(Previously posted Oct. ’08)
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
The Healing of Namaan
When I read this passage, two things stand out and cause me pause. First, why is an entire chapter in the Old Testament given over to this one character and his leprosy? And two, why am I so familiar with just how Naaman must have felt when he was told to wash in the Jordan River?
Regarding the first question – I haven’t a clue as to why an entire chapter is given over to this story. I’m just sharing my agony over this passage with you, the reader. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe God just thought it was important. If you know, send me an e-mail.
But I am truly bothered by Naaman’s response to Elijah’s directives to go wash in the Jordan. Here is a highly regarded warrior whom the king of Aram knew to be a great man, “because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram” (vs. 1). Aram, by the way, is also known as Syria, whose capital is Damascus. But I digress.
Here’s the picture: Naaman is a great warrior, esteemed by all, adored by the masses and rich enough to own a slave girl imported from Israel. His only problem seemed to be a small case of leprosy, which is a bit more distressing that acute acne by not as bad terminal cancer.