2 Kings Chapter 5  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: 2 Kings 5
2Ki 5:1

“commander of the army of the king of Syria.” This is the same phrase as in Joshua 5:14, where it says “the commander of the army of Yahweh.”

“lord.” The Hebrew uses a grammatical plural, “lords.”

“because by him Yahweh had given victory to Syria.” This is a wonderful and inclusive statement because it shows that Yahweh will help others besides just Israel. We don’t know a lot about the personal lives of the people of Syria and how godly or ungodly they were; they certainly worshiped idols. But they were not under a covenant to obey God. In any case, here we see Yahweh helping the Syrians in their battles.

“but he was a leper.” It is interesting that Naaman was a leper but in full service to the king and in the army. According to the Mosaic Law, that would never be allowed in Israel. Lepers were isolated.

2Ki 5:2

“and she became a servant to Naaman’s wife.” The Hebrew is idiomatic: “she was before Naaman’s wife.”

2Ki 5:3

“cure.” This is not the normal word for “heal.” It is the normal word for “gather,” and the girl likely means it in the sense of “taking away” the leprosy.

2Ki 5:4

“told his lord.” Naaman’s “lord” was the king of Syria, as per 2 Kings 5:5. This is a grammatical plural, “lords,” but it means “lord.”

“Thus and so.” This is an American idiom for the Hebrew idiom, “Like this and like this,” which is an idiom for just communicating the sense of the message. Naaman told the essence of what the girl said to his lord the king of Syria.

2Ki 5:5

“Go now.” That is, go to Israel.

“a letter to the king of Israel.” Naaman and the king did not understand that the king of Israel did not have the power of Yahweh to heal, but the prophet of Yahweh did if he had the revelation to do it.

“ten talents of silver and 6,000 shekels of gold.” That is roughly 750 pounds (340 kg) of silver, and 150 pounds (68 kg) of gold. The word “shekels” is not in the text with the word “gold,” but the shekel was a standard measure for gold and would have been used here, so there was roughly150 pounds (68 kg). The large amount of silver and gold shows how important a man Naaman was in the kingdom of Syria.

2Ki 5:6

“the king of Israel.” Jehoram was reigning over Israel at this time (cp. 2 Kings 3:6).

“saying.” It was the letter that was “saying,” but the text assumes the reader understands that.

“cure.” See commentary 2 Kings 5:3.

2Ki 5:7(top)
2Ki 5:8(top)
2Ki 5:9(top)
2Ki 5:10(top)
2Ki 5:11

“I thought.” Many times what we think God will do stops us from receiving what God wants to do for us. That was almost the case with Naaman, but thankfully the officers in his army intervened.

“come out, yes, come out.” The verb is repeated twice for emphasis in the figure of speech polyptoton (see commentary on Gen. 2:16).

“the leper.” Naaman refers to himself in the third person.

2Ki 5:12

“Abanah.” A river that flows down from the anti-Lebanon mountains through Damascus. The modern name is the Barada River.

“Pharpar.” A river that flows down from the anti-Lebanon to just south of Damascus. The modern name is the Awaj.

2Ki 5:13

“his servants.” In this context, Naaman’s “servants” are the officers under him, just as earlier in the chapter Naaman himself was called the “servant” of the king of Syria.

my father.” Here used as “mentor” and “guide.” [For more information on the uses of “father” in the Bible, see commentary on Genesis 4:20. For information on the disciples of a Rabbi being called his “sons,” see commentary on Matthew 12:27. For information on the disciples of a Rabbi being called “orphans” if the Rabbi died or left the area, see commentary on John 14:18, “orphans”].

2Ki 5:14

“seven times.” The revelation of the man of God was to wash seven times. Naaman would not have been healed until his obedience was complete. He was not a little healed the first time he dipped, and a little more the second time. He was not healed at all until he dipped the seventh time, then he came up totally healed. Expect God’s promises to be fulfilled when we have fully obeyed Him. Jesus referred to this healing in Luke 4:27.

2Ki 5:15

“stood before him.” Elisha was likely sitting. That Naaman stood before him showed respect and recognition of one of higher authority.

“a gift.” The Hebrew is literally “a blessing,” but it is used idiomatically for a gift.

