Women of the Bible – Naaman’s Servant Girl
The Girl Who was a Blessing (2 Kings 5:2-19)
by Kathryn Capoccia
Young Adults Sunday School Class
All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW
INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by
permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
© Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2004. This file may be freely copied, printed out,
and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact,
and that it is not sold.
Though God chose the descendants of Abraham to be a blessing to a fallen world (GEN 21:18), specifically to proclaim to them the greatness of the Living God, the Jews never fulfilled their mandate. The separation that God had commanded for the Jews from the uncleanness of the world evolved into a separation from all that was non-Jewish. By New Testament times, it was taboo for a Jew even to associate with Gentiles or to enter their homes (ACT 10:28). This unloving attitude can be seen in the Old Testament book of Jonah; when God commanded Jonah to Nineveh to preach a message of repentance to the Assyrians there he was unwilling to go. In fact, he disobediently boarded a ship bound for a Tarshish, a destination as far away from Nineveh as it was possible to go, to avoid offering salvation to pagans (JON 1:2, 3). However, even though that was the common feeling among Jews, the Bible also gives us examples of Jews who regarded unbelievers in a different light. Joseph and Daniel, for example, respected and loyally served their masters even in the midst of their bondage, and testified about their faith in the true God. And in Second Kings we have another instance of a Jew who was enslaved in a foreign land, yet who displayed loyalty and compassion toward her masters by sharing her faith with them: Naaman’s servant girl.
I. Who was she?
A. What was her name? We don’t know: Scripture is silent about that.
B. When did she live? Sometime after Elisha began his ministry in 852 B.C. and before the death of King Jehoram in the early 840s B.C. (Ben-Hadad II (860-841 B.C.) would have been king of Aram.)
C. How old was she?
1. She was “young:” HEB. “qutan:” diminutive; fig. in age or importance.
2. She was a “girl:” HEB. “naarah:” a girl aged from infancy to adolescence.
D. Who were her people?
1. She was a Jew: Romans 3:2, “…they have been entrusted with the very words of God.”
a. She was from the people who had heard the spoken word of God (EXO 20) and had the written word of God. The Bible at that time consisted of the Pentateuch (1405 B.C.), Joshua (1405-1385 B.C.), Judges (ca. 1043 B.C.), Ruth (after David’s ascension as king, 1011-971 B.C.), Samuel (ca. 931-722 B.C.), many of the Psalms (1410-400 B.C.), the Proverbs of Solomon (971-931 B.C.), Job (sometime after Babel but before or concurrent with Abraham), Ecclesiastes (971-931 B.C.), and Song of Solomon (971-931 B.C.). (All dates come from The MacArthur Study Bible.)
b. Her people had promises from God:
1) “I will establish My covenant between Me and you [Abraham] and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (GEN 17:7, 8).
2) If you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all the nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the earth is Mine you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (EXO 19:5).
2. She was an Israelite:
a. She had been a resident of the Israel (vs. 2). Israel, the northern kingdom, had separated from Judah in 931 B.C. By this time in Second Kings it had existed for at least eighty years and had seen nine apostate kings introduce spiritual adultery to the land. The land had been subjected to various forms of discipline by God in order to bring it to repentance, but people were still worshiping the golden calves at Dan and Bethel as well as engaging in the worship of Baal and other deities. However, a remnant of people still followed the true God (1KI 19:18).
b. Her king had been Jehoram (Joram) who was Ahab’s second son and had succeeded him as king in the middle of the 9th century B.C. He was the ninth king of Israel who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” and the last of the line of Omri. He ruled for only twelve years. He was killed during Jehu’s purging of all those involved in the cult of Baal worship introduced by Ahab and Jezebel (2KI 9: 10). Elijah the prophet was active during his first six years as king (2CH 21:2), while Elisha worked in the remainder. Though he once tried to kill Elisha (2KI 6:31, 32) he would sometimes heed his advice, particularly during the time the Arameans were raiding the country (2KI 6:20-23; 3:13) The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 3, pg 421.
E. Where and what was her job?
1. She was a slave/servant:
a. She had been taken prisoner by the Aramaeans (Syrians) during one of their marauding raids into Israel (2KI 5:2). (See 1SA 30:8, 15 for a description of a raiding party).
1) She may have been captured by Naaman himself or she may have been purchased for his household in a slave market (see GEN 37:36).
2) Prisoners of war were commonly forced to become slaves, though in the ancient world slaves had the right to engage in business, borrow money, and buy their freedom. They worked in the kitchens, weaving rooms, and fields, in the armed forces as soldiers, in construction as laborers, sculptors and artists, in households as personal attendants—all as the personal property of their masters (Everyday Life in Bible Times, pp. 50, 108, 122).
b. She served the wife of Naaman.
1) She “served” (HEB. haya: was, le: before, paneh: face) Naaman’s wife (vs. 2); ie. she was always before her mistress and was attentive to her.
2) She probably performed household chores such as cooking meals, and bathing and dressing her mistress (The Victor Handbook of Bible Knowledge, pg. 257).
3) She seems to have had a special relationship to Naaman’s wife so that she could make suggestions to her, almost like a child with her parent. (PRO 29:21, “he who pampers his servant from childhood will have him as a son in the end”.)
