Commentary on Lectionary Text for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C (Proper 9)
2 Kings 5:1-14
- Naaman was captain of the host of the King of Syria. He “was a great man with his master.” He was “honourable”. He was a “mighty man in valour” BUT he was a leper. Although Naaman was a commendable person, he had a condition he could not remedy. (1)
- Leprosy –
2.1. The Holman Bible Dictionary states,
A generic term applied to a variety of skin disorders from psoriasis to true leprosy. Its symptoms ranged from white patches on the skin to running sores to the loss of digits on the fingers and toes…For the Hebrews, it was a dreaded malady which rendered its victims ceremonially unclean – that is, unfit to worship God (Lev. 13:13). Anyone who came in contact with a leper was also considered unclean. Therefore, lepers were isolated from the rest of the community so that members of the community could maintain their status as worshippers. Other disorders or the flow of certain bodily fluids also rendered one unclean (see Lev. 12:1-14:32; 15:1-33). Even houses and garments could have “leprosy” and, thus, be unclean (Lev. 14:13-57).
- Naaman and the King of Syria find out about Elisha through a captured “little maid.” (2-4)
- Naaman and all his political pull could not find a cure for his disease. (5-8)
- Elisha’s response to the King of Israel’s rending his garments has elements of mission and evangelism. (8)
- Also, this reveals that the Word of God can only handle some situations. This fact could be the reason Elisha sent a messenger, instead of coming himself.
- The healing is not connected to the prophet’s person, but the Word of God.
- Naaman evidently felt stiffed by Elisha (11-12). Could this be because of his oversized ego?
- The command given by Elisha seemed foolish, but often this is the case because foolish commands in return need radical obedience.
- The water was not the agent of change, but the rather the Word. (14)
- Naaman, who was unclean and unfit to worship God, was now clean and fit to worship.
- All messengers of healing were anonymous. The little maid (2), Elisha’s servant (10), and Naaman’s servants (13).
- The reception of the Word/Command happened before the immersion in the Jordan. This reveals a perfect picture of the Gospel pattern.
- Could this be the psalm of a person who has tasted of the “holy humble pie? (4-6)
- A “spiritual” person exhibits humility. This person acknowledges the possibility of error on their behalf. Pride is very deceptive. (1-3)
- We should do good to “all men”, but especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
- These groups were dispatched to places Christ would later come to Himself. This sending forth reminded me of Spurgeon’s tactics. (1)
- “Eating and drinking such things as they give…” How far should this be taken?
- As Christians, we will not always be received, but we are called to testify of the truth (10-11).
- What a beautiful illustration of the benefits of salvation.
- This psalm is simply a wonderful psalm of praise.
 “Leprosy” Pages 872-873 of Holman Bible Dictionary, Edited by Trent C. Butler, 1 Vol. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991.