The Story of Naaman – That’s one mean god

The second book of Kings contains the story of Naaman, the head of a foreign army, who is cured from his leprosy by Elisha.

It’s a story I’ve read and heard preached about many times. For those wishing to extol the virtues of faith and the overcoming of doubt, it makes for a great narrative.

What is less well known is that at the end of the story Elisha’s servant gets a little greedy and claims the payment for the healing after Elisha has turned it down. It’s not clear how Elisha finds out about the deception, but he isn’t best pleased and promptly curses the servant and all his descendent to be forever plagues with leprosy. Nice.

It is this sort of ending that justifies the challenge that the Christian god isn’t a god of love but a moral monster.

Subjective moral values aside, the story creates a narrative that should be testable today. The servant’s descendents were cursed to suffer with leprosy forever. Which means that there should be alive today a family line whose descents all suffer with this disease. This would make for an interesting medical case, especially since leprosy isn’t a genetic disease. Does a family line exist today where all members suffer from leprosy?

The existence of such a family would surely be evidence for the authenticity of this story and therefore affirm the existence of such a curse, which surely would conclude that the Christian god isn’t a myth after all. It would also confirm that the Christian god is a petulant vengeful scumbag that we should be afraid of but is not at all worthy of worship. So if this story can be confirmed to be true based on the servant’s curse, then maybe Christians don’t want the lineage to be identified after all.

There are some Christian objections though:
– maybe it’s not leprosy, the English says leprosy, but the original could mean any skin disease.

My ancient language knowledge isn’t good enough to read the original; there is strong support for it being leprosy and also for a less specific diagnosis. Whatever it is or was, it doesn’t cancel out the many generations being cursed with a disease forever. If that disease isn’t a genetic disease, then how does each descendent get it? Does god arrange for each one to succumb?

– People with leprosy tended not to reproduce due to being outcast so don’t assume the servant did

Well, that puts paid to the all descendents forever part of the curse. Who’s at fault there? The godly Elisha or god? Someone surely messed up.

– Maybe god chose not to honour Elisha’s curse beyond the servant.

This is a good one. It rescues god from the evil very not loving accusation but also removes the testable part of the story. No confirmation means the bible is once more in the cupboard marked myth. Christians probably like it because it means the bible can’t be falsified either. Perfect for those with blind faith.

Seen in a fresh light, the story of Naaman isn’t one of grace and faith, it’s one of betrayal, vengeance and downright nastiness. Who wants that sort of god to rule over them? Not me.

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26 thoughts on “The Story of Naaman – That’s one mean god

  1. You did not include that Gehazi, the servant, lied to Naaman and Elisha as well as went against the oath Elisha made, “As surely as the Lord lives…” to not take any reward. There are many commands to not take the Lord’s name in vain, to be honest, obey your master, etc. Gehazi broke many. The Bible also calls God a father who disciplines his children to stop them from their behavior because he loves them. My father disciplined me. (Yes, it is on a much greater scale.) There is another passage that also says we will pay for the sins of our fathers. Adam brought sin into the world and since we are from his flesh, we are affected the same way.

    You may read my comment and push it aside without another thought. But read this, if God was truly as mean, hateful, and unloving as you describe him to be or a “petulant, vengeful sumbag,” do you think he would have even bothered choosing a nation for himself, or better yet, sending Jesus to die and save of from all that we have done? That doesn’t add up to me. You seem to be sharpshooting the Bible, looking for specifics out of context to harm the image of God.

    • Have you asked yourself why a god, any god would chose a nation out of the many if this same god created everyone?
      Doesn’t it bother you that a powerful, all knowing god couldn’t think of a better way to forgive humanity without suicide?
      You seem to be cherry picking what you think validates your point of view.

      • God chose to originally create one man. He again chose to form a nation through one man. He finally saved humanity through one man. Through Abraham, he made a nation set aside for himself. He gave them specific rules and how to live to set them apart. Through them he would save humanity.

        Do you know what the term “covenant” means? Or what it entails? The original covenant was made with Abraham. It was a promise, however more binding. An oath, but more powerful. God himself took this with Abraham for the descendants to come. If this covenant was to be broken, there would be punishment. Both parties knew this. This covenant was broken over and over again by the people. God is also just. That is a part of his character. He will not let transgressions just slide by without discipline. Also, why would anyone stop if they were not disciplined?

        So, in order for humanity to be saved from the punishment it deserved, God chose Jesus to take that punishment for everyone. Jesus was the lamb slaughtered as a sacrifice to take the sins of man.

        So, wait, God chose to take our punishment himself? That sounds real hateful. He chose to save us so that we could live forever with him instead of punishment.

          • See, your claim literally means nothing. We are currently discussing the characteristics of God. The main source for information of this would indeed be the Bible. If you would care to present some other explanation instead of just trying to insult me, I would love to hear it.

