Gehazi

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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

GEHAZI . Of the antecedents of Gehazi, and of his call to be the attendant of Elisha, the sacred historian gives us no information. He appears to stand in the same intimate relation to his master that Elisha had done to Elijah, and was probably regarded as the successor of the former. Through lack of moral fibre he fell, and his heritage in the prophetic order passed into other hands. Gehazi is first introduced to us in connexion with the episode of the Shunammite woman. The prophet consults familiarly with him, in regard to some substantial way of showing their appreciation of the kindness of their hostess. Gebazi bears Elisha’s message to her: ‘Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? Wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?’ On her refusal to be a candidate for such honours, Gehazi reminds his master that the woman is childless. Taking up his attendant’s suggestion, Elisha promises a son to their benefactress (  2 Kings 4:8 ff.). According to prediction, the child is born; but after he has grown to be a lad, he suffers from sunstroke and death ensues. The mother immediately betakes herself to the prophet, who sends Gehazi with his own staff to work a miracle. To the servant’s prayer there is neither voice nor hearing; but where he falls, the prophet succeeds (  2 Kings 4:17-37 ). Gehazi, like his master, had access to the court, for we read of him narrating to the king the story of the prophet’s dealings with the Shunammite (  2 Kings 8:4-5 ). In contrast with the spirit of the other characters, his covetousness and lying stand out in black hideousness in the story of Naaman (wh. see). The prophet’s refusal to receive any payment from the Syrian general for the cure which had been effected, does not meet with the approval of Gehazi. He follows the cavalcade of Naaman, and, fabricating a message from his master, begs a talent of silver and two changes of raiment for two young men of the sons of the prophets, who are supposed to be on a visit to Elisha. Having received and hidden his ill-gotten possessions, he stands before his master to do his bidding as if nothing had occurred, quite unaware that Elisha with prophetic eye has watched him on his foul mission of deception. Dumbfounded he must have been to hear his punishment from the lips of the prophet: ‘The leprosy, therefore, of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed for ever’ (  2 Kings 5:20 ff.). With this dread sentence, Gehazi is ushered off the stage of sacred history, never to reappear.

James A. Kelso.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

Elisha's servant. His messenger to the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4); suggested the obtaining of a son from the Lord for her, as a meet reward for her kindness to the prophet. Trusted by Elisha with his staff to lay on the face of the lifeless youth. But reanimation was not effected until Elisha himself came: typifying that Moses the messenger, with his rod and the law, could not quicken dead souls, that is reserved for Jesus with His gospel. Gehazi proved himself lying and greedy of filthy lucre, and with his great spiritual privileges a sad contrast to Naaman's servants, who had none (2 Kings 5).

They by wise counsel induced their master to subdue pride, and humbly to wash in the Jordan, according to the prophet's word. Gehazi presumptuously stifled conscience with the plea that a "Syrian" pagan ought not to have been" spared," as his master had "spared this Naaman," and even dared to invoke Jehovah's name, as though his obtaining money by false pretenses from him would be a meritorious act: "as the Lord liveth, I will take somewhat of him." In his master's name, under pretense of charity (!), as if wanting presents for "two sons of the prophets from mount Ephraim," he obtained from Naaman two talents of silver and two changes of raiment. Coveting, lying, taking, and hiding, followed in the order of sin's normal and awful development; as in Adam's and Achan's cases (Genesis 3; Joshua 7).

Then God's detection: Elisha said, "Whence comest thou?" The liar was at no loss for a reply: "Thy servant went no where." Elisha sternly answered, "Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again, (compare Psalm 139)? Is it a time to receive money," etc.? Compare as to our times  1 Peter 4:3. Naaman from being a leper became newborn as "a little child" by believing obedience; Gehazi from being clean, by unbelieving disobedience, became a leper: if he must have Naaman's lucre, he must have Naaman's leprosy: "the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee for ever."

