“Lesson 98: 2 Kings 5–13,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 98,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The Syrian military leader Naaman was healed of leprosy as he followed the counsel of the prophet Elisha. Later, Elisha miraculously caused an axe head to float in water. Elisha also helped Israel defeat the Syrian army by revealing Syria’s war plans to the king of Israel.
Ask students to consider how they would respond in the following scenario: A friend who is not very religious asks you for advice on how to handle a difficult personal problem. You suggest to her that when you struggle with challenges, you pray to God for help. She responds, “I don’t think my prayers would be answered because I don’t even know if I believe in God.”
What would you say to your friend to help her strengthen her belief in God?
Invite students to look for principles as they study 2 Kings 5 that can help them and others increase their faith in God.
Explain that while Elisha was serving as a prophet in Israel, a man named Naaman was living in the neighboring country of Syria. Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for details about Naaman.
What do we learn about Naaman from these verses? (Explain that “captain of the host of the king of Syria” means that he was the commander of the Syrian army.)
Why might it have been difficult for Naaman when he discovered he had leprosy? (Leprosy would have caused Naaman to develop disfiguring sores—likely making him a social outcast—and could have resulted in his death.)
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:2–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Naaman learned of a possible solution to his problem.
Who did the Israelite maid say could heal Naaman? (The prophet Elisha.)
Summarize 2 Kings 5:5–8 by explaining that the king of Syria sent Naaman with a letter to the king of Israel asking that Naaman be healed of his leprosy. When Elisha heard about Naaman’s request, he told the king of Israel to send Naaman to him.
If you had been Naaman, who held the important position of captain of the Syrian army, what are some things you might have expected Elisha to do so that you would be healed?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened when Naaman went to see Elisha.
How did Elisha communicate with Naaman?
What did Elisha tell Naaman to do in order to be healed?
If you were Naaman, how might you have responded to Elisha’s instructions?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Naaman responded to Elisha’s instructions. Explain that Abana and Pharpar were rivers in Naaman’s homeland.
According to verse 11, why was Naaman upset about how Elisha had given his instructions?
According to verse 12, why was Naaman upset about the instructions Elisha had given?
In what ways might following these instructions have been a test of faith for Naaman?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the questions Naaman’s servants asked him.
In your own words, how would you summarize the questions Naaman’s servants asked him?
What truths can we learn from the servants’ questions? (Students may identify truths similar to the following: If we have faith that the prophet speaks for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, then we will follow all of his words. As we do the small and simple things requested by God’s prophets, we will receive great blessings.)
Why might we be more willing to do something great and less willing to do something small to keep the commandments?
Invite students to ponder examples of small things that the Lord has asked of them. Encourage them to identify one small thing they can do to show their faithfulness to the Lord.
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Naaman chose to do.
How did Naaman show his faith in the words of God as given through Elisha?
If you were Naaman, what might you have been thinking the first time you dipped yourself in the water? The second time? The seventh time?
What thoughts or feelings might you have had as you saw your leprosy healed?
How might this experience have affected your testimony of the prophet’s calling?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 5:15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Naaman did after he was cleansed. Invite students to report what they find.
What did Naaman come to know through this experience?
What will happen to our testimonies of God if we choose to exercise faith in His words? (Students may use different words, but they should identify a principle similar to the following: As we exercise faith by acting on God’s words, our testimony of Him will be strengthened.)
Why do you think we frequently need to exercise faith in God before our testimonies are strengthened?
Refer to the scenario at the beginning of the lesson. Ask a few students to explain how they could use the account of Naaman and the principles they have identified to help their friend. Ask them to consider what she would need to do to exercise her faith in God so that her belief in or testimony of Him could be strengthened.
When have you exercised faith by acting on God’s words?
How was your testimony of God strengthened as a result?
Invite students to ponder aspects of their testimonies that they would like to strengthen. Ask them to think about what they can do to exercise their faith in God’s words so that those parts of their testimony can grow.
Explain that in 2 Kings 5:15–27 we learn that Naaman wanted to thank Elisha by giving him money and gifts. Elisha declined Naaman’s offer. After Naaman departed, Elisha’s servant Gehazi went after Naaman and lied to him, saying that Elisha requested silver and clothing. Naaman gave Gehazi gifts, which Gehazi kept for himself. The Lord punished Gehazi by afflicting him with Naaman’s leprosy.
Write the following list on the board:
Explain that this is a list of common challenges or decisions that a youth might face. Invite students to write additional challenges or decisions on the board. Ask students which of these listed items they think God cares about the most, and why.
Summarize 2 Kings 6:1–3 by explaining that Elisha gave the sons of the prophets permission to build a new home because the one they were living in was too small.
Invite students to read 2 Kings 6:4–5 silently, looking for what happened as they were cutting down trees to build the new home.
Why was losing this axe head a concern for these men?
Considering the grand scope of God’s plan, how important do you think an axe head is to God?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 6:6–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Elisha did. Invite students to report what they find. Explain that the phrase “the iron did swim” means the axe head floated to the surface of the water.
If you had been the man who had borrowed the axe, how might you have felt when you saw the axe head floating in the water?
What can this miracle teach us about God’s awareness of us and our concerns? (Students may identify a truth such as the following: God is aware of our concerns and is merciful to us.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:
“Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives” (“Consider the Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 88).
Invite students to share experiences they have had when the Lord has helped them in small ways.
Explain that Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel began to fight each other, and the king of Syria would privately discuss his battle plans with his servants.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Kings 6:9–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Israel learned of the Syrian army’s plans.
What did Elisha reveal to the king of Israel?
What did the Syrian king command his army to do?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 6:15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Elisha and his servant reacted when they learned the Syrian army was surrounding them.
How did Elisha answer his servant’s question?
Why might Elisha’s answer have been confusing to the servant?
Invite a student to read 2 Kings 6:17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did for the servant.
What did Elisha’s servant see after his eyes were opened?
What do you think happened to his fear when he saw the heavenly army?
Summarize 2 Kings 6:18–23 by explaining that the Lord caused the Syrian army to be unable to comprehend where they were. Elisha led the army into Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Elisha persuaded the king of Israel to feed and care for the Syrians. This particular army of Syrians never returned to Israel.
Based on the account we just studied, what do we learn the Lord will do for those who are faithful to Him? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that as we are faithful to the Lord, we can receive His help in our challenges, even though we may not be aware of His help at the time.)
How can knowing this principle help us “fear not” (2 Kings 6:16) when we are faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges?
Invite students to think of challenges they have experienced and ponder how the Lord may have helped them, even though they may not have been aware of His help at the time.
Summarize 2 Kings 6:24–13:25 by explaining that these chapters chronicle the wars between Israel and Syria and the reigns of several kings in both Israel and Judah.
Conclude with your testimony of the truths identified in this lesson, and invite students to apply these truths in their lives.