2 Kings 5:1
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
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(1) Now.—The construction implies a break between this narrative and the preceding. Whether the events related belong to the time of Jehoram or of the dynasty of Jehu is not clear. Evidently it was a time of peace between Israel and Syria.

Naaman (beauty).—A title of the sun-god. (See Note on Isaiah 17:10.)

A great man with his master.—Literally, before his lord. (Comp. Genesis 10:9.)

Honourable.—In special favour. Literally, lifted up of face. (Comp. 2Kings 3:14, Note; Isaiah 3:3.)

By him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria.—Notice the high prophetic view that it is Jehovah, not Hadad or Rimmon, who gives victory to Syria as well as Israel. (Comp. Amos 9:7.) It is natural to think of the battle in which Ahab received his mortal wound (1Kings 22:30, seq.). The Midrash makes Naaman the man who “drew the bow at a venture” on that occasion. The “deliverance” was victory over Israel.

He was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.—Literally, and the man was a brave warrior, stricken with leprosy. His leprosy need not have been so severe as to incapacitate him for military duties. The victor over Israel is represented as a leper who has to seek, and finds, his only help in Israel (Thenius).

2 Kings 5:1. Naaman — was a great man with his master — In great power and favour with the king of Syria; and honourable — Highly esteemed, both for his quality and success; because the Lord by him had given deliverance unto Syria — He had been victorious in such battles as he had fought, which coming to pass through the permission or appointment of the Divine Providence, the sacred writer would have the Israelites to look upon it as the Lord’s doing. Let Israel know, that, when the Syrians prevailed, it was from the Lord. He gave them success in their wars, even with Israel, and for Israel’s chastisement. But he was a leper — This did not exclude him from the society of men in that country, where the Jewish law was not in force. But it was a great blemish upon him, and also likely to prove deadly; there being no cure for this disease, a disease very common in Syria.

5:1-8 Though the Syrians were idolaters, and oppressed God's people, yet the deliverance of which Naaman had been the means, is here ascribed to the Lord. Such is the correct language of Scripture, while those who write common history, plainly show that God is not in all their thoughts. No man's greatness, or honour, can place him our of the reach of the sorest calamities of human life: there is many a sickly, crazy body under rich and gay clothing. Every man has some but or other, something that blemishes and diminishes him, some allay to his grandeur, some damp to his joy. This little maid, though only a girl, could give an account of the famous prophet the Israelites had among them. Children should be early told of the wondrous works of God, that, wherever they go, they may talk of them. As became a good servant, she desired the health and welfare of her master, though she was a captive, a servant by force; much more should servants by choice, seek their masters' good. Servants may be blessings to the families where they are, by telling what they know of the glory of God, and the honour of his prophets. Naaman did not despise what she told, because of her meanness. It would be well if men were as sensible of the burden of sin as they are of bodily disease. And when they seek the blessings which the Lord sends in answer to the prayers of his faithful people, they will find nothing can be had, except they come as beggars for a free gift, not as lords to demand or purchase.By him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria - An Assyrian monarch had pushed his conquests as far as Syria exactly at this period, bringing into subjection all the kings of these parts. But Syria revolted after a few years and once more made herself independent. It was probably in this war of independence that Naaman had distinguished himself.

But he was a leper - leprosy admitted of various kinds and degrees Leviticus 13; 14 Some of the lighter forms would not incapacitate a man from discharging the duties of a courtier and warrior.


2Ki 5:1-7. Naaman's Leprosy.

1. Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master—highly esteemed for his military character and success.

and honourable—rather, "very rich."

but he was a leper—This leprosy, which, in Israel, would have excluded him from society, did not affect his free intercourse in the court of Syria.Naaman, by his captive maid’s report, goeth to Elisha to be cured of his leprosy, 2 Kings 5:1-9. Elisha sends to him a command to wash in Jordan: he is angry, and disdaineth it: his servants’ advice: he doth it, and is healed, 2 Kings 5:10-14. He returneth with gifts to Elisha, who refuseth them: he departs, 2 Kings 5:15-19. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, abusing his master’s name unto Naaman, taketh gifts from him: is smitten with leprosy, 2 Kings 5:20-27.

A great man with his master; in great power and favour with the king of Syria. Honourable; highly esteemed, both for his quality and success. By him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria; which expression he useth, partly to mind the Israelites that all the hurt they had from the Tyrians was from the Lord, who used them as his rod, and gave them the successes against Israel, which are recorded; and partly to check that proud conceit which then was working, and afterwards more fully discovered itself, in the Israelitish nation, as if the care, and providence, and goodness of God were wholly confined to themselves, and not imparted to any other people.

