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Questions and Answers: 2Kings 5:17; 2Kings 6:16, 20, 26 ; and 2Kings 6:21-23

2Kings 5:17: Why did Naaman want to carry earth back to his own country?

2Ki 5:17 "If you will not," said Naaman, "please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD. (NIV)

The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., edited by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.548 gives us this insight about Naaman’s desire to take dirt with him back to his own nation: “He intended to use this in making an altar to the Lord. Many polytheists believed that no god could be worshiped except in its own land or on an altar built with the dirt of that land.”

2Kings 6:16, 20, 26: Why did Elisha not accept gifts from Naaman?

  • Israel was at war with the Arameans, and he should not accept gifts from the enemy.
  • God did the work. The LORD did not instruct Elisha to take money from Naaman. Contrary to the teaching of many radio and television evangelists, God’s favors cannot be purchased with money. He healed Naaman, not because of money, but because the man humbled himself and obeyed and thereby glorified the one true God.
  • Israel was experiencing a famine. Should Elisha and his servant live like kings while his people were suffering in extreme poverty and hunger? Jesus gives us some instruction about this in Luke 12:15: “Then he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions,’” (NIV).

2Kings 6:21-23: Why did Elisha not want the captured Arameans killed? Why did he order that they be given a feast?

2Kings 6: 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, "Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?"

22 "Do not kill them," he answered. "Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master."

23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel's territory. (NIV)

The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., edited by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 550 offers this insight into 2Kings 6:21-23: “In the ancient Near East eating together under one’s roof constituted making a covenant of peace” (J. Herber Livingston, The Pentateuch in its Cultural Environment. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1974, p.157). Now, at least for a while (until Ben-hadad reigned), Aram would be bound by a peace treaty.

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