2 Kings 5:5
And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
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(5) Go to, go.Depart thou (thither), enter (the land of Israel).

A letter.—Written, probably, in that old Aramean script of which we have examples on Assyrian seals of the eighth century B.C. , and which closely resembled the old Phœnician and Hebrew characters, as well as that of the Moabite stone (2Kings 1:1, Note).

With him.In his hand. (Comp. the expression “to fill the hand for Jehovah”—i.e., with presents; 1Chronicles 29:5.)

Changes of raiment.—Or, holiday suits. Reuss, habits de fête. (See the same word, halîphôth, in Genesis 45:22.) Curiously enough, similar expressions (nahlaptum, hitlupatum) were used in the like sense by the Assyrians (Schrader).

Ten talents of silver.—About £3,750 in our money. The money talent was equivalent to sixty minas, the mina to fifty shekels. The shekel came to about 2 Samuel 6 d. of our money.

Six thousand pieces of gold.—Heb., six thousand (in) gold: i.e., six thousand gold shekels=two talents of gold, about £13,500. The gold shekel was worth about 45s. of our currency. The total sum appears much too large, and the numbers are probably corrupt, as is so often the case.

2 Kings 5:5. The king said, I will send a letter to the king of Israel — It was very natural for a king to suppose that the king of Israel could do more than any of his subjects. He took with him ten talents of silver, &c. — That he might honourably reward the prophet, in case he should be cured by him. But it was a vast sum that he took for this purpose; for if they were Hebrew talents, the silver only amounted to four thousand five hundred pounds sterling.

5:1-8 Though the Syrians were idolaters, and oppressed God's people, yet the deliverance of which Naaman had been the means, is here ascribed to the Lord. Such is the correct language of Scripture, while those who write common history, plainly show that God is not in all their thoughts. No man's greatness, or honour, can place him our of the reach of the sorest calamities of human life: there is many a sickly, crazy body under rich and gay clothing. Every man has some but or other, something that blemishes and diminishes him, some allay to his grandeur, some damp to his joy. This little maid, though only a girl, could give an account of the famous prophet the Israelites had among them. Children should be early told of the wondrous works of God, that, wherever they go, they may talk of them. As became a good servant, she desired the health and welfare of her master, though she was a captive, a servant by force; much more should servants by choice, seek their masters' good. Servants may be blessings to the families where they are, by telling what they know of the glory of God, and the honour of his prophets. Naaman did not despise what she told, because of her meanness. It would be well if men were as sensible of the burden of sin as they are of bodily disease. And when they seek the blessings which the Lord sends in answer to the prayers of his faithful people, they will find nothing can be had, except they come as beggars for a free gift, not as lords to demand or purchase.Six thousand pieces of gold - Rather, "six thousand shekels of gold." Coined money did not exist as yet, and was not introduced into Judea until the time of Cyrus. Gold was carried in bars, from which portions were cut when need arose, and the value was ascertained by weighing. If the gold shekel of the Jews corresponded, as some think, to the doric of the Persians, the value of the 6,000 shekels would be about 6,837 British pounds If the weight was the same as that of the silver shekel (see Exodus 38:24 note), the value would exceed 12,000 British pounds.

The ancient practice of including clothes among gifts of honor in the East Genesis 41:42; Esther 6:8; Daniel 5:7 continues to the present day.

5. ten talents of silver—£3421; 6000 shekels of gold; a large sum of uncertain value.

ten changes of raiment—splendid dresses, for festive occasions—the honor being thought to consist not only in the beauty and fineness of the material, but on having a variety to put on one after another, in the same night.

The king of Israel; Jehoram the son of Ahab, 2 Kings 3:1.

I will send a letter unto the king of Israel, desiring him to obtain this favour from the prophet.

Ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold; partly for the charges of his journey; and partly for presents to the prophet, or others, as he saw fit.

And the king of Syria said, go to, go,.... On what Naaman related to him from what the maid had said, he urged him by all means to go directly to Samaria:

and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel; recommending him to use his interest in his behalf; this was Jehoram the son of Ahab:

and he departed; set out on his journey immediately, as soon as he could conveniently:

and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold; partly for the expenses of his journey, and partly to make presents to the king of Israel's servants, and especially to the prophet; a talent of silver, according to Brerewood (d), was three hundred and seventy five pounds of our money; but, according to Bishop Cumberland's (e) exact calculation, it was three hundred and fifty and three pounds eleven shillings and ten and an half pence the pieces of gold are, by the Targum, called golden pence, and a golden penny, according to the first of the above writers (f), was of the value of our money fifteen shillings; so that these amounted to 4500 pounds sterling:

and ten changes of raiment; both for his own use, and presents.

