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2 Kings 5:9-10 Naaman the Leper is Healed

Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 5, 2013


2 Kings 5:9-10 NLTse So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. (10) But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

 

The Bible only has a limited amount of stories about lepers who were healed. Moses’ sister Miriam was one of the first. Naaman may be one of the most popular stories. When we look at this section of the story about Naaman, only a few key words are repeated – the series of wash, restored, and healed – as well as leprosy. These are enough key words to lead us to texts in the Gospels where Jesus healed a leper. The parallels are amazing and much deeper than expected.

 

Matthew 8:1-4 NLTse Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. (2) Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” (3) Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (4) Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

 

Now that we found and matched parallel texts between the Old and New Testament – what do we do next? What I usually see is people spouting off on what they see. Oh they may go on and on about what an awful disease leprosy is – how lepers had to cry out, “unclean – unclean.” They may make up a story about how lonely lepers were. Does any of that information tell us what God’s Spirit is trying to teach? Let’s put this into perspective. God’s Spirit leads people to these texts showing a distinct similarity – then they let their imagination run away. God’s Spirit tries to teach a lesson, but they treat God’s Spirit with less respect than they treat other people. They shut out God’s Spirit, refusing to listen. Their reply to God’s Spirit is the same they give to people — they try to impress them with what they know. Time to break the mold, get out of the rut, put away tradition, and learn to listen instead of trying to impress. Let’s take a moment and see where God’s Spirit leads.

 

We let God’s Spirit lead when we look at details in God’s Word. First the small details – which words match up? What key words are in common? Obviously leprosy and healed are found in both texts. On the surface we have two lepers who were healed. That’s the physical portion of the lesson. What about the personalities in these stories – not to mention the spiritual lessons? How do we see the personality in God’s Word and unlock the spiritual lessons? One rule of Bible study is to look back at previous texts. Another rule is to compare introductions and summations of each chapter. Since Matthew 8:1-4 is the introduction to Matthew chapter 8, we should compare it to the introduction in 2 Kings chapter 5. These are basic rules of context.

 

2 Kings 5:1-8 NLTse The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the LORD had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. (2) At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. (3) One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” (4) So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. (5) “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. (6) The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.” (7) When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.” (8) But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

 

Its amazing how God uses a combination of similarities and contrasts to teach a lesson. The young girl had faith God’s prophet could heal Naaman’s leprosy. Even though she was a slave, her faith in God overcame her trials. Her concern for her master overcame the pain in her heart when she was taken away from her home and family, then treated like a material possession. Only a heart touched by God’s love could overcome such an ordeal. Aram’s king, a Pagan also showed a considerable amount of faith. Elisha never saw a leper healed, but when he head about the situation his king was in, he had faith God would heal Naaman. Elisha knew there was a far greater lesson to learn. It seems everyone had faith except for Israel’s king. He thought he had to be God to heal Naaman. Israel’s king thought it was a trick and wanted to give up. When we compare Matthew 8:1-4, we see the leper meeting Jesus also had faith. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Why is there such an overwhelming number of people with faith between these two stories? The lesson must lie in the contrast. Its easy to say you have faith in Jesus. We also see a mighty warrior displaying his faith by carrying gifts of 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing to a distant land. Naaman had enough faith to travel to a conquered nation to seek help. Now we have to display enough faith to travel to the end of both chapters to compare the summations.

 

2 Kings 5:23-27 NLTse “By all means, take twice as much silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi. (24) But when they arrived at the citadel, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he went and hid the gifts inside the house. (25) When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied. (26) But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? (27) Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’sleprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow.

 

Matthew 8:28-34 NLTse When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. (29) They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” (30) There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. (31) So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” (32) “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. (33) The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. (34) Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.

 

Its easy to see in 2 Kings 5, Gehazi accepted gifts and became a leper. How does this compare to Matthew 8 where Jesus casts a bunch of demons out of two men into a group of pigs – then the entire town comes out and asks Jesus to leave? This is where God’s Spirit and a little knowledge on the Bible comes in. Remember God’s Word is arranged to take us to a higher level every time we study – and this is no different. God’s Spirit is always adding another study tool – taking us to the next level of learning. If you study without learning… is it studying at all? In this instance we find Matthew recorded one version of the story while Mark and Luke recorded what they saw. When we look at those two versions we find each adds a little more detail.

 

Mark 5:15-20 NLTse A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. (16) Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. (17) And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. (18) As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. (19) But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” (20) So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.

 

Mark’s end to the story adds a significant detail. The man went out to evangelize Ten Towns. God shows how He used a demon possessed man to become one of the greatest evangelist of his time. We see more amazing facts when we study the details. The man lived in a town where they raised pigs. Obviously Jesus was on the Gentile side of the lake. Not only was this man possessed by demons, he was a Gentile. This may have been the first and only contact he had with God and Jesus. With the little he was given, he was able to reach hundreds, maybe thousands. We see more amazing facts when we compare this to the summation for 2 Kings 5 and look back at what we’ve learned from the previous study.

