2 Kings 5:6
And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
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(6) Now.—Heb., And now, continuing an omitted passage. Only the principal sentence of the letter is given. The message pre-supposes a not altogether hostile relation between the two kings; and the words of the next verse, “He seeketh a quarrel against me,” point to the time of comparative lull which ensued after the luckless expedition to Ramoth-gilead (1. Kings 22), and the short reign of the invalid Ahaziah; i.e., to the reign of Jehoram, not to that of Jehoahaz, in which Israel was wholly crushed by Syria (2Kings 13:3-7). Schenkel thinks the Syrian inroads (2Kings 5:2) indicate the reign of Jehu, and that Hazael was the king who wrote the letter, as he was personally acquainted with Elisha (2Kings 5:5, seq.). But, as Thenius remarks, he forgets that the relations between Jehu and Syria were throughout strained to the last degree, so that such a friendly passage between the two kings as is here described is not to be thought of.

2 Kings 5:6. Now when this letter is come unto thee, &c. — The beginning of the letter, which, it is likely, contained the usual compliments, is omitted, as not pertinent to the matter in hand. That thou mayest recover him of his leprosy — Or, That, by thy command, the prophet that is with thee may cleanse him; for kings are often said to do those things which they command to be done: in which view, there is no ambiguity in this letter of the king of Syria. But this not being plainly expressed, the king of Israel apprehended that the intention of this demand was only to pick a quarrel with him, and seek an occasion, or rather a pretence, for a war with him.

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.That thou mayest recover him - literally, "And thou shalt recover him." The Syrian king presumes that, if there is a cure for leprosy to be had in Israel, the mode of obtaining it will be well known to his royal brother. 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.

i.e. Procure his recovery by the means of Elisha, 2 Kings 5:3,4, whom thou mayest command to use his utmost skill and power herein.

And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying,.... The contents of which were, so far as it concerned Naaman and his case, which are only observed, these:

now when this letter is come unto thee; was received by him:

behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant unto thee; the bearer of it:

that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy; meaning not he himself, but that he would recommend him to the care of a proper person, his prophet, and enjoin him to do the best he could for him; but the king of Israel mistook his meaning, as appears by what follows.

And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
6. he brought the letter to the king of Israel] The Syrian king would conclude that the prophet was at the king’s command, and so he had only to write to the king, and all would be done that could be done.

Now [R.V. And now] when this letter] This is not the commencement of the letter. The writer only extracts from it the sentence which contains the request. The insertion of the copula ‘And’ by R.V. shews this, and so represents the Hebrew more exactly.

that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy] The Syrian king speaks as though the cure were to be Jehoram’s work. But of course he only required of the king that he should use his power with the mighty prophet. This however can hardly have been made plain in the body of the letter, or Jehoram’s thoughts would have turned to Elisha.

Verse 6. - And he brought the letter to the King of Israel, saying. The hostile relations between Syria and Israel would not interfere with the coming and going of a messenger from either king to the other, who would be invested with an ambassadorial character. Now when this letter is come unto thee. We must not suppose that we have here the whole letter, which, no doubt, began with the customary Eastern formalities and elaborate compliments. The historian omits these, and hastens to, communicate to us the main point of the epistle, or rather, perhaps, its main drift, which he states somewhat baldly and bluntly. Behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him - literally, and thou shalt recover him - of his leprosy. The letter made no mention of Elisha. Ben-hadad assumed that, if the King of Israel had in his dominions a person able to cure leprosy, he would be fully cognizant of the fact, and would at once send for him, and call upon him for an exertion of his gift or art. He is not likely to have comprehended the relations in which Kings of Israel stood towards the Jehovistic prophets, but may probably have thought of Elisha "as a sort of chief magus, or as the Israelitish high priest" (Menken), whom the king would have at his beck and call, and whose services would be completely at his disposal. 2 Kings 5:6When 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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