2 Kings 5:26
And he said to him, Went not my heart with you, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive groves, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Went not mine heart . . . meet thee?—Rather, Nor did my heart (i.e., consciousness) go away, when a man turned (and alighted) from his chariot to meet thee. The prophet, in severe irony, adopts Gehazi’s own phrase: Maurer, “Non abierat animus meus;” “I was there in spirit, and witnessed everything.” The sentence has given the commentators much trouble. (See the elaborate Note in Thenius. We might have expected wĕlô, and w may have been omitted, owing to the preceding w; but it is not absolutely necessary.) The Authorised Version follows the LXX. (Vat.), which supplies the expression “with thee” (μετὰ σοῦ̑), wanting in the Hebrew text. The Targum paraphrases: “By the spirit of prophecy I was informed when the man turned,” &c. The Syriac follows with, “My heart informed me when the man turned,” &c.

Is it a time to receive.—Comp. Ecclesiastes 3:2, seq. The LXX., pointing the Hebrew differently, reads: καὶ νῦν ἔλαβες τὸ ἀργύριον καὶ νῦν ἔλαβες τὰ ἱμάτια καὶ. (“And now thou receivedst the money,” &c.). So also the Vulg. and Arabic, but not the Targum and Syriac. Böttcher, retaining the interrogative particle of the Hebrew, adopts this: “Didst thou then take the money?” &c. But the Masoretic pointing appears to be much more suitable. The prophet’s question comes to this: “Was that above all others a proper occasion for yielding to your desire of gain, when you were dealing with a heathen? Ought you not to have been studiously disinterested in your behaviour to such an one, that he might learn not to confound the prophets of Jehovah with the mercenary diviners and soothsayers of the false gods?” The prophet’s disciple is bound, like his master, to seek, not worldly power, but spiritual; for the time is one of ardent struggle against the encroachments of paganism.

And oliveyards . . . maidservants?—The prophet develops Gehazi’s object in asking for the money: he wished to purchase lands, and live stock, and slaves—whatever constituted the material wealth of the time. The Targum inserts the explanatory: “And thou thoughtest in thy heart to purchase oliveyards,” &c. So Vulg.: “ut emas oliveta.”

2 Kings 5:26. Went not my heart with thee? &c. — Was not I present with thee in mind, when the man, &c. Is it a time to receive money? &c. — Was this a fit season for this action? I had but just refused his gifts, and that obstinately, for important reasons; and now thou hast given him cause to think that this was done in mere vain-glory, and that I inwardly desired, and sought only a fitter place and opportunity, to take secretly in private what I refused in public; thus bringing reproach on our religion, and on the God we worship. And olive-yards, &c. — Which Gehazi intended to purchase with this money; and therefore the prophet names them, to inform him that he exactly knew, not only his outward actions, but even his most secret intentions. What a folly is it to presume upon sin in hopes of secrecy! When thou goest aside into any by-path, doth not thy own conscience go with thee? Nay, doth not the eye of God go with thee? What then avails the absence of human witnesses?5:20-27 Naaman, a Syrian, a courtier, a soldier, had many servants, and we read how wise and good they were. Elisha, a holy prophet, a man of God, has but one servant, and he proves a base liar. The love of money, that root of all evil, was at the bottom of Gehazi's sin. He thought to impose upon the prophet, but soon found that the Spirit of prophecy could not be deceived, and that it was in vain to lie to the Holy Ghost. It is folly to presume upon sin, in hopes of secrecy. When thou goest aside into any by-path, does not thy own conscience go with thee? Does not the eye of God go with thee? He that covers his sin, shall not prosper; particularly, a lying tongue is but for a moment. All the foolish hopes and contrivances of carnal worldlings are open before God. It is not a time to increase our wealth, when we can only do it in such ways as are dishonourable to God and religion, or injurious to others. Gehazi was punished. If he will have Naaman's money, he shall have his disease with it. What was Gehazi profited, though he gained two talents, when thereby he lost his health, his honour, his peace, his service, and, if repentance prevented not, his soul for ever? Let us beware of hypocrisy and covetousness, and dread the curse of spiritual leprosy remaining on our souls.Went not mine heart with thee? - i. e. "Was I not with thee in spirit - did I not see the whole transaction, as if I had been present at it?" He uses the verb "went," because Gehazi has just denied his "going."

Is it a time ... - i. e. "Was this a proper occasion to indulge greed, when a Gentile was to be favorably impressed, and made to feel that the faith of the Israelites was the only true religion? Was it not, on the contrary, an occasion for the exhibition of the greatest unselfishness, that so a pagan might be won to the truth?"

And oliveyards and vineyards ... - Gehazi's thoughts had probably run on to the disposition which he would make of his wealth, and the prophet here follows them, enumerating his servant's intended purchases.

23. in two bags—People in the East, when travelling, have their money, in certain sums, put up in bags. Went not mine heart with thee? did not my mind. being enlightened by God’s Spirit, discern what thou saidst and didst?

