July 7: 2 Kings 5:1-14 Psalm 30 Galatians 6: (1-6), 7-17 Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
2 Kings 5:1-19
It is unfortunate that the Lectionary ends the tale at 2 Kings 5:15. Please read to verse 19.
A prisoner of war, a young girl, offers help to her captor: What generosity of spirit! King Jehoram of Israel does not know, or does not want to acknowledge, that there is a prophet in Israel (cf 3:11). Naaman, a general, eats humble pie and follows his servant’s advice to bathe in the muddy Jordan River. He is healed, and wants to recompense Elisha, who will not accept a gift. In the presence of God, every step in the story turns our values on their head.
Naaman realises “there is no God in all the earth except in Israel” and asks for two mule loads of earth, presumably to be able to worship God on holy ground, Israel’s soil. And Elisha gives him a dispensation to bow down in the temple of Rimmon with his master, a matter which appears to violate the Second Commandment.
This is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at work. A hint of the new covenant inaugurated by Jesus Christ that makes room for Gentiles. Here a Gentile praises God even if the Jewish king refuses.