What did the "earth" that Naaman asked for in 2 Kings 5:17 represent? Did it represent a portion of Elisha's goodness or godliness?

It seems as though Naaman is saying in 2 Kings 5:15-18: "Okay, if you will not accept the gift that I want to give to you, then give me a gift (of dirt)."

2 Kings 5:17

ESV - 17 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 20 2014 Mini Karen Sweeney

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Eced7a1f c81d 42f4 95ea 9d5719dce241 Singapore Moses Messenger of God, CEO in IT industry, Astronaut, Scientist
Naaman was like the one leper out of ten whom Christ healed (Lk. 17:12-17). He was glad to return and show his gratitude. He confessed faith in Jehovah before everyone, declaring there was no God like Him in any other nation. This was God's original motive in choosing Abraham and his descendants--that through them all the nations of the earth would be blessed. 

If Israel had continually obeyed God they would have evangelized the world centuries ago, and people everywhere would have experienced the power of God. Likewise, the church was to carry on the work Israel failed to finish, and the work Christ and the early believers began (Mt. 28:20; Mk. 16:15-20; Jn. 14:12-15; 15:7,16; 2Cor. 12; Heb. 2:3-4). 

Then nations today would know of complete deliverance from sin, poverty, sickness and disease. Naaman begged Elisha to take a gift for the healing, but the prophet refused to take anything for what God had done (2Ki. 5:15-16). 

And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? For thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.

Rimmon was apparently a prominent Syrian deity, though nothing for certain is known of him; he may have had some connection with sun worship. It was probably customary for the king to lean on the arm of some chief officer whenever he went into the house of Rimmon, which is what Naaman referred to here. This was the custom in Israel (2Ki. 7:2,17). According to tradition two young women waited on Esther when she was queen of Persia--one to hold up her train, and the other for her to lean on.

However, Gehazi took the two talents of silver and the two changes of clothing from the servants of Naaman and hid them in the tower (2Ki. 5:23-24); but when he went in to stand before Elisha, the prophet asked where he had gone. And when Gehazi answered that he had not gone anywhere, Elisha made it clear that his heart had gone with him when the man turned again from the chariot to meet him. Rebuking him, the prophet announced that the leprosy of Naaman would cleave to Gehazi and his seed forever; and he went out from the presence of Elisha a leper as white as snow (2Ki. 5:25-27).

July 30 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Seyi Aderele
Naaman must have attached significance to the land where the prophet dwelt after experiencing the miraculous in river Jordan. Coming from a pagan background, he must have believed that the earth (soil) of that area also have some supernatural qualities. 

Having a portion of the land back in Syria probably would have provided him a place for him to worship the true GOD whom he just discovered.

November 18 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
In ancient times the gods would have required the land of each city or country to be consecrated to them, in addition to the people. If one city or country conquered another, one of the first things to do would be to reconsecrate the land by the priests and destroy all evidence of the former religion. We see this in the many damaged idols, statues and other structures uncovered by archaeologists.

Naaman could only legitimately worship the Lord on ground consecrated to him, not to other gods. This is why he took two mules' worth of earth in order to create an altar or shrine for performing sacrifices. However, if the gods of Syria had been intrinsically opposed to this practice, it might not have been as fully effective as he desired.

March 04 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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