God’s Word Is Alive
A Proud Man Humbles Himself
THE proud Syrian military commander Naaman and his servants here are on their way to Israel where Naaman hopes to be cured of leprosy. Naaman heard from his wife’s young Israelite servant about the wonderful miracles that a prophet of Jehovah had performed in Israel.
Naaman carries a letter from the Syrian king that introduces him to the king of Israel. The letter requests that Naaman be cured of his leprosy. Arriving in Israel, Naaman presents the letter to King Jehoram, who becomes extremely upset because he cannot cure this man. Jehoram exclaims, ‘The king of Syria is only seeking a quarrel with me.’ When Jehovah’s prophet Elisha learns of this, he asks that Naaman be sent to him.
So Naaman, with his horses and war chariots, goes to Elisha’s house. But Elisha does not even come out to meet him. He simply sends out a messenger who directs Naaman: ‘To be cured you must go and bathe seven times in the Jordan River.’
Proud Naaman is offended and leaves in a rage. ‘I thought that he would at least come out to me,’ he says, ‘and pray to Jehovah and wave his hand over the diseased spot. I could just as well have bathed in the rivers of Syria.’ Yet one of Naaman’s servants calms him by reasoning: ‘Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can’t you just bathe, as he directed, and be cured?’
Naaman listens to his servant. He goes to the Jordan and plunges into its waters. And, miraculously, after the seventh time, his leprosy vanishes! Naaman is moved with appreciation and travels all the way back to Elisha to thank him, a trip of perhaps 30 miles (48 km).
Naaman offers Elisha expensive gifts and he then requests: ‘Let me have two muleloads of earth to take home.’ For what purpose? So that he there might offer sacrifices to Jehovah on Israel’s soil. In fact, Naaman vows that henceforth he will not offer sacrifices or burnt offerings to any god except Jehovah.—2 Kings 5:5-17.
What a remarkable change Naaman made! It is indeed a fine example for us to consider. But we can learn another lesson from this incident, which we will consider in a future issue of this magazine.