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The Heightened Palace Debate

Updated on March 21, 2020

Studying the bible is always good. For years, I have been studying the bible and I found it wonderful


In the advanced countries monarchy system of rulership is not in vogue like it was in some parts of the world to which this writer hails from and most especially as it was in the olden days. Even how they use to operate in the olden days cannot be compared with the situation of things with Kings and Queens in our land now. For in the olden days according to history no one can usurp what those Kings and Queens have started they have the final say, but now, not only would their words be upturned but they are equally dethroned from the seat of power.

In the book of second Kings chapter 5, we read an account of how the small girl who was a captive of war assigned to the house of captain Naaman told her mistress of what could happen to the health status of her love and her master if he could go to Israel to meet with a prophet there.

Someone heard what the maiden was telling the wife of Naaman and told captain Naaman what he heard.

Captain Naaman being a man under authority did not want to go to Israel without due consultation, as we know the journey is far and would take days before he gets there. It is not like today where the trip could be made within fraction of hours because of advanced technology.

Captain knows, since the journey to the place would take days, it is better he takes official permission from the King before leaving. Thence, he went to his lord, King Benhadad and told him what he heard, and he wants to give the trip a trial.

King Benhadad did not go against this obviously because of the love and the relationship between the duo.

He, however, takes an additional step and it was writing a letter to the King of Israel to ensure that he accorded his subject due respect as well as treat him as if he is treating the king of Syria. In conjunction to this he asks the man and those that would follow him to take along with them gifts that they would give to the King of Israel, to show that he is neither seeking for war nor want to do anything stupid.

Based on this note the people left Syria in convoy to the land of Israel, Samaria, to meet with the King of the land, called Jehoram.

Keil and Delitzsch say in their commentary of this place that there is an allusion here to the difference between the Syrian and the Israelis in their views of leprosy. In Israel lepers were excluded from human society (Lev 13-14) but in Syria a man afflicted with leprosy could hold a very high state office even being in close association with the King.

What I want to dwell on in this article is the seventh verse of the chapter, that is second Kings chapter 5 verse seven.

1. They Delivered King Benhadad’s Letter

The journey embarked on by the entourage, captain Naaman and others soon ended as they got to the land of Israel and headed for the palace of the King immediately. They delivered the letter from the King of Syria to the King of Israel without tampering with the letter on the way.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and 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. (2 Ki 5:7)

2. Jehoram, Received the Letter

Since the letter came from the King to another King, the subjects waited somewhere as he opens the letter and read it. But when reading this letter, he had with him his cabinet members.

3. He Can Read

The king of Israel who succeeded his father was King Jehoram he received a letter from the King of Syria, Benhadad, and while reading the letter he discovered that the content of the letter has to do with the infirmity that was on his captain called Naaman. In the letter King told King Jehoram to do something about his captain’s infirmity.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and 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. (2 Ki 5:7)

What I will love to draw attention to here before I continue is that the King was an educated fellow, because he was the one who read the letter according to the word stated here.

We know that education can broadly be divided into two, which is formal and informal education. The formal education has to do with attending schools and earning a certificate while the informal education involves those that we pass through under our parents, siblings at home; church lectures and teachings, and others. In this second class of education certificates are not awarded, but when the people we are interacting with outside see us they will know that we are educated by our actions to what they say.

Both forms of education are important for us so that we shall live a balanced life in the world.

Have you seen and or interacted with people who looked down on others? If we can closely examine their pasts, we shall discover that they do not have balanced education while growing up. When someone does not have balanced education there is no way it would not tell on him or her in the future.

Poll 1: Unresolved Stage

Do you believe that unresolved stage of development would show in the future?

See results

One of my lecturers (of blessed memory) who was very brilliant told us a story of his life, and said when he was young because his father was very rich, they would not allow him and other siblings of his to mingle with other children in the neighborhood all that his father was after was that they should face their studies and become graduates.

He became graduate at a very tender age at least according to statistics of graduates of his days, but after becoming a graduate he noticed that many things were missing in his life, because of the unresolved crisis during his early developmental stages.

We have seen some believers going against education and this is not good, we should learn to give our children balanced education formal and informal ones so that they would live a balanced life in the future so that they would not look back and discovered like my lecturer that there are unresolved crisis in his developmental stages.

It is because of some unresolved crisis in the developmental stages of some people that make them to engage in illicit affairs, some because of this would become sexually perverted. Therefore, we heard last year that some awards were cancelled because they discovered the atrocities that some judges were performing before declaring some people winner. Some of them do this because of the unresolved crisis during their developmental stages and now that they have attained some heights, they are seeking for means to correct those anomalies and how they go about is wrong.

The king was educated, and he could read.


4. His Immediate Reaction

His immediate reaction to the content of the letter he read was not okay, for he ridiculed himself before his subjects, by tearing his clothes before them.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and 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. (2 Ki 5:7)

Tearing of clothes in the land of Israel and putting of ashes on the head is a sign or reproach and ridicule in the land of Israel. (Est 4:1; 2 Sa. 1:11) When he did this, he lowered himself before his subjects. For according to custom and culture Kings do not cry neither should they rent their clothes.

5. He Knows His Limitation

The people again could rend their clothes when they have been exalted to the position of God. They will rend their clothes to show them that they have thought too much of them or have exalted them to status that does not belong to them.

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: (Act 14:14-15)

When the apostles where exalted to the position of God in Lycaonia, they rent their clothes to show them that what they thought of them was too much, the position they have placed them in their hearts did not belong to them but unto God.

King Jehoram also knows his limitations, he knows that though he was powerful in the land, for he was the king, ruler and judge over the people, yet he is not God for it is only God who does that, it is only God who heals.

