The Book of Leprosy: A Gift for the Wicked & Syria/Aram

That’s something else about the oil, it would be really cool if You’d keep my vehicle full of gas. 

“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper” (2 Kgs 5:1).

The predecessor of the modern city of Nabius, ancient Shechem (pronounced “SHEH-kem”), also called Tell Balata, stood at a crossroads between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim in the hill country of Ephraim, 41 miles north of Jerusalem.

Today about 1/3 of the tell is covered by modern buildings, but the rest of the area is accessible to archaeologists.

Excavations conducted since 1913 have yielded significant remains: city gatges, a city wall, a temple (or temples), housing and a granary.

These date to various occupation phases from the Middle Bronze Age II (c. 1900 B.C.) up to the Hellenistic period (332-152 B.C.).

The Syrians had brought back slaves from the land of Israel and a little maid waited on Naaman’s wife.  And she told her mistress that God wants to heal him of his leprosy, so his wife re-laid the message to Naaman. 

And the king of Syria wrote a letter to the king of Israel and gave it, 10 talents of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and 10 changes of clothing to Naaman to take with him.

After the king read the letter he said,

“Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kgs 5:7-8).

Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house with his horses and chariot and Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman that said,

“Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kgs 5:10-12).

Naaman’s servant came to him and suggested that he should do what 1 Elisha had said, so he went down to the Jordan and did as he had been told and the leprosy went away.  Naaman then went to Elisha’s to reward him, but he wouldn’t accept it.

Scientists have reconstructed ancient strains of leprosy to explain the disease’s sudden decrease at the beginning of the 16th century.

It turns out that human evolution played an important role in leprosy’s medieval disappearing act.

Researchers from Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Germany’s Tubingen University exhumed bodies from medieval graves and collected strains of Mycobacterium leprae, the pathogen that causes leprosy.

According to their report, leprosy was common during the Middle Ages, with approximately one in 30 people affected by the disease.

Leprosy still occurs today, with approximately 200,000 people affected by the disease each year.

Lepers were shunned or sent to isolated colonies for treatment and to contain its spread.

While leprosy may have been more common during the Middle Ages, the disease’s occurrence began to mysteriously decrease in Europe.

The team of researchers was able to reconstruct five strains of the bacteria by carefully separating the disease’s DNA from human DNA.

The precise method developed by the researchers allowed for the re-creation of ancient mycobacterium strains.

The researchers believe leprosy declined due to natural selection as humans developed a resistance to it.

Cole says the isolation of lepers, as well as pressure on them not to procreate, could have limited the disease from spreading.

He also notes, “Other studies have identified genetic causes that made most Europeans more resistant than the rest of the world population, which also lends credence to this hypothesis.”

“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.

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?

And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.

And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.

And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.

But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.

And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

The disease of leprosy has been eating away at humankind for the past 4,000 years, according to a newly discovered skeleton that showed signs of the ailment.

Researchers say that the ancient leper provides clues to how the disease spread through the human population.

The skeleton was found at the site of Balathal, near Udaipur in northwestern India.

Historians have long considered the Indian subcontinent to be the source of the leprosy that was first reported in Europe in the 4th century B.C., shortly after the armies of Alexander the Great returned from India.

The skeleton was buried, which is uncommon in the Hindu tradition unless the person is highly respected or unfit to be cremated, a category that included outcasts, pregnant women, children under 5, victims of magic or curses, and lepers.

The leper’s skeleton was interred within a large stone enclosure that had been filled with vitrified ash from burned cow dung, the most sacred and purifying of substances in Vedic tradition.

A close examination of the skull showed eroded pits typical of advanced leprosy, as well as tooth loss and root exposure.

The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” (2 Kgs 5:17-27).

1 Elisha is only a man that walks with God, so he is blessed many times over.  Yet, any power he provides comes from God, and so do his words. 

Therefore, anything all that Elisha, Elijah, and any prophet does happens only if because they have faith in God/Jesus Christ.  Without faith you have nothing. 

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Is 55:11).

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6).

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mk 5:25-34).

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt 21:18-22).

Syria/Aram

Israel and Aram (Syria) were ethnically related. Abraham was of Aramean stock, having come from the area of Haran in southern Turkey (Gen 24:4).

The disease of leprosy has been eating away at humankind for the past 4,000 years, according to a newly discovered skeleton that showed signs of the ailment.

Researchers say that the ancient leper provides clues to how the disease spread through the human population.

The skeleton was found at the site of Balathal, near Udaipur in northwestern India.

Historians have long considered the Indian subcontinent to be the source of the leprosy that was first reported in Europe in the 4th century B.C., shortly after the armies of Alexander the Great returned from India.

The skeleton was buried, which is uncommon in the Hindu tradition unless the person is highly respected or unfit to be cremated, a category that included outcasts, pregnant women, children under 5, victims of magic or curses, and lepers.

The leper’s skeleton was interred within a large stone enclosure that had been filled with vitrified ash from burned cow dung, the most sacred and purifying of substances in Vedic tradition.

A close examination of the skull showed eroded pits typical of advanced leprosy, as well as tooth loss and root exposure.

Jacob was called an Aramean (Deut 26:5), as was his uncle Laban (Gen 25:20) and grand­father Bethuel (Gen 25:20; 28:5).

The Arameans were a tribal Semitic people located in Mesopotamia and Syria. Their lifestyle was that of semi-nomadic pastoralists (shepherds and herders of livestock) living in small vil­lages.

When the Hittite Empire collapsed at the end of the second millennium B.C., the Aramean tribes in Syria developed into pow­erful city-state monarchies that flourished in the 11th-8th centuries B.C.

In Syria the Arameans built large, well-fortified cities, including grand palaces. Each city had its own pantheon (official listing of gods) and patron deity.

The most prominent was Hadad, the weather-fertility god. Naaman talked about accompanying the Aramean king into the “temple of Rimmon” in Damascus (2 Kgs 5:18).

The Syriacs/Arameans had an older name.

The Syriacs were earlier called Aramean and their language Aramaic.

The oldest preserved documents where the name Aram is mentioned is dated to 2300 B.C.

The Greeks were probably the first ones who named the Arameans by the Syrian name in the 5th century B.C.

The famous Greek geographer and historian Strabo (dead 23 AD.)says in his book “Geography”:

“Those who call themselves Arameans, we call them Syrians”.

This was probably the temple of Hadad-Rimmon, meaning “Hadad the thunderer.”

Other deities wor­shiped by the Arameans included Sin, the moon god; EI, the “creator” god; Shamash, the sun god; and Reshep, the god of plague.

The Lord had long before called Abraham out of the paganism of the Aramean culture to es­tablish a godly nation (Gen 12:1; Josh 24:2-3; cf. Gen 31:19,30; 35:2-4).

The Israelites came into contact with the Aramean kingdoms in Lebanon and Syria, immediately to their north.

They engaged primarily in turf battles, particularly with the city-state of Damascus, called Aram in the Bible, but occasionally also entered with them into trade agreements (1 Kgs 20:34) and alliances.

The most lasting legacy of the Arameans was their language, Aramaic.

It was the major spoken language of upper Meso­potamia and Syria during the early part of the first millennium B.C., as well as the diplo­matic language of this time.

From about the 3rd century B.C. to the end of the Jewish state, Aramaic was the common language of the Jews.