How a Leper was Healed by Elisha

In the time when Elisha lived there was a commander of the Syrian army whose name was Naaman. He was a great soldier and was respected, but he had a skin disease called leprosy. Now once when the Syrians had attacked the Israelite people, they had taken an Israelite girl as a captive. She was made a servant to Naaman's wife. One day the girl said to his wife, "I wish my master could go to the prophet in Samaria! He would make him well!" When Naaman heard this, he went to the king of Syria and told it to him. The king said, "Go to the king of Israel and I will send a letter with you."

So Naaman left for the country of Israel, taking the king's letter, a lot of silver and gold, and ten changes of fine clothes. The letter said, "This is my servant Naaman. I want you to make him well." When the king of Israel read the letter he tore his clothes and said, "How does he think I can heal him? Does he think I am God? He is trying to start a fight with me!"

But when the prophet Elisha heard about it, he sent a message to the king, saying, "Why are you upset? Send the man to me, and I will show him that there is a prophet in Israel." So Naaman went to Elisha's house. But Elisha did not even come out to see him. Instead he sent his servant Gehazi out to tell Naaman to go dip himself seven times in the Jordan River. When Naaman heard this, he became angry and left. He said, "I thought he would come out and pray to his God and then wave his hand over me and heal me! The rivers at Damascus in Syria are cleaner than any river in Israel! He could have had me dip myself in one of them!"

Then his servants went to him and said, "Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something hard, you would have done it. So why don't you dip yourself and be healed?" Then Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, just as the prophet had said. When he did this, his skin became healthy, just like a baby's.

He went back to Elisha to thank him and said "Now I know there is no god except the God of Israel. Please accept a gift from me." But Elisha refused to accept it. When he left, Elisha's servant Gehazi said to him, "My master has let Naaman get away without paying anything! I will go after him and get something from him." So he ran after Naaman, when Naaman saw him following, he stopped his chariot and got down to meet him. "Is something wrong?" He asked. "No," said Gehazi, my master sent me to tell you that two young prophets have just come from the hill country of Ephraim, and he would like you to give them a bag of silver and two changes of fine clothes." "Take two bags of silver!" Naaman said. He had two of his servants help Gehazi carry the clothes and silver back.

When Gehazi went back into the house after he hid the things, Elisha asked him, "Where have you been?" "Nowhere, sir," he said. Then Elisha said, "I was there in spirit with you when the man got out of his chariot! This is no time to accept money and clothes! Now Naaman's disease will come on you and you and your children will have it forever." And when Gehazi left Elisha, his body was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow!

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