A confidential attendant of Elisha. He appears in the story of the Shunammite woman, 2Ki 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, 2Ki 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, 2Ki 8:1-6.
valley of vision, Elisha's trusted servant (2Ki 4:31; 5:25; 8:4-5). He appears in connection with the history of the Shunammite (2Ki 4:14,31) and of Naaman the Syrian. On this latter occasion he was guilty of duplicity and dishonesty of conduct, causing Elisha to denounce his crime with righteous sternness, and pass on him the terrible doom that the leprosy of Naaman would cleave to him and his for ever (2Ki