Naaman, captain of the host - Of Naaman we know nothing more than is related here. Jarchi and some others say that he was the man who drew the bow at a venture, as we term it, and slew Ahab: see 1 Kings 22:34; (note), and the notes there. He is not mentioned by Josephus, nor has he any reference to this history; which is very strange, as it exists in the Chaldee, Septuagint, and Syriac.
King of Syria - The Hebrew is ארם מלך melech Aram, king of Aram; which is followed by the Chaldee and Arabic. The Syriac has Adom ; but as the Syriac dolath is the same element as the Syriac rish, differing only in the position of the diacritic point, it may have been originally Aram. The Septuagint and Vulgate have Syria, and this is a common meaning of the term in Scripture. If the king of Syria be meant, it must be Ben-hadad; and the contemporary king of Israel was Jehoram.
A great man - He was held in the highest esteem.
And honorable - Had the peculiar favor and confidence of his master; and was promoted to the highest trusts.
Had given deliverance unto Syria - That is, as the rabbins state, by his slaying Ahab, king of Israel; in consequence of which the Syrians got the victory.
A mighty man in valor - He was a giant, and very strong, according to the Arabic. He had, in a word, all the qualifications of an able general.
But he was a leper - Here was a heavy tax upon his grandeur; he was afflicted with a disorder the most loathsome and the most humiliating that could possibly disgrace a human being. God often, in the course of his providence, permits great defects to be associated with great eminence, that he may hide pride from man; and cause him to think soberly of himself and his acquirements.
By him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria - An Assyrian monarch had pushed his conquests as far as Syria exactly at this period, bringing into subjection all the kings of these parts. But Syria revolted after a few years and once more made herself independent. It was probably in this war of independence that Naaman had distinguished himself.
But he was a leper - leprosy admitted of various kinds and degrees Leviticus 13; 14Some of the lighter forms would not incapacitate a man from discharging the duties of a courtier and warrior.
If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give. He who sent Philip to the Ethiopian councilor, Peter to the Roman centurion, and the little Israelitish maiden to the help of Naaman, the Syrian captain, sends men and women and youth today as His representatives to those in need of divine help and guidance. MH 473.1
Our plans are not always God's plans. He may see that it is best for us and for His cause to refuse our very best intentions, as He did in the case of David. But of one thing we may be assured, He will bless and use in the advancement of His cause those who sincerely devote themselves and all they have to His glory. If He sees it best not to grant their desires He will counterbalance the refusal by giving them tokens of His love and entrusting to them another service. MH 473.2Read in context »