2 Kings 5:1-27

God makes Naaman well again

1 Naaman was the leader of the king of Syria's army. Naaman's master respected him as a great man. The Lord had used Naaman to help Syria win wars against their enemies. Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had a bad disease of his skin.

5:1Naaman's disease may have been leprosy.

2 Groups of soldiers from Syria had gone to attack places in Israel. They had caught a young girl as their prisoner. She became a servant of Naaman's wife. 3 One day, the girl said to her master's wife, ‘I would like my master Naaman to meet the prophet who is in Samaria. The prophet would take away his disease.’

4 So Naaman went to see his master, the king of Syria. He told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 The king of Syria replied, ‘Go to meet this prophet! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman went to Israel. He took with him 30,000 pieces of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and 10 sets of clothes. 6 He also took the letter for the king of Israel. The message from the king of Syria said, ‘I am sending my servant Naaman to you, with this letter. I want you to take away the disease of his skin.’

7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he was very upset. He tore his clothes. He said, ‘I am not God, am I? I cannot kill people or make them alive again. Why does he think that I can make this man well again? I see that he is trying to start a fight with me.’

8 Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes. So he sent this message to him: ‘You did not have to tear your clothes. Tell the man from Syria to come to me. Then he will know that there is a true prophet in Israel.’

9 So Naaman went to see Elisha. He took with him his horses and his chariots. He stood outside the door of Elisha's house. 10 Elisha sent his servant with a message to Naaman. He said, ‘Go to the Jordan River. Wash yourself seven times in the river. Then your skin will be clean again. You will not have the disease.’

11 But Naaman was angry and he went away. He said, ‘I thought that the prophet would come out of his house to see me. Then he would stand here with me. He would pray in the name of the Lord his God. Then he would move his hand over the bad place in my skin. After that my skin would be clean again. That is what I thought he would do. 12 The Abana and Pharpar rivers in Damascus are better than any of the rivers in Israel. Surely, I could wash in those rivers and become clean!’ So Naaman turned around and he went away. He was very angry.

13 But Naaman's servants went to him. One of them said, ‘My master, the prophet might have asked you to do something very difficult. Then you surely would have done it! Now he says to you, “Wash yourself! Then you will be clean.” That is much easier for you to do.’

14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River. He washed himself in it seven times, as the man of God had told him to do. Naaman's skin became well again. It became as clean as a young child's skin.

15 Then Naaman and all his servants went back to see Elisha, the man of God. Naaman stood in front of him and he said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in the whole world except the one in Israel. Please accept a gift from me, your servant.’ 16 But Elisha replied, ‘I serve the Lord. I promise you, as surely as he lives, I will not accept a gift from you.’ Naaman asked him many times to accept a gift but Elisha refused.

17 So Naaman said, ‘So, you will not accept my gift. But please agree to let me take home some soil from here. I will take as much soil as two mules can carry. Then I will never again make any sacrifices or burnt offerings to any other god. I will only worship the Lord. 18 But I pray that the Lord will forgive me, your servant, when I do this one thing: My master, the king of Syria, often goes into the temple of our god, Rimmon. When he bends down low to worship Rimmon, he takes hold of my arm. So I also have to bend down low with him. I ask the Lord to forgive me when I do that.’

19 Elisha said to Naaman, ‘Go home with peace in your mind.’ Then Naaman started on his way home.

20 Elisha's servant, Gehazi, thought, ‘My master did not accept the gifts that Naaman offered to him. He made it too easy for that Syrian man. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him. I will accept a gift from him.’ 21 So Gehazi ran quickly after Naaman before he had gone very far. Naaman saw that a man was running after him. So he got down from his chariot to meet him. Naaman asked Gehazi, ‘Is everything well?’ 22 Gehazi answered, ‘Everything is well. My master sent me with this message: “Two young men from the group of prophets have just arrived at my house. They have come from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them 3,000 pieces of silver and two sets of clothes.” ’

23 Naaman said, ‘Yes, I will. But please agree to take 6,000 pieces of silver.’ He asked Gehazi to accept them. He put the 6,000 pieces of silver into two bags, as well as two sets of clothes. He gave them to two of his servants and they carried them in front of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi reached a hill near Elisha's house, he took the things from the servants. He put them in his own room. He told the servants to go back to Naaman.

25 Gehazi went in and he stood in front of his master. Elisha asked Gehazi, ‘Where have you been?’ Gehazi answered, ‘I have not been anywhere, sir.’ 26 But Elisha said to him, ‘My spirit was with you when you went out. It was there when the man came down from his chariot to meet you. This is not the proper time to accept gifts of money, clothes, olive trees, vineyards, sheep, cows or servants. 27 Now you will have the same disease in your skin that Naaman had! It will always be with you and your descendants.’

Then Gehazi went away from Elisha. His skin had already become white like snow because of the disease.