(d) De Ponder. & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 4. (e) Scripture Weights and Measures, c. 4. p. 120. (f) Ut supra, (De Ponder. & Pret. Vet. Num.) c. 3.

And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and {d} took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.

(d) To give this as a present to the prophets.

5. Go to, go] Naaman was so valued by the king that not a moment must be lost, but he must start to seek for his cure at once.

I will send a letter] There must have existed at this time such relations between Israel and Syria as made correspondence between the two kings possible. The two nations were at peace, as we see from verse 7, where Jehoram expresses his dread of a quarrel. The tone of the king of Israel seems to be that of one who feared Syria, and for that reason wanted to avoid a rupture.

unto the king of Israel] The king is not named, but it seems likely that the activity of Elisha was mainly in the reign of Jehoram, Ahab’s son.

and took with him ten talents of silver] At this early date there was no coined money. The silver and the gold were in bars and were paid away by weight. A talent of silver is said to have been worth about £375, and gold was about ten times the value of silver.

six thousand pieces of gold] In phrases like this when the Hebrew expression is given fully, the inserted word is usually ‘shekels’, which the R.V. puts on the margin. See 1 Chronicles 21:25; 2 Chronicles 3:9. But the shekel was in these days only a weight, as indeed the word signifies; thus we have not only shekels of gold, but shekels of silver (1 Samuel 9:8); shekels of brass (1 Samuel 17:5); and shekels of iron (1 Samuel 17:7). When the shekel came to be a coin, the shekel of gold was worth about £2.

ten changes of raiment] Especially valued in the East, and often included in summaries of wealth, and among costly presents. Cf. Genesis 45:22; 2 Chronicles 9:24.

Verse 5. - And the King of Syria said, Go to, go; rather, Go, depart; i.e. lose no time; go at once, if there is any such possibility as the maiden has indicated. "We see," Bahr says, "from the king's readiness, how anxious he was for the restoration of Naaman." And I will send a letter unto the King of Israel. Letters had been interchanged between Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyro (2 Chronicles 2:3-11), a century earlier; and the communications of king with king in the East, though sometimes carried on orally by ambassadors, probably took place to a large extent by means of letters from a very early date. Written communications seem to have led to the outbreak of the war by which the foreign dynasty of the Hyksos was driven out of Egypt, and the native supremacy reestablished ('History of Ancient Egypt,' vol. it. pp. 199, 200). Written engagements were certainly entered into between the Egyptian kings and the Hittites at a date earlier than the Exodus (ibid., pp. 291, 310). Benhadad evidently regards the sending of a letter to a neighboring monarch as a natural and ordinary occurrence. And he - i.e. Naaman - departed, and took with him ten talents of silver - reckoned by Keil as equal to 25,000 thalers, or £3750; by Thenius as equal to 20,000 thalers, or £3000 - and six thousand pieces of gold. "Pieces of gold" did not yet exist, since coin had not been invented. Six thousand shekels' weight of gold is probably intended. This would equal, according to Keil, 50,000 thalers (£7500); according to Thenius, 60,000 thalers (£9000). Such sums are quite within the probable means of a rich Syrian nobleman of the time, a favorite at court, and the generalissimo of the Syrian army. Naaman evidently supposed that he would have, directly or indirectly, to purchase his cure. And ten changes of raiment (comp. Genesis 45:22; Hom., 'Od.,' 13:67; Xen., 'Cyrop.,' 8:2. § 8; ' Anab.,' 1:2. § 29; etc.). The practice of giving dresses of honor as presents continues in the East to this day. 2 Kings 5:5When Naaman related this to his lord (the king), he told him to go to Samaria furnished with a letter to the king of Israel; and he took with him rich presents as compensation for the cure he was to receive, viz., ten talents of silver, about 25,000 thalers (3750 - Tr.); 600 shekels ( equals two talents) of gold, about 50,000 thalers (7500); and ten changes of clothes, a present still highly valued in the East (see the Comm. on Genesis 45:22). This very large present was quite in keeping with Naaman's position, and was not too great for the object in view, namely, his deliverance from a malady which would be certainly, even if slowly, fatal.
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