2 Kings 5:27
The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
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(27) Shall cleave.—Or, cleave! i.e., let it cleave. The prophetic sentence is naturally expressed as an imperative.

A leper as white as snow.—Comp. Exodus 4:6 Numbers 12:10. A sudden outbreak of leprosy may follow upon extreme fright or mortification (Michaelis).

Unto thy seed for ever.—Like other skin diseases, leprosy is hereditary. If it be thought that the sentence is too strong, it should be remembered that the prophet is really pronouncing inspired judgment upon the sin of Gehazi, and milder language might have produced erroneous impressions. Covetousness and lying are never spared in Scripture, and it is well for mankind that it is so. (Comp. Acts 5)

2 Kings 5:27. The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and thy seed for ever — That is, for some generations, as the expression is often used, and as may be thought by comparing this with Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:7. This was a sentence which Gehazi justly deserved, for his crime was aggravated by a greedy covetousness, which is idolatry, profanation of God’s name, a downright theft, in taking that to himself which was given for others, deliberate and impudent lying, a desperate contempt of God’s omnipotence, justice, and holiness, a horrible reproach cast upon the prophet and his religion, and a pernicious scandal given to Naaman, and every other Syrian who should chance to hear of it. We are taught from hence that God knows our sins, though committed in secret, and will punish them; and particularly that his wrath pursues, not only the unrighteous, but all those in general who are given to covetousness and dishonest gain; and that goods acquired by wicked means carry a curse with them, which often descends from parents to their children. He went out from his presence a leper as white as snow — Which is the worst kind of leprosy, and noted by physicians to be incurable. Those who get money by any way which is displeasing to God, make a dear purchase. What was Gehazi profited by the two talents of silver, when he lost his health, if not his soul, for ever?

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.

27. leper as white as snow—(See on [329]Le 13:3). This heavy infliction was not too severe for the crime of Gehazi. For it was not the covetousness alone that was punished; but, at the same time, it was the ill use made of the prophet's name to gain an object prompted by a mean covetousness, and the attempt to conceal it by lying [Keil]. And unto thy seed for ever, i.e. for some generations; or for a long time, as that word is oft used, and as may be thought by comparing this with Exodus 20:5 24:7.

He went out from his presence; being confounded with the sense of his guilt, and shame, and misery, and banished from the company of others by God’s law, Le 13 Le 14.

A leper as white as snow; which is the worst kind of leprosy, and noted by physicians to be incurable. See Exodus 4:6 Numbers 12:10 2 Chronicles 26:19,20. Nor was this punishment too severe for Gehazi’s wickedness, which was great and various; horrid covetousness, which is idolatry; the profanation of God’s name by a wicked oath; downright theft; deliberate and impudent lying, and that to a prophet, which was in a manner a lying to the Holy Ghost, like theirs, Acts 5:3; a desperate contempt of God’s omniscience, justice, and holiness; a horrible reproach fastened upon the prophet, and his religion; and a mischievous scandal given to Naaman and all other Syrians that might hear of it.

The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever,.... As long as any of his race remained; as through his covetousness he had his money, so for his punishment he should have his disease:

and he went out from his presence; as one ashamed and confounded, and discharged from his master's service:

a leper as white as snow; a leprosy of which colour is the worst, and is incurable.

The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy {p} seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

(p) To be an example to all, by whose covetousness God's word might be slandered.

27. The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee] ‘Oh heavy talents of Gehazi’, says Bishop Hall, ‘oh the horror of this one unchangeable suit … How much better had been a light purse and a homely coat, with a sound body and a clear soul’.

a leper as white as snow] Both here and elsewhere in this phrase, the words ‘as white’ are inserted to explain the comparison. Cf. Numbers 12:10. As the incrustation of leprosy is sometimes rather rose-coloured than white, it seems likely that the point of the comparison is not the whiteness only, but that likeness which it bears to a light downlike covering, as if the limbs had been sprinkled over in the manner, though not always with the colour, of snow.

Verse 27. - The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee; i.e. "As thou hast taken his goods, thou shalt also take his leprosy, which goes with them." A just Nemesis. And unto thy seed forever. The iniquity of the fathers is visited upon the children. Gehazi, however, could avoid this part of the curse by not marrying. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. There were many forms and degrees of leprosy (Leviticus 13:2-46). Gehazi's was of the most pronounced kind, And it fell on him suddenly, as her leprosy fell upon Miriam (Numbers 12:10), complete at once, so that there could he no further aggravation of it. The lesson should be taken to heart, and should be a warning to us, both against lying and against covetousness.

2 Kings 5:27"And let the leprosy of Naaman cleave to thee and to thy seed for ever." This punishment took effect immediately. Gehazi went out from Elisha covered with leprosy as if with snow (cf. Exodus 2 Kings Exodus 4:6; Numbers 12:10). It was not too harsh a punishment that the leprosy taken from Naaman on account of his faith in the living God, should pass to Gehazi on account of his departure from the true God. For it was not his avarice only that was to be punished, but the abuse of the prophet's name for the purpose of carrying out his selfish purpose, and his misrepresentation of the prophet.

(Note: "This was not the punishment of his immoderate δωροδοκίας (receiving of gifts) merely, but most of all of his lying. For he who seeks to deceive the prophet in relation to the things which belong to his office, is said to lie to the Holy Ghost, whose instruments the prophets are" (vid., Acts 5:3). - Grotius.)

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