            • I will grant you one thing, that is, the god presently under discussion is the bible god. That however does not take from my earlier claim unless you don’t believe what you wrote about Adam and so on.

              • I believe Adam was a man, yes. I believe he was the first man, yes. I, however, fail to see how this belief makes me ignorant of any other writing. I assume you are talking about “histories” and claims such as the formation of man from the splitting of primates? We can discuss this, however our topic was the characteristics of God, not what you are bringing up.

                Also, besides miracles, the Bible is regarded as an accurate history book for Kings, kingdoms and nations, battles, etc. by many historians.

                  • Specifically, the accounts of the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, as well as the rulers of the times, are held as accurate. For a while, King David has been claimed to be false, however, recently, several tablets such as the Tel Dan Stele, refer to the “House of David” and Israel.

                  • You mean it gives the dates, names of kings size of Empire or what is your understanding of accurate account?
                    While on it, if it is a record of history, is it still revelation?

                • genetics very clearly shows that the human race was never only a single couple. It also very clearly shows why a single mating pair is a very bad thing for the future of a species.

                  The genesis account was written by people trying to explain something that was not well understood. It’s arguable that it may even have intended to be written as a story and not fact.

                  Modern understanding enables us to explain why we know that some ancient fables are not in any way an accurate representation of history. Adam and Eve are one such story.

                  • Genetics attempts to find a link between us and Apes and thus suggest a splitting population. That is where they get the idea that there was not a single couple. Yes, inbreeding over time can cause problems and that has been observed in our population. I do not disagree. Many of our problems today may have originated over time as mutations and defects compiled. Regardless, there are also natural variation inducing mechanisms within our genes and gamete cell reproduction such as crossing over, genetic recombination, etc. So, such variation is not an issue.

                  • “Genetics attempts to find a link between us and Apes and thus suggest a splitting population. ”

                    You say that as though the relationship was pre-assumed and it’s now being looked for. Is that how you think it works?

                    The reason why there is claimed to be a link between humans and apes is that the link has been found. The evidence came before the claim, not the other way round.

    • So, to defend your god you’ve confirmed that he has said he’ll punish the descendants (or innocents as I like to call them) for the sins of the parents. He favours a specific nation (for what reason?). These are things that I do not consider good qualities. Why do you think they are good qualities?

      “You seem to be sharpshooting the Bible, looking for specifics out of context to harm the image of God.”

      Yes, that is exactly what I did because if your god was so perfect, it would not be possible for me to do that. The fact that I can shows that either this god is everything that I described, or it is a figment of the imagination of wishful thinkers. What it’s not is perfect or loving.

      • You again refuse to see that it was punishment for a reason. Discipline. You also didn’t include that God is a God of redemption. Do you think that Gehazi’s punishment was permanent? There are things called blessings and things called forgiveness. Both of those God gives abundantly throughout the Bible. Descendants can also be affected by blessings. Those people didn’t do anything to get those blessings. That doesn’t seem fair. It goes both ways. Do you think people are more likely to commit evil deeds when they are punished or not?

        You are sharpshooting and looking at things outside of the grand scheme or larger story.

          • Okay. And sin brought death into the world. After the fall, all of man, every single person, will die and die without access to God. Yet, God chose a people and a way to save them from that eternal curse. So, when we are discussing God, I don’t think “forever” is a problem for him to change. There are many times in the new testament where Jesus (God) heals those who have leprosy or, better yet, brings people back from the dead. Death seems pretty permanent or “forever” to me.

            • Ah yes, the fall, the answer to every dilemma about sin and death.

              God punishes the entire human race because an inexperienced couple failed at perfection the first time they faced a challenge. There’s that loving and redemptive god for you!

              So forever only means forever when it actually lasts forever but we can’t know if it really lasted forever because god might have rescinded that, but it’s not recorded so we can’t know but if we assume it wasn’t rescinded and look for evidence of that line of forever cursed family line and fail we are wrong to conclude that the story is bogus, or something.

              • God punished Adam and Eve. We come from Adam and therefore will die as well. And, if I am not mistaken, we have all messed up on our own.

                In the beginning, God made it so basically Adam could not sin. The only way he could was to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Without that tree, Adam’s only choice was to love and obey God. In order for Adam to have free will, the option to sin must have been there. God also warned them that if they ate from that tree, they would surely die.

                It’s not recorded? The Old Testament testifies about it throughout the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.) and is recorded through the Gospels and Epistles.

                • First you say ” God made it so basically Adam could not sin”

                  then you say “In order for Adam to have free will, the option to sin must have been there.”

                  Please tell me that you can see the contradiction.

                  • My point was that the tree was the only way he could sin. Therefore, besides that tree, “God made it so basically Adam could not sin.” That is what I meant. There was only one way and he was told that if he did it would lead to death. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

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