Women of the Bible

Women of the Bible — Naaman’s Maidservant

    1 Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. 2 And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5.1-3 NKJ

This month we will consider Naaman’s wife’s young Israeli servant girl. Let’s begin by looking at her situation.

We read that the Syrians had brought this young girl, as captive, from her homeland to Syria. She was given to the great commander’s wife.

Stop right here for a moment and consider that. The words are short and simple. But — what in the world was that? What was happening? What was the story behind these words, “And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel.”

Her whole life had been interrupted. Wait — this was more than an interruption. Her world had been turned upside down. And she was but a young girl. From a certain perspective, her life was ruined. This, according to psychology and sociology, was a real spoiler, a trauma that could legitimize a broad range of irrational and/or damaging behavior.

In order to help us understand this more readily, allow me to liken her to Anne Frank. Probably Anne Frank’s story is familiar to most of you. As a young Jewish girl born in Germany in 1929 she was among the hunted. Her family had an enemy marching in their midst, the Nazi army. Have you considered how she must have viewed these soldiers? They were not individuals, not fully human in nature, but were instead a unit — a unit to be feared and hated. They were talked about in whispered bitterness and terror. The stories of their hideous torture and cruelty were well known, even by children. (What child, when overhearing some bit of a whispered tale, does not then concoct their own version of the story for telling?) This is the stuff of nightmares and gruesome imaginations.

This is the setting of our little Israeli girl before the day of her capture. Her people lived in fear of the great Syrian army.

Now, taken from father and mother, family and friends, removed from a known culture and place, she finds herself surrounded by strangers speaking unfamiliar syllables, practicing different religious rites and customs, eating new foods. All of this at a young age.

Her new master is the head, the champion, of the dreaded Syrian army. He represents all that she has feared and hated. Why in the world would God do such a thing? How could He so clearly desert her and leave her so desolate? Where was His faithfulness in this?

Swept abruptly away from all she knows, she finds herself in this household of import, called upon to serve Naaman, and his wife in particular. Soon she discovers something about her new master. This mighty man of valor, the champion of his king and nation, has an imperfection. He has leprosy. He knows a deep need, suffers with a weakness, as does all of mankind. He is like every other man.

    And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. Jeremiah 29.7 NKJ
    Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Acts 8.4 NKJ

We see this maidservant, in verse 3, responding in accordance with this scriptural principle. “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” She is desiring health, peace, and prosperity for this man who is the enemy of her people. But most of all, she is directing him to the one true God. This is the best and highest we could desire for anyone, friend or foe alike.

How was she prepared for such a time as this? How can we be prepared? What can we do to prepare our children for such moments?

1. She was aware of testimonies.
She had heard of the prophet, of his mighty works and miracles. We must hear, and must inform our children. Take time to recount your story and other stories of His miraculous salvation and wondrous love. Let them be aware, very personally, of His faithfulness and great goodness, so that they can even recount such deeds to others they may encounter.

2. She understood His command to love the individual.
Somehow she was able to leave the hatred behind and now view him as an individual with needs. She perceived her situation through the eyes of love and then applied love as the answer. Amazing.

3. She wasn’t concerned about her gain.
Her concern was genuinely for him. This was not a chess game: “This move results in this position which is beneficial for me because…”
First of all, a chess-like approach to life is a self-beneficial paradigm, the goal being our promotion. A kingdom paradigm puts our own needs at the bottom of the pile.
Secondly, Chess is a dangerous game when played with real life pieces. It involves manipulation; whether for good or bad purposes, it’s all about strategy and manipulation. It does not leave room for the God factor. Love, instead, incorporates the God-factor; it believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Next week we will consider Naaman’s response. We will discover that our little maidservant was quite a girl of influence. And we will discuss why!


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  1. This is so awesome. I was considering teaching on this very character in Sunday School in a few weeks. Now I don’t have do any work at all — you’re doing t for me! =)

    Posted by Louissa | March 3, 2009, 11:19 am
  2. Thank you for pointing out an account I have never noticed, and all the details…wow. How true! This kind of heart is an important one to consider. Thank you for bringing this out.

    Posted by Cassandra | March 4, 2009, 4:22 am
  3. I remember visiting CFC and going to a woman’s Sunday school class where you taught on this character. It had a big impact on me then and it is refreshing to hear you tell it again! I especially like your point #3. That’s convicting to me and something for me to keep in mind. Awesome stuff!

    Posted by Jennifer | March 5, 2009, 11:02 am
  4. This particular passage shows a women with a relentless witness despite of the adversity she still looked out for the well being of a soul. That’s what jesus did. He went through extreme measures to win a soul. It not about us but the kingdom of god.

    Posted by sheila foxworth | August 17, 2009, 10:51 am