Good News Translation (GNB)
5

Naaman is Cured

51

5.1–14:
Lk 4.27
Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was highly respected and esteemed by the king of Syria, because through Naaman the LORD had given victory to the Syrian forces. He was a great soldier, but he suffered from a dreaded skin disease. 2In one of their raids against Israel, the Syrians had carried off a little Israelite girl, who became a servant of Naaman's wife. 3One day she said to her mistress, “I wish that my master could go to the prophet who lives in Samaria! He would cure him of his disease.” 4When Naaman heard of this, he went to the king and told him what the girl had said. 5The king said, “Go to the king of Israel and take this letter to him.”

So Naaman set out, taking 30,000 pieces of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and ten changes of fine clothes. 6The letter that he took read: “This letter will introduce my officer Naaman. I want you to cure him of his disease.”

7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and exclaimed, “How can the king of Syria expect me to cure this man? Does he think that I am God,5.7 God; or a god. with the power of life and death? It's plain that he is trying to start a quarrel with me!”

8When the prophet Elisha heard what had happened, he sent word to the king: “Why are you so upset? Send the man to me, and I'll show him that there is a prophet in Israel!”

9So Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and stopped at the entrance to Elisha's house. 10Elisha sent a servant out to tell him to go and wash himself seven times in the River Jordan, and he would be completely cured of his disease. 11But Naaman left in a rage, saying, “I thought that he would at least come out to me, pray to the LORD his God, wave his hand over the diseased spot,5.11 the diseased spot; or this place. and cure me! 12Besides, aren't the rivers Abana and Pharpar, back in Damascus, better than any river in Israel? I could have washed in them and been cured!”

13His servants went up to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can't you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?” 14So Naaman went down to the Jordan, dipped himself in it seven times, as Elisha had instructed, and he was completely cured. His flesh became firm and healthy, like that of a child. 15He returned to Elisha with all his men and said, “Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel; so please, sir, accept a gift from me.”

16Elisha answered, “By the living LORD, whom I serve, I swear that I will not accept a gift.”

Naaman insisted that he accept it, but he would not. 17So Naaman said, “If you won't accept my gift, then let me have two mule-loads of earth to take home with me,5.17 earth to take home with me: It was then believed that a god could be worshipped only on his own land. because from now on I will not offer sacrifices or burnt offerings to any god except the LORD. 18So I hope that the LORD will forgive me when I accompany my king to the temple of Rimmon, the god of Syria, and worship him. Surely the LORD will forgive me!”

19“Go in peace,” Elisha said. And Naaman left.

He had gone only a short distance, 20when Elisha's servant Gehazi said to himself, “My master has let Naaman get away without paying a thing! He should have accepted what that Syrian offered him. By the living LORD, I will run after him and get something from him.” 21So he set off after Naaman. When Naaman saw a man running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him, and asked, “Is something wrong?”

22“No,” Gehazi answered. “But my master sent me to tell you that just now two members of the group of prophets in the hill country of Ephraim arrived, and he would like you to give them 3,000 pieces of silver and two changes of fine clothes.”

23“Please take 6,000 pieces of silver,” Naaman replied. He insisted on it, tied up the silver in two bags, gave them and two changes of fine clothes to two of his servants, and sent them on ahead of Gehazi. 24When they reached the hill where Elisha lived, Gehazi took the two bags and carried them into the house. Then he sent Naaman's servants back. 25He went back into the house, and Elisha asked him, “Where have you been?”

“Oh, nowhere, sir,” he answered.

26But Elisha said, “Wasn't I there in spirit when the man got out of his chariot to meet you? This is no time to accept money and clothes, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, or servants! 27And now Naaman's disease will come upon you, and you and your descendants will have it for ever!”

When Gehazi left, he had the disease — his skin was as white as snow.

6

The Recovery of the Axe Head

61One day the group of prophets that Elisha was in charge of complained to him, “The place where we live is too small! 2Give us permission to go to the Jordan and cut down some trees, so that we can build a place to live.”

“All right,” Elisha answered.

3One of them urged him to go with them; he agreed, 4and they set out together. When they arrived at the Jordan, they began to work. 5As one of them was cutting down a tree, suddenly his iron axe head fell in the water. “What shall I do, sir?” he exclaimed to Elisha. “It was a borrowed axe!”

6“Where did it fall?” Elisha asked.

The man showed him the place, and Elisha cut off a stick, threw it in the water, and made the axe head float. 7“Take it out,” he ordered, and the man bent down and picked it up.

The Syrian Army is Defeated

8The king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his officers and chose a place to set up his camp. 9But Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, warning him not to go near that place, because the Syrians were waiting in ambush there. 10So the king of Israel warned the people who lived in that place, and they were on guard. This happened several times.

11The Syrian king became greatly upset over this; he called in his officers and asked them, “Which one of you is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12One of them answered, “No one is, Your Majesty. The prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel what you say even in the privacy of your own room.”

13“Find out where he is,” the king ordered, “and I will capture him.”

When he was told that Elisha was in Dothan, 14he sent a large force there with horses and chariots. They reached the town at night and surrounded it. 15Early the next morning Elisha's servant got up, went out of the house, and saw the Syrian troops with their horses and chariots surrounding the town. He went back to Elisha and exclaimed, “We are doomed, sir! What shall we do?”

