2 Kings 5:1-15a

2 Kings 5:1-15a
Narrative Lectionary 109


Naaman,I commanderII of the armyIII of the kingIV of Aram,V

Notes on verse 1a

I “Naaman” = Naaman. 16x in OT. From naem (to be pleasant, beautiful, sweet, or agreeable in a literal or figurative sense). This is Naaman, meaning “pleasantness” or “pleasant.”
II “commander” = sar. This is chief, leader, ruler, lord, official, governor, prince, military leader. It refers to someone at the top of a rank or class.
III “army” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
IV “king” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
V “Aram” = Aram. Perhaps from ‘armon (any fortified building – castle, citadel, palace) OR from rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively). This is Aram, Syria, Mesopotamia – meaning elevated or citadel. See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Aram.html#.XqfDX8hKhPY

wasVI a greatVII manVIII and in high favor withIX his masterX, XI

Notes on verse 1b

VI “was” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
VII “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
VIII “man” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
IX “in high favor with” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
X “master” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
XI {untranslated} = nasa + paneh. Nasa is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept. Paneh is the same as “in high favor with” in v1. See note IX above.

because by him the LordXII had givenXIII victoryXIV to Aram.

Notes on verse 1c

XII “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “was” in v1. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note VI above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
XIII “given” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
XIV “victory” = teshuah. From yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe; to free someone). This is deliverance or salvation.

The man,XV though a mightyXVI warrior,XVII suffered from a skin disease.XVIII 

Notes on verse 1d

XV {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “was” in v1. See note VI above.
XVI “mighty” = gibbor. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or be insolent). This is strong, mighty, or powerful. This can imply a warrior, hero, or tyrant.
XVII “warrior” = chayil. From chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is strength, wealth, ability, activity. It can refer to soldier or a company of soldiers as well as goods. It is a force of people, means, or goods. It can speak of valor, virtue, or strength.
XVIII “suffered from a skin disease” = tsara. From tsaraath (leprosy or a mark). This is to have leprosy or be a leper.

Now the ArameansXIX on one of their raidsXX had taken a youngXXI girlXXII

Notes on verse 2a

XIX {untranslated} = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XX “raids” = gedud. From gadad (to cut, gather, assemble, crowd; also, to gash as pushing in). This is a crowd, but generally used to refer to soldiers. So, it is a band, troop, or company. It can also be a group of robbers.
XXI “young” = qatan. From quwt (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
XXII “girl” = naarah. From naar (child or a servant; a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence); perhaps from naar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a girl or young lady ranging anywhere in age from infancy to adolescence.

captiveXXIII from the landXXIV of Israel,XXV and she servedXXVI Naaman’s wife.XXVII 

Notes on verse 2b

XXIII “taken…captive” = shabah. This is to carry away into captivity, bring away, capture, lead away.
XXIV “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
XXV “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
XXVI “served” = hayah + paneh. Hayah is the same as “was” in v1. See note VI above. Paneh is the same as “in high favor with” in v1. See note IX above.
XXVII “wife” = ishshah. Related to “man” in v1. From ish (see note VIII above). This is woman, wife, or female.

She said to her mistress,XXVIII “If onlyXXIX my lordXXX

Notes on verse 3a

XXVIII “mistress” = gebereth. Related to “mighty” in v1. 9x in OT. From gebir (lord or master); from gabar (see note XVI above). This is lady or mistress.
XXIX “if only” = achalay. 2x in OT. Perhaps from ach (ah, oh, alas; used for grief or surprise); {from ahahh (alas, oh; exclamation of pain)} + lu (if only, please, would, I pray; a conditional). This is if only, oh, a wish.
XXX “lord” = adon. Same as “master” in v1. See note X above.

were withXXXI the prophetXXXII who is in Samaria!XXXIII He would cureXXXIV him of his skin disease.”XXXV 

Notes on verse 3b

XXXI “with” = paneh. Same as “in high favor with” in v1. See note IX above.
XXXII “prophet” = nabi. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.
XXXIII “Samaria” = Shomron. From shamar (to keep, watch, or preserve; to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something). This is Samaria, meaning watch station.
XXXIV “cure” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.
XXXV “skin disease” = tsaraath. Related to “suffered from a skin disease” in v1. See note XVIII above.

