2 Kings 5:13
And his servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing, would you not have done it? how much rather then, when he said to you, Wash, and be clean?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Came near.—Comp. Genesis 18:23.

My father.—A title implying at once respect and affection. (Comp. 1Samuel 24:11; 2Kings 6:21.) Perhaps, however, the word is a corruption of ’im (“if”), which is otherwise not expressed in the Hebrew.

Great thing.—Emphatic in the Hebrew.

Wouldest thou not have done?—Or,wouldest thou not do?

He saith.—He hath said.

Be clean?i.e., thou shalt be clean: a common Hebrew idiom.

2 Kings 5:13. His servants came near–Though at other times they kept their distance, and now saw him in a passion, yet knowing him to be a man that would hear reason at any time, and from any one, they drew near, and made bold to argue the matter with him. Happy they who have such servants as these, who both had the courage to speak the truth, and prudence to order their speech with skill, submission, and reverence. My father — Or, our father; a title of honour in that country, and a name by which they called their lords, as kings are called the fathers of their people. They use it to show their reverence and affection for him. If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing — Had ordered thee into a tedious course of physic, or enjoined thee to submit to some painful operation, suppose blistering, or cupping, or salivating, wouldst thou not have done it? No doubt thou wouldst. And wilt thou not submit to so easy a method as this, Wash and be clean? It appears they had conceived a great opinion of the prophet, having probably heard more of him from the common people, whom they had conversed with, than Naaman had from the king and courtiers.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.The Abana is the Barada, or true river of Damascus, which, rising in the anti-Libanus, flows westward from its foot and forms the oasis within which Damascus is placed. The Pharpar is usually identified with the Awaaj.

Naaman thinks that, if washing is to cure him, his own rivers may serve the purpose. Their water was brighter, clearer, and colder than that of Jordan.

12. Abana and Pharpar—the Barrady and one of its five tributaries—uncertain which. The waters of Damascus are still highly extolled by their inhabitants for their purity and coldness. My father; or, our father; so they call him, both to show their reverence and affection to him, and to mitigate his exasperated mind. And his servant came near, and spake unto him, and said, my father,.... Or my lord, as the Targum; this being not a familiar and affectionate expression, but a term of honour, reverence, and submission:

if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? something that was hard and difficult to done, or painful to bear, to go through some severe operation, or disagreeable course of physic:

how much rather then when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean? which is so easy to be done; though Abarbinel observes it may be interpreted, the prophet has bid thee do a great thing, and which is wonderful; for though he has said, wash and be clean, consider it a great thing, and which is a wonderful mystery, and therefore do not despise his cure.

And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, {g} My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

(g) This declares that servants should reverence and love their masters as children their fathers, and likewise masters toward their servants, must be affectioned as toward their children.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. his servants came near] As the chief ministers of the king are called ‘servants’ though they probably are of distinguished rank; so the servants of Naaman were probably persons nearly his equals in everything except reputation, and so they could come and speak freely to him, without fear of giving offence.

My father] One of them of course was spokesman for the rest. There is no other instance where servants address their master in such terms. Elisha’s exclamation when Elijah was taken away from him does not come into comparison. Joseph says (Genesis 45:8) that God has made him a father to Pharaoh, but this is not quite the same sort of relationship. The word however, which because it is unusual some have endeavoured to explain as a corruption, indicates the affectionate relations which existed between Naaman and those about him, and prepares us for his ready listening to their persuasion.

some great thing] They are thinking perhaps of some deed of prowess, befitting the ‘mighty man of valour’, or some fatiguing journey by way of pilgrimage.Verse 13. - And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father. Naaman's attendants did not share his indignation, or, if they did, since servants in the East are apt to be jealous of their masters' honor, had their feelings more under control; and they therefore inter-feted with mild words, anxious to pacify him, and persuade him to follow the prophet's advice. "My father" is a deferential and, at the same time, an affectionate address, not unnatural in the mouth of a confidential servant (comp. 2 Kings 2:12). There is thus no need of any alteration of the text, such as Ewald (לו for אָבִי) or Thenius (אִם for אָבִי) proposes. It must be admitted, however, that the LXX. seem to have had לו in their copies. If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing - "had set thee," i.e., "some difficult task" - wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, [shouldest thou perform his behest] when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? The reasoning was unanswerable, and took effect. Naaman was persuaded. When the king of Israel (Joram) received the letter of the Syrian king on Naaman's arrival, and read therein that he was to cure Naaman of his leprosy (ועתּה, and now, - showing in the letter the transition to the main point, which is the only thing communicated here; cf. Ewald, 353, b.), he rent his clothes in alarm, and exclaimed, "Am I God, to be able to kill and make alive?" i.e., am I omnipotent like God? (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6); "for he sends to me to cure a man of his leprosy." The words of the letter ואספתּו, "so cure him," were certainly not so insolent in their meaning as Joram supposed, but simply meant: have him cured, as thou hast a wonder-working prophet; the Syrian king imagining, according to his heathen notions of priests and gotes, that Joram could do what he liked with his prophets and their miraculous powers. There was no ground, therefore, for the suspicion which Joram expressed: "for only observe and see, that he seeks occasion against me." התאנּה to seek occasion, sc. for a quarrel (cf. Judges 14:4).
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