New International Version
"If you will not," said Naaman, "please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD.
King James Bible
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.
Darby Bible Translation
And Naaman said, If not, then let there, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of [this] earth; for thy servant will no more offer burnt-offering and sacrifice to other gods, but to Jehovah.
World English Bible
Naaman said, "If not, then, please let there be given to your servant two mules' burden of earth; for your servant will from now on offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice to other gods, but to Yahweh.
Young's Literal Translation
And Naaman saith, 'If not -- let be given, I pray thee, to thy servant, a couple of mules' burden of earth, for thy servant doth make no more burnt-offering and sacrifice to other gods, but to Jehovah.
2 Kings 5:17 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Shall there not then, I pray thee - This verse is understood two different ways. I will give them both in a paraphrase: -
1. Shall there not then be given unto thy servant [viz., Naaman] two mules' burden of this Israelitish earth, that I may build an altar with it, on which I may offer sacrifices to the God of Israel? For thy servant, etc.
2. Shall there not be given to thy [Elisha's] servant [Gehazi] two mules' burden of this earth? i.e., the gold and silver which he brought with him; and which he esteemed as earth, or dust, in comparison of the cure he received. For thy servant [Naaman] will henceforth, etc.
Each of these interpretations has its difficulties. Why Naaman should ask for two mules' burden of earth, which he might have taken up any where on the confines of the land, without any such liberty, is not easy to see. As to the prophet's permission, though the boon was ever so small, it was not his to give; only the king of Israel could give such a permission: and what sort of an altar could he build with two mules' burden of earth, carried from Samaria to Damascus? If this be really the meaning of the place, the request was exceedingly foolish, and never could have come from a person enjoying the right use of his reason. The second opinion, not without its difficulties, seems less embarrassed than the former. It was natural for Naaman to wish to give something to the prophet's servant, as the master had refused his present. Again, impressed with the vast importance of the cure he had received, to take away all feeling of obligation, he might call two or ten talents of silver by the name of earth, as well as Habakkuk, Habakkuk 2:6, calls silver and gold thick clay; and by terms of this kind it has been frequently denominated, both by prophets and heathen writers: "Tyrus heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets;" Zechariah 9:3. And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as stones; 2 Chronicles 1:15. Which is agreeable to the sentiments of the heathen: Χρυσος τις κονις εστι, και αργυρος, Gold and silver are only a certain kind of earth. - Arist. Eth. Nicomach.
Should it be said, The gold and silver could not be two mules' burden; I answer, Let the quantity that Naaman brought with him be only considered, and it will be found to be as much, when put into two bags, as could be well lifted upon the backs of two mules, or as those beasts could conveniently carry. The silver itself would weigh 233lbs. 9oz. 15 1/2dwts., and the gold 1,140lbs. 7oz. 10dwts.; in the whole 1,3741bs. 50Z. 5 1/2dwts. Troy weight. Should it be objected that, taken in this sense, there is no visible connection between the former and latter clauses of the verse, I answer that there is as much connection between the words taken in this sense as in the other, for something must be brought in to supply both; besides, this makes a more complete sense than the other: "Shall there not, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of this silver and gold, [to apply it as he may think proper; I regard it not], for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt-offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, [for the cure he has now received; or by way of worship at any time]; but unto Jehovah." The reader may choose which of these interpretations he pleases.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
'And Elisha sent a messenger unto Naaman, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 11. But Naaman was wroth, and went away.'--2 KINGS v. 10,11. These two figures are significant of much beyond themselves. Elisha the prophet is the bearer of a divine cure. Naaman, the great Syrian noble, is stricken with the disease that throughout the Old Testament is treated as a parable of sin and death. He was the commander-in-chief of the army …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
A Little Maid
"'Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.
2 Kings 5:18
But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also--when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this."
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