So Naaman went inXXXVI and toldXXXVII his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said.XXXVIII 

And the king of Aram said, “Go,XXXIX then,XL and I will sendXLI along a letterXLII to the king of Israel.”

Notes on verses 4-5a

XXXVI “went in” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XXXVII “told” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
XXXVII “said” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
XXXIX “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
XL “then” = bo. Same as “went in” in v4. See note XXXVI above.
XLI “send” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
XLII “letter” = sepher. Perhaps from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This can be writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register.

He went, takingXLIII withXLIV him tenXLV talentsXLVI of silver,XLVII

Notes on verse 5b

XLIII “taking” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
XLIV {untranslated} = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
XLV “ten” = eser. Perhaps from asar (to tithe, render a tenth of). This is ten or -teen. While 7 is symbolically the number of perfection, ten is also symbolically a number of perfection (but to a lesser degree than 7 is).
XLVI “talents” = kikkar. From karar (to dance or whirl). This is round so it can refer to a circle, a circular region, a weight used for measurement, money, a loaf of bread that is round, a cover, a plain, or a valley in the Jordan.
XLVII “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.

sixXLVIII thousandXLIX shekels of gold,L and ten setsLI of garments.LII 

Notes on verse 5c

XLVIII “six” = shesh. This is six. Figuratively, it can be a surplus since it is one more than the number of fingers on the hand.
XLIX “thousand” = eleph. Perhaps from the same as eleph (herd, cattle); from alaph (to learn, speak, associate with). This is thousand.
L “gold” = zahab. Root may mean to shimmer. This is gold or something that has the color of gold like oil. It can also refer to a clear sky – to good weather.
LI “sets” = chaliphah. 12x in OT. From chalaph (to slide by or rush like a flood; to pass through, change, sprout, renew, break a promise, pierce, or violate). This is a change, alternation, release, shift, change of clothing.
LII “garments” = beged. From bagad (to cover or conceal; figuratively, to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage). This is clothing, garment, robe, or some other kind of clothing. Figuratively, it can be treachery or pillaging.

He broughtLIII the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reachesLIV you, knowLV that I have sent to you my servantLVI Naaman, that you may cure him of his skin disease.” 

Notes on verse 6

LIII “brought” = bo. Same as “went in” in v4. See note XXXVI above.
LIV “reaches” = bo. Same as “went in” in v4. See note XXXVI above.
LV “know” = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
LVI “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.

WhenLVII the king of Israel readLVIII the letter, he toreLIX his clothesLX and said, “Am I God,LXI to give deathLXII or life,LXIII that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his skin disease?

Notes on verse 7a

LVII {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “was” in v1. See note VI above.
LVIII “read” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
LIX “tore” = qara. This is to tear or cut out in a literal or figurative sense. It an also be to revile or to apply eye make up – as though they are made to look larger.
LX “clothes” = beged. Same as “garments” in v5. See note LII above.
LXI “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israel” in v2. See note XXV above.
LXII “give death” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
LXIII “life” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it can be revive, nourish, or save.

JustLXIV lookLXV andLXVI seeLXVII how he is trying to pick a quarrelLXVIII with me.”

Notes on verse 7b

LXIV “just” = ak. Related to aken (surely, truly, nevertheless); from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is a positive statement – surely, also, certainly, alone, only.
LXV “look” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
LXVI {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
LXVII “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
LXVIII “trying to pick a quarrel” = anah. 6x in OT. This is to meet, happen, approach. It is an encounter, whether innocent or for violence.

