2 Kings 5:11
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
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(11) But (and) Naaman was wroth.—Because, as his words show, he thought he was mocked by the prophet.

I thought.—I said to myself.

Strike his hand.—Rather, wave his hand towards the place. (Comp. Isaiah 10:15; Isaiah 11:15.) He would not touch the unclean place.

Recover the leper.—Or, take away the leprous (part). So Thenius; but everywhere else měçōrā‘ means “leprous man,” “leper” (Leviticus 14:2).

2 Kings 5:11. Naaman was wroth — Supposing himself to be despised and insulted by the prophet. And said, Behold I thought, &c. — Herein he gives us an example of the perverseness of mankind, who are prone to prefer their own fancies to God’s appointments. Big with the expectations of a cure, he had been imagining how this cure would be wrought: and the scheme he had devised was this: He will surely come out to me — That is the least he can do to me, a peer of Syria; to me, who am come to him in all this state, with my horses, chariot, and retinue; to me, who have so often been victorious over the armies of Israel. And stand and call on the name of his God — On my behalf. And strike his hand over the place — Wave it over the afflicted part, where the leprosy is: without which it seemed ridiculous to him to expect a cure.

5:9-14 Elisha knew Naaman to be a proud man, and he would let him know, that before the great God all men stand upon the same level. All God's commands make trial of men's spirits, especially those which direct a sinner how to apply for the blessings of salvation. See in Naaman the folly of pride; a cure will not content him, unless he be cured with pomp and parade. He scorns to be healed, unless he be humoured. The way by which a sinner is received and made holy, through the blood, and by the Spirit of Christ, through faith alone in his name, does not sufficiently humour or employ self, to please the sinner's heart. Human wisdom thinks it can supply wiser and better methods of cleansing. Observe, masters should be willing to hear reason. As we should be deaf to the counsel of the ungodly, though given by great and respected names, so we are to have our ears open to good advice, though brought by those below us. Wouldst thou not do any thing? When diseased sinners are content to do any thing, to submit to any thing, to part with any thing, for a cure, then, and not till then, is there any hope of them. The methods for the healing of the leprosy of sin, are so plain, that we are without excuse if we do not observe them. It is but, Believe, and be saved; Repent, and be pardoned; Wash, and be clean. The believer applies for salvation, not neglecting, altering, or adding to the Saviour's directions; he is thus made clean from guilt, while others, who neglect them, live and die in the leprosy of sin.He will surely come out to me - In the East a code of unwritten laws prescribes exactly how visits are to be paid, and how visitors are to be received, according to the worldly rank of the parties (compare 2 Kings 5:21). No doubt, according to such a code, Elisha should have gone out to meet Naaman at the door of his house.

And call on the name of the Lord his God - literally, "of Yahweh his God." Naaman is aware that Yahweh is the God of Elisha. Compare the occurrence of the name of Yahweh on the "Moabite Stone" (2 Kings 3:4 note).

Strike - Better, as in the margin, "pass the fingers up and down the place" at a short distance. It seems implied that the leprosy was partial.

11. strike his hand over the place—that is, wave it over the diseased parts of his body. It was anciently, and still continues to be, a very prevalent superstition in the East that the hand of a king, or person of great reputed sanctity, touching, or waved over a sore, will heal it. Naaman was wroth; supposing himself despised and mocked by the prophet. Herein he gives an example of the perverseness of mankind, who are apt to prefer their own fancies before God’s appointments.

Over the place; over or upon the affected part where the leprosy is, without which it seemed to him ridiculous to expect a cure.

But Naaman was wroth with him,.... On more accounts than one:

and went away; not to Jordan, but from the prophet's house, with an intention to return to his own country:

behold, I thought, he will surely come out to me this he said within himself, making no doubt of it but that he would show him so much respect and civility as to come out of his house to him, and converse with him, or invite him into it and not doing this was one thing made him wroth: and stand; he supposed that he would not only come out, but stand before him, as inferiors before their superiors in reverence, but instead of that he remained sitting within doors:

and call on the name of the Lord his God: he expected, that as he was a prophet of the Lord, that he would have prayed to him for the cure of him:

and strike his hand over the place; wave his hand to and fro, as the word signifies, over the place of the leprosy, as the Targum, over the place affected with it; or towards the place where he worshipped the Lord, as Ben Gersom, toward the temple at Jerusalem; or towards Jordan, the place where he bid him go and wash, as Abarbinel; but the first sense seems best: "and recover the leper"; meaning himself, heal him by the use of such means and rites.

But Naaman was {f} wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

(f) Man's reason murmurs when it considers only the signs and outward things, and has no regard for the word of God, which is contained there.

