12 Mon Mar 2007
2 Kings 5:1-15b
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naamanâ€™s wife. She said to her mistress, â€œIf only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.â€ So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, â€œGo then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.â€ He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, â€œWhen this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.â€ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, â€œAm I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.â€ But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, â€œWhy have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.â€
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elishaâ€™s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, â€œGo, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.â€ But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, â€œI thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?â€ He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, â€œFather, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, â€˜Wash, and be cleanâ€™?â€ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, â€œNow I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.â€
And he said, â€œTruly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophetâ€™s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.â€ When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.