ButLXIX when ElishaLXX the man of God heardLXXI that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a messageLXXII to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him comeLXXIII, LXXIV to me, that he may learnLXXV that there is a prophet in Israel.” 

Notes on verse 8

LXIX {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “was” in v1. See note VI above.
LXX “Elisha” = Elisha. Related to “Israel” in v2 & “God” in v7 & “victory” in v1. From Elishua (Elishua, meaning “God is salvation”); {from el (see note XXV above) + yasha (see note XIV above)}. This is Elisha, meaning “God is salvation.”
LXXI “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
LXXII “sent a message” = shalach. Same as “send” in v5. See note XLI above.
LXXIII “come” = bo. Same as “went in” in v4. See note XXXVI above.
LXXIV {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v7. See note LXVI above.
LXXV “learn” = yada. Same as “look” in v7. See note LXV above.

So Naaman came with his horsesLXXVI and chariotsLXXVII and haltedLXXVIII at the entranceLXXIX of Elisha’s house.LXXX 

Notes on verse 9

LXXVI “horses” = sus. Root may mean to skip as in jump for joy. This is a crane or a swift bird. It is also a horse as leaping.
LXXVII “chariots” = rekeb. From rakab (to ride an animal or in some vehicle; also, bringing on a horse). This is a vehicle, wagon, or chariot. It can be cavalry or an individual rider.
LXXVIII “halted” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
LXXIX “entrance” = petach. From patach (to open wide in a literal or figurative sense, loosen, plow, carve). This is opening, door, gate, entrance.
LXXX “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.

10 Elisha sent a messengerLXXXI to him, saying, “Go, washLXXXII in the JordanLXXXIII sevenLXXXIV times,LXXXV

Notes on verse 10a

LXXXI “messenger” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
LXXXII “wash” = rachats. This is to wash, wash away – it can be complete or partial.
LXXXIII “Jordan” = Yarden. From yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”
LXXXIV “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection.
LXXXV “times” = paam. From paam (to move, trouble; to tap in a regular rhythm; to agitate). This is a beat, stroke, footstep, or occurrence.

and your fleshLXXXVI shall be restored,LXXXVII and you shall be clean.”LXXXVIII 

Notes on verse 10b

LXXXVI “flesh” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.
LXXXVII “restored” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
LXXXVIII “be clean” = taher. This is properly being bright, which implies being pure or clean. This word can also mean purge, cleanse, or purify. It can be clean in a ritual sense or a moral one (i.e. moral or holy).

11 But Naaman became angryLXXXIX and went away,XC saying, “XCII thought that for me he would surely come outXCII and stand and callXCIII on the nameXCIV

Notes on verse 11a

LXXXIX “became angry” = qatsaph. This is angry or provoked to wrath. It suggests a bursting into anger.
XC “went away” = halak. Same as “go” in v5. See note XXXIX above.
XCI {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “know” in v6. See note LV above.
XCII “surely come out” = yatsa + yatsa. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note XIX above. The word is repeated twice – the second time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
XCIII “call” = qara. Same as “read” in v7. See note LVIII above.
XCIV “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

of the LordXCV his God and would waveXCVI his handXCVII over the spotXCVIII and cure the skin disease! 

Notes on verse 11b

XCV “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note XII above.
XCVI “wave” = nuph. This is to rock back and forth, wave, sprinkle, quiver, beckon, offer, present.
XCVII “hand” = yad. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLIV above.
XCVIII “spot” = maqom. From qum (to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.

