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2 Kings 5:1-14

Elisha Heals a Syrian General

5:1 Now Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria’s army, was esteemed and respected by his master, 1  for through him the Lord had given Syria military victories. But this great warrior had a skin disease. 2  5:2 Raiding parties went out from Syria and took captive from the land of Israel a young girl, who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. 5:3 She told her mistress, “If only my master were in the presence of the prophet who is in Samaria! 3  Then he would cure him of his skin disease.”

5:4 Naaman 4  went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5:5 The king of Syria said, “Go! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman 5  went, taking with him ten talents 6  of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, 7  and ten suits of clothes. 5:6 He brought the letter to king of Israel. It read: “This is a letter of introduction for my servant Naaman, 8  whom I have sent to be cured of his skin disease.” 5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill or restore life? Why does he ask me to cure a man of his skin disease? 9  Certainly you must see that he is looking for an excuse to fight me!” 10 

5:8 When Elisha the prophet 11  heard that the king had torn his clothes, he sent this message to the king, “Why did you tear your clothes? Send him 12  to me so he may know there is a prophet in Israel.” 5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s house. 5:10 Elisha sent out a messenger who told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan; your skin will be restored 13  and you will be healed.” 5:11 Naaman went away angry. He said, “Look, I thought for sure he would come out, stand there, invoke the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the area, and cure the skin disease. 5:12 The rivers of Damascus, the Abana and Pharpar, are better than any of the waters of Israel! 14  Could I not wash in them and be healed?” So he turned around and went away angry. 5:13 His servants approached and said to him, “O master, 15  if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, 16  you would have been willing to do it. 17  It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash and you will be healed.” 18  5:14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. 19  His skin became as smooth as a young child’s 20  and he was healed.

1 tn Heb “was a great man before his master and lifted up with respect to the face.”

2 tn For a discussion of מְצֹרָע (mÿtsora’), traditionally translated “leprous,” see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 63. Naaman probably had a skin disorder of some type, not leprosy/Hansen’s disease.

3 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Naaman) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Naaman) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn The Hebrew term כִּכָּר (kikkar, “circle”) refers generally to something that is round. When used of metals it can refer to a disk-shaped weight made of the metal or to a standard unit of weight, generally regarded as a talent. Since the accepted weight for a talent of metal is about 75 pounds, this would have amounted to about 750 pounds of silver (cf. NCV, NLT, CEV).

7 tn Heb “six thousand gold […].” The unit of measure is not given in the Hebrew text. A number of English versions supply “pieces” (e.g., KJV, ASV, NAB, TEV) or “shekels” (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV).

8 tn Heb “and now when this letter comes to you, look, I have sent to you Naaman my servant.”

9 tn Heb “Am I God, killing and restoring life, that this one sends to me to cure a man from his skin disease?” In the Hebrew text this is one lengthy rhetorical question, which has been divided up in the translation for stylistic reasons.

10 tn Heb “Indeed, know and see that he is seeking an occasion with respect to me.”

11 tn Heb “man of God” (also in vv. 15, 20).

12 tn Heb “Let him come.”

13 tn Heb “will return to you.”

14 tn Heb “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all of the waters of Israel?” The rhetorical question expects an emphatic “yes” as an answer.

15 tn Heb “my father,” reflecting the perspective of each individual servant. To address their master as “father” would emphasize his authority and express their respect. See BDB 3 s.v. אָב and the similar idiomatic use of “father” in 2 Kgs 2:12.

16 tn Heb “a great thing.”

17 tn Heb “would you not do [it]?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course you would.”

18 tn Heb “How much more [when] he said, “Wash and be healed.” The second imperative (“be healed”) states the expected result of obeying the first (‘wash”).

19 tn Heb “according to the word of the man of God.”

20 tn Heb “and his skin was restored, like the skin of a small child.”

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