Still in  2 Kings 8:4 Gehazi appears as "servant of the man of God," narrating to king Joram the great acts of Elisha and the restoration to life of the Shunammite's son, when lo! she herself appeared. Doubtless affliction brought Gehazi to sincere repentance, and repentance brought removal of the leprosy, which otherwise would have been "for ever." Compare Hezekiah's divinely foretold death averted by penitent prayer ( 2 Kings 20:1-5). This seems a more likely solution than supposing that this incident occurred before Gehazi's leprosy and has been transposed.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

Servant to the prophet Elisha. He had seen Elisha's miracles, even to the raising of the dead, and yet was tempted to deceive him and fraudulently gain a present from Naaman. He was in consequence smitten with leprosy. In after years he was entertaining the king of Israel with the great works of the prophet, when the Shunammite whose son Elisha had raised to life came to petition the king for her land, and she confirmed the servant's narration.  2 Kings 4:12-36;  2 Kings 5:20-27;  2 Kings 8:4,5 . Gehazi is a remarkable instance of how slow man is to realise the goodness and power of God, though plainly manifested before his eyes, until judgement falls upon him.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

A confidential attendant of Elisha. He appears in the story of the Shunammite woman,  2 Kings 4:14-37 , and in that of Naaman the Syrian, form whom he fraudulently obtained a portion of the present his master had refused. His covetousness and falsehoods were punished by a perpetual leprosy,  2 Kings 5:20-27 , B. C. 894. We afterwards find him recounting to king Jehoram the wonderful deeds of Elisha, at the moment when the providence of god brought the woman of Shunem before the king, to claim the restoration of her lands,  2 Kings 8:1-6 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Gehazi ( Ge-Hâ'Zî ), Valley Of Vision. The servant of Elisha. He was the prophet's messenger to the good Shunammite,  2 Kings 4:1-44 (b.c. 889-887); accepted money and garments from Naaman; was smitten with leprosy, and was dismissed from the prophet's service,  2 Kings 5:1-27. Later he related to king Joram all the things which Elisha had done.  2 Kings 8:4-5.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 2 Kings 4:31 5:25 8:4,5 2 Kings 4:14,31

He afterwards appeared before king Joram, to whom he recounted the great deeds of his master ( 2 Kings 8:1-6 ).

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

 2 Kings 4:12 2 Kings 4:27 2 Kings 4:31 2 Kings 5:20-25 2 Kings 8:1-6Elisha

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

gē̇ - hā´zı̄ ( גּיחזי , gēḥăzı̄ , except in   2 Kings 4:31;  2 Kings 5:25;  2 Kings 8:4 ,  2 Kings 8:5 , where it is גּחזי , gēḥăzı̄ , perhaps "valley of vision"): The confidential servant of Elisha. Various words are used to denote his relation to his master. He is generally called Elisha's "boy" (נער , na‛ar ), servant or personal attendant; he calls himself ( 2 Kings 5:25 ) his master's servant or slave (עבד , ‛ebhedh ), and if the reference be to him in  2 Kings 4:43 the Revised Version, margin, he receives the designation "minister" ( משׁרת , meshārēth ), or chief servant of Elisha.

1. His Ready Service

Mention is made of him on three different occasions. He is first brought under notice in the story of the wealthy Shunammite ( 2 Kings 4:8-37 ) who provided in her house special accommodation for Elisha, which suited his simple tastes, and of which he availed himself as often as he passed that way. By command of his master, Gehazi called the Shunammite, that she might be rewarded by the prophet for her liberal hospitality. Failing to elicit from the lady a desire for any particular favor, and being himself at a loss to know how to repay her kindness, Elisha consulted with his servant, whose quick perception enabled him to indicate to his master the gift that would satisfy the great woman's heart. When on the death of her child the Shunammite sought out the man of God at Carmel, and in the intensity of her grief laid hold of the prophet's feet, "Gehazi came near to thrust her away" ( 2 Kings 4:27 ) - perhaps not so much from want of sympathy with the woman as from a desire to protect his master from what he considered a rude importunity. Then Elisha, who had discovered of himself ( 2 Kings 4:27 ), from what the woman had said ( 2 Kings 4:28 ), the cause of her sorrow, directed Gehazi, as a preliminary measure, to go at once to Shunem and lay his staff upon the face of the dead child. Gehazi did so, but the child was "not awaked."

In this narrative Gehazi appears in a favorable light, as a willing, efficient servant, jealous of his master's honor; a man of quick observation, whose advice was worth asking in practical affairs.

