Today we read 2 separate stories involving men with leprosy.
1) Naaman was a successful commander over the Syrian army. “He was a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” A lowly Israelite servant girl who was taken captive during a raid on Israel tells Naaman’s wife that Elisha, the prophet of the Lord, could heal Naaman. Naaman goes to see Elisha and Elisha tells him to dip in the Jordan 7 times and he will be healed. Well, prideful Naaman did not like the fact that Elisha didn’t roll out the red carpet for him and immediately heal him, and that he asked him to dip in what he considered inferior water. So another servant steps forward to talk some sense into Naaman. “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” So Naaman follows Elisha’s instructions and is healed; not just physically but spiritually. Once healed, Naaman says “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel”. Naaman switches allegiance from the false gods to the Lord! 🙌
2) Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, attacks Samaria, the capital of Israel. There was a great famine in Samaria bc of the siege. So much so that women were eating their own children. 😳 When the king of Israel hears women fighting over which kid to eat he blames Elisha for their terrible circumstances. Elisha tells the king that the circumstances will change tomorrow and there will be food. One of the king’s officers doesn’t believe Elisha and mocks him, which isn’t a smart move bc Elisha then prophesies that officer’s death. See, Elisha knew that the Lord was working behind the scenes by scattering the Syrian army and sending 4 leprous men, who were set outside of the city bc of their leprosy, to the Syrian camp. The lepers tell the gatekeepers of Samaria about all the goods that the Syrians left behind. So the people end up running out of the gate to the Syrian camp to gather the goods and that unbelieving officer gets trampled to death as Elisha said.
The people of Israel are spared but things are going to get worse for them. Hazael kills Ben-Hadad and becomes the next king of Syria. Elisha says to Hazael “…I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with a sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child”.
Tomorrow Jezebel renters the scene. Keep reading to see what happens.
(2 Kings 5:1-8:15)