Naaman, a general for the king of Aram, was a great man and highly regarded by his master, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. This man was a mighty warrior, but he had a skin disease.a2
Now Aramean raiding parties had gone out and captured a young girl from the land of Israel. She served Naaman's wife.
She said to her mistress, "I wish that my master could come before the prophet who lives in Samaria. He would cure him of his skin disease."
So Naaman went and told his master what the young girl from the land of Israel had said.
Then Aram's king said, "Go ahead. I will send a letter to Israel's king." So Naaman left. He took along ten kikkars of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing.
He brought the letter to Israel's king. It read, "Along with this letter I'm sending you my servant Naaman so you can cure him of his skin disease."
When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes. He said, "What? Am I God to hand out death and life? But this king writes me, asking me to cure someone of his skin disease! You must realize that he wants to start a fight with me."
When Elisha the man of God heard that Israel's king had ripped his clothes, he sent word to the king: "Why did you rip your clothes? Let the man come to me. Then he'll know that there's a prophet in Israel."
Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots. He stopped at the door of Elisha's house.
Elisha sent out a messenger who said, "Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored and become clean."
But Naaman went away in anger. He said, "I thought for sure that he'd come out, stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the bad spot, and cure the skin disease.
Aren't the rivers in Damascus, the Abanab and the Pharpar, better than all Israel's waters? Couldn't I wash in them and get clean?" So he turned away and proceeded to leave in anger.
Naaman's servants came up to him and spoke to him: "Our father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn't you have done it? All he said to you was, ‘Wash and become clean.'"
So Naaman went down and bathed in the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said. His skin was restored like that of a young boy, and he became clean.
He returned to the man of God with all his attendants. He came and stood before Elisha, saying, "Now I know for certain that there's no God anywhere on earth except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant."
But Elisha said, "I swear by the life of the LORD I serve that I won't accept anything." Naaman urged Elisha to accept something, but he still refused.
Then Naaman said, "If not, then let me, your servant, have two mule loads of earth. Your servant will never again offer entirely burned offerings or sacrifices to any other gods except the LORD.
But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master comes into Rimmon's temple to bow down there and is leaning on my arm, I must also bow down in Rimmon's temple. When I bow down in Rimmon's temple, may the LORD forgive your servant for doing that."
Elisha said to him, "Go in peace." But when Naaman had gone some distance from Elisha,
Gehazi (who was the servant of Elisha the man of God) thought, My master let this Aramean Naaman off the hook by not accepting the gift he brought! As surely as the LORD lives, I'll go after him and accept something from him.
So Gehazi pursued Naaman. Naaman saw him running after him, so he got down off his chariot to meet him. He said, "Is everything okay?"
Gehazi answered, "Yes, but my master sent me to say, ‘Two young men who are members of a group of prophets have just now come to me from the hills of Ephraim. Give them a kikkar of silver and two changes of clothing.'"
Naaman said, "By all means, take two kikkars!" He encouraged Gehazi to accept them. He tied two kikkars of silver up in two bags, along with two changes of clothes. Naaman gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them in front of Gehazi.
When Gehazi arrived at the elevated fortress,c he took the items from them and stored them in his house. Then he sent the servants away, and they left.
Gehazi then went and stood before his master. Elisha said to Gehazi, "Where did you come from, Gehazi?" "Your servant didn't go anywhere," Gehazi replied.
Elisha said to him, "Wasn't my heart going along with youd when the man got off his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to accept silver, clothes, olive trees, vineyards, sheep, cattle, or male and female servants?
Naaman's skin disease will now cling to you and to your descendants forever!" And Gehazi left Elisha's presence, flaky like snow with skin disease.