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HOW A LITTLE GIRL HELPED TO CURE A LEPER
II Kings v: 1 to 27.
T one time, while Elisha was living in Israel, the
general of the Syrian army was named Naaman. He was a
great man in his rank and power; and a brave man in
battle; for he had won victories for Syria. But one
sad terrible trouble came to Naaman. He was a leper.
A leper was one with a disease called leprosy, which is
still found in those lands. The leper’s skin turns a
deathly white and is covered with scales. One by one
his fingers and toes, his hands and feet, his arms and
limbs, decay, until at last the man dies; and for the
disease there is no cure. Yet, strange to say, through
it all, the leper feels no pain; and often will not for
a long time believe that he has leprosy.
There was in Naaman’s house at Damascus, in Syria, a
little girl, who waited on Naaman's wife. She was a
slave-girl stolen from her mother's home in Israel, and
carried away as a captive to Syria. Even when there
was no open war between Syria and Israel, parties of
men were going out on both sides, and destroying
villages on the border, robbing the people, and
carrying them away, to be killed or sold as slaves.
But this little girl, even though she had suffered
wrong, had a kind heart, full of sorrow for her master
Naaman; and one day she said to her mistress:
“I wish that my lord Naaman might meet the prophet who
lives in Samaria; for he could cure his leprosy.”
THE SLAVE GIRL AND NAAMAN'S WIFE
Some one told Naaman what the little girl had said; and
Naaman spoke of it to the king of Syria. Now the king
of Syria loved Naaman greatly; and when he went to
worship in the temple of his god, out of all his nobles
he chose Naaman as the one person upon whose arm he leaned.
He greatly desired to have Naaman's leprosy
 cured; and
he said, “I will send a letter to the king of Israel,
and I will ask him to let his prophet cure you.”
So Naaman, with a great train of followers, rode in his
chariot from Damascus to Samaria, about a hundred
miles. He took with him as a present a large sum in
gold and silver, and many beautiful robes and garments.
He came to the king of Israel, and gave him the letter
from the king of Syria. And this was written in the
"With this letter I have sent to you Naaman, my
servant; and I wish you to cure him of his leprosy."
The king of Syria supposed that as this prophet who
could cure leprosy was in Samaria, he was under the
orders of the king of Israel, and must do whatever his
king told him to do; and as he
 did not know the
prophet, but knew the king, he wrote to him. But the
king was greatly alarmed when he read the letter.
"Am I God," he said, "to kill men and to make men live!
Why should the king of Syria send to me to cure a man
of his leprosy? Do you not see that he is trying to
find an excuse for making war, in asking me to do what
no man can do?"
And the king of Israel tore his garments, as men did
when they were in deep trouble. Elisha the prophet
heard of the letter, and of the king's alarm, and he
sent a message to the king.
"Why are you so frightened? Let this man come to me,
and he shall know that there is a prophet of the Lord
So Naaman came with his chariots, his horses, and his
followers, and stood before the door of Elisha's house.
Elisha did not come out to meet him, but sent his
servant out to him, saying:
"Go and wash in the river Jordan seven times, and your
flesh and your skin shall become pure, and you shall be
free from the leprosy."
But Naaman was very angry because Elisha had not
treated with more respect so great a man as he was. He
forgot, or he did not know, that by the laws of Israel
no man might touch or even come near a leper; and he
"Why, I supposed that of course he would come out and
meet me, and would wave his hand over the leper spot,
and would call on the name of the Lord his God, and in
that manner would cure my leprosy! Are not Abana and
Pharpar, the two rivers of Damascus, better than all
the waters in Israel? May I not wash in them and be
And Naaman turned and went away in a rage of anger.
But his servants were wiser than he. They came to him,
and one of them said:
"My father, if the prophet had told you to do some
great thing, would you not have done it? Then why not
do it, when he says, ‘Wash and be clean'?"
After a little Naaman's anger cooled, and he rode down
the mountains to the river Jordan. He washed in its
water seven times, as the prophet had bidden him. And
the scales of leprosy left his skin; and his flesh
became like the flesh of a little child, pure and
clean. Then Naaman, a leper no more, came back to
Elisha's house with all his company; and he said, "Now
I know that there is no
 God in all the earth, except in
Israel. Let me make you a present in return for what
you have done for me."
But the true prophets of God never gave their message
or did their works for pay; and Elisha said to Naaman:
"As surely as the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I
will receive nothing."
And Naaman urged him to take the present, but he
refused. Then Naaman asked as a favor that he might be
allowed to take away from the land of Israel as much
soil as could be carried on two mules, with which to
build an altar; for he thought that an altar to the God
of Israel could be made only of earth from the land of
Israel; and he said:
"From this time I will offer no burnt-offering or
sacrifice to any other God except the God of Israel.
When I go with my master, the king of Syria, to worship
in the temple of Rimmon his god; and my master leans on
my arm, and I bow down to Rimmon with him, then may the
Lord forgive me for this, which will look as if I were
worshipping another God."
And Elisha said to him, "Go in peace."
Then Naaman went on his way back to his own land. But
Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, said to himself:
"My master has let this Syrian go, without taking
anything from him; but I will run after him, and ask him
for a present."
So Gehazi ran after Naaman; and Naaman saw him
following, and stopped his chariot, and stepped down to
meet him. And Gehazi said to him:
"My master has sent me to you to say that just now two
young sons of the prophets have come to his house; will
you give them a talent of silver and two suits of
And Naaman said, "Let me give you two talents of
So he put two talents of silver in two bags, a talent
in each bag, and gave them to Gehazi, and with them two
suits of fine clothing; and he sent them back by two of
his servants. But before they came to Elisha's house,
Gehazi took the gifts and hid them. Then Gehazi went
into the house, and stood before Elisha. And Elisha
said to him, "Gehazi, where have you been?"
And Gehazi answered, "I have not been at any place."
And Elisha said to him:
"Did not my heart go with you, and did I not see you,
 the man stepped down from his chariot to meet you?
Is this a time to receive gifts of money, and garments,
or gifts of vineyards and oliveyards, and of sheep and
oxen? Because you have done this wickedness, the
leprosy of Naaman shall upon you, and shall cling to
you, and to your children after you forever!"
And Gehazi walked out from Elisha's presence, a leper,
with his skin as white as snow.