Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
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.
5:5 Go to, and c. - It was very natural for a king to suppose, that the king of Israel could do more than any of his subjects.
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.
And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
5:10 Elisha sent - Which he did, partly, to exercise Naaman's faith and obedience: partly, for the honour of his religion, that it might appear he sought not his own glory and profit, but only God's honour, and the good of men.
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
5:11 Was wroth - Supposing himself despised by the prophet.
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
5:12 Are not, and c. - Is there not as great a virtue in them to this purpose? But he should have considered, that the cure was not to be wrought by the water, but by the power of God.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
5:13 My father - Or, our father. So they call him, to shew their reverence and affection to him.
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
5:16 He refused - Not that he thought it unlawful to receive presents, which he did receive from others, but because of the special circumstances of the case; this being much for the honour of God that the Syrians should see the generous piety, and kindness of his ministers and servants, and how much they despised all that worldly wealth and glory, which the prophets of the Gentiles so greedily sought after.
And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.
5:17 Two mules burden of earth - So he seems to farm the money which he brought with him, to express how little value he now set upon it. Ten talents (above three thousand five hundred pounds) in silver, with six thousand pieces of gold, (beside ten changes of raiment) were a burden for several mules. Shall I not give this to thy servant, Gehazi, if thou thyself will accept of nothing? This seems a more probable interpretation than the common one, that he wanted to build an altar therewith. For what altar could be built of the earth which two mules could carry into Syria? Unless they were as large and as strong as Elephants.
In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.
5:18 Rimmon - A Syrian idol, called here by the LXX, Remman, and Acts 7:43, Remphan. My hand - Or, arm, upon which, the king leaned, either for state, or for support.
And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
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.
5:20 Gehazi - One would expect 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. This Syrian - A stranger, and one of that nation who are the implacable enemies of God's people. As the Lord - 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.
So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?
And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.
5:23 Urged him - Who at first refused it upon a pretence of modesty.
And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
And he said unto him, 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 oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
5:26 Olive yards, and 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 bye - 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?
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.
5:27 For ever - That is, for some generations; as that word is often used and as may be thought by comparing this with Exod 20:55. (?) White - Which is the worst kind of leprosy, and noted by physicians to be incurable. Those who get money by any way displeasing to God, make a dear purchase. What was Gehazi profited by his two talents, when he lost his health, if not his soul, forever?