Only the foreigner returned (Lk 17:18-17:18)

“None of them

Returned

To give praise

To God

Except this foreigner.”

 

οὐχ εὑρέθησαν ὑποστρέψαντες δοῦναι δόξαν τῷ Θεῷ εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος;

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that none of the others could be found (οὐχ εὑρέθησαν) to return (ὑποστρέψαντες) and give glory or praise (δοῦναι δόξαν) to God (τῷ Θεῷ), except this foreigner (εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use this word ἀλλογενὴς, that means of another race or another nation, a foreigner.  Clearly, Luke indicated that Jesus was steeped in racial animosity, since he considered these Samaritans as foreigners, another race of people.  However, Jesus had more compassion for them in the stories of Luke than in the other gospel stories, where they are ignored.  The prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 5, had also cured a foreign leper, Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army in a fairly complicated story.  Do you have racial animosity towards those not of your culture?

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The lepers at the time of Elisha (Lk 4:27-4:27)

“There were also many lepers

In Israel

At the time

Of the prophet Elisha.

None of them

Was cleansed,

Except Naaman,

The Syrian.”

 

καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος.

 

Luke then cited another unique story about the prophet Elisha, the prophet who followed Elijah in the 9th century BCE.  He too was well known for his exploits in the first 13 chapters of 2 Kings.  This episode was about Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army, who suffered from some kind of leprosy.  Naaman asked his king if he could go get a cure from a prophet he had heard about.  Elisha told the king to send Naaman to him so that he could cure him.  He told Naaman to wash himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  This made Naaman very upset.  Finally, he went and immersed himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  Thus, he was cured of his leprosy, as found in 2 Kings, 5:1-14.  Luke said that there were also many lepers (καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν) in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ) at the time of the prophet Elisha (ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου).  None of them were cleansed (καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη), except Naaman, the Syrian (εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος).  Syrian and Aramean are almost the same.  The key idea was that someone other than an Israelite was cured.

The sons of Ehud (1 Chr 8:6-8:7)

“These are the sons of Ehud. They were the heads of the ancestral houses of the inhabitants of Geba. They were carried into exile to Manahath. They were Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera, that is, Heglam, who was the father of Uzza and Ahihud.”

This Ehud, son of Gera, may be the judge in Judges, chapter 3. Apparently, this family or clan settled in Geba, which was a Levite city in Benjamin, about 6 miles north of Jerusalem. They were taken into exile in the 6th century BCE to Manahath, which actually seems like a place in Judah. One of the leaders of this clan was (1) Naaman, mentioned in Numbers, chapter 26, or maybe a brother of Gera. There were 7 different biblical people with the name of (2) Ahijah. The most famous Ahijah was a prophet of Shiloh in the days of King Rehoboam in 1 Kings, chapters 11 and 14. (3) Gera is somehow Heglam, but this is the only mention of Heglam. There are 3 other people with the name of Uzza, but there is also one other Ahihud.

The sons of Bela (1 Chr 8:3-8:5)

“Bela had nine sons, named Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram.”

Bela was the first born son of Benjamin. In the census in Numbers, chapter 26, Bela, the clan of the Belaites, listed only 2 sons, Ard and clan of the Ardites and Naaman, the clan of the Naamites. Here Bela has 9 sons and only (5) Naaman is the same. (1) Addar, the grandson of Benjamin, also was the name of a place on the Benjamin border with Judah. In Genesis, chapter 49, (2) (7) Gera was listed as a son of Benjamin, but here he is the grandson of Benjamin, and listed twice. Gera was the name of an ancestor of the 2nd judge Ehud, in Judges, chapter 3, as well as the name of the father of Shimei, the Benjamite, who cursed David when he fled from Absalom. (3) Abihud was also the name of another person in the Jesus genealogy of Matthew. The only other (4) Abishua was a grandson of Aaron. (6) Ahoah and (8) Shephuphan are only mentioned here. (9) Huram appears here but may be the same as Hiram, the king of Tyre and the artisan from Tyre at the time of David and Solomon.

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.