 

Elisha received a double blessing from Elijah. Gehazi became Elisha’s assistant – the next in line to receive a double blessing at a time Israel needed it most. Satan used greed, the love of money to trap Gehazi. He not only turned his back on God – he tried to trick Elisha. Of course Elisha made it clear God’s Spirit showed him everything and Elisha gave all the glory to God. Gehazi on the other hand wanted the reward and glory to fall on himself. For that, God gave Gehazi the curse Naaman suffered and was healed because of his faith, the faith of the girl, his king, and of course Elisha. They all had to work in faith to bring about the healing.

 

We see a spiritual lesson when we compare the results of Gehazi’s story to the demon possessed man. When Gehazi became a leper, no one would go to him or his sons for advise, help, or prophecies. Gehazi lost the ability to lead people to God. Look at this in contrast to Naaman and the leper Jesus healed. In both cases God used leprosy to lead people to Himself. God’s blessing was opening in a geometric pattern like a flower turning to the sun. It ended with Gehazi, who put money before faith and God’s Spirit. Gehazi represents the priests Jesus sent the leper to. Leprosy represents their inability to lead people to God. The demon possessed man, a Gentile represents the slavery religious leaders place on people by withholding gifts from God they refuse to share. Jesus freed the man from bondage imposed by the demons. Once freed, he told everyone what Jesus did for him and led Ten Towns to Jesus. More than the priest would accomplish in a life time. All of this comes to mind because God’s Spirit and Word brought us to Mark 5:15-20 where the words, told, tell, and proclaim are key thoughts. When we look back at what each individual in the stories was told, and what they proclaimed, we see the pattern God is using to teach. We how how different individuals view the same story and their reactions. Some came away with more faith, others preferred to rely on themselves.

 

We can learn what the pigs represent by following another simple rule of context – looking back at previous texts to see how the author led into the story.

 

Matthew 8:23-27 NLTse Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. (24) Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with wavesbreaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. (25) The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (26) Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm. (27) The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

 

This story shows how people call on Jesus when trials come into their lives, but really don’t know Him. His disciples asked, “Who is this man?” They saw what Jesus can do, but didn’t really know Him. Look at who the main characters are … Jesus’ disciples. These are the people who were going to receive the double blessing Gehazi was supposed to receive. When we look back at the previous story we find out why the disciples did not know Jesus.

 

Matthew 8:18-23 NLTse When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. (19) Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” (20) But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Manhas no place even to lay his head.” (21) Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” (22) But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” (23) Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.

 

One of the teachers of religious law and one of Jesus’ disciples didn’t have time to follow Him. Common sense will tell you, if you don’t have time to follow Jesus, you are giving time over to Satan and his demons. Its as simple as that. Pigs were there when Jesus healed the demon-possessed man. Jesus didn’t come to save the pigs. He gave them up to demons, who sent them into the sea. Once they were gone, the man had the time, energy, and gift to lead people to God. Its the same in this world. People will waste time, inflict undue stress, trials, and temptations. Without knowing what they are doing — people will lead us in the wrong direction. Eventually Jesus has no choice but to leave them up to demons who will work to end their lives one way or another.

 

When Jesus healed the leper we not only see the faith of the leper, but the faith of a large crowd that followed Him. The only trouble is, some people seem to be following Jesus when they really don’t know Him or have time for Him. Its not by mistake one of Jesus’ own disciples and a teacher of religious law are used as examples and a warning. Many people want to preach about the Bible. Are they preaching about Jesus? Do they have a witness as simple as the man Jesus cast demons out of? Do they have faith the little girl or Naaman’s king had? Or do they exhibit doubts like Israel’s king or make money a standard of faith like Elisha’s servant? The fact of the matter is, will we ask Jesus to cure us of leprosy – having the wrong message and cast demons out of our lives – giving us the gift to be witnesses for Him? When we see disciples and teachers of religious law don’t have time for Jesus — its never an excuse for us to follow their examples. 

2 Responses to “2 Kings 5:9-10 Naaman the Leper is Healed”

  1. Thank you. I find the faith of the pagan slave girl particularly interesting. It’s remarkable how the humble and the pagan/Gentiles end up being the people who flock to the Wedding Feast of the Lord. It’s the people like the King of Israel of Elisha’s time and the Pharisees of Jesus days that were seeking power to their great folly. It’s the same story of the Parable of the Unclean Spirits. Thanks for all the connections…I just love how alive the Bible really is.

    Like

    • adventbiblestudy said

      You know that would be a really cool story… taking the forgotten little, abused people from the Bible and putting them at the wedding feast. I’ll have to pray about that one.

      Like

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