Naaman, the king of Aram's army commander was considered a great man by his master and highly respected, for through him the Lord had made the Arameans victorious. He was a mighty warrior, but he was a leper.
Some Arameans had gone on a raid and had captured a young girl from the land of Israel. She had been made a servant to Naaman's wife. She told her mistress, “If only my master would go and see the prophet who lives in Samaria. I'm sure he could cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman went to his master and explained what the Israelite girl had said.
You can go,” said the king of Aram, “and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left. He took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of clothing.
The letter he took to the king of Israel read: “This letter accompanies my servant Naaman, sent to you so you can heal him of his leprosy.”
When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes in panic and said, “Does this man think I'm God, having power over life and death, sending me a leper to heal? Obviously he's just trying to invent an excuse to attack me, as anyone can see!”
But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had ripped his clothes in panic, he sent a message to the king, saying: “What did you rip your clothes for? Please send the man to me, so he will be convinced there is a prophet in Israel.”
So Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots and stood waiting at the door of Elisha's house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan. Then your body will be healed, and you will be clean.”*
11 But Naaman got angry and left, saying, “I expected he would at least come out, stand there and invoke the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over where my leprosy is and heal it. 12 Aren't the rivers of Damascus, Abanah and Pharpar, better than any of these streams of Israel? Couldn't I have washed in them and been healed?” So he turned around and went off in a rage.
13 But Naaman's officials went to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you that you had to do something extraordinary, wouldn't you have done it? How much easier is it to do what he says, ‘Wash and you'll be healed’?”
14 So Naaman went down and plunged himself underwater in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him. His body was healed, his skin became like a baby's, and he was clean.
15 Then Naaman and his whole entourage went back to the man of God, stood before him, and Naaman announced, “Now I'm convinced that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept a gift from me, your servant.”
16 But Elisha replied, “As the Lord lives, the one I serve, I will not accept anything.” Even though Naaman tried to persuade him to take the gift, he refused.
17 So Naaman said, “If you won't, please let me, your servant, take back with me two mule loads of earth, for I will never again bring a burnt offering or make a sacrifice to any other god but the Lord. 18 In addition, may the Lord forgive me for doing this: When my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and I assist him, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive me for doing so.”
19 Go in peace,” said Elisha, and Naaman left. But he had only gone a short way 20 when Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “Just look how my master has let this Naaman the Syrian off the hook by not accepting the gifts he brought! As the Lord lives, I'll run after him and get something from him.”
21 So Gehazi chased after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?”
22 “Everything's fine,” Gehazi replied. “My master sent me to tell you, ‘I've just found out that two young men have arrived to see me from the sons of the prophets who live the hill country of Ephraim. Please let them have a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’ ”
23 But Naaman replied, “Please, take two talents.” He insisted that Gehazi to accept them. Then he tied up two talents of silver in two bags as well as two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, who carried them for Gehazi.
24 When Gehazi arrived at the hill fortress, he took the gifts from the servants and put them in the house. He told the men they could go, and they left.
25 When Gehazi got back and attended his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “Your servant hasn't been anywhere,” he replied.
26 But Elisha told him, “Didn't I see you in my mind's eye when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?
27 Consequently Naaman's leprosy will stick to you and your descendants forever!” As Gehazi left him, he had leprosyhe looked as white as snow.
* 5:10 “Clean”: from an Israelite perspective, anyone with leprosy was unclean.