It is always important for us as believers to know our limitations in the world. Some because they want something at all cost would tell lies to get that thing and after possessing that thing, their weakness would be exposed.

6. His Assumption

We shall also see his assumption in what he said to his cabinet members after reading the letter.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and 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. (2 Ki 5:7)

His assumption was that he thought the man was seeking avenue to wage war against his country again.

We shall recall that it was this king who wage war against his father which resulted in his father’s death. (1 Ki 22:37 ff)

This assumption of his was wrong, for King Benhadad had followed the culture of the land to send goods to the king extending his hands of friendship to him but he misconstrued what he sent to mean he wants to seek means for fighting the country again because he thought he knows that he can neither heal nor deliver. Even if he can heal not that kind of terrible illness which is likened to death.

We at a time or another have would have made some terrible assumptions that have had negative effects on our lives, relationships, businesses and so on. God here in is speaking to us to try and be asking questions from people before jumping to conclusion about them.

7. This Was Extensively Deliberated Upon

The King said what he said before the cabinet members because he wanted their impute in it. If he did not want their input in it, he wouldn’t have said anything. What we do not want other people’s input on, we do not say it out. He said it out because he knows that if war broke out, they shall all be affected and the need to carry them along as from the word go.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and 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. (2 Ki 5:7)

Consider in Hebrew word is “ידע”, Romanized form is yâda‛ (pronounced as yaw-dah') part of his meaning is advise, answer. He asks them to speak on the issue he has raised.

I believe after saying that and seeing the King’s disposition, angle from which the King has picked his point they shall all talk on the issue. While some will see it from the King’s perspective, others would not.

After their deliberation it was certain that their minds did not go to Prophet Elisha at all and they would have left the venue of the meeting, Palace hall for their homes thinking about how to climb the mountain, how to negotiate the bend.

Cambridge bible for schools and colleges in her commentary says, when carnal hearts are in need they can think of God and his prophet, but when their turn is served, they can utterly forget them as if they do not exist.


8. The Probable Means of How Prophet Elisha Heard

Being a heated argument, (I presume) because they would not want Benhadad to come with his soldiers to their country again for they will all remember what he did to his father, because the war was not long it was still fresh in their minds, they had been given time to go and return to the palace with what to do about it.

(a) Through The Press or Journalists

In the meanwhile if we view it from the present day’s disposition, someone among the cabinet members would have been appointed as a spokesperson for the King and cabinet and it was this person who speaks to the pressmen and journalists about the content of the letter.

(b) Through Sons of Prophets

He could have heard through the sons of prophets serving him.

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 Ki 5:8)

(c) High Priest

According to the culture of their land in which it is stated that the high priest is the second in command to the King, he may have left the place and thought about the prophet, discussing the incident that arose at the palace with the prophet.

(d) Through The Cabinet Member’s Friends, Relatives or Wives

Seeing the dilemma that they were into at that point, I am sure that they would also raise the subject matter before their wives, friends and other relatives, at least among those who are sensible and those whom they think could offer words of counsel on what happened and what they need to do about it. Having raised this because if something is not done, it is sure that they are playing with fire.

9. Why Prophet Elisha Decided to Help

When we place the burden that is not meant for us on our hearts then there would be problems. A man says, a mountain is supposed to be climbed not to be put on one’s head. That is the problem we have, when we put mountains that we should climb on our heads then our necks may perhaps enter our shoulder blades for carrying loads not meant for it.

(a) Message For Him

He decided to help because he knows that the message sent was for him.

Prophet Elisha knows the load they are carrying was not meant for him and he decided to help them, he decided to come to the scene to rescue them.

It is always good to know what we have, to know our gifts and or talents, when we know our gifts, talents, ability and or capability, we shall not be terrified by what is happening and we shall be able to decipher what is meant for us and what is not meant for us.

Poll 2: Awareness:

Do you know whom you are?

See results

Others may not know who you are, but it will be extremely bad if you do not know whom you are.

Pulpit in her commentary says, Elisha’s early miracles were mostly wrought with a certain among of secrecy, which indubitably made people to overlook him and forget him.

(b) Helped to Remove King’s Ridicule

The King has ridicule himself before his subjects which is not good, he thence decided to help to remove his shame before the people of the world.

Jesus also came to the world to remove our shame, deliver us from the power and guilt of sin, thence it is imperative that we repent of our sins and give our lives to him to be our savior and Lord.


(c) Helped to Show That Yahweh is the Lord and Healer

Jehovah Rapha is the healer. (Exo 15:26) If the Lord does not heal a man, there is little medical personnel neither drugs can do, but when we have been healed by God, then our healing would be sure, perfect and permanent.

10. Message of Comfort Sent

The King received message of comfort from the prophet and sent message to the captain Naaman to go to him. When we are burdened by some problems or situations and we receive words of comfort, we are usually relieved. The same thing happened to the king on hearing what the prophet said, he was comforted and relieved as well as all the people of the country.

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 Ki 5:8)

God through Jesus is ready to comfort us in all we are passing through. We are also enjoined to comfort one another by the great apostle for we are Jesus representatives where we are. Comfort people, brethren with the word of God, comfort them with your experiences, comfort them through the things you have, and you will be glad being of service to your fellow humans.

We therefore should know that

some things happen to us in life that is not designed to be our burden by the Lord, but when we make such our burden, then we shall enter serious troubles, giving ourselves depression, high blood pressure among other diseases that ought not to be ours. Enough of debating within ourselves what ought not to weigh us down, talk it over with God and you will discover how wonderful he is for he will save us.


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