Naaman, the Syrian

A Character Study

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. Romans 2:12

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned Romans 5:12

But people, created in God's image and likeness, can still display excellent character qualities. Let's explore one individual.

Naaman, the Syrian.

He was born in a land outside of Israel and the covenant promises of God.

Now Naaman ... of Syria 2 Kings 5:1

He was trained to become a soldier. (2 Kings 5:1)

He developed skill, courage, and leadership.

Now Naaman ... was ... honourable ... he was also a mighty man in valour ... .

He ascended the military ranks and became captain of the host under the king.

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria ... . 2 Kings 5:1

He was a great man with his master, the king

Now Naaman ... was a great man with his master ... . 2 Kings 5:1

He was honourable.

Now Naaman ... was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour ... . 2 Kings 5:1

Then Naaman became sick.

... but he was a leper. 2 Kings 5:1

These descriptive words and terms are often associated with pride, arrogance, and power.

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Proverbs 8:13

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Proverbs 29:23

And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them. Hosea 5:5

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 1 Timothy 3:6

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mark 7:21-23

And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. Isaiah 13:11

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Psalm 37:35

So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. Ecclesiastes 4:1

Naaman's quality of character.

But this man displayed a different spirit, one that was willing to listen, reason, learn, and take direction.

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding Proverbs 2:2

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Proverbs 23:12

Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 12:2

Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips. Job 13:6

Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. Job 32:11

I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness. Ecclesiastes 7:25

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Acts 18:4

And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. Deuteronomy 5:1

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. Psalm 119:71

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. Proverbs 1:5

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. Proverbs 9:9

The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. Proverbs 15:9

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Jesus even spoke of this man and pointed out his characcter above all of those lepers in Israel. "And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." Luke 4:27

Contrast the man Naaman with Haman.

The book of Esther described Haman like this.

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai. Esther 3:5-6

And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Esther 5:11

And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. Esther 7:6

And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified. Esther 7:9-10

Naaman's depth of character.

Naaman was sick, "he was a leper" and "And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife." (2 Kings 5:1-2) Naaman was married and had a servant girl for his wife. This young girl told her that a cure was available through the prophet in Samaria. This information was passed to Naaman and then on to the king of Syria.

And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. (2 Kings 5:3-5)

Not only was Naaman described as honourable, a mighty man in valour, captain of the host of the king of Syria, and a great man with his master but also he was exceptionally trustworthy so that he carried with him into Israel great wealth from the king. Naaman had meekness and humility of character to listen to the words of the "little maid," evaluate her conduct, and thus discern her truthfulness.

The quality of meekness and humility is a disposition to respect others and to learn from them. This quality is willing to listen, reason, learn, and take direction. how many of us could use a little of this in our family unit, in our work place, in our church assembly, and in our world?

A person with humility and meekness is so easy to work with and so comfortable to another that when this quality is used in making a request it is hard to deny the request. The result was that the king of Syria aided Naaman to be able to go into Israel to seek helpf for his leprosy.

And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. 2 Kings 5:6

In verses eight and nine Naaman was sent to the home of Elisha the prophet. And Elisha sent him a simple message form his helper.

And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 2 Kings 5:10

At first Naaman chose to be insulted by the simplicity of the directions to aid his healing. But when his servants spoke to him as if they were his own sons he listened to them, reconsidered his actions, and turned back to follow those simple directions for healing.

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 2 Kings 5:11-14

Naaman for a little while acted like Haman but quickly returned again to the core of his character of humility and meekness. Choosing virtue rather than a show of valor brought to Namman the best results.

Naaman, the Syrian, displayed a character attribute well-pleasing to God and man.

Go, and do likewise!