2. She lived in somewhere in Syria in Aram, possibly in Damascus (its most important city and capital-city of Ben-Hadad).
a. She lived among the Arameans, a Semitic people who had opposed Saul, David, and Solomon and would continue to war with Israel for 150 more years Aram was a nation of loosely affiliated city-states which encompassed almost all of Syria (but not along the Phoenician coast). It most important cities were Damascus, Ashteroth and Ramoth-Gilead; and the most notable kings were Ben-Hadad I, Hazeel, and Ben-Hadad II. The nation was eventually swallowed up by the Assyrian Empire but their language, Aramaic, became the universal tongue of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. In the time of Second Kings Arameans were craftsmen, merchants, peasants, shepherds, soldiers and bandits (The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol.1, pp.246-248).
b. She lived in the household of Naaman, the “commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded …a valiant soldier” (2KI 5:1).
1) This would have been a rich household because Naaman was:
a) Commander of the army and highly regarded by the king (and probably well rewarded).
b) A soldier (and privy to the loot of pillaged peoples).
c) Able to take with him a gift of “ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing” (vs. 5) for Elisha.
d) Owner of horses and chariots (vs.8).
2) There were many servants there (vs. 13, 15).
II. What did she do?
A. She was a good testimony.
1. She was loyal to her “master” (HEB. adown: firm, strong lord or ruler; vs. 3); she identified herself with his cause.
a. He was a “great (Heb. gadowl: great or older) man” (vs. 1) in his nation; he was highly esteemed by his king.
b. He was an “honorable or respectable (Heb. nasa: borne up) man” (vs. 1); his name meant “gracious, fair,” and he was respected by his king.
b. He was a “valiant (HEB. chayil: a force of valor or strength) man” (vs. 1) who had led the armies of Aram to victory over their enemies (vs. 1).
2. She was compassionate:
a. She was felt sorry that her master had leprosy:
1) Leprosy in the Bible does not always mean the deadly form of skin disease, “lepromatous”; it can refer to lesser skin problems or even to the “tuberculoid” form of leprosy which has localized discolorations and which will resolve itself in one to three years (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, pg. 139).
2) “Leprosy” could be merely a physical disfigurement which did not impair the function of the victim (Miriam, Num 12:10; Gehazi, 2KI 5:27; Uzziah, 2CH 26:19).
3) Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, is a chronic and progressive disease which ends in death, usually within ten to twenty years of contracting the disease. It has periods of debilitating weakness and fevers and is characterized by whitish patches of skin, tuberous skin growths and the wasting away of tissues. It is very contagious during the periods of fever (Webster’s Dictionary, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 2, pp. 138, 139).
4) Leprosy was regarded as a serious threat to society; in the Bible, lepers were to be isolated until they were “clean,”or free of disease, as verified by the High Priest (NUM 13:1-59).
b. She wanted healing for her master: “if only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy…”
3. She was trusted by her mistress; she related what the girl had said to her husband (who acted upon it: “Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said” (vs. 4)).
B. She became a blessing:
1. She had faith:
a. In the power of God: she was one of the remnant of believers.
b. In the power of the prophet:
A “prophet” (HEB. nabi: prophet or one who speaks for God) was an instrument of God. It was God who worked through prophets; they did not generate their own messages (2PE 1:20, 21) nor could they effect miracles unless God empowered them (1KI 18:36).
c. In the power of the prophet Elisha:
1) He had a “double portion of Elijah’s spirit” (2KI 2:9, 12); ie. that he had inherited the prophet Elijah’s office and power.
2) He was a true prophet: “The word of the LORD is with him” (2KI 3:12).
3) He was “the man of God” (2KI 5:14).
d. In the power of the prophet Elisha to heal Naaman:
Elisha had done miracles in the power of the LORD before:
1) He had split the waters of the Jordan with Elijah’s cloak after Elijah was taken to heaven (2KI 2:14).
2) He had purified the waters of Jericho with salt (2KI 2:21, 22).
3) He called down a curse on a mob of jeering youths and 42 were mauled by bears (2KI 2:24).
4) He had prophesied the way of victory over Moab (2KI 3:14-26).
5) He made oil flow for the widow to pay her debts (2KI 4:3-7).
6) He raised the son of the Shunamite from the dead (2KI 4:18-36).
7) He purified the poisoned pot of stew (2KI 4:40-44).
2. Her faith was effective:
a. It generated hope:
1) Naaman’s wife hoped in the truth and shared that hope with her husband (vs. 4).
2) Naaman hoped for physical healing:
a) He approached his king, Ben-Hadad, explained his belief and asked for permission to go to Elisha for a cure (2KI 5:4-6).
b) He traveled from Damascus to Samaria, a distance of over 100 miles in order to obtain healing (vs. 5).
3) Ben-Hadad hoped that his commanded-in-chief of his armies would be healed, and sent an embassy to the king of Israel, Jehoram, to facilitate the matter (vs.5).
b. It opened up an opportunity of witness:
1) To Naaman’s family after his cure (vs. 17).
2) To the king of Aram, Ben-Hadad (vs.4, 18).
3) To king of Israel, Jehoram (vs. 7, 8).
c. It resulted in salvation:
1) Naaman was saved from the ravages of his disease when he humbled himself and submitted to the word of God so that he was cured (vs. 14).
2) Naaman was saved from alienation and judgment when he believed in God (vs. 15): “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”
III. What can we learn from her?
A. We can be a blessing to the lost when we share the truth about God with them.
B. No situation is so dire that we cannot find contentment there and serve God.
C. God will save those He chooses; no matter how many wrong turns they take He makes sure they will find Him in the end if they seek him humbly.
D. Sometimes disease is allowed so that God can be glorified when it is cured (JOH 9:3).
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