Verse 27. "The leprosy of Naaman-shall cleave unto thee" - Thou hast got much money, and thou shalt have much to do with it. Thou hast got Naaman's silver, and thou shalt have Naaman's leprosy. Gehazi is not the last who has got money in an unlawful way, and has got God's curse with it.
"A leper as white as snow." - The moment the curse was pronounced, that moment the signs of the leprosy began to appear. The white shining spot was the sign that the infection had taken place. See on Lev. xiii. 2, and the notes at the end of that chapter. 1. SOME have thought, because of the prophet's curse, The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and thy seed for ever, that there are persons still alive who are this man's real descendants, and afflicted with this horrible disease. Mr. Maundrell when he was in Judea made diligent inquiry concerning this, but could not ascertain the truth of the supposition. To me it appears absurd; the denunciation took place in the posterity of Gehazi till it should become extinct, and under the influence of this disorder this must soon have taken place. The for ever implies as long as any of his posterity should remain. This is the import of the word µlw[l leolam. It takes in the whole extent or duration of the thing to which it is applied. The for ever of Gehazi was till his posterity became extinct.
2. The god Rimmon, mentioned ver. 18, we meet with nowhere else in the Scriptures, unless it be the same which Stephen calls Remphan. See Acts vii. 43, and the note there. Selden thinks that Rimmon is the same with Elion, a god of the Phoenicians, borrowed undoubtedly from the wyl[ Elion, the Most High, of the Hebrews, one of the names of the supreme God, which attribute became a god of the Phoenicians. Hesychius has the word Ęramav Ramas, which he translates o uyistov qeov, the Most High God, which agrees very well with the Hebrew wmr Rimmon, from hmr ramah, to make high or exalt. And all these agree with the sun, as being the highest or most exalted in what is called the solar system. Some think Saturn is intended, and others Venus. Much may be seen on this subject in Selden Deuteronomy Diis Syris.
3. Let us not suppose that the offense of Gehazi was too severely punished. 1. Look at the principle, covetousness. 2. Pride and vanity; he wished to become a great man. 3, His lying, in order to impose on Naaman: Behold even now there be come to me, &c. 4. He in effect sells the cure of Naaman for so much money; for if Naaman had not been cured, could he have pretended to ask the silver and raiment? 5. It was an act of theft; he applied that to his own use which Naaman gave him for his master. 6. He dishonoured his master by getting the money and raiment in his name, who had before so solemnly refused it. 7. He closed the whole by lying to his master, denying that he had gone after Naaman, or that he had received any thing from him. But was it not severe to extend the punishment of his crime to his innocent posterity? I answer, it does not appear that any of Gehazi's children, if he had any prior to this, were smitten with the leprosy; and as to those whom he might beget after this time, their leprosy must be the necessary consequence of their being engendered by a leprous father.
Reader, see the end of avarice and ambition; and see the truth of those words, "He that WILL be rich, shall fall into temptation, and a snare, and into divers hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition." -St. Paul.
4. We have already remarked the apparently severe and manifestly kind providence of God in this business. 1. A marauding party was permitted to spoil the confines of the land of Israel. 2. They brought away, to reduce to captivity, a little maid, probably the hope of her father's house. 3. She became Naaman's property, and waited on his wife. 4. She announced God and his prophet. 5. Naaman, on the faith of her account, took a journey to Samaria. 6. Gets healed of his leprosy. 7. Is converted to the Lord; and, doubtless, brought at least his whole family to believe to the saving of their souls. What was severe to the parents of the little maid was most kind to Naaman and his family; and the parents lost their child only a little time, that they might again receive her with honour and glory for ever. How true are the words of the poet! "Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face." And see the benefits of a religious education! Had not this little maid been brought up in the knowledge of the true God, she had not been the instrument of so great a salvation. See my sermon on this subject ver. 12.