2 Kings 5:17-19 An Understanding

2 Kings 5:17-19 (KJV)
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.
In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.
And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

Naaman had confessed earlier that he knew that there was no God but in Israel.[1] Though there is some disagreement about this passage I see it this way.
The request for the dirt would have been akin to looking toward the Temple in Jerusalem when in prayer. 
Wherever a Jew found himself, he might pray with his face toward the direction of Jerusalem, thus signifying his heart’s desire to be in that holy place. Naaman desired the dirt as a symbol of his faith in the God of Israel.

The request for pardon ought to be viewed for past transgressions
Rather than understanding this as asking for forgiveness for the sins he intended to continue to do, we can, and I believe should view them as a confession of his transgressions prior to his faith. Whether he would be required to enter the house of Rimmon to worship in the future is unknown. It may have never been an actual requirement. It may have been his practice in the past and he may have here turned from that practice.

Elisha offered peace in the name of the Lord
It must be remembered that Elisha was a prophet, not a priest. This could hardly be viewed as supportive of the Catholic practice of confession to the priest. The prophet’s work often involved speaking on behalf of the Lord. (Having received of the Lord that which to speak.) 


[1] 2 Kings 5:15 (KJV)
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.

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2 Kings 5:17-19 An Understanding

Author: marvinmck

Marvin McKenzie was born in the Pacific Northwest and became a Christian at the age of eighteen. He has been in the Baptist ministry for thirty years and has planted and pastored churches in Washington and Oregon. Besides his pastoral ministry, Marvin has been actively involved in training men for the Baptist ministry. He has conducted local church Bible Institutes in those churches he has pastored, from which a number of men have entered the ministry. Marvin also served as: Vice President of the Western States Baptist Bible Fellowship, The Board of Directors of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA, Dean of men at Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, Executive Vice President of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA and Executive Vice President of Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, OK. Marvin is married to Anita. They have two sons, Bohannan and Caleb. Both are Baptist pastors in Washington State. Marvin enjoys camping, fishing and horses.

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