Prophet Pearls #27 – Tazria (2 Kings 4:42-5:19)

Prophet-Pearls-27-TazriaIn this episode of Prophet Pearls on the prophet portion of Tazria covering 2 Kings 4:42-5:19, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson unpack the Biblical nuances behind 'baptism" and "mikvah," and find out what a pita bread and a leper have in common.

After a nod to the vignette that introduces this portion, Gordon and Johnson cannonball into the main story whose message aligns strongly with their respective ministries. It’s a story where the kings are nameless and the protagonist tries to stay in the background while helping a proud and powerful army commander with leprosy. But the hero is clearly Yehovah—orchestrating an unmistakable revelation of his grace sotto voce.

On the way to the portion’s illuminating ending, we learn what modern-day nation was Aram and the nuances of “baptize,” “mikvah,” and “dip”—“taval”, (tet-vet-lamed). Gordon also explains why Naaman expected more hocus-pocus and provides other examples of pagan thinking.

Gordon and Johnson draw parallels between the lessons in this portion and present-day spiritual police (both Jews and Christians) who trust more in doctrines than the Creator. In closing, Johnson prays for those in difficult circumstances to trust the bigness and greatness of God and to “yalak shalom”—to go in peace.

"But Naaman became furious... and said, 'Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely... stand and call on the name of Yehovah his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.'" (2 Kings 5:11)

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Related Posts:
The Original Torah Pearls - Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59)

Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

13 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #27 – Tazria (2 Kings 4:42-5:19)

  1. “You could say ‘tavaled’ if you want to speak Heblish…” I just about fell over laughing. Thank you for your amazing sense of humor. I can learn and laugh at the same time. Yehovah has truly given you a gift to bless His Kingdom. You’re a gem!!

  2. I can’t help but think that Naaman is also the man (on whom the King of Aram rests his arm) who dies at the city gate in chapter 7. Therefore, the statement that Elisha makes to Naaman, “go in peace” is NOT an approval of the dilemma Naaman brings up of bowing down in the temple of Rimmon. Quite the contrary. Naaman reveals that he knows he shouldn’t do this. Elisha also knows he shouldn’t do this. Elisha is not giving Naaman permission or saying that YHVH will overlook this sin. He’s saying go in peace and don’t worry, you know it’s wrong and it will work out.
    What worked out is that the King of Aram went to war with Israel and it’s doubtful he ever went back to the temple of Rimmon. And Naaman died during the siege between the King of Aram and Israel at Samaria. Therefore Naaman never had to face the sin he was worried about committing.

  3. Didn’t catch the pita/leper similarity, and I’ve played this twice… Clue me in, somebody! Had forgotten or missed the multiplied foodstuff piece, too. I’m feeling so incompetent! Thank you, Nehemia, for all that you do and have done. I’ve learned so much – even if I’ve also forgotten so much. And thank you Keith for bringing him into our sphere.


    Acts 15:5-21
    When Gentiles became believers there was a dispute about what would be required. Moses set up in every city a place that the people could learn what was required of them from the Torah reading. They had them follow enough things while they were being taught weekly in the Synagogues. Naaman would be taught by Gods spirit…..there is a lot for the Gentile to learn and unlearn.

  5. I stumbled across the answer to something I’ve been searching for, for some time! Thanks to you &! Baptism. Since being awakened to Jewish Roots, I’ve been “testing everything” and baptism was on my list. I’ve studied some with a local conservative Jewish community, but they’re not generous with helping me understand or answering my question, but they’re very lovable and I love their holiday services.

    Anyway in the Prophet Pearls portion of Tazria, you talk on 2 Kings 5:14 regarding Naaman being “dipped” 7 times, you said the word was taval tet vet lamed, meaning dip, immerse. I went on and searched taval and they mentioned Ps 51:10 where it has the phrase “a pure heart create for me, O God! They said if you take the first letter of each word tahor bera li, spells taval which some Rabbi (sorry I didn’t catch the name) said ” through immersion I become a newly created person” !! I think I got my answer!

