But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD lives, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Said—i.e., thought.
This Syrian.—He justifies his purpose on the principle of “spoiling the Egyptians.”
But, as the Lord liveth, I will run.—Rather, by the life of Jehovah, but I will run. (Comp. Note on 2Kings 4:30.)2 Kings 5:20. Gehazi, the servant of Elisha — One would have expected that Elisha’s servant should have been a saint; but we find him far otherwise. The best men, the best ministers, have often had those about them that were their grief and shame. My master hath spared this Syrian — A stranger, and one of that nation who are the implacable enemies of God’s people. As the Lord liveth — He swears, that he might have some pretence for the action to which he had bound himself by his oath; not considering, that to swear to do any wicked action, is so far from excusing it, that it makes it much worse.
As the Lord liveth - These words are here a profane oath. Gehazi, anxious to make himself believe that he is acting in a proper, and, even, in a religions spirit, does not scruple to introduce one of the most solemn of religious phrases.
20-25. I will run after him, and take somewhat of him—The respectful courtesy to Elisha, shown in the person of his servant, and the open-handed liberality of his gifts, attest the fulness of Naaman's gratitude; while the lie—the artful management is dismissing the bearers of the treasure, and the deceitful appearance before his master, as if he had not left the house—give a most unfavorable impression of Gehazi's character.Naaman this Syrian; a stranger, and one of that nation who are the implacable enemies of God’s people; whom therefore my master should not have had so much regard to as to the Lord’s prophets, who before deserved and more needed the money which he offered than Naaman himself did.
As the Lord liveth; he swears, that he might have some pretence for the action to which he had bound himself by his oath, not considering that to swear to do any wicked action is so far from excusing it, that it makes it much worse.
behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: he speaks contemptibly of Naaman, as an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and reproaches his master for letting him go free, without paying for his cure; when he thought he should have taken what he brought and offered, and given it to needy Israelites, and especially to the sons of the prophets, that wanted it; and perhaps it mostly disturbed him, that he had no share of it himself:
but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him; the word for "somewhat", wanting a letter usually in it, is what is sometimes used for a blot; and Jarchi observes, that Gehazi taking something from Naaman, was a blot unto him, and indeed such an one that he could not wipe off.But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20–27. Gehazi’s lies and their punishment (Not in Chronicles)
20. hath spared Naaman this Syrian] R.V. this Naaman the Syrian. The pronoun qualifies the whole expression. Gehazi had been in attendance on Elisha, and heard the whole conversation. There seems to have been no need for an interpreter. The dialects of the whole country were no doubt much akin, and the people could readily understand each other.
as the Lord liveth] How little the words meant for Gehazi we can see, when they come to his lips amid his thoughts of the deceit he is meditating. They had a different force when Elisha used them, in verse 16.Verse 20. - But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said (see 2 Kings 4:12-36 for the position held towards Elisha by Gehazi), Behold, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian. Gehazi either honestly thinks, or at least persuades himself, that a Syrian ought to be, not spared, but spoiled, as being a foreigner and an enemy. In not receiving at his hands that which he brought (see ver. 5). Gehazi may not have known how much it was, but he had seen the laden animals, and rightly concluded that the value was great. But, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. "As the Lord liveth" seems a strange phrase in the mouth of one who is bent on lying and on stealing. But experience teaches us that religious formulae do drop from the lips of persons engaged in equally indefensible proceedings. This is partly because formulae by frequent use become mere forms, to which the utterer attaches no meaning; partly because men blind themselves to the wrongfulness of their actions, and find some excuse or other for any course of conduct by which they hope to profit. 2 Kings 5:10) like the flesh of a little boy. Seven times, to show that the healing was a work of God, for seven is the stamp of the works of God.
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