Naaman, commander of the Aramean forces, with leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-5:4)

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master. Because by him Yahweh had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel. She served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress. ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from Israel had said. The king of Aram said. ‘Go then! I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.’”

This is the story of a foreigner, Naaman. He was the commander of the Aramean army. A tradition states that he was the archer who killed the bad King Ahab in the battle against the Arameans. That is why the comment about Yahweh gave him victory when King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat did battle with him in 1 Kings, chapter 22 at Ramoth-gilead in the Gad territory on the east side of the Jordan River. Although unnamed, the assumption is that the king of Aram was King Ben-hadad II. However, Naaman suffered from some kind of leprosy. Perhaps there was not the strict interdiction against lepers as there was in Israelite society. Anyway, a young Israelite slave told Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Samaria who could cure leprosy. Naaman asked his king if he could go get a cure. The king of Aram said okay and sent a letter to the king of Israel to make sure everything was all right.

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