Naaman the Syrian

“Naaman the Syrian,” Friend, Feb. 1987, 48

Naaman the Syrian

(See 2 Kgs 5:1–17.)

As captain of the king’s army, Naaman was an important man in the country of Syria. He was a good and valiant man, but he was a leper.

Naaman’s wife had a little maid from the land of Israel. She told her mistress that if Naaman were with the prophet in Samaria, the prophet would heal him. When the king of Syria heard this, he sent Naaman to the king of Israel with gifts of silver and gold and a letter asking the king of Israel to heal Naaman of his leprosy.

The king of Israel rent his clothes because he knew that he could not make Naaman well. When Elisha the prophet heard about the situation, he sent this message to the king: “Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him [Naaman] come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

So Naaman went with his horses and his chariot and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. The prophet sent a messenger out to tell Naaman that if he washed himself in the Jordan River seven times he would be healed. This message made Naaman angry. He exclaimed, “Behold, I thought, He [Elisha] will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and [heal me].

“Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?”

Naaman stomped off in a rage. But his servants followed him and said, “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”

Naaman thought it over, then went to the Jordan River and washed himself seven times as the prophet Elisha had instructed him. When he came out of the river, he was completely healed.

Naaman returned to Elisha’s house, happy and thankful. He told the prophet that he knew that he had been healed by the power of God, and he promised that from then on he would worship only God.

Illustrated by Paul Mann