12 Are not AbanaXCIX and Pharpar,C the riversCI of Damascus,CII

Notes on verse 12a

XCIX “Abana” = Abanah. Related to “house” in v9. 1x in OT. Related to Amanah (Amanah or Amana; a river and its region; a mountain); {from amanah (faith, support, sure, covenant); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast; figuratively, to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid)} OR from eben (a stone, weight, or mason); {from banah (see note LXIII above)}. This is Abanah or Abana, a river. It may mean “stony,” “faith,” “support,” “her stone,” “onto stone,” or “petrifaction.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Abanah.html 
C “Pharpar” = Parpar. 1x in OT. Perhaps from parar (to break, defeat, frustrate, caste off, clean, cease). This is Parpar or Pharpar, a river. It may mean “rushing,” “rapid,” “many splits,” or “divisions upon divisions.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Pharpar.html
CI “rivers” = nahar. From nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.
CII “Damascus” = Dammeseq. From Old Aramaic dammasq (Damascus); perhaps related to d-r (dwelling) OR in Syriac darsuq (“a well-watered land”). This is Damascus. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascus.

betterCIII than allCIV the watersCV of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” He turnedCVI and went away in a rage.CVII 

Notes on verse 12b

CIII “better” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
CIV “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
CV “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
CVI “turned” = panah. Related to “in high favor with” in v1. See note IX above.
CVII “rage” = chemah. From yacham (to be hot, mate; figuratively, to conceive). This is heat – figuratively it can be anger or fury. It can also refer to poison or venom as they can cause fever.

13 But his servants approachedCVIII and said to him, “Father,CIX if the prophet had commandedCX you to do somethingCXI difficult,CXII would you not have doneCXIII it? How much more,CXIV when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 

Notes on verse 13

CVIII “approached” = nagash. This is to draw, bring, or come near. It is approaching for any reason – as an attack on an enemy, in order to worship, to make an argument. It can also be used as a euphemism for sex.
CIX “Father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
CX “commanded” = dabar. Same as “said” in v4. See note XXXVIII above.
CXI “something” = dabar. Related to “said” in v4. From dabar (see note XXXVIII above). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
CXII “difficult” = gadol. Same as “great” in v1. See note VII above.
CXIII “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
CXIV “more” = aph. This is also, furthermore, even.

14 So he went downCXV and immersedCXVI himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the wordCXVII of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy,CXVIII and he was clean.

Notes on verse 14

CXV “went down” = yarad. Related to “Jordan” in v10. See note LXXXIII above.
CXVI “immersed” = tabal. 16x in OT. This is to dip or immerse. It is used to describe religious rites, as part of murderous schemes (e.g. Joseph’s brothers dipping his coat in goat’s blood), for everyday purposes, and also of miracles (e.g. Naaman immersing himself in the Jordan).
CXVII “word” = dabar. Same as “something” in v13. See note CXI above.
CXVIII “boy” = naar. Related to “girl” in v2. See note XXII above.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company;CXIX he came and stoodCXX beforeCXXI him and said, “NowCXXII I knowCXXIII

Notes on verse 15a

CXIX “company” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.
CXX “stood” = amad. Same as “halted” in v9. See note LXXVIII above.
CXXI “before” = paneh. Same as “in high favor with” in v1. See note IX above.
CXXII “now” = hinneh + na.  Hinneh is the same as “know” in v6. See note LV above. Na is the same as {untranslated} in v7. See note LXVI above.
CXXIII “know” = yada. Same as “look” in v7. See note LXV above.

that there is no God in all the earthCXXIV except in Israel; pleaseCXXV acceptCXXVI a presentCXXVII from your servant.”

Notes on verse 15b

CXXIV “earth” = erets. Same as “land” in v2. See note XXIV above.
CXXV “please” = na. Same as {untranslated} in v7. See note LXVI above.
CXXVI “accept” = laqach. Same as “taking” in v5. See note XLIII above.
CXXVII “present” = barakah. From barak (to kneel, bless; blessing God as part of worship and adoration; blessing humans to help them; can be used as a euphemism to say curse God). This is blessing, which implies prosperity or peace.

Image credit: “The Madaba Map (detail of the Jordan River), part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George depicting the Holy Land in the 6th century AD, Madaba, Jordan.” Photo by Carole Raddato, 2017.

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