2 Kings 1–5: Elisha & Namaan

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 27: Tuesday

Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.
2 Kings 5:1

Tuesday’s Bible reading is 2 Kings 1–5. The first two chapters are about the final days of Elijah. In chapter 2, Elisha inherits Elijah’s mantle and the following chapters record some of the great miracles he performed, including raising a boy from the dead.

Chapter 5 is the story of the healing of Namaan. I first heard this story as a child because of the crucial role of a little girl who was a captive from Israel and who served Namaan’s wife. This little girl tells her mistress that Elisha would be able to heal Namaan.

Namaan eventually travels to Elisha’s house, and there Elisha tells him to go and dip himself seven times in the Jordan River to be healed.

But Naaman was furious 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 wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’ Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.
2 Kings 5:11–14

He not only becomes clean, but Namaan tells Elisha he will no longer offer burnt offerings or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord.

Namaan must have been a man to inspire loyalty and some degree of affection from those who served him—without the help and intervention of those servants, the little girl and those who went with him—he would not have been healed.

Some of the things to learn from Namaan’s story are evident. Obviously, the one I learned as a child is that a child can tell even an adult about God and help him. Another is that Nathan should not have had set expectations and become furious when things were not ordered as he thought he should be. His servants play a role also in their persuasion of their master, and Namaan, himself, has the humility to listen to his servants and do as Elisha had told him.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Jordan River, Deror avi/Israel: Public Domain.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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