2. His Grievous Sin

Gehazi, however, reveals himself in a different character in connection with the healing of Naaman ( 2 Kings 5:20-27 ). As soon as the Syrian general had taken his departure with his retinue from the house of Elisha, the covetous spirit of Gehazi, which had been awakened by the sight of the costly presents the prophet had refused, was no longer able to restrain itself. Running after Naaman, Gehazi begged in the prophet's name a talent of silver (400 pounds = ,000) and two changes of raiment, alleging, as a specious reason for Elisha's change of mind, the arrival at his master's house of two poor scholars of the prophet, who would require help and maintenance. Naaman, glad to have the opportunity he desired of showing his gratitude to Elisha, urged Gehazi to take two talents and sent two servants with him to carry the money and the garments. When they came to the hill in the neighborhood of the prophet's house, Gehazi dismissed the men and concealed the treasure. Thereafter, with a bold front, as if he had been attending to his ordinary duties, he appeared before his master who at once inquired, "Whence, Gehazi?" (Hebrew). On receiving the ready answer that he had not been anywhere, Elisha, who felt sure that the suspicion he entertained regarding his beloved servant, his very "heart" ( 2 Kings 5:26 ), was well grounded, sternly rebuked him for the dishonor he had brought upon God's cause, and called down upon him and his family forever the loathsome disease of the man whose treasures he had obtained by his shameful lie. "And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."

By this narrative confidence in Gehazi is somewhat unexpectedly and rudely shaken. The active, zealous servant stands confessed a liar and a thief. Gehazi's sin branched out in different directions. By his falsehood he deceived Naaman and misrepresented Elisha; he not only told a lie, but told a lie about another man, and that man his master and friend. Further, he brought true religion into disrepute; for it was not a time ( 2 Kings 5:26 ) for a servant of God to allow any commercial idea to be associated with the prophet's work in the mind of the Syrian general to whom God's power had been so strikingly manifested and when many for worldly gain pretended to be prophets. But while Gehazi's sin had ats various ramifications, its one root was covetousness, "the love of money (which) is a root of all kinds of evil" ( 1 Timothy 6:10 ).

3. His Probable Repentance

Once more Gehazi is mentioned ( 2 Kings 8:1-6 ) as having been summoned, leper though he was, by King Jehoram to give him an account of all the great things Elisha had done. And when he came to the story of the restoration of the Shunammite's child to life, the woman herself appeared before the king along with her son, craving to be reinstated in her house and land of which she had been dispossessed during her seven years' absence from her native country in a time of famine. Gehazi testified to the identity of both mother and son, with the result that the king at once ordered the restoration not only of all her former possessions, but also of all the profits her land had yielded during her sojourn in Philistia.

The appearance and conduct of Gehazi on this occasion give some ground for the hope that he had repented of his sin and could now be trusted to speak the truth; and the pleasure he seemed to take in rehearsing the wonderful deeds of a master who, though kind and indulgent to a stranger, was hard upon him, may even warrant the belief that in his earlier days there was some good thing in him toward his master's God. If also, as has been indicated above, the word used in  2 Kings 4:43 ( meshārēth ) applies to him - the same as is applied to Elisha ( 1 Kings 19:21 ) - we may be the more readily inclined to see in the history of Gehazi how one besetting sin may prevent a man from taking his natural place in the succession of God's prophets. Let us hope, however, that though Gehazi became a "lost leader," "just for a handful of silver," he was yet saved by a true repentance from becoming a lost soul.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

