The angry historians see one side of the question. The calm historians see nothing at all, not even the question itself. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut




How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper


At one time, while Elisha was living in Israel, the general of the Syrian army was named Naaman. He was a great man in his rank and power; and a brave man in battle; for he had won victories for Syria. But one sad terrible trouble came to Naaman. He was a leper. A leper was one with a disease called leprosy, which is still found in those lands. The leper’s skin turns a deathly white and is covered with scales. One by one his fingers and toes, his hands and feet, his arms and limbs, decay, until at last the man dies; and for the disease there is no cure. Yet, strange to say, through it all, the leper feels no pain; and often will not for a long time believe that he has leprosy.

There was in Naaman’s house at Damascus, in Syria, a little girl, who waited on Naaman's wife. She was a slave-girl stolen from her mother's home in Israel, and carried away as a captive to Syria. Even when there was no open war between Syria and Israel, parties of men were going out on both sides, and destroying villages on the border, robbing the people, and carrying them away, to be killed or sold as slaves. But this little girl, even though she had suffered wrong, had a kind heart, full of sorrow for her master Naaman; and one day she said to her mistress:

“I wish that my Lord Naaman might meet the prophet who lives in Samaria; for he could cure his leprosy.”

The slave girl and Naaman's wife
THE SLAVE GIRL AND NAAMAN'S WIFE


Some one told Naaman what the little girl had said; and Naaman spoke of it to the king of Syria. Now the king of Syria loved Naaman greatly; and when he went to worship in the temple of his god, out of all his nobles he chose Naaman as the one person whose arm he leaned. He greatly desired to have Naaman's leprosy cured; and he said, “I will send a letter to the king of Israel, and I will ask him to let his prophet cure you.”

So Naaman, with a great train of followers, rode in his chariot from Damascus to Samaria, about a hundred miles. He took with him as a present a large sum in gold and silver, and many beautiful robes and garments. He came to the king of Israel, and gave him the letter from the king of Syria. And this was written in the letter:

"With this letter I have sent to you Naaman, my servant; and I wish you to cure him of his leprosy."

The king of Syria supposed that as this prophet who could cure leprosy was in Samaria, he was under the orders of the king of Israel, and must do whatever his king told him to do; and as he did not know the prophet, but knew the king, he wrote to him But the king was greatly alarmed when he read the letter.

"Am I God," he said, "to kill men and to make men live! Why should the king of Syria send to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Do you not see that he is trying to find an excuse for making war, in asking me to do what no man can do?"

And the king of Israel tore his garments, as men did when they were in deep trouble. Elisha the prophet heard of the letter, and of the king's alarm, and he sent a message to the king.

"Why are you so frightened? Let this man come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet of the Lord in Israel."

So Naaman came with his chariots, his horses, and his followers, and stood before the door of Elisha's house. Elisha did not come out to meet him, but sent his servant out to him, saying:

"Go and wash in the river Jordan seven times, and your flesh and your skin shall become pure, and you shall be free from the leprosy."

But Naaman was very angry because Elisha had not treated with more respect so great a man as he was. He forgot, or he did not know, that by the laws of Israel no man might touch or even come near a leper; and he said:

"Why, I supposed that of course he would come out and meet me, and would wave his hand over the leper spot, and would call on the name of the Lord his God, and in that manner would cure my leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the two rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters in Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?"

And Naaman turned and went away in a rage of anger. But his servants were wiser than he. They came to him, and one of them said:

"My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? Then why not do it, when he says, ‘Wash and be clean'?"

After a little Naaman's anger cooled, and he rode down the mountains to the river Jordan. He washed in its water seven times, and the prophet had bidden him And the scales of leprosy left his skin; and his flesh became like the flesh of a little child, pure and clean. Then Naaman, a leper no more, came back to Elisha's house with all his company; and he said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Let me make you a present in return for what you have done for me."

But the true prophets of God never gave their message or did their works for pay; and Elisha said to Naaman:

"As surely as the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing."

And Naaman urged him to take the present, but he refused. Then Naaman asked as a favor that he might be allowed to take away from the land of Israel as much soil as could be carried on two mules, with which to build an altar; for he thought that an altar to the God of Israel could be made only of earth from the land of Israel; and he said:

"From this time I will offer no burnt-offering or sacrifice to any other God except the God of Israel. When I go with my master, the king of Syria, to worship in the temple of Rimmon his god; and my master leans on my arm, and I bow down to Rimmon with him, then may the Lord forgive me for this, which will look as if I were worshipping another God."

And Elisha said to him, "God in peace."

Then Naaman went on his way back to his own land. But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, said to himself:

"My master has let this Syrian go, without taking anything from him; but I will run after hi, and ask him for a present."

So Gehazi ran after Naaman; and Naaman saw him following, and stopped his chariot, and stepped down to meet him. And Gehazi said to him:

"My master has sent me to you to say that just now two young sons of the prophets have come to his house; will you give them a talent of silver and two suits of clothing?"

And Naaman said, "Let me give you two talents of silver."

So he put two talents of silver in two bags, a talent in each bag, and gave them to Gehazi, and with them two suits of fine clothing; and he sent them back by two of his servants. But before they came to Elisha's house, Gehazi took the gifts and hid them. Then Gehazi went into the house, and stood before Elisha. And Elisha said to him, "Gehazi, where have you been?"

And Gehazi answered, "I have not been at any place."

And Elisha said to him:

"Did not my heart go with you, and did I not see you, when the man stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to receive gifts of money, and garments, or gifts of vineyards and olive yards, and of sheep and oxen? Because you have done this wickedness, the leprosy of Naaman shall upon you, and shall cling to you, and to your children after you forever!"

And Gehazi walked out from Elisha's presence, a leper, with his skin as white as snow.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God