Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


2 Kings 5:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Though the Syrians were idolaters, and oppressed God's people, yet the deliverance of which Naaman had been the means, is here ascribed to the Lord. Such is the correct language of Scripture, while those who write common history, plainly show that God is not in all their thoughts. No man's greatness, or honour, can place him our of the reach of the sorest calamities of human life: there is many a sickly, crazy body under rich and gay clothing. Every man has some but or other, something that blemishes and diminishes him, some allay to his grandeur, some damp to his joy. This little maid, though only a girl, could give an account of the famous prophet the Israelites had among them. Children should be early told of the wondrous works of God, that, wherever they go, they may talk of them. As became a good servant, she desired the health and welfare of her master, though she was a captive, a servant by force; much more should servants by choice, seek their masters' good. Servants may be blessings to the families where they are, by telling what they know of the glory of God, and the honour of his prophets. Naaman did not despise what she told, because of her meanness. It would be well if men were as sensible of the burden of sin as they are of bodily disease. And when they seek the blessings which the Lord sends in answer to the prayers of his faithful people, they will find nothing can be had, except they come as beggars for a free gift, not as lords to demand or purchase.
Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 473

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 473.2

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 244-53

This chapter is based on 2 Kings 5.

“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper.” PK 244.1

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