2Ki 5:16

“before whom I stand.” Naaman stood before Elisha, but Elisha stood before God, the ultimate authority. In this context, “before whom I stand” means “whom I serve.”

“he urged him to take it.” Naaman would have been embarrassed to return to Syria without giving something for the healing he received, so he would have seriously urged Elisha to take it all, or at least something, but Elisha stood firm and took nothing.

2Ki 5:17

“two muleloads of dirt​.” The belief at the time was that the various gods lived in specific places on earth. That is why when Jonah got a revelation from Yahweh he did not want to obey, he left Israel. Jonah thought that by leaving the land of Israel he could get away from Yahweh. In contrast, Naaman wanted to worship Yahweh, but how could he do that in Syria? The answer was to take some of the land of Israel back with him to Syria and worship Yahweh on the dirt from Israel. [For more on people believing that different gods lived in different places on earth, see commentary on 1 Kings 20:23].

2Ki 5:18

“the house of Rimmon.” That is, the temple of Rimmon. The god Rimmon is the same as the Syrian god Hadad (cp. Zech. 12:11).

“worship...bow down...bow down.” The Hebrew word translated both “worship” and “bow down” in this verse is shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה).” Shachah is translated as both “bow down” and “worship;” traditionally “worship” if God is involved and “bow down” if people are involved, but the verb and action are the same, the act of bowing down is the worship. The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body and face to the earth. It is important to understand that “worship” in this context is to bow down, but bowing down does not indicate the posture of the heart. Many hypocritical Israelite kings bowed down like they were worshiping but had no intention of obeying God. This verse could, and even perhaps should, be translated, “when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there and he leans on my hand and I worship in the house of Rimmon. When I worship in the house of Rimmon, may Yahweh pardon your servant in this thing.” A translation like that would help Bible students see that it was not the vocabulary word “worship” that made the worship sincere or just a motion without sincerity, but it was the posture of the heart that determined whether there was real “worship” or not. The act—the bowing down—could be done sincerely or insincerely, and it is up to the reader to be sensitive to the context and determine the posture of the heart of the person who bowed down. English versions differ in how they translate 2 Kings 5:18. There are some that have “bow down” in all three places (cp. NIV), but very few if any that have “worship” in all three places. Most have “worship” for the king of Syria but “bow down” for Naaman, trying to show that the king of Syria did worship but Naaman only bowed down without actually mentally worshiping.

[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20].

2Ki 5:19

“a little way.” This phrase only occurs here and in association with the burial of Rachel (Gen. 35:16; 48:7).

2Ki 5:20

“said.” That is, said to himself.

2Ki 5:21

“got down.” The Hebrew is literally, “fell down,” and has the implication that Naaman got down quickly.

2Ki 5:22(top)
2Ki 5:23(top)
2Ki 5:24

“fortified part of the city.” The Hebrew word is ophel (#06076 עֹפֶל), and it has a range of meanings that include a hill, mound, fort, stronghold, and citadel. Although most English versions read “hill,” other English versions have “elevated fortress” (CEB); “tower” (KJV); and “citadel” (NKJ, NLT; NRSV). In the Bible and other literature from the ancient Near East there is an ophel in Samaria, the capital of Israel; in Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, and in Dibon (cp. the Moabite Stone). The noted Jewish archaeologist Yigael Shiloh, defined ophel as an urban architectural term denoting the outstanding site of the citadel or acropolis” (M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, The Anchor Yale Bible, II Kings, p. 66).

It makes sense that Elisha would live in the fortified part of his city, and that Gehazi would have the Syrian men put down their loads and Gehazi take them from that point on. If Syrian soldiers went into the fortified part of the city, word of that would get around and uncomfortable questions would be asked.

“and they departed.” The servants of Naaman who carried the silver and garments left to go back and rejoin Naaman as he traveled back to Syria.

2Ki 5:25

“lord.” The Hebrew is a grammatical plural, “lords,” but it refers to Elisha.

“Your servant did not go anywhere.” The Hebrew is more literally, “Your servant went neither here nor there.”

2Ki 5:26

“and olive groves and vineyards, and sheep and cattle.” These would have been purchased with the silver.

2Ki 5:27(top)

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