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2 Kings 5:1-8:15 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Naaman’s Disease Healed

Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a great man in his master’s sight[a] and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a brave warrior, but he had a skin disease.

Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would go to[b] the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.”

So Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. Therefore, the king of Aram said, “Go and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.”

So he went and took with him 750 pounds[c] of silver, 150 pounds[d] of gold, and 10 changes of clothes. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read:

When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and asked, “Am I God, killing and giving life that this man expects me to cure a man of his skin disease? Think it over and you will see that he is only picking a fight with[e] me.”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel tore his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.

10 Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”

11 But Naaman got angry and left, saying, “I was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and will wave his hand over the spot and cure the skin disease. 12 Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and left in a rage.

13 But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” 14 So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.

15 Then Naaman and his whole company went back to the man of God, stood before him, and declared, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel. Therefore, please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, I stand before Him. I will not accept it.” Naaman urged him to accept it, but he refused.

17 Naaman responded, “If not, please let your servant be given as much soil as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other god but Yahweh. 18 However, in a particular matter may the Lord pardon your servant: When my master, the king of Aram, goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship and I, as his right-hand man,[f] bow in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow[g] in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.”

19 So he said to him, “Go in peace.”

Gehazi’s Greed Punished

After Naaman had traveled a short distance from Elisha, 20 Gehazi, the attendant of Elisha the man of God, thought: My master has let this Aramean Naaman off lightly by not accepting from him what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.

21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?”

22 Gehazi said, “It’s all right. My master has sent me to say, ‘I have just now discovered that two young men from the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them 75 pounds[h] of silver and two changes of clothes.’”

23 But Naaman insisted, “Please, accept 150 pounds.”[i] He urged Gehazi and then packed 150 pounds[j] of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes. Naaman gave them to two of his young men who carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill,[k] he took the gifts from them and stored them in the house. Then he dismissed the men, and they left.

25 Gehazi came and stood by his master. “Where did you go, Gehazi?” Elisha asked him.

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” he replied.

26 But Elisha questioned him, “Wasn’t my spirit there[l] when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to accept money and clothes, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? 27 Therefore, Naaman’s skin disease will cling to you and your descendants forever.” So Gehazi went out from his presence diseased—white as snow.

The Floating Ax Head

The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision[m] is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan where we can each get a log and can build ourselves a place to live there.”

“Go,” he said.

Then one said, “Please come with your servants.”

“I’ll come,” he answered.

So he went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Oh, my master, it was borrowed!”

Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?”

When he showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it there, and made the iron float. Then he said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and took it.

The Aramean War

When the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he conferred with his servants, “My camp will be at such and such a place.”

But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Be careful passing by this place, for the Arameans are going down there.” 10 Consequently, the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God had told him about. The man of God repeatedly[n] warned the king, so the king would be on his guard.

11 The king of Aram was enraged because of this matter, and he called his servants and demanded of them, “Tell me, which one of us is for the king of Israel?”

12 One of his servants said, “No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 So the king said, “Go and see where he is, so I can send men to capture him.”

When he was told, “Elisha is in Dothan,” 14 he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”

16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”

17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes. They looked and discovered they were in Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? I will kill them.”

22 Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”

23 So he prepared a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.

24 Some time later, King Ben-hadad of Aram brought all his military units together and marched up to besiege Samaria. 25 So there was a great famine in Samaria, and they continued the siege against it until a donkey’s head sold for 80 silver shekels,[o] and a cup[p] of dove’s dung[q] sold for five silver shekels.[r]

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, “My lord the king, help!”

27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor or the winepress?” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She said, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him today. Then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him, and I said to her the next day, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes. Then, as he was passing by on the wall, the people saw that there was sackcloth under his clothes next to his skin. 31 He announced, “May God punish me and do so severely if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger got to him, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door to keep him out. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”

33 While Elisha was still speaking with them, the messenger[s] came down to him. Then he said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Aram Defeated

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: ‘About this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria, six quarts[t] of fine meal will sell for a shekel[u] and 12 quarts[v] of barley will sell for a shekel.’”[w]

Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?”

Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”

Four men with a skin disease were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”

So the diseased men got up at twilight to go to the Arameans’ camp. When they came to the camp’s edge, they discovered that there was not a single man there, for the Lord[x] had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a great army. The Arameans had said to each other, “The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us.” So they had gotten up and fled at twilight, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys. The camp was intact, and they had fled for their lives.

When these men came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent to eat and drink. Then they picked up the silver, gold, and clothing and went off and hid them. They came back and entered another tent, picked things up, and hid them. Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing what is right. Today is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until morning light, our sin will catch up with us. Let’s go tell the king’s household.”

10 The diseased men went and called to the city’s gatekeepers and told them, “We went to the Aramean camp and no one was there—no human sounds. There was nothing but tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents were intact.” 11 The gatekeepers called out, and the news was reported to the king’s household.

12 So the king got up in the night and said to his servants, “Let me tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving, so they have left the camp to hide in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will take them alive and go into the city.’”

