Thoughts and Reflection
Today we learn that Naaman the Syrian is a brave general in the king’s army. He has honor, reputation, wealth, and power but he is a leper, and will disease will kill him. Naaman’s life is changed when he is told about Elisha’s healing. Elisha tells Naaman to bathe in the Jordan River seven times. At first, he refuses as he sees it as too simple. After he is healed, Naaman decides he will only worship the God of Israel and requests two loads of earth from Israel so he can be standing on holy ground.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
2 Kings 5
1 Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him Yahwehhad granted victory to the Aramaeans.
2 But the man suffered from a virulent skin-disease. Now, on one of their raids into Israelite territory, the Aramaeans had carried off a little girl, who became a servant of Naaman’s wife.
3 She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria! He would cure him of his skin-disease.’
4 Naaman went and told his master. ‘This and this’, he reported, ‘is what the girl from Israel has said.’
5 ‘Go by all means,’ said the king of Aram, ‘I shall send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes.
6 He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read, ‘With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman to you for you to cure him of his skin-disease.’
7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,’ he said, ‘for him to send a man to me and ask me to cure him of his skin-disease? Listen to this and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.’
8 When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent word to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.’
9 So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house.
10 And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.’
11 But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I, thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the part that was diseased.
12 Surely, Abana and Parpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?’ And he turned round and went off in a rage.
13 But his servants approached him and said, ‘Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean.” ‘
14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.
15 Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and, presenting himself, said, ‘Now I know that there is no God anywhere on earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.’
16 But Elisha replied, ‘As Yahweh lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing.’ Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused.
17 Then Naaman said, ‘Since your answer is “No,” allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, since your servant will no longer make burnt offerings or sacrifice to any god except Yahweh.
18 Only — and may Yahweh forgive your servant for this — when my master goes to the temple of Rimmon to worship there, he leans on my arm, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon when he does; may Yahweh forgive your servant for doing this!’
19 ‘Go in peace,’ Elisha replied.
20 Naaman had gone a small distance, when Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, said to himself, ‘My master has let this Aramaean Naaman off lightly, by not accepting what he offered. As Yahweh lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.’
21 So Gehazi set off in pursuit of Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he jumped down from his chariot to meet him. ‘Is all well?’ he asked.
22 ‘All is well,’ he said. ‘My master has sent me to say, “This very moment two young men of the prophetic brotherhood have arrived from the highlands of Ephraim. Be kind enough to give them a talent of silver and two festal robes.” ‘
23 ‘Please accept two talents,’ Naaman replied, and pressed him, tying up the two talents of silver in two bags with the two festal robes and consigning them to two of his servants who carried them ahead of Gehazi.
24 When he reached Ophel, he took these from them and put them away in the house. He then dismissed the men, who went away.
25 He, for his part, went and presented himself to his master. Elisha said, ‘Gehazi, where have you been?’ ‘Your servant has not been anywhere,’ he replied.
26 But Elisha said to him, ‘Was not my heart present there when someone left his chariot to meet you? Now you have taken the money, you can buy gardens with it, and olive groves, sheep and oxen, male and female slaves.
27 But Naaman’s disease of the skin will cling to you and your descendants for ever.’ And Gehazi left his presence white as snow from skin-disease.
1 The word of Yahweh which came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel.
2 The beginning of what Yahweh said through Hosea: Yahweh said to Hosea, ‘Go, marry a whore, and get children with a whore; for the country itself has become nothing but a whore by abandoning Yahweh.’
3 So he went and married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, who conceived and bore him a son.
4 Yahweh then said to him, ‘Call him Jezreel, for in a little while I shall punish the House of Jehu for the bloodshed at Jezreel and put an end to the sovereignty of the House of Israel.
5 When that day comes, I shall break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.’
6 She conceived a second time and gave birth to a daughter. Yahweh then said to him, ‘Call her Lo-Ruhamah, for I shall show no more pity for the House of Israel, I shall never forgive them again.
7 (Instead, I shall take pity on the House of Judah and shall save them, not by bow or sword or force of arms, not by horses or horsemen, but by Yahweh their God.)’
8 After weaning Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son.
9 Yahweh said, ‘Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people and I do not exist for you.’
1 But the Israelites will become as numerous as the sands of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted. In the very place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be told they are ‘Children of the living God’.
