Gehazi’s Greed And Punishment


Naaman returned from the Jordan to Elisha’s house in Israel (about 25 miles). With a deep sense of gratitude and hands full of gifts, he attempted to pay Elisha, but the prophet refused to accept anything for his ministry (vv. 15-16). Naaman’s urging did not budge Elisha. The man of God had not performed his healing of Naaman for pay. The false prophets could easily be bought, but not Elisha. Naaman then requested the amount of two mule loads of earth to take back to Syria (vv. 17-19). He intended to use this in making an altar to the Lord. It appeared that he believed that no god could be worshiped except in its own land or on an altar built with the dirt of that land.

Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, became greedy for what Naaman had offered to give Elisha. He pursued Naaman on foot and when he overtook the caravan, Naaman stopped and asked if anything was wrong. Gehazi lied when he said his master had received unexpected guests and needed the silver and clothing that he had refused earlier (vv. 20-22). Naaman was happy to make this provision and even urged Gahazi to take twice as much silver and clothing that he had offered before (vv. 23-24). He even provided two servants to carry these gifts back to Elisha. When Gehazi returned to Elisha, he did not realize it, but Elisha already knew what had happened (vv. 25-26). He was judged by God with the transfer of Naaman’s leprosy to himself (v. 27).


I must never allow greed to enter into my life or be deceitful in order to get things I may want. If I do everything for pay on this earth there will be no rewards when I get to heaven.


II Kings 5:15-27 (English Standard Version)

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, "Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant." But he said, "As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none." And he urged him to take it, but he refused. Then Naaman said, "If not, please let there be given to your servant two mules' load of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD. In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter." He said to him, "Go in peace." But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, "See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him." So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, "Is all well?" And he said, "All is well. My master has sent me to say, 'There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.'" And Naaman said, "Be pleased to accept two talents." And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi. And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed. He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, "Where have you been, Gehazi?" And he said, "Your servant went nowhere." But he said to him, "Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever." So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow.

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