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Naaman is Cured of his Leprosy

Naaman was captain of the host of the king of Syria and was a mighty man with his master. He was honored in the land because he was a mighty man of valor but he was a leper.

One time when a company of Syrians had gone out to fight the people of Israel they brought away captive a little maid from the land of Israel and she waited on Naaman's wife. One day she said to her mistress: "I would that my lord was with the prophet that is in Samaria, for he would recover him of his leprosy."

Some one went and told Naaman and said to him: "There is a maid of Israel whom the Syrians brought away captive and she says there is a prophet in the land of Samaria who can cure my lord of his leprosy."

When the king of Syria had heard what the maid of Israel had said, he called Naaman and said to him: "I will send a letter to the king of Israel, and also some presents, that he may cure the captain of my host of his leprosy." And Naaman departed, taking ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.

Naaman brought the letter to the king of Israel. The king opened the letter and in it read that the king of Syria had sent his servant Naaman to him that the king of Israel might cure him of his leprosy. But the king of Israel himself had no such power, for that belonged to the prophet of the Lord only.

When the king of Israel had read the letter from the king of Syria, he said to Naaman and those around him: "Am I a god to kill and make alive, that the king of Syria sends his servant unto me to cure him of his leprosy? I think he seeks to make a quarrel with me, for he knows I cannot cure leprosy," and the king was much annoyed at the letter he had received.

Elisha, the prophet, heard that the king of Syria had sent his captain, Naaman, to the king of Israel to be cured of his leprosy and that the king of Israel was greatly distressed by the message. Elisha sent word to the king of Israel to send Naaman to him that he might talk with him and show him that there was a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.

Elisha knew that it was Naaman who stood before his door but he did not ask him in, though he was a mighty captain and Elisha's house was a very poor one. Elisha sent a messenger to the door who said to Naaman: "Go and wash in the River Jordan seven times and your flesh shall come again to you and you shall be clean."

This made Naaman very angry and he went away, saying: "I thought the prophet himself would come out to me and call on the name of the Lord and strike his hand over my body and recover me of my leprosy. Are not the rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel, and may I not wash in them and be clean?" And Naaman turned and went away in his rage.

His servants came to him and said to him: "If the prophet had told you to do some great thing would you not have done it? how much rather, then, when he said to you, Wash and be clean."

Naaman thought this was good advice and as soon as he recovered himself of his rage he went down and dipped himself seven times in the River Jordan and behold, his flesh came again like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.

Naaman was so rejoiced of being cured of his leprosy that he and all his company went again to Elisha's house and stood before the man of God and said: "Now, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel, therefore I pray you, take a present from me." And Naaman offered Elisha the presents he had brought from Syria.

Elisha refused to take the presents. Naaman then said to him: "I shall take with me two mules' burden of earth away from this land and shall henceforth offer neither burnt offering or sacrifice unto any other god but unto the Lord alone." Naaman then departed on his way.

Now Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, heard what Naaman had said and saw the presents he had offered to his master. He said to himself : "My master has spared Naaman this Syrian and has not received at his hands the presents which he has brought, but I will run after him and take somewhat of him." So Gehazi ran after Naaman.

When Naaman saw him coming he stepped from his chariot and went to meet Gehazi and asked him: "Is all well?"

Gehazi answered : "All is well, my lord Naaman, but my master has sent me to say that just now there had come two young men of the sons of the prophets from Mount Ephriam and he would that you should give them a talent of silver and two changes of raiment."

Of course, Naaman was overjoyed to do this and gladly offered Gehazi not only one talent of silver but made him take two talents in two bags and two changes of garments. He laid them upon two of his servants and they went back with them to the house of Gehazi.

When they arrived Gehazi took the load from the hands of the servants and stored the talents and the raiment away in his house and let the men go. He then went to Elisha and stood before his master.

"From whence do you come, Gehazi?" said Elisha unto him. Gehazi looked down and told his master he had been nowhere. Elisha was a man of God and knew all the doings of his servants. He knew Gehazi was telling him a falsehood, therefore, he turned to him and said in his wrath: "I knew what you did when Naaman turned in his chariot to meet you. This was no time to receive money and garments and you have deceived me, therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall take hold of you." Elisha stretched forth his hand towards his guilty servant and at once the flesh of Gehazi became white with leprosy and he went forth from the presence of his master.