1) He was the captain of the Syrian army, the commander.
2) He was a great man with his master. The king considered him a great man and honourable. He had been a victorious captain. Note here that, “by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria”. He was an idol worshipper, yet God used him to punish Israel for this sins.
3) He was a mighty man of valour – a strong, brave and fearless leader.
b. His problem.
1) He was a leper. Leprosy was an incurable disease. It slowly ate away at the flesh of its victim until it caused death.
2) Scholars are somewhat in disagreement regarding biblical leprosy, but it appears that there were two main types. “The first, and by far the more dangerous, is called lepromatous [causes fingers and toes to fall off. The victim usually dies of other diseases that follow. He may live 20-30 years.]; and the other, a more benign type, is designated as tuberculoid… [limited in it effects and often only lasted two to three years]” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 2, Merrill C. Tenney, general editor, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1975, p. 138-139, quoted by Keathley
2. The Little Maid
a. She was an Israelite slave captured in battle with Israel (v.2). Being a slave, she was separated from parents, never to see home again, no freedom, learning a foreign language, forced to work without pay, likely beaten if her work was unsatisfactory. (Illus: Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
b. She waited on Naaman’s wife.
c. She had faith in Jehovah’s prophet in Samaria – Elisha (v.3). This is an amazing testimony of her godly childhood rearing.
3. Naaman’s Hope
a. He believed the slave maid from Israel. Her life made her lips convincing. That is a convicting thought to ponder!
b. Naaman told this hopeful news to his lord the king (v.4).
c. The king sent Naaman to Israel’s king with a letter and valuable gifts (v.5). Some estimate the value at $1.2 million. He was desperate!
d. He took the letter to Israel’s king who read it (v.6). Evidently, the king of Syria misunderstood or generalised the letter, but he asked the king to heal Naaman rather than the prophet in Samaria as the maid said.
e. The king of Israel panicked and tore his clothes in fearful worry (v.7).
4. Elisha’s Intervention
a. When he heard that the king was in a panic, he sent his servant to ask why he was fearful rather than calling on Elisha the prophet (v.8).
1) Sadly, we often react to fearful news the same way.
2) How does the Bible say we should react? __ With a perfect heart (2Ch 16:9); trust (Ps 56:3); wait on the Lord (Ps 27:14); cast the burden on the Lord (Ps 55:22); not worry (Php 4:6-7).
b. Naaman came to Elisha’s house (v.9).
5. Elisha’s Relayed Message
a. Elisha sent a messenger to give his message to Naaman (v.10).
b. The prescribed cure was humiliating but simple. God was testing Naaman’s humility and his faith in Jehovah.
c. Naaman was wroth (i.e., angry, displeased) (v.11). He thought Elisha would treat him in some special manner. He did not want to wash in the dirty Jordan River (v.12). Thus, he stormed off in a rage.
6. Naaman’s Reluctant Obedience
a. His servant persuaded him to do the simple task that Elisha required (v.13). This is the second time that God used a slave to influence this man for good. This is an encouragement to us. We do not need to be someone special for God to use us. We just need to have faith and speak up for the Lord.
b. Naaman yielded and washed in the Jordan. Upon rising from the water on the seventh time, “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (v.14). God had showed himself mighty. Naaman had faith greater than that of the lepers in Israel (Luke 4:27).
7. Naaman’s Response
a. He confessed faith in Jehovah God (v.15).
b. He offered a reward to Elisha which he refused (v.15-16)
c. He requested two mule loads of soil [blessed by Jehovah] to carry back to Syria for an altar to offer sacrifices to the Lord (v.17). Superstition!
d. He then asked to be pardoned for obeying his king and bowing in the house of the Syrian idol Rimmon (v.18).
e. Elisha sent him away in peace – a sinner healed and saved (v.19)