“The Greed of Gehazi”
II Kings 5
The king of Aram had high admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.
Now groups of Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid.
One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”
So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said, “Go and visit the prophet,” the king told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to carry to the king of Israel.”
So Naaman started out, taking as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”
When the king of Israel read it, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can kill and give life? He is only trying to find an excuse to invade us again.” But when Elisha, the man of God, heard about the king’s reaction, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of leprosy.”
But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would surely come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the Abana River and Pharpar River of Damascus better than all the rivers of Israel put together? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?”
So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply to go and wash and be cured!”
So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his flesh became as healthy as a young child’s, and he was healed!
Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “I know at last that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Now please accept my gifts.”
But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.”
And though Naaman urged him to take the gifts, Elisha refused. Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer any burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord. However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing. When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.”
“Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again.
But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting his gifts. As surely as the Lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi set off after him.
When Naaman saw him running after him, he climbed down from his chariot and went to meet him. “Is everything all right?” Naaman asked.
“Yes,” Gehazi said, “but my master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets from the hill country of Ephraim have just arrived. He would like 75 pounds of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.”
“By all means, take 150 pounds of silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi. But when they arrived at the hill, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he hid the gifts inside the house.
When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”
“I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied.
But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and servants? Because you have done this, you and your children and your children’s children will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.”
When Gehazi left the room, he was leprous; his skin was as white as snow.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.