Wife of Naaman
Naaman was a man of honor and valor, and well regarded in his position as captain of the host of the king of Syria. However, Naaman, though a mighty army commander, was a leper. In Naaman's household was a young captive from the land of Israel who waited on Naaman's wife. The Bible does not name Naaman's wife, and doesn't reveal any details about her or her relationship with Naaman. One day, the servant girl told her mistress that there was a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman of his leprosy.
Naaman's wife must have been excited to learn that there was a possibility her husband could be cured. Apparently she urged him to make the trip to Israel, because the Bible states that Naaman went to the king and told the monarch everything that the servant girl had said to his wife. The king told Naaman that he would send a letter to the king of Israel on Naaman's behalf. Naaman went to Israel and presented his letter to the king of Israel. Instead of providing Naaman an easy introduction to the king, the king misconstrued the letter as an attempt by the king of Syria to provoke a fight.
The Prophet Elisha Asks for Naaman
When the prophet Elisha heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, he sent a message to the king. He told the monarch to send Naaman to him so the leper might know “…that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8). Naaman got into his chariot and rode to the house of Elisha. There he stood at the door, waiting to meet the prophet.
Elisha did not go directly to meet Naaman. Instead, he sent a messenger to the door to tell Naaman to go down to the river Jordan and wash his body seven times. After that, his leprosy would be gone. But Naaman had some preconceived notion of how Elisha might heal him: He believed that the prophet would come out to face him, invoke the Lord his God, strike his hand over the place, and perform the healing. When Elisha did not even greet him, Naaman became upset. If he were just going to wash himself, weren't the rivers in Syria better than the ones in Jordan? Instead of going down to the river, Naaman left, angry.
The Prophet Refuses Naaman's Gifts
The servants in Naaman's retinue called him back and convinced him to go to the Jordan and bathe as the prophet had instructed. To his amazement, as the water covered his body, his flesh became new again, and he was clean. Naaman, feeling grateful and indebted, returned with his entourage to the house of Elisha. He told the prophet, “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant” (2 Kings 5:15). But the prophet refused to take anything from Naaman.
Elisha's Servant Is Overcome with Greed
Gehazi, Elisha's servant, thought that Elisha should have taken something from Naaman. He decided he would run after Naaman himself and take something from him, on the pretext that Elisha had sent him. He requested a talent of silver, and two changes of garments, but Naaman gave him double what he asked, and continued on his way. Most likely, he returned to his wife to celebrate a complete recovery from the ravages of leprosy.
Gehazi Is Stricken with Leprosy
When Elisha confronted Gehazi about where he went, Gehazi lied and said that he hadn't gone anywhere. Elisha told him that he was present in spirit when Naaman jumped down from his chariot to wait for him, and asked Gehazi, “Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?” (2 Kings 5:26). Elisha told Gehazi that because of his actions, he would now have Naaman's leprosy, and so would the generations of his family, forever.
Elisha must have acquired a great spiritual power from the Divine, and perhaps also from his teacher, the prophet Elijah. After the death of Elijah, Elisha worked many miracles during his lifetime. The Bible contains a story about how a dead man had been cast into the grave of Elisha, but as soon as the body came into contact with the prophet's remains, the dead man returned to life and stood up (2 Kings 13:21).