Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Thoughts for This Weekend

In researching 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15, I found that most of the commentaries did address, at least to some degree, the outsider/insider dynamic at work here. Some reflections I found particularly intriguing:

“When we read the Bible carefully we notice how often it features prominent outsiders. This inclusion of outsiders, Spina argues, is ‘neither incidental nor haphazard in the biblical witness.’ These outsider stories often include a significant plot reversal in which the ostensible insider is cast in a negative light and the outsider is portrayed as superior in virtue or faith. In his book Spina considers seven of these stories where the outsider is mainlined and the insider is marginalized — Esau... Jonah, Ruth (a resident alien who remarries a Hebrew), the woman at the well in John 4 who had married five times, and then the lectionary passage for this week about Naaman in 2 Kings 5.
“...‘No outcasts,’ writes Garry Wills in What Jesus Meant, ‘were cast out far enough in Jesus' world to make him shun them — not Roman collaborators, not lepers, not prostitutes, not the crazed, not the possessed. Are there people now who could possibly be outside his encompassing love?’ Instead of defining other people as beyond the pale of God's love, we'd do better to emulate the apostle Paul, the consummate Christian insider, who in the epistle for this week contemplates the real and harrowing possibility of his own banishment to outsider perdition (1 Corinthians 9:24–27).”
--“The Journey with Jesus: Notes to Myself” by Dan Clendenin

“So Naaman departed and took much treasure with him. Yet the price which Naaman had to pay to be healed of his leprosy was even greater than that. Money can do much, yet it never yet purchased for a [person] the healing of [the] soul
or thepeace of [the] mind.”
--“II Kings Exposition” by Raymond Calkins in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 3

Also, as Jennie pointed out, there is the honor/shame system of the Ancient Near East to consider. This should be interesting!

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