    Please do not hesitate to help those of us coming from a Christian background and are busy testing everything and tweaking/correcting our walk with God. Please do say..some of you might have been taught this (some wrong Christian doctrine), but you might want to re-think based on blah, blah or whatever. Thanks so much for all you do!

  6. Very good conversaion!!!

    By studying the language and ancient history I am truly hum,bled by the intent of the messages.

    Here’s a question for males, spiritually connected to physical.
    In thinking on the roles in intimacy between male and female, with regard to being abstinence – is it possible the reason men [like David and Solomon] had concubines due to the lack of being able to refrain form intercourse?

    I find the Kings had eunuchs for them, it must be the drive in men [sexually] that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians…

    My husband has stated a time without release is very painful. I am gleaning the deeper meaning for discussion.


  7. Love this, it has it’s echo in what we read in Acts 15. I’ll do the short short version; verse 19 “…Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God…”

    Most Christians stop there, but it goes on;
    “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day”

    So they started of easy, and Sabbath after Sabbath they learned Torah; Torah Pearls and Prophet Pearls like you guys are doing 🙂

    • I agree about the synagogue teachings in that day, but too soon came their 18-“blessing” Amidah prayer’s added curse on Jewish believers in Yeshua, after which the new Christians had no place to learn Torah, but from each other. So, 2000 years of ignorance, and then God brings us Nehemia through Keith. What a wonderful time to be alive!

  8. Shalom Shalom Gents,

    I tend to agree with Nehemia, that Naaman was petitioning Elisha for a pardoning for going into the house of Rimmon, when his master went to bow-down to his own god. Master/servant – he had no choice but to go and steady the old man. I see this as similar to when Israel prays at Yom Kippurim, for sins under compulsion to be baptized into Christianity – by denying and lying.

    Naaman was not a free man to worship Yehovah, blessed be He, Elohey of Elohim, as he had come to know Him. 2 Kings 5:15 Naaman was seeking Yehovah’s grace. 2 Kings 5:17, 18 Elisha says, go in peace, because he understands Naaman’s situation.

    I think Keith will not be satisfied, until Naaman has a ‘come to Jesus’ experience.

    I fully understand your Dad, Nehemia, not affirming the Sunday Churches, even by appearance. They hold-on to so many dead rats, willingly. (( I think, partially, Paul sought to help the pagans of the seven churches embrace the Noahide laws (Genesis 9:3), but not his brothers.)) As your Dad knew, the Churches teach Jesus, not Yehovah, blessed be He.


  9. Dear Keith and Nehemia: You two are such a blessing! I am weeping here; I too now study Torah and my heart desires to be Torah observant – yet I am not always able to, working in agriculture. You guys are a big part of my Shabbat preparations and getting ready for Torah study; you have become my “warm up team” before I go to assembly, and we use your insights often. (especially Nehemia’s language wisdom) Hearing the Holy Spirit in your voices and your joy and your unity is a revelation of God’s heart of love. Yes, !לֵךְ לְשָׁלֹוֹם Thank You SO MUCH –YHVH has touched me through you two!

  10. Nehemia and Keith thanks again for explaining the ways of the prophets and how they prayed to Yehovah for healings. Maybe someday you will do a podcast on Exorcist vs Prophets. More in depth than Jezabel and Elijah. When you spoke about magic and incantations it also reminded me of Acts 19:13-16 AMP.

    Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists (men who adjure evil spirits) also undertook to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, I solemnly implore and charge you by the Jesus Whom Paul preaches! Seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest named Sceva were doing this. But [one] evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you? Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, mastering two of them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house [in fear], stripped naked and wounded.

  11. The chronicle of Elisah – they were eating from new grain – what time of year was this? Were the ones eating the prophets/priest that Elisha had hid? Is this a first fruits offering?

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