“Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel,
and she served Naaman’s wife.”
(2 Kings 5:2)
Naaman was the military commander of the King of Aram (Syria). He had a skin disease which might not have been leprosy but which clearly distressed him. On one of their raids into Israelite territory they had captured and brought away a young girl who now served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress,
“If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3)
It is a remarkable little story in which a very special young girl plays an important yet seemingly minor role. There is much that we can learn from her.
- Abducted from her home and family she was taken suddenly away to another country by a band of raiders. They would have been a group of men who would not have hesitated to fight and kill if the need arose. There is no mention of how she was treated but she was probably very afraid.
- She became a servant in the home of the military commander. Such was her character that she was concerned about Naaman’s condition and the suffering it caused him and his wife.
- Her abduction and slavery had not caused her to lose her faith in God. Indeed she suggested that Naaman should seek help from Elisha, the prophet of God. There must have been something about this young girl that impressed the tough soldier and his wife for he did as she suggested – even getting the king to grant him leave of absence to do so.
- Naaman went to see Elisha and, after nearly missing out because he felt that he was not treated properly, he returned duly healed.
- We hear no more of the girl. There is no mention of whether she was rewarded with her liberty, or in any other way, by her master and mistress.
Her moment in history has passed but her example – like that of Joseph – remains to teach and encourage us.
- Despite huge personal trauma and forced changes she kept her faith in God.
- She obviously served her master and mistress faithfully and earned their trust and respect.
- Through her God blessed the household and, it seems, brought Naaman to belief in Him.
Although we don’t even know her name God certainly does. And it seems clear from the account that she ‘found favour in His sight.’ Trusting God at all times, caring for her neighbour and being trusted by those she served, gives her –as it would give us all – a wonderful epitaph.
Love God, love our neighbours, love our enemies – do everything as to the Lord.
Lord, help us to keep our focus on You at all times and to serve You by faithfully serving others. Amen.