Biblical People

Biblical People: Naaman (3)

Naaman is an accomplished military leader for the king of Aram. The Bible calls him a valiant soldier, but he suffers from a limiting physical ailment. He has leprosy. It’s a contagious skin disease that can cause a loss of feeling, flesh decay, and even deformation. (You may recall that Miriam contracted leprosy later in her life.)

A band of raiders from Aram make incursions into Israel. They capture a young girl who’s forced to work in the household of Naaman. Though she has every right to be bitter about her situation, she tells him of the prophet Elisha, who can heal him of his terrible disease. 

Naaman seeks permission from his king to go to Elisha to receive healing. In anticipation of a successful outcome, Naaman prepares gifts to give to the prophet in gratitude. The king of Aram also drafts a letter for the king of Israel, telling him to heal Naaman of his leprosy.

The king of Israel is distraught when he reads the letter, knowing he can’t heal Naaman, or anyone else, of leprosy. He rips his royal robes in distress, thinking this is an excuse for the king of Aram to pick a fight.

When Elisha hears what happened, he sends a message instructing the king of Israel to send Naaman to him. Yet when Naaman arrives, the prophet doesn’t even bother to see him. Instead, Elisha sends a message to Naaman telling him to wash seven times in the Jordan River. This will restore his flesh and take away his leprosy.

Offended that Elisha won’t even talk to him and insulted at the instruction to wash in the Jordan River instead of one of the preferable waterways back home, Naaman storms off in a huff. But his attendants encourage him to do exactly what Elisha’s message directed. 

He does and receives God’s healing. 

Naaman affirms the power of God and pledges to worship him.

Like Naaman, will we humble ourselves to receive what we want? Do we believe God can heal us today? 

[Read Naaman’s story in 2 Kings 5. Discover more in Luke 4:27.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at