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naaman Summary and Overview

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naaman in Easton's Bible Dictionary

pleasantness, a Syrian, the commander of the armies of Benhadad II. in the time of Joram, king of Israel. He was afflicted with leprosy; and when the little Hebrew slave-girl that waited on his wife told her of a prophet in Samaria who could cure her master, he obtained a letter from Benhadad and proceeded with it to Joram. The king of Israel suspected in this some evil design against him, and rent his clothes. Elisha the prophet hearing of this, sent for Naaman, and the strange interview which took place is recorded in 2 Kings 5. The narrative contains all that is known of the Syrian commander. He was cured of his leprosy by dipping himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of Elisha. His cure is alluded to by our Lord (Luke 4:27).

naaman in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(pleasantness). 1. "Naaman the Syrian." #Lu 4:27| Naaman was commander-in-chief of the army of Syria, and was nearest to the person of the king, Ben-hadad II., whom he accompanied officially and supported when he went to worship in the temple of Rimmon, #2Ki 5:18| at Damascus, the capital. (B.C. 885.) A Jewish tradition at least as old as the time of Josephus, and which may very well be a genuine one identifies him with the archer whose arrow, whether at random or not, struck Ahab with his mortal wound, and thus "gave deliverance to Syria." The expression in #2Ki 5:1| is remarkable --"because that by him Jehovah had given deliverance to Syria." The most natural explanation perhaps is that Naaman in delivering his country, had killed one who was the enemy of Jehovah not less than he was of Syria. Whatever the particular exploit referred to was, it had given Naaman a great position at the court of Ben-hadad. Naaman was afflicted with a leprosy of the white kind which had hitherto defied cure. A little Israelitish captive maiden tells him of the fame and skill of Elisha, and he is cured by him by following his simple directions to bathe in the Jordan seven times. See #2Ki 5:14| His first business after his cure is to thank his benefactor and gratefully acknowledge the power of the God of Israel, and promise "henceforth to offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord." How long Naaman lived to continue a worshipper of Jehovah while assisting officially at the worship of Rimmon we are not told; ("but his memory is perpetuated by a leper hospital which occupies the traditional site of his house in Damascus, on the banks of the Abana." --Schaff.) 2. One of the family of Benjamin who came down to Egypt with Jacob as read in #Ge 46:21| He was the son of Bela, and head of the family of the Naamites. #Nu 26:40; 1Ch 8:3,4| (B.C. 1706.)

naaman in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

NA'AMAN (pleasantness). 1. A distinguished Syrian general, but a leper. 2 Kgs 5. Hearing, through a captive Jewish girl who waited on his wife, of the fame of the prophet Elisha, he set out on a journey to Israel with letters of recommendation from his sovereign to the king of Israel. When the king of Israel read the letter he was filled with apprehension, fearing, probably, lest the king of Syria intended to find a pretext for a quarrel in his inability to cure the leprosy of his general. In this predicament, Elisha, on receiving the news of Naaman's arrival, despatched word to the king to give up his fears and to send the distinguished stranger to him. Naaman went, and received from Elisha's messenger the prescription to bathe seven times in the Jordan. The leper at first disdained the remedy. It was too simple, and attributed to the Jordan a virtue which he knew Abana and Pharpar, rivers of his own land, did not possess. His retinue wisely advised him not to spurn the remedy on account of its simplicity. Following their counsel. he washed himself seven times in the Jordan, and his "flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child." Out of gratitude Naaman offered the prophet a present, but failed to induce him to take it. Subsequently, Gehazi, by uttering a falsehood, secured it, but in turn received Naaman's leprosy. As a result of the bodily cure, Naaman's mind became convinced that the God of Israel was alone worthy of worship and service. He took home with him "two mules' burden of earth," probably in order to make an altar, Ex 20:24, with the promise never to offer sacrifice to other than the God of Israel, and he begged the prophet to absolve him for continuing, out of allegiance to his sovereign, as his companion to go into the temple of Rimmon and bow before the false god. In this Naaman implies that his heart would refuse the worship of the idol which his outward act seemed to indicate. Elisha's parting words to him were, "Go in peace." Our Lord referred to Naaman's cure in his sermon to the Nazarenes. Luke 4:27. The memory of Naaman is perpetuated in a leper-hospital which occupies the traditional site of his house in Damascus, on the banks of the Abana. "I have often visited it" (says Dr. Porter, The Giant Cities of Bashan, p. 366), "and when looking on its miserable inmates, all disfigured and mutilated by their loathsome disease, I could not wonder that the heart of the little Jewish captive was moved by her master's suffering." 2. A Benjamite. Gen 46:21.

naaman in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

1. A son, i.e. grandson, of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21; Numbers 26:40; 1 Chronicles 8:4); reckoned in the Genesis genealogy as a "son" because he became head of a distinct family, the Naamites. Came down to Egypt with Jacob. 2. Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5). Identified by Jewish tradition (Josephus, Ant. 8:15, section 5) with the archer (1 Kings 22:34) who drew his bow at a venture, and wounding Ahab mortally was Jehovah's instrument in "giving deliverance to Syria." Benhadad therefore promoted him to be captain of the Syrian host and the lord in waiting nearest his person, on whose arm the king leant in entering Rimmon's temple (compare 2 Kings 7:2; 2 Kings 7:17). "But (for all earthly greatness has its drawbacks) he was a leper," afflicted with white leprosy (2 Kings 5:27). (For the rest, see ELISHA.) The case of Naaman was designed by God to shame Israel out of their half-heartedness toward Jehovah by a witness for Him the most unlikely. God's sovereign grace, going beyond Israel and its many lepers to heal the Gentile Naaman, Jesus makes to be His justification for His not doing as many miracles in His own country as He had done in Capernaum, an earnest of the kingdom of God passing from Israel to the Gentiles; Luke the physician (Luke 4:23-27) appropriately is the evangelist who alone records it.