13 But one of his servants responded, “Please, let messengers take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their fate is like the entire Israelite community who will die,[y] so let’s send them and see.”

14 The messengers took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army, saying, “Go and see.” 15 So they followed them as far as the Jordan. They saw that the whole way was littered with clothes and equipment the Arameans had thrown off in their haste. The messengers returned and told the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered the Aramean camp.

It was then that six quarts[z] of fine meal sold for a shekel[aa] and 12 quarts[ab] of barley sold for a shekel,[ac] according to the word of the Lord. 17 The king had appointed the captain, his right-hand man, to be in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him in the gateway. He died, just as the man of God had predicted when the king came to him. 18 When the man of God had said to the king, “About this time tomorrow 12 quarts[ad] of barley will sell for a shekel[ae] and six quarts[af] of fine meal will sell for a shekel[ag] at the gate of Samaria,” 19 this captain had answered the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?” Elisha had said, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.” 20 This is what happened to him: the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

The Shunammite’s Land Restored

Elisha said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Get ready, you and your household, and go and live as a foreigner wherever you can. For the Lord has announced a seven-year famine, and it has already come to the land.”

So the woman got ready and did what the man of God said. She and her household lived as foreigners in the land of the Philistines for seven years. When the woman returned from the land of the Philistines at the end of seven years, she went to appeal to the king for her house and field.

The king had been speaking to Gehazi, the attendant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things Elisha has done.”

While he was telling the king how Elisha restored the dead son to life, the woman whose son he had restored to life came to appeal to the king for her house and field. So Gehazi said, “My lord the king, this is the woman and this is the son Elisha restored to life.”

When the king asked the woman, she told him the story. So the king appointed a court official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, along with all the income from the field from the day she left the country until now.”

Aram’s King Hazael

Elisha came to Damascus while Ben-hadad king of Aram was sick, and the king was told, “The man of God has come here.” So the king said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go meet the man of God. Inquire of the Lord through him, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’”

Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him a gift: 40 camel-loads of all kinds of goods from Damascus. When he came and stood before him, he said, “Your son, Ben-hadad king of Aram, has sent me to ask you, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’”

10 Elisha told him, “Go say to him, ‘You are sure to[ah] recover.’ But the Lord has shown me that he is sure to die.” 11 Then Elisha stared steadily at him until Hazael was ashamed.

The man of God wept, 12 and Hazael asked, “Why is my lord weeping?”

He replied, “Because I know the evil you will do to the people of Israel. You will set their fortresses on fire. You will kill their young men with the sword. You will dash their little ones to pieces. You will rip open their pregnant women.”

13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, do this monstrous thing?”

Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you will be king over Aram.”

14 Hazael left Elisha and went to his master, who asked him, “What did Elisha say to you?”

He responded, “He told me you are sure to recover.” 15 The next day Hazael took a heavy cloth, dipped it in water, and spread it over the king’s face. Ben-hadad died, and Hazael reigned instead of him.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 5:1 Lit man before his master
  2. 2 Kings 5:3 Lit master was before
  3. 2 Kings 5:5 Lit 10 talents
  4. 2 Kings 5:5 Lit 6,000 [shekels]
  5. 2 Kings 5:7 Lit only seeking an occasion against
  6. 2 Kings 5:18 Lit worship, and he leans on my hand, and I
  7. 2 Kings 5:18 LXX, Vg read when he bows himself
  8. 2 Kings 5:22 Lit a talent
  9. 2 Kings 5:23 Lit two talents
  10. 2 Kings 5:23 Lit two talents
  11. 2 Kings 5:24 Or citadel
  12. 2 Kings 5:26 Lit “Did not my heart go
  13. 2 Kings 6:1 Lit we are living before you
  14. 2 Kings 6:10 Lit not once and not twice
  15. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 pounds of silver
  16. 2 Kings 6:25 Lit a fourth of a kab
  17. 2 Kings 6:25 Or seedpods, or wild onions
  18. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 ounces of silver
  19. 2 Kings 6:33 Some emend to king
  20. 2 Kings 7:1 Lit a seah
  21. 2 Kings 7:1 About ½ ounce of silver
  22. 2 Kings 7:1 Lit two seahs
  23. 2 Kings 7:1 About ½ ounce of silver
  24. 2 Kings 7:6 Some Hb mss read Lord
  25. 2 Kings 7:13 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg; other Hb mss read left in it. Indeed, they are like the whole multitude of Israel that are left in it; indeed, they are like the whole multitude of Israel who will die.
  26. 2 Kings 7:16 Lit a seah
  27. 2 Kings 7:16 About ½ ounce of silver
  28. 2 Kings 7:16 Lit two seahs
  29. 2 Kings 7:16 About ½ ounce of silver
  30. 2 Kings 7:18 Lit two seahs
  31. 2 Kings 7:18 About ½ ounce of silver
  32. 2 Kings 7:18 Lit a seah
  33. 2 Kings 7:18 About ½ ounce of silver
  34. 2 Kings 8:10 Alt Hb tradition reads You will not

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