunities to tell others what God can do. There's no telling who will hear your message!

(5:5) Elisha's Ministry - The name of Israel's king is not mentioned in this story. The events of 2 Kings 1-8 are mainly about Elisha's ministry and are not intended to be chronological. The king was most likely Jehoram (3:1), but we cannot know for sure.

(5:7) A King's Frustration - King Ben-hadad of Syria sent Naaman to the king of Israel, thinking the king could order Elisha to cure Naaman. He thought God's gift of healing could be bought. The king of Israel was upset because he knew he had no control over the situation, and he thought the Syrian king was trying to find an excuse to fight. He was completely ignorant of God's power working through Elisha. He did not understand that God's power could transform even Israel's enemies.

(5:9-15) Naaman's Pride - Naaman, a great hero, was used to getting respect, so he was outraged when Elisha treated him like an ordinary person. A proud man, he expected royal treatment. To wash in a great river would be one thing, but the Jordan was small and insignificant. To wash in the Jordan, Naaman thought, was bensath a man of his position But Naaman had to humble himself and obey Elisha's commands in order to be healed.

Obedience to God begins with humility. We must believe that his way is better than our own. We may not always understand his ways of working, but by humbly obeying, we will receive his blessings. We must remember that (1) God's ways are best; (2) God wants our obedience for our own good; and (3) God can use anything to accomplish his purposes.

(5:12) Naaman's Lack of Faith - Naaman left in a rage because the cure for his disease seemed demeaning. He was a hero, and he expected a heroic cure. Full of pride and self-will, Naaman could not accept the simple cure of faith. Sometimes people react to God's offer of forgiveness in the same way. To them, just to believe in Jesus Christ somehow doesn't seem significant enough to bring eternal life; to obey God's commands doesn't seem heroic. What Naaman had to do to have his leprosy washed away is similar to what we must do to have our sin washed away--humbly accept God's mercy. Don't let your reaction to the way of faith keep you from the cure you need the most.

(5:16) Faith not Funds - Elisha refused Naaman's money to show that God's favor cannot be purchased. Our money, like Naaman's, is useless when we face death. No matter how much wealth we accumulate in this life, it won't be with us when we stand before God, our creator. Our faith in Jesus Christ will save us, not our bank accounts.

(5:18-19) Naaman's Repentance - How could Naaman be forgiven for bowing to a pagan idol? Naaman was not asking for permission to worship the god Rimmon but to do his civil duty, helping the king get down and up as he bowed. Also known as Hadad, Rimmon, the god of Damascus, was believed to be a god of rain and thunder. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Naaman showed a keen awareness of God's power. Instead of adding the Lord to his nation's collection of idols, he acknowledged that there was only one true God. He did not intend to worship other gods. His asking for pardon in this one area shows the marked contrast between Naaman and the Israelites, who were continually worshiping many idols.

(5:20-27) Gehazi Plan - Gehazi saw a perfect opportunity to get rich by selfishly asking for the reward Elisha had refused. But his plan had three problems: (1) He willingly accepted money that had been offered to someone else; (2) he wrongly implied that money could be exchanged for God's free gift of healing and mercy; and (3) he lied and tried to cover up his motives for accepting the money. Although Ghazi had been a helpful servant, personal gain had become more important to him than serving God. This passage is not teaching that money is evil or that ministers should not get paid; instead, it is warning against greed, deceit, and exploiting God's blessings for money. True service is motivated by love and devotion to God and seeks no personal gain. As you serve God, check your motives--you can't serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Stay Humble Before the Lord


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue the book of 2 Kings with Chapter 5.  In our text, we see the healing of Naaman, the leper. What catches my eye is how Naaman was outraged when treated like an ordinary man by Elisha. Being too proud to follow the instruction of the man of God - Naaman had to learn the lesson of humbling himself before the Lord. In making the application, we see that we must do the same today. God's ways are not our ways, and God uses situations that we may think are beneath us to humble us. It reminded me of when I had a flat on a major interstate in Atlanta. I pulled off the road to discover my spare was flat and missing a part of my jack. A man living in his car saw me in need and came over and helped me change my tire. I had to humble myself to receive his help, and I discovered that my pride could have hindered me from obtaining a blessing from the Lord. Like Naaman, I could have missed God if I had failed to humble myself and receive help. How about you? Do you see the need to humble yourself before the Lord? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Nahaan to understand the principle that we must be humble before the Lord.


2 Kings 5

2 Kings 5

 1Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

 2And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.

 3And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.

 4And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.

 5And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.

 6And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.

 7And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

 8And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy 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 chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.

 10And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

 11But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

 13And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

 14Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

 15And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.

 16But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.

 17And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.

 18In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.

 19And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

 20But 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.

 21So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?

 22And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.

 23And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.

 24And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.

 25But 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.

 26And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

 27The 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.