Daniel Agee

2nd Kings 5: Faith in God by Naaman vs. Gehazi and King of Israel

Daniel AgeeIn 2nd Kings 5, we should see a connection between Yeshua (Jesus) and Elisha the prophet. Aramite captain Naaman, a pagan, was not the only one being examined in his healing from leprosy. The king of Israel and Elisha’s servant Gehazi were also being examined or tested.

In an account of Yeshua’s healing 10 lepers, only a Samaritan, a “foreigner,” returned to give God praise. Both Naaman and the Samaritan paid spiritually by having to acknowledge that salvation comes from Israel, not from their false views of God.

“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.” (2nd Kings 5:1)

The country of Aram is the country that is now called Syria. We don’t know for certain which victory is spoken here but believe that victory here is Aram’s victory over King Ahab. Jewish tradition holds that Naaman was the archer who killed King Ahab. 

The slave girl, an Israelite, saw something special in Naaman and she knew there was someone who could cure him. But put yourself in Naaman’s shoes too. He has most likely sought out every physician in Aram and could not find a cure. He had probably prayed to every god imaginable for healing and nothing. 

It’s interesting that the King of Aram did not worry about catching Naaman’s disease, so we don’t know if he had what we would call leprosy or some other skin disease that is less contagious. 

Why didn’t the slave girl tell Naaman to pray to God, instead she refers Naaman to the prophet in Samaria? 

Naaman takes her advice, gets permission from the king to take the journey to Israel to find his cure. 

Leviticus 13 is a lengthy chapter telling Aaronic priests how to examine, diagnose and declare a victim either clean or unclean of leprosy. 

Naaman did not endure this examination whatsoever. Nothing that happened to Naaman matches how Leviticus 13 teaches. The leper is the one who is supposed to rend his or her garments, not the examiner. 

Who was the one really being examined? The king is the one on trial here so to speak. The king was the one who tore his clothes. He assumes that Naaman’s arrival is a pretext for another war with Aram. The king only sees bad things, doom and gloom can result from this meeting. 

This teaches us more about the King of Israel than about Naaman. In God’s eyes, it is the King who is morally, spiritually leprous. 

Elisha tells the King to have Naaman come to his house. Elisha doesn’t greet Naaman himself, but has a servant greet him instead. Naaman was insulted by this as he said: 

“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.”‘” (2nd Kings 5:11)

Naaman was not healed his way. This is how Naaman was healed: 

“Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.'” (2nd Kings 5:10)

There is nothing good about the Jordan River and after he washed seven times, he realized that it was his faith that would heal him. The servant girl understood that Naaman had a measure of faith. That is why she recommended he go to “the Prophet of Israel” to be healed. The king of Israel had less faith in the God of Israel than Naaman did. The king of Israel sent Naaman to Elisha, not because he had any faith in God but only because he had enough sense to know that he couldn’t do anything about Naaman’s disease. 

Naaman understood that the God of Israel was the only true God and that the gods he had spent years praying to had no power.

Yeshua taught from this account:

“And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.'” (Luke 4:24–27)

Neither the widow of Zarephath of Sidon or Naaman the Syrian had any knowledge of God yet God blessed them during a time when He did not bless Israel. God was not accepted in His own country, Yeshua was not accepted in His own country. 

Yeshua Himself healed 10 lepers, but He, unlike the slave girl, referred them to the priests, as is required in Leviticus 13:

“While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine — where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.'” (Luke 17:11–19)

Of the 10 lepers, the Samaritan is the only one who goes to the true High Priest for examination and healing. Both Naaman and the Samaritan praised and thanked God for their healing. It is the foreigners who praise and thank God. They are the ones who understood the Messiah in the High Priest position. 

It’s symbolic, but we are supposed to see the connection between Yeshua and Elisha. This story in Elisha, Naaman was not the only one being examined. The king and Gehazi were also being examined or tested. The king and Gehazi are Israelites. Gehazi is a very close servant of Elisha, while the King is an Israelite who doesn’t worship God at all. 

Who failed their tests? The king and Gehazi. Who passed their test? Naaman. Although Naaman was upset at first, Naaman was humble enough to listen to his servant and accept Elisha’s instruction. The king and Gehazi were the unclean ones here. The king was unclean on the inside and the outside. Gehazi had the appearance of being clean on the outside but was unclean on the inside. 

The Torah tells us that those who disobey God will be ruled by a spirit of fear of everything all the time. The King should have had nothing to fear from Naaman yet he was deathly afraid of him. 

Naaman was the one who was vulnerable, yet the King was the one who was afraid. 

Both Luke 17:19 and 2nd Kings 5:19 make note that it was faith that made them well. Neither of these foreigners had to pay any money for their healing. Elisha didn’t ask Naaman to make any sacrifices or pay any money. The Samaritan leper was sent away the same way by the Yeshua. They seem to get off free on the physical plane, but both Naaman and the Samaritan paid spiritually by having to acknowledge that salvation comes from Israel, not from their false views of God. Naaman didn’t pay his way out of his situation, he had to bring himself down lower than he had ever been. He had to bow and acknowledge a God he had never known. The Samaritan also had to realize that he had to exchange his belief system. That was their payment and that is what God wanted. He wanted Naaman’s and the Samaritan’s humble and contrite hearts. The foreigners got it. The Israelites didn’t get it. 

Gehazi is all about appearance. He looked good, righteous. He was a servant of Elisha. He did miracles in God’s name, yet he didn’t understand the lesson that Elisha was trying to teach Naaman. 

Elisha was primarily concerned about Naaman’s inside, not his outside. 

At the end, Gehazi’s diseased soul was exposed when Elisha brought Naaman’s leprosy on him. 

Naaman was the only person who expressed his attitude and heart with honesty and integrity. Neither the King or Gehazi had honesty and integrity. That is why Naaman was healed of his leprosy but the king was left to wallow in his fear and Gehazi was inflicted with the leprosy that had been on Naaman. 

Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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