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said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
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.
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.
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.
And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a litttle 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.
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.
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 men servants, and maid servants ?
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.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Naaman is supposed to have been the general who commanded in that memorable battle in which Ahab king of Israel was slain. The little maid who waited upon Naaman's wife, was a servant of the true Gon, and zealous to make his glory known. Naaman gave a ready ear to his servant's relation of the wonderful miracles wrought by the hand of Elisha ; but before he went to seek for a cure in an enemy's country, it was
requisite requisite that he should gain permission from lris own sovereign. The king of Syria, to do honour to his general,
gave him a letter; but too proud to address him. self to Elisha, thinking that the king could command the prophet to exert liis skill in Naamau's favour, he addressed his letter to Jehoram.
Elisha, though at some distance from the king of Israel, knew by a Divine impulse what was transacting, and that the LORD would cure Naaman; it was in consequence of his being divinely inspired, that Elisha sent to Jehoram.
Naaman doubtless expected to be treated by the pro. phet with distinction, suitable to the pomp and grandeur of his retinue, and thought it a contempt put upon the rivers of Syria, when Elisha ordered him to dip seven times in Jordan. However when he had made the experiment, Naaman was convinced of the power of God, and felt the highest esteem and gratitude for his prophet. He desired to carry some of the earth of the land of Israel with him, either because he thought to make an altar of it, or with a view to erect a monu. ment in memory of his astonishing cúre. Why his request was refused, we are not told. The Syrian general • now repented that he had ever entered a temple dedicated to an idol.
Some of the learned are of opinion, that the text respecting Naaman's bowing himself in the house of Rimmox, should have been rendered as follows: In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master went into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and HE LEANED on my hand, and I bowed myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing: that I BOWED myself in the house of Rimmon. It is observed, that this construction seems best to agree with the rest of Naaman's discourse; may it not therefore be inferred from it, that this general never went by choice into the idol's temple, but worshipped in private the unknown God; who, as a reward for his good in. tentions, revealed himself to him in so gracious and wonderful a manner ?
As this was an affair in which the 'honour of God was concerned, the Lord revealed to Elisha what Gehazi had done. This wicked servant was soon convinced that the Holy God, whose Spirit inspired Elisha, could not be deceived; and that “those who get wealth by fraud and injustice, cannot expect either the comfort or continuance of it.
“ The general instruction that may be collected from the history of Naaman, is this, that no state of life is exempt from misfortune: and that we esteem the severest calamities, are often productive of the greatest benefits. Had Naaman enjoyed health, as well as honour and success; had he had nothing to divide his attention but the triumphs of the field and the pleasures of the court, he might indeed have continued a favourite witlı his prince, and an idol of the people; but he would ever have remained a stranger to his God.
“ There is nothing but religion that can make is truly honourable; nothing but the favour of the SUPREME Being that can make us truly happy."
THE CONTINUATION OF THE REIGN OF JEHOHAM
(OR JORAM) KING OF ISRAEL.
From 2 Kings, Chap. vi. Then the king of Syria warred against Israel and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such place shall be my camp.
And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there not once nor twice.
Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing: and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ġe not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
And one of the servants said, None, my lord, Oking: but Elisha the prophet, that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.
And he said, Go,and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
Therefore sent he thither horses and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night and compassed the city about.
And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold an host encompassed the city, both horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
| And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man: and he saw: and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness, And he smote them with blindness, according to the word of Elisha.