(Heb. Geychazi', גֵּיחֲזַי , as if for: חֶזְיוֹן גֵּיְא , Valley Of Vision; but, according to First, Denier, from an obsol. גָּחִז ; occasionally contracted Gechazi', גֵּחֲזַי ,  2 Kings 4:31;  2 Kings 5:25;  2 Kings 8:4-5; Sept. Γιεζί ), the servant of Elisha, whose entire confidence he at first enjoyed. He personally appears first in reminding his master of the best mode of rewarding the kindness of the Shunammitess ( 2 Kings 4:14). B.C. 889. He was present at the interview in which the Shunammitess made known to the prophet that her son was dead, and was sent forward to lay Elisha's staff on the child's face, which he did without effect ( 2 Kings 4:31). B.C. cir. 887. The most remarkable incident in his career is that which caused his ruin. When Elisha, with a noble disinterestedness, declined the rich gifts pressed upon him by the illustrious leper whom he had healed, Gehazi felt distressed that so favorable an opportunity of profiting by the gratitude of Naaman had been so wilfully thrown away. He therefore ran after the retiring chariots, and requested, in his master's name, a portion of the gifts which had before been refused, on the ground that visitors had just arrived for whom he was unable to provide. He asked a talent of silver and two dresses; and the grateful Syrian made himt take two talents instead of one. Having deposited this spoil in a place of safety, he again appeared before Elisha, whose honor he had so seriously compromised. His master asked him where he had been, and on his answering, "Thy servant went no whither," the prophet put on the severities of a judge, and, having denounced his crime, passed upon, him the terrible doom that the leprosy of which Naaman had been cured should cleave to him and his forever. "And he went forth from his presence a leper as white as snow" ( 2 Kings 5:20-27). B.C. cir. 885. The case is somewhat parallel with that of Ananias (q.v.) and Sapphira (Acts 5). The rebuke inflicted on Gehazi, though severe, cannot justly be reckoned too hard for the occasion. He ought to have understood, from the determined rejection of Naaman's offers by Elisha, that there were important principles involved in the matter, which he should have been careful on no account, or by any movement on his part, to bring into suspicion. There was a great complication of wickedness in his conduct. He first arrogated to himself a superior discernment to that of the Lord's prophet; then he falsely employed the name of that prophet for a purpose which the prophet himself had expressly and most emphatically repudiated; further, as an excuse for aiming at such a purpose, he invented a plea of charity, which had no existence but in his own imagination; and, finally, on being interrogated by Elisha after his return whither he had gone, he endeavored to disguise his procedure by a lie, which was no sooner uttered than it was detected by the prophet. Such accumulated guilt obviously deserved some palpable token of the divine displeasure; the more so, as it tended to give a covetous aspect to the Lord's servant at a time when the very foundations were out of course, and when the true worshippers of God were called to sit loose to all earthly possessions. This, indeed, is the thought that is most distinctly brought out in the prophet's denunciation of Gehazi's conduct ( 2 Kings 5:26) the false impression it was fitted to give of Elisha's position and character. (See Naaman).

We afterwards find Gehazi recounting to king Joram the great deeds of Elisha, and, in the providence of God, it so happened that when he was relating the restoration to life of the Shunammitess's son, the very woman with her son appeared before the king to claim her house and lands, which had beer usurped while she had been absent abroad during the recent famine. Struck by the coincidence, the king immediately granted her application ( 2 Kings 8:1-6). B.C. 876. Lepers were compelled to live apart outside the towns, and were not allowed to come too near to uninfected persons. (See Leprosy). Hence some difficulty has arisen with respect to Gehazi's interview with the king. Several answers occur. The interview may have taken place outside the town, in a garden or garden- house; and the king may have kept Gehazi at a distance, with the usual precautions which custom dictated. Some even suppose that the incident is misplaced, and actually occurred before Gehazi was smitten with leprosy. Others hasten to the opposite conclusion, and allege the probability that the leper had then repented of his crime, and had been restored to health by his master, a view which is somewhat corroborated by the fact that he is there still called "the servant of the man of God," from which it is supposed that the relationship between him and Elisha continumed to subsist, or had in some unexplained manner been renewed. (See Elisha).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

Ge´hazi (vision valley), a servant of Elisha, whose entire confidence he enjoyed. His history is involved in that of his master [ELISHA]. He personally appears in reminding his master of the best mode of rewarding the kindness of the Shunamite . He was present at the interview in which the Shunamite made known to the prophet that her son was dead, and was sent forward to lay Elisha's staff on the child's face, which he did without effect . The most remarkable incident in his career is that which caused his ruin. When Elisha, with a noble disinterestedness, declined the rich gifts pressed upon him by the illustrious leper whom he had healed, Gehazi felt distressed that so favorable an opportunity of profiting by the gratitude of Naaman had been so willfully thrown away. He therefore ran after the retiring chariots, and requested, in his master's name, a portion of the gifts which had before been refused, on the ground that visitors had just arrived for whom he was unable to provide. He asked a talent of silver and two dresses; and the grateful Syrian made him take two talents instead of one. Having deposited this spoil in a place of safety, he again appeared before Elisha, whose honor he had so seriously compromised. His master asked him where he had been? and on his answering, 'Thy servant went no whither' the prophet put on the severities of a judge, and having denounced his crime, passed upon him the terrible doom, that the leprosy of which Naaman had been cured, should cleave to him and his forever. 'And he went forth from his presence a leper as white as snow' . B.C. 894.

We afterwards find Gehazi recounting to king Joram the great deeds of Elisha. and, in the providence of God, it so happened that when he was relating the restoration to life of the Shunamite's son, the very woman with her son appeared before the king to claim her house and lands, which had been usurped while she had been absent abroad during the recent famine. Struck by the coincidence, the king immediately granted her application .

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