In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant
Which he next mentions, and on account of which he desires the prayers of Elisha for him, as the Vulgate Latin version; or it may be, this is a prayer of his own, put up at this time to the true Jehovah, in whom he believed:
that when my master:
meaning the king of Syria:
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;
the house of Rimmon was a temple of an idol of that name; what idol it was is not easy to say; the Septuagint version calls it Remman, thought by some to be the same with Remphan, ( Acts 7:43 ) , a name of Saturn, said to be given him from a Greek word, which signifies to "wander" F17, he being placed among the wandering stars in the supreme heavens; which is not likely, for the word is certainly of a Syriac signification, and comes either from (Mwr) , which signifies "high", and so the same with Elioun, the Phoenician deity, called the most high F18; or, as "Rimmon" is used for a pomegranate, this is thought to design the Syrian goddess, to whom this sort of fruit was sacred; or Juno, whose statue, in her temple at Mycenas F19, had a pomegranate in one hand; or rather this Rimmon was Jupiter Cassius, so called from Mount Cassius, which divided Syria from Egypt, who is painted with his hand stretched out, and a pomegranate in it F20; and may be the same with Caphtor, the father of the Caphtorim, ( Genesis 10:14 ) who might be deified after his death, their names, Rimmon and Caphtor, being of the same signification F21. But be this deity as it may, it was worshipped by the Syrians; and when the king of Syria went in to worship, he used to lean upon the hand of one of his officers, either being lame, or for state sake, in which office Naaman was; and his request to the prophet, or to the Lord, is, not for pardon for a sin to be committed; nor to be indulged in his continuance of it; not to worship the idol along with his master; nor to dissemble the worship of it, when he really worshipped it not; nor to be excused any evil in the discharge of his post and office; but for the pardon of the sin of idolatry he had been guilty of, of which he was truly sensible, now sincerely acknowledges, and desires forgiveness of; and so Dr. Lightfoot F23, and some others F24, interpret it; and to this sense the words may be rendered,
when my master went in to the house of Rimmon to worship there;
which was his usual custom; and he leaned on my hand, which was the common form in which he was introduced into it:
and I worshipped in the house of Rimmon,
as his master did, for the same word is used here as before;
in as much, or seeing I have worshipped in the house of Rimmon,
have been guilty of such gross idolatry:
the Lord, I pray, forgive thy servant in this thing;
the language of a true penitent.
F17 A (rembesyai) "vagari", Hesychius.
F18 Vid. Selden. de Dis Syris Syntagm. 2. c. 10.
F19 Pausan. Corinthiac. sive, l. 2. p. 114.
F20 Achilles Tatius, l. 3. Vid. Reland. Palestin. Illustrat. tom. 2. p. 934.
F21 See Clayton's Origin of Hieroglyphics, p. 113.
F23 Works, vol. 1. p. 86.
F24 Vid. Quenstedt. Dissert. de. Petit. Naaman. sect. 21, 22.