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The Greedy Servant

II King 5:19-27

Naaman was a great commander of Syria. He had had leprosy for a long time but no one could heal him. Later, a servant girl told about a prophet of Israel and so he was healed. That prophet was Elisha. Do you remember what way Elisha healed the Syria commander? He didn't give any pill or oil; he only asked commander Naaman to go down Jordan river and wash seven times then the leprosy would be healed. At first, commander Naaman didn't agreed to do that, but later he had to obey what Elisha said; he came to Jordan and washed seven times and he was healed.

When he knew that he was healed, Naaman was very happy, he went back to see Elisha to thank him. He said: "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel." After finished talking, he asked his servants to bring some gold and nice clothing to the prophet and said: "I'd like to express my appreciation to you; therefore, I'd like to offer you some small gifts, please accept it." But Elisha still didn't want to accept, he said it was not him who healed the commander but it was the Lord did it; therefore, he couldn't accept the commander's gifts. Although Naaman urged, Elisha decided not to accept the gifts, even if it was a small one.

While they were talking, Gehazi, who was a student of Elisha the man of God, stood near them. He knew his master didn't accept the nice valuable gifts, he was so sorry. Looking at the gold and silver bags and the clothing on the servants' hands, he was even more sorry. He silently wished that his master would change his mind. He knew that if his master accepted that gold, he would have a part of it. But Elisha refused and didn't accept any gift. Finally, commander Naaman had to tell his servants to bring the gift box back home. Gehazi was very sorry when he saw that. His greedy heart rose, he tried to think a way to get some of those gold and silver.

When the chariot of the Syria commander was gone, Gehazi stood there and looked with a sad and sorry heart. He thought to himself: "My master has made a great thing for commander Naaman and did not accept anything from him, too bad; I have to run after him and get something from him." With that thought in mind, Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running toward him, he turned around and looked. When he saw that person was Elisha's student, he stopped, got down from the chariot, greeted Gehazi and asked him if everything was all right.

Gehazi breathed and said: "Sir, everything is fine, but my master sent me to say to you, 'there are two students from the company of the prophets have just come from the hill country; please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.'" After hearing that, right a way, Naaman called his servants to bring silver and clothing to Gehazi. He urged Gehazi to take two talents of silver, and he asked two servants to help him to bring silver and clothing back to the mountain where Elisha stayed. Gehazi let two servants help him carry gifts back to his place, but when they came near home, he asked those servants to return to Maaman. Then he carried all the silver and clothing into the house and hided it, then he came to see his master; he intended as he was home and had never gone anywhere.

When he saw Elisha, Gehazi was probably worried and puzzled; but he really tried to stay calm as nothing happened. Even so, Elisha already knew everything because he was the man of God. When he saw Gehazi came in, Elisha wanted to test his student's honesty, so he asked: "Where have you been?" Gehazi answered: "Master, I didn't go anywhere." Knowing his student would deny his fault and not tell the truth, so Elisha said: "When commander Naaman got down from his chariot to meet you, my spirit was with you so I know what you said and did, I know everything. Right now is not the time to take gold, silver, or to accept clothes, or any material fortune. Since you were greedy and lied to get the material things from Naaman, Naaman's leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever." When Elisha just finished saying, Gehazi became leprous all his body. Hurting and embarrassing, he got out from Elisha's house. For his greediness and telling lie to get the things that were not his, Gehazi had to carry the disgusting leprosy forever.

This story teaches us one very important thing. That is, to God, lie is a very serious sin, as well as thief, killing people, or worship other idols. Therefore, a person who lies will not avoid God's punishment. Have you ever lied? Certainly, you have, haven't you? You need to repent to God and avoid to tell lie anymore. Many times, we think that lie seems not to harm us anything, especially when many people around us have lied, including the people who we honor. However, you should be careful, for the Bible has taught clearly that: "all liars, their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur" (Revelation 21:8b).


  1. Who healed the leprosy for commander Naaman?
  2. Why did Elisha accept gifts from Naaman?
  3. What did Elisha's student do?
  4. What was the result of Gehazi's act?
  5. Were greediness and lie dangerous? Why?

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Written by Minh Nguyen
Translated by Ngo Ngoc Di

2003 Vietnamese Christian Broadcast and its Audio Content Provider. Used With Permission.