16“Don't be afraid,” Elisha answered. “We have more on our side than they have on theirs.” 17Then he prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD answered his prayer, and Elisha's servant looked up and saw the hillside covered with horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha.

18When the Syrians attacked, Elisha prayed, “O LORD, strike these men blind!” The LORD answered his prayer and struck them blind. 19Then Elisha went to them and said, “You are on the wrong road; this is not the town you are looking for. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are after.” And he led them to Samaria.

20As soon as they had entered the city, Elisha prayed, “Open their eyes, LORD, and let them see.” The LORD answered his prayer; he restored their sight, and they saw that they were inside Samaria.

21When the king of Israel saw the Syrians, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, sir? Shall I kill them?”

22“No,” he answered. “Not even soldiers you had captured in combat would you put to death. Give them something to eat and drink, and let them return to their king.” 23So the king of Israel provided a great feast for them; and after they had eaten and drunk, he sent them back to the king of Syria. From then on the Syrians stopped raiding the land of Israel.

The Siege of Samaria

24Some time later King Benhadad of Syria led his entire army against Israel and laid siege to the city of Samaria. 25As a result of the siege the food shortage in the city was so severe that a donkey's head cost eighty pieces of silver, and 200 grammes of dove's dung6.25 dove's dung: This may be a popular term for a vegetable such as wild onions. cost five pieces of silver.

26The king of Israel was walking by on the city wall when a woman cried out, “Help me, Your Majesty!”

27He replied, “If the LORD won't help you, what help can I provide? Have I got any wheat or wine? 28What's your trouble?”

She answered, “The other day this woman here suggested that we eat my child, and then eat her child the next day. 29

6.29:
Deut 28.57
Lam 4.10
So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her that we would eat her son, but she had hidden him!”

30Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in dismay, and the people who were close to the wall could see that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31He exclaimed, “May God strike me dead if Elisha is not beheaded before the day is over!” 32And he sent a messenger to get Elisha.

Meanwhile, Elisha was at home with some elders who were visiting him. Before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “That murderer is sending someone to kill me! Now, when he gets here, shut the door and don't let him come in. The king himself will be just behind him.” 33He had hardly finished saying this, when the king6.33 Probable text king; Hebrew messenger. arrived and said, “It's the LORD who has brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for him to do something?”

7

71Elisha answered, “Listen to what the LORD says! By this time tomorrow you will be able to buy in Samaria three kilogrammes of the best wheat or six kilogrammes of barley for one piece of silver.”

2The personal attendant of the king said to Elisha, “That can't happen — not even if the LORD himself were to send grain7.2 grain; or rain. at once!”

“You will see it happen, but you will never eat any of the food,” Elisha replied.

The Syrian Army Leaves

3Four men who were suffering from a dreaded skin disease were outside the gates of Samaria, and they said to one another, “Why should we wait here until we die? 4It's no use going into the city, because we would starve to death in there; but if we stay here, we'll die also. So let's go to the Syrian camp; the worst they can do is kill us, but maybe they will spare our lives.” 5So, as it began to get dark, they went to the Syrian camp, but when they reached it, no one was there. 6The Lord had made the Syrians hear what sounded like the advance of a large army, with horses and chariots, and the Syrians thought that the king of Israel had hired Hittite and Egyptian kings and their armies to attack them. 7So that evening the Syrians had fled for their lives, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys, and leaving the camp just as it was.

8When the four men reached the edge of the camp, they went into a tent, ate and drank what was there, grabbed the silver, gold, and clothing they found, and went off and hid them; then they returned, entered another tent, and did the same thing. 9But then they said to each other, “We shouldn't be doing this! We have good news and we shouldn't keep it to ourselves. If we wait until morning to tell it, we are sure to be punished. Let's go at once and tell the king's officers!” 10So they left the Syrian camp, went back to Samaria and called out to the guards at the gates: “We went to the Syrian camp and didn't see or hear anybody; the horses and donkeys have not been untied, and the tents are just as the Syrians left them.”

11The guards announced the news, and it was reported in the palace. 12It was still night, but the king got out of bed and said to his officials, “I'll tell you what the Syrians are planning! They know about the famine here, so they have left their camp to go and hide in the countryside. They think that we will leave the city to find food, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.”

13One of his officials said, “The people here in the city are doomed anyway, like those that have already died. So let's send some men with five of the horses that are left, so that we can find out what has happened.”7.13 Verse 13 in Hebrew is unclear. 14They chose some men, and the king sent them in two chariots with instructions to go and find out what had happened to the Syrian army. 15The men went as far as the Jordan, and all along the road they saw the clothes and equipment that the Syrians had abandoned as they fled. Then they returned and reported to the king. 16The people of Samaria rushed out and looted the Syrian camp. And, as the LORD had said, three kilogrammes of the best wheat or six kilogrammes of barley were sold for one piece of silver.

17It so happened that the king of Israel had put the city gate under the command of the officer who was his personal attendant. The officer was trampled to death there by the people and died, as Elisha had predicted when the king went to see him. 18Elisha had told the king that by that time the following day three kilogrammes of the best wheat or six kilogrammes of barley would be sold in Samaria for one piece of silver, 19to which the officer had answered, “That can't happen — not even if the LORD himself were to send grain7.19 grain; or rain. at once!” And Elisha had replied, “You will see it happen, but you will never eat any of the food.” 20And that is just what happened to him — he died, trampled to death by the people at the city gate.