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria,.... The general of Benhadad's army; for he was now king of Syria, though some think Hazael his successor was:

was a great man with his master; high in his favour and esteem:

and honourable; not only acceptable to the king, and loaded with honours by him, but greatly respected by all ranks and degrees among the people:

because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria; out of the hands of their enemies, and victory over them, and particularly in the last battle with Israel, in which Ahab was slain, and, as the Jews suppose, by the hands of Naaman; see Gill on 1 Kings 22:34 however, when any salvation was wrought, or victory obtained, even by Heathens, and by them over Israel, the people of God, it was of the Lord:

he was also a mighty man in valour; a very courageous valiant man:

but he was a leper; was stricken with the leprosy, which had deformed and disgraced his person, and weakened his strength, and dispirited him; all his grandeur and honour could not protect him from this loathsome disease.

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given {a} deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

(a) Here it appears that among the infidels God has his, and also that the infidels esteem those who do good to their country.

Ch. 2 Kings 5:1-14. The cure of Naaman’s leprosy (Not in Chronicles)

1. honourable] An attempt is made by the LXX. to translate literally the Hebrew expression which is the same as in Isaiah 3:3. τεθαυμασμένος προσώπῳ, ‘admired in the eyes of’. The idea is the passive of ‘an acceptor of persons’. Hence ‘one accepted and acceptable’.

because by him the Lord had given deliverance] R.V. victory. That the Lord was the deliverer is the thought of the Jewish writer. The Syrians would have put the case differently. It is however a matter of interest to note that Jehovah was not regarded by the compiler of this narrative as exclusively the God of the Jews, nor the Gentiles thought to be beyond, or deprived of, His care. He helps them though they know Him not.

deliverance unto Syria] That Naaman was the man ‘who drew a bow at a venture’ and smote Ahab at Ramoth Gilead, and thus gained victory for Syria, is a conjecture of Jewish commentators for which there is not the smallest foundation. About this time the Assyrians invaded Syria and the countries round about, and it is not improbable that this was the war in which Naaman had gained his fame.

a mighty man in [R.V. of] valour] The phrase occurs many times, and nowhere but here is the preposition ‘in’ used, but always ‘of’. The disease with which Naaman was afflicted must have been of a less malignant character than leprosy mostly is, otherwise he would have been physically incapable of soldierly duties.

a leper] The laws of the Jews concerning the separation of lepers from the rest of the people are given in Leviticus 13, 14, and are extremely stringent. Clearly in Syria there were no such regulations, for Naaman goes with the host to war, returns and lives at home with his wife and the household, and attends on the king when he goes to worship in the house of Rimmon.

Verse 1. - Now Naaman, captain of the host of the King of Syria. The name "Naaman" is here found for the first time. It is thought to be derived from that of an Aramaean god (Ewald), and appears in the later Arabic under the form of Noman, in which shape it is familiar to the students of Arabian history. Benhadad, who had been wont in his youth and middle age to lead his armies into the field in person (1 Kings 20:1-20; 1 Kings 22:31; 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 103), seems now in his old age to have found it necessary to entrust the command to a general, and to have made Naaman captain of his host. Compare the similar practice (ibid., p. 101) of the Assyrian monarchs. Was a great man with his master, and honorable - rather, honored, or held in esteem (τεθαυμασμένος, LXX.) - because by him the Lord had given deliverance - literally, salvation, or safety (σωτηρίαν, LXX.) - unto Syria. Probably he had commanded the Syrian army in some of its encounters with the Assyrians, who at this time, under Shalmaneser II., were threatening the independence of Syria, but did not succeed in subjecting it. He was also a mighty man in valor - gibbor hail, commonly translated in our version by "mighty man of valor," does not mean much more than "a good soldier" - but he was a leper. Leprosy had many degrees. Some of the lighter kinds did not incapacitate a man for military service, or unfit him for the discharge of court duties (ver. 18). But there was always a danger that the lighter forms might develop into the severer ones. 2 Kings 5:1Curing of Naaman from Leprosy. - 2 Kings 5:1. Naaman, the commander-in-chief of the Syrian king, who was a very great man before his lord, i.e., who held a high place in the service of his king and was greatly distinguished (פּנים נשׂא, cf. Isaiah 3:3; Isaiah 9:14), because God had given the Syrians salvation (victory) through him, was as a warrior afflicted with leprosy. The ו has not dropped out before מצרע, nor has the copula been omitted for the purpose of sharpening the antithesis (Thenius), for the appeal to Ewald, 354, a., proves nothing, since the passages quoted there are of a totally different kind; but חיל גּבּור is a second predicate: the man was as a brave warrior leprous. There is an allusion here to the difference between the Syrians and the Israelites in their views of leprosy. Whereas in Israel lepers were excluded from human society (see at Leviticus 13 and 14), in Syria a man afflicted with leprosy could hold a very high state-office in the closest association with the king.
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