“Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27) Naaman was commander-in-chief of the army of Syria and was nearest to the person of the king, Ben-hadad II, whom he accompanied officially and supported when he went to worship in the temple of Rimmon (2 Kings 5:18) at Damascus, the capital. A Jewish tradition at least as old as the time of Josephus, and which may very well be a genuine one, identifies him with the archer whose arrow, whether at random or not, struck Ahab with his mortal wound, and thus “gave deliverance to Syria.” The expression in 2 Kings 5:1 is remarkable—”because that by him Jehovah had given deliverance to Syria.” The most natural explanation perhaps is that Naaman in delivering his country had killed one who was the enemy of Jehovah not less than he was of Syria. Whatever the particular exploit referred to was, it had given Naaman a great position at the court of Ben-hadad. Naaman was afflicted with a leprosy of the white kind which had hitherto defied cure. A little Israelitish captive maiden tells him of the fame and skill of Elisha, and he is cured by him by following his simple directions to bathe in the Jordan seven times (see 2 Kings 5:14). His first business after his cure is to thank his benefactor and gratefully acknowledge the power of the God of Israel, and promise “henceforth to offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.” How long Naaman lived to continue a worshipper of Jehovah while assisting officially at the worship of Rimmon we are not told. (“But his memory is perpetuated by a leper hospital which occupies the traditional site of his house in Damascus, on the banks of the Abana.”–Schaff.)
One of the family of Benjamin who came down to Egypt with Jacob as read in Genesis 46:21. He was the son of Bela and head of the family of the Naamites (Numbers 26:40; 1 Chronicles 8:3-4).
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).
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