2 Kings 5

1 Naaman was a warrior-hero in Aram. Somewhere along the way he developed a skin disease. The Law of Moses goes into great detail about how those with skin diseases are to be quarantined, and it is likely that other nations had similar fears concerning these diseases. At the very least, Naaman would probably have to have remained separate from the rest of the army. He probably had to remain separate from his family, friends, and society. This would have been a great burden for a national hero.
2 The original text seems to emphasize how young this girl was. She had probably seen her village destroyed and may have seen her parents killed (at the very least she was forcibly separated from them).
3 Yet this little girl seems to carry no animosity towards Naaman (it is not said, but it is probably that he played a part in the raid). Indeed, she longs that he could meet the prophet she had known in her homeland who would certainly heal his skin disease.
4 When Naaman heard about this he took it seriously. He had probably tried every cure offered at the time and had lost all hope. Yet the words of this little slave girl restored his hope.
5 Naaman's value to his nation is clearly seen by the intervention of the king. We can also see the great price that Naaman was willing to pay to find a cure for his skin disease.

At this time Israel may have been subject to Aram or there was some other truce in place, since one would not normally welcome an enemy's hero into the king's court.

6 This letter makes it clear that the king of Aram expected the king of Israel to find a way to cure Naaman's leprosy.
7 We are not specifically told which king of Israel this was, but Who's Who indicates that it was probably Jehoram. The king of Israel is stressed and anguished about this demand. He could only imagine that the king of Aram was demanding the impossible and would punish him with war if a cure were not found.
8 The king was right to recognize that he had no power to cure Naaman's skin disease. However, the king was wrong not to seek help from God, whom he had already acknowledged could do this thing. Now Elisha was an enemy to the kings of Israel only because the kings acted wickedly while Elisha followed God. Elisha sends a message to the king saying that he should not be distressed. He directed the king to send Naaman to him so that he could do something that would prove to the king that the one true God had appointed him to be a prophet.
9 Naaman undoubtedly had a splendid entourage. I suspect that this would have been a spectacle outside of Elisha's (probably) simple dwelling.
10 Elisha does not come to the door, but has someone else deliver the simple instructions for the cure.
11 Naaman immediately had a problem with this -- the sin of pride. He had been important enough to cause the king of Israel to tear his clothes, but this fellow would not even answer the door for him. Naaman was expecting some king of grand ritual or incantation to take place.
12 Instead, he was told to bathe in an insignificant river. This did not appeal to his ego at all, and he was very angry with this.

Like Naaman, we should recognize that there is nothing "magical" about the waters of the Jordan, nor is there anything special about taking seven baths. It is also not Elisha, religious rituals, or money that works miracles -- it is God alone. Like Naaman, each of us has "leprosy of the spirit." We are separated from God and one another because of sin. God has given us one simple cure, which is faith in Jesus. When we believe and obey God will cleanse our sin away and make it possible for us to live with Him forever.

13 Fortunately for Naaman, he had people around him who really cared about his welfare. They counseled him to put away his pride and perform this simple act of faith.
14 God did better than simply cure his skin disease. God transformed his "old" skin into "new" skin.
15 And God did even more than renew Naaman's skin. He also renewed his spirit. Naaman had been "baptized" into God's family and acknowledged that there was not other God at all. This time Elisha does meet the man to welcome him into God's household.

When Naaman first came to Israel he expected to have to pay for a cure. The cure had been given to him for free, and now he wanted to give Elisha a generous gift out of gratitude.

16 Now Elisha refused the gift for at least two reasons: First he wanted to re-emphasize that the gift was free. Naaman's heart was right, but the emphasis here is that money can not buy God's favor. Only faith can "buy" His favor. Secondly, Elisha wants to emphasize again that it is not the man, Elisha, that cured Naaman, but God.
17 Now Naaman makes another request of his own. It seems that Naaman felt that the only proper place to worship God was on Israeli soil. Naaman would be returning to his homeland and might not have the opportunity to return. He asked for soil so that he could worship God and offer sacrifices on it. Perhaps we could criticize Naaman for not understanding that God can be worshiped on any soil because He created it all, or perhaps we would insist that Elisha should have told Naaman that he could only offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. But Elisha does neither of these. On one hand, the soil "quirk" is not sinful, and indeed it could be used as a witnessing tool in his homeland. On the other, Naaman would still be a gentile and would have been forbidden to worship in the Temple at Jerusalem. Thus, Naaman would worship in spirit and in truth as Christians do today (John 4:24).
18 Naaman brings up another point of concern. He lives in a pagan society, and his position requires that he attend to the king of Aram at pagan festivals. Naaman asks for forgiveness ahead of time for this. Elisha perceives that Naaman has enough faith to live in that society without hindering his relationship with God, otherwise he would have surely counseled Naaman to take up residence elsewhere.

In society today we also are required to do many things that do not necessarily advance God's kingdom. As a general rule of thumb, when someone comes to know God he may continue in his current line of work unless it causes him to sin, causes others to sin, or God has called him to work elsewhere.

19 Confident that God will protect and guide Naaman, Elisha dismisses him in peace.