She is called “a little maid” (KJV) or “a young girl” (NKJV). She had been torn from her home, a young Israelite girl, taken captive by the Syrians. She was placed in the service of Naaman’s wife (2 Kings 5:1-2).
Naaman was “Commander of the army of the King of Syria. It was “by him the LORD had given victory to Syria.” He is described as “a mighty man of valor, but a leper” (2 Kings 5:2). [Note: Josephus identifies Naaman as the one who had killed Ahab, King of Israel, some years earlier (Antiquities 8:414 cf. 1 Kings 22:34)].
Imagine that you were in her position. Would you be bitter? Would you be filled with hatred? Would you want revenge? Would you be angry with God or lose faith in Him? [Note: God wasn’t to blame. Israel’s defeat was due to the national sins (2 Kings 5:1 cf. 1 Kings 21:17-29; 22:51-53; 2 Kings 3:1-3)].
These things (bitterness, hatred, etc.) do not seem to have characterized her. What we are told of her, we would do well to emulate. Consider…
1. She had no joy in her master’s disease, but she sought to help him (2 Kings 5:1-3).
We can learn from this. We should not hate our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). We should not rejoice in our enemies calamity (Proverbs 24:16-18).
2. She did not seek revenge, but was kind (2 Kings 5:1-3).
We can learn from this. Her efforts helped change him. We should seek to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).
3. She did not forget God (2 Kings 5:1-3).
She knew that there was a prophet in Israel, who could help. She told Naaman of this (2 Kings 5:1-3).
Sometimes, when people are removed from family and friends, they also move away from God. However, this young girl evidently remained a believer, and not only a believer, but she was even a proclaimer of a message of hope to others.
This may have provided a lesson from which later exiles could learn. One writer said, “Despite her captivity, she is not bitter or unhelpful. Rather, she shares what she knows about the Lord and the prophet out of concern for Naaman and her mistress and desire to see God’s glory magnified. In this way she acts like Daniel, Mordecai, Ezra, Nehemiah, and other exiles who care for the spiritual and physical well-being of their conquerors”(Paul House, 1&2 Kings, p.272 quoted by Michael Whitworth in How to Lose a Kingdom in 400 Years, p.278 in a footnote).
Here is some words of exhortation for us. Let us shine as lights in this world, wherever we may be, and in whatever situation we may find ourselves (Matthew 5:14-16). Let us not be overcome by evil, but seek to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Let us learn from this young Israelite girl.