Is it a time? was this a fit season for this action? I had but newly and obstinately refused his gifts, for great reasons; of which See Poole "2 Kings 5:16"; and now thou hast given him cause to think that I was a cursed and wicked impostor, who vain-gloriously refused in public what I inwardly and greedily desired, and sought only a fitter place and opportunity to take; and that all our religion is but an imposture; and that the God who owns such a vile wretch for his prophet, as thou hast represented me to him, is not so holy and righteous as we pretend.

Garments, and oliveyards, & c.; which Gehazi intended to purchase with this money; and therefore the prophet names them, to inform him that he exactly knew by Divine inspiration, not only Gehazi’s outward actions, but even his most secret intentions. And he said unto him, went not mine heart with thee?.... Did my heart or knowledge go from me, that what thou hast done should be hid from me? so Ben Gersom and others; or my heart did not go with thee, it was contrary to my mind and will what thou didst; so Abendana; or rather, as the Targum, by a spirit of prophecy it was shown unto me, &c. I knew full well what thou wentest for, and hast done; and so Maimonides (y); was not I employed in my thoughts? or, did I not think that so it was as thou hast done? I:did:

when the man turned again from chariot to meet thee? meaning Naaman the Syrian:

is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments: as Gehazi had now done:

and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? that is, to purchase those with the two talents of silver he had received, as he thought in his heart, or intended to do, as the Targum; or had given orders to purchase such for him to the persons to whom he had committed the care of them in the tower; this was not a proper time, when the honour of the prophet, and the credit of religion, and the good of this man, as a new proselyte, were in danger thereby.

(y) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 39.

And he said unto him, {n} Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and {o} oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

(n) Was I not present with you in spirit?

(o) That is, money to buy possessions with: meaning that it is detestable in the servants of God to have covetous minds.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. Went not mine heart with thee] The Hebrew has nothing to represent the last two words, as will be seen from the italics both of A.V. and R.V. But the rendering is that of the LXX., and is probably correct. The verb takes up that which Gehazi had used, ‘Thy servant went no whither’. On a former occasion Elisha in Gehazi’s presence (2 Kings 4:27) had said of some event ‘the Lord hath not told me’, but now he finds that in spirit his master had been with him, and was aware of all that had occurred.

Is it a time to receive money] The opportunity of Naaman’s visit had been used by Elisha to direct the thoughts of the heathen officer to Jehovah alone as the healer of his disease. Hence he had never shewn himself to Naaman till the cure was complete, and had steadily refused any present lest it should be thought that he deemed himself in any way instrumental in the recovery. Such conduct must have impressed Naaman greatly, and now Gehazi has done his best to obliterate the impression. In the enumeration of all the grand possessions which the ill-gotten talents were to purchase Elisha shews Gehazi that he has been reading all his thoughts.Verse 26. - And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee? There is no "with thee" in the original; and the words have been taken in quite a different sense. Ewald regards לבִּי, "my heart," as designating Gehazi, and meaning "my loved one, my favorite disciple." "Thou hast denied that thou wentest any whither; but did not my favorite disciple in truth go forth, when the man turned again from his chariot, as Naaman did?" (ver. 21). But no parallel instance can be adduced of any such use of לִבִּי, which is altogether too strong a term to be applied to a mere favorite servant. The irony, moreover, of the term under the circumstances would be too great. Maurer's interpretation of לִבִּי by "my prophetic power" (my prophetic power had not departed from me) is no better, since it requires חָֹלַך to be taken in two different senses in the two most closely connected clauses of vers. 25 and 26. Altogether, our version would seem to be the best rendering that has been suggested. It accords with the Septuagint, with Theodoret, and with the Vulgate; and it gives a satisfactory sense: "Did not my spirit go forth with thee when thou wentest forth, etc.? Was I not present in spirit during the whole transaction?" When the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? (see ver. 21). Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The prophet follows Gehazi's thoughts, which had been to purchase, with the money obtained from Naaman, olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, etc.; and asks - Was this a time for such proceedings? Keil well explains, "Was this the time, when so many hypocrites pretend to be prophets from selfishness and avarice, and bring the prophetic office into contempt with unbelievers, for a servant of the true God to take money and goods from a non-Israelite... that he might acquire property and luxury for himself?" It was evidently a most unfit time. As Thenius says, "In any other case better than in this mightest thou have yielded to thy desire for gold and goods." Punishment of Gehazi. - 2 Kings 5:20-22. When Naaman had gone a stretch of the way (ארץ כּברת, 2 Kings 5:19; see at Genesis 35:16), there arose in Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the desire for a portion of the presents of the Syrian which his master had refused (אם כּי יי חי, as truly as Jehovah liveth, assuredly I run after him; אם כּי as in 1 Samuel 25:34). He therefore hastened after him; and as Naaman no sooner saw Gehazi running after him than he sprang quickly down from his chariot in reverential gratitude to the prophet (יפּל as in Genesis 24:64), he asked in the name of Elisha for a talent of silver and two changes of raiment, professedly for two poor pupils of the prophets, who had come to the prophet from Mount Ephraim.
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