Story Thirteen

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 4
AT one time, while Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, was living in Ĭś̝ ra-el, the general of the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-an army was named Nā́ a-man. He was a great man in his rank and power; and a brave man in battle; for he had won victories for Sy̆ŕ ̆-ȧ. But one sad terrible trouble came to Ná a-man. 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, his 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 Nā́ a-man's house at Dā̇-măs-cus, in Sy̆r-́́ĭ-ȧ little girl, who waited on Nā́ a-man's wife. She was a slave-girl stolen from her mother's home in Ĭś̝ ra-el, and carried away as a captive to Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ. Even when there, was no open war between Sy̆ŕ́ ĭ-ȧ and Ĭś̝ ra-el, 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 Nā́ a-man; and one day she said to her mistress:
"I wish that my lord Nā́ a-man might meet the prophet who lives in Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ; for he could cure his leprosy.”
Someone told Nā́ a-man what the little girl had said; and Nā́ a-man spoke of it to the king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ. Now the king of Sy̆ŕ í-ȧ. loved Nā́ a-man greatly; and when he went to worship in the temple of his god, out of all his nobles he chose Nā́ a-man as the one upon whose arm he leaned. He greatly desired to have Nā́ a-man's leprosy cured; and he said, "I will send a letter to the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el, and I will ask him to let his prophet cure you.”
So Nā́ a-man, with a great train of followers, rode in his chariot from Dā̇-măś cus to Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, 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 Ĭś̝ ra-el, and gave him the letter from the king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ. And this was written in the letter "With this letter I have sent to you Nā́ a-man, my servant; and I wish you to cure him of his leprosy.”
The king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ supposed that as this prophet who could cure leprosy was in Sā̇́ mā́ rĭ-ȧ, he was under the orders of the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el, 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 Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ 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 Ĭś̝ ra-el tore his garments, as men did when they were in deep trouble. Ē̇-lī́ shȧ 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 in Ĭś̝ ra-el.”
So Nā́ a-man came with his chariots, his horses, and his followers, and stood before the door of Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's house. Ē̇-lī́ shȧ did not come out to meet him, but sent his servant out to him, saying:
"Go and wash in the river Jôŕ dan seven times, and your flesh and your skin shall become pure, and you shall be free from the leprosy.”
But Nā́ a-man was very angry because Ē̇-lī́ shȧ 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 Ĭś̝ ra-el no man might touch or even come near a leper; and he said:
"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 Ăb́ a-nȧ and Phäŕ par, the two rivers of Dā̇-măs-cus, better than all the waters in Ĭś̝ ra-el? May I not wash in them and be clean?”
And Nā́ a-man 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 Nā́ a-man'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 Nā́ a-man, a leper no more, came back to Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's house with all his company; and he said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Ĭś̝ ra-el. 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 Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to Nā́ a-man:
"As surely as the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.”
And Nā́ a-man urged him to take the present, but he refused. Then Nā́ a-man asked as a favor that he might be allowed to take. away from the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el 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 Ĭś̝ ra-el could be made only of earth from the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el; and he said:
"From this time I will offer no burnt-offering or sacrifice to any other God except the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el. When I go with my master, the king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, to worship in the temple of Rĭḿ mon his god; and my master leans on my arm, and I bow down to Rĭḿ mon with him, then may the Lord forgive me for this, which will look as if I were worshipping another God.”
And Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to him, "Go in peace.”
Then Nā́ a-man went on his way back to his own land. But Ḡē̇-hā́ zī, the servant of Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, said to himself:
"My master has let this Sy̆ŕ-an go, without taking anything from him; but I will run after him, and ask him for a present.”
So Ḡē̇-hā́ zī ran after Nā́ a-man; and Nā́ a-man saw him following, and stopped his chariot, and stepped down to meet him. And Gē̇-hā́ zī said to him:
"My master has sent me to you to say that just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to his house; will You give them a talent of silver and two suits of clothing?”
And Nā́ a-man said, "Let me give you two talents of silver.”
So he put two talents of silver in two bags, a talent in each bag, and gave them to Gē̇-hā́ zī, and with them two suits of fine clothing; and he sent them back by two of his servants. But before they came to Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's house, Ḡē̇-hā́ zī took the gifts and hid them. Then Ḡē̇-hắ zī went into the house, and stood before Ē̇-lī́ shȧ. And É̄̇-lī́ shȧ said to him, "Ḡē̇-hā́ zī, where have you been?”
And Ḡē̇-hā́ zī answered, "I have not been at any place."
And Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to him:
"Did not my heart go with you, and did I not see you, when 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 olive yards, and of sheep and oxen? Because you have done this wickedness, the leprosy of Nā́ a-man shall come upon you, and shall cling to you, and to your children after you forever!”
And Ḡē̇-hā́ zī walked out from Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's presence, a leper, with his skin as white as snow.
Lesson 35. The Prophet Elisha.
(Omit Stories 6, 7, 8. Tell Stories 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 in Part Fourth. In Story 10, tell only about "The Spring Sweetened by Salt.")
1. How was the prophet Elijah taken to heaven? In a chariot of fire.
2. Who took Elijah's place as prophet? Elisha.
3. How did Elisha make the bitter water of a spring sweet? By pouring in salt.
4. How did Elisha, help a poor woman to pay a debt? By a vessel of oil.
5. What lady built a room in her house for Elisha.? The woman of Shunem.
6. What did Elisha, do for this woman? He raised her son to life.
7. What Syrian general came to Elisha? Naaman.
8. What disease did Naaman have? He was a leper.
9. What did Elisha tell him to do? To wash seven times in the rive Jordan.
10. What took place when he had washed? He was made well.