2 The Judaeans and Israelites will be reunited and will choose themselves a single head, and will spread far beyond their country, for great will be the Day of Jezreel!
3 Then call your brothers, ‘My people’, and your sisters, ‘You have been pitied’.
4 To court, take your mother to court! For she is no longer my wife nor am I her husband. She must either remove her whoring ways from her face and her adulteries from between her breasts,
5 or I shall strip her and expose her naked as the day she was born; I shall make her as bare as the desert, I shall make her as dry as arid country, and let her die of thirst.
6 And I shall feel no pity for her children since they are the children of her whorings.
7 Yes, their mother has played the whore, she who conceived them has disgraced herself by saying, ‘I shall chase after my lovers; they will assure me my keep, my wool, my flax, my oil and my drinks.’
8 This is why I shall block her way with thorns, and wall her in to stop her in her tracks;
9 then if she chases her lovers she will not catch them, if she looks for them she will not find them, and then she will say, ‘I shall go back to my first husband, I was better off then than I am now;’
10 she had never realised before that I was the one who was giving her the grain, new wine and oil, giving her more and more silver and gold which they have spent on Baal!
11 This is why I shall take back my grain when it is due and my new wine, when the season for it comes. I shall withdraw my wool and my flax which were to cover her naked body,
12 and then display her infamy before her lovers’ eyes- no one will take her from me then!
13 I shall put an end to all her merrymaking, her festivals, her New Moons and her Sabbaths and all her solemn feasts.
14 I shall make her vines and fig trees derelict of which she used to say, ‘These are the pay my lovers gave me.’ I shall turn them into a jungle: wild animals will feed on them.
15 I mean to make her pay for the feast-days on which she burnt incense to the Baals, when she tricked herself out in her earrings and necklaces to chase after her lovers, and forget me! -declares Yahweh.
16 But look, I am going to seduce her and lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
17 There I shall give her back her vineyards, and make the Vale of Achor a gateway of hope. There she will respond as when she was young, as on the day when she came up from Egypt.
18 When that day comes- declares Yahweh- you will call me, ‘My husband’, no more will you call me, ‘My Baal’.
19 I shall banish the names of the Baals from her lips and their name will be mentioned no more.
20 When that day comes I shall make a treaty for them with the wild animals, with the birds of heaven and the creeping things of the earth; I shall break the bow and the sword and warfare, and banish them from the country, and I will let them sleep secure.
21 I shall betroth you to myself for ever, I shall betroth you in uprightness and justice, and faithful love and tenderness.
22 Yes, I shall betroth you to myself in loyalty and in the knowledge of Yahweh.
23 When that day comes, I shall respond -declares Yahweh- I shall respond to the heavens and they will respond to the earth
24 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.
25 I shall sow her in the country to be mine, I shall take pity on Lo-Ruhamah, I shall tell Lo-Ammi, ‘You are my people,’ and he will say, ‘You are my God.’
1 Yahweh said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who loves another man, an adulteress, and love her as Yahweh loves the Israelitesalthough they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver, a homer of barley and a skin of wine,
3 and I said to her, ‘You will have to spend a long time waiting for me without playing the whore and without giving yourself to any man, and I will behave in the same way towards you.’
4 For the Israelites will have to spend a long time without king or leader, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or domestic images;
5 but after that, the Israel- ites will return and again seek Yahweh their God and David their king, and turn trembling to Yahweh for his bounty in the final days.
1 [Of David Psalm] I will sing of faithful love and judgement; to you, Yahweh, will I make music.
2 I will go forward in the path of the blameless; when will you come to me? I will live in purity of heart, in my house,
3 I will not set before my eyes anything sordid. I hate those who act crookedly; this has no attraction for me.
4 Let the perverse of heart keep away from me; the wicked I disregard.
5 One who secretly slanders a comrade, I reduce to silence; haughty looks, proud heart, these I cannot abide.
6 I look to the faithful of the land to be my companions, only he who walks in the path of the blameless shall be my servant.
7 There is no room in my house for anyone who practises deceit; no liar will stand his ground where I can see him.
8 Morning after morning I reduce to silence all the wicked in the land, banishing from the city of Yahweh all evil-doers.