11. But Naaman was wroth] He had expected that his wish would have been accomplished at once, and that more display would have been made over a case like his. The God of Israel would receive some credit for the cure of the Syrian commander. And was he to be sent off in this way, without any parade or notice, to wash in the muddy waters of the Jordan?

Behold, I thought] Literally ‘I said unto myself’. The same verb is rendered ‘thought’ in Genesis 20:11; Numbers 24:11; Ruth 4:4, &c.

and strike [R.V. wave] his hand over the place] The verb is the one so constantly used to describe the manner of the wave-offering (Exodus 29:24; Exodus 29:26; Leviticus 9:21; Leviticus 14:12; Leviticus 14:24). It is also used of waving the hand as a signal (Isaiah 10:32; Isaiah 13:2), or in anger (Zechariah 2:9). Naaman’s notion seems to have been that Elisha would rub his hand backward and forward, over the affected parts; or perhaps make passes over them.

Verse 11. - But Naaman was wroth... and said. Not unnaturally. As a "great man," the lord on whose arm the king leant, and the captain of the host of Syria, Naaman was accustomed to extreme deference, and all the outward tokens of respect and reverence. He had, moreover, come with a goodly train, carrying gold and silver and rich stuffs, manifestly prepared to pay largely for whatever benefit he might receive. To be curtly told, "Go, wash in Jordan," by the prophet's servant, without the prophet himself condescending to make himself visible, would have been trying to any Oriental's temper, and to one of Naaman's rank and position might well seem an insult. The Syrian general had pictured to himself a very different scene. Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the Name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper; rather, take away the leprosy (ἀποσυνάξει τὸ λεπρόν, LXX.). Naaman had imagined a striking scene, whereof he was to be the central figure, the prophet descending, with perhaps a wand of office, the attendants drawn up on either side, the passers-by standing to gaze - a solemn invocation of the Deity, a waving to and fro of the wand in the prophet's hand, and a sudden manifest cure, wrought in the open street of the city, before the eyes of men, and at once noised abroad through the capital, so as to make him "the observed of all observers, the cynosure of all neighboring eyes." Instead of this, he is bidden to go as he came, to ride twenty miles to the stream of the Jordan, generally muddy, or at least discolored, and there to wash himself, with none to look on but his own attendants, with no eclat, no pomp or circumstance, no glory of surroundings. It is not surprising that he was disappointed and vexed. 2 Kings 5:11When Naaman stopped with his horses and chariot before the house of Elisha, the prophet sent a messenger out to him to say, "Go and wash thyself seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh will return to thee, i.e., become sound, and thou wilt be clean." ישׁב, return, inasmuch as the flesh had been changed through the leprosy into festering matter and putrefaction. The reason why Elisha did not go out to Naaman himself, is not to be sought for in the legal prohibition of intercourse with lepers, as Ephraem Syrus and many others suppose, nor in his fear of the leper, as Thenius thinks, nor even in the wish to magnify the miracle in the eyes of Naaman, as C. a Lapide imagines, but simply in Naaman's state of mind. This is evident from his exclamation concerning the way in which he was treated. Enraged at his treatment, he said to his servant (2 Kings 5:11, 2 Kings 5:12): "I thought, he will come out to me and stand and call upon the name of Jehovah his God, and go with his hand over the place (i.e., move his hand to and fro over the diseased places), and take away the leprosy." המּצורע, the leprous equals the disease of leprosy, the scabs and ulcers of leprosy. "Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? (for the combination of טּוב with נהרות, see Ewald, 174f.) Should I not bathe in them, and become clean?" With these words he turned back, going away in a rage. Naaman had been greatly strengthened in the pride, which is innate in every natural man, by the exalted position which he held in the state, and in which every one bowed before him, and served him in the most reverential manner, with the exception of his lord the king; and he was therefore to receive a salutary lesson of humiliation, and at the same time was also to learn that he owed his cure not to any magic touch from the prophet, but solely to the power of God working through him. - Of the two rivers of Damascus, Abana or Amana (the reading of the Keri with the interchange of the labials ב and מ, see Sol 4:8) is no doubt the present Barada or Barady (Arab. brd, i.e., the cold river), the Chrysorrhoas (Strabo, xvi. p. 755; Plin. h. n. 18 or 16), which rises in the table-land to the south of Zebedany, and flows through this city itself, and then dividing into two arms, enters two small lakes about 4 3/4 hours to the east of the city. The Pharpar is probably the only other independent river of any importance in the district of Damascus, namely, the Avaj, which arises from the union of several brooks around Sa'sa', and flows through the plain to the south of Damascus into the lake Heijny (see Rob. Bibl. Researches, p. 444). The water of the Barada is beautiful, clear and transparent (Rob.), whereas the water of the Jordan is turbid, "of a clayey colour" (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 256); and therefore Naaman might very naturally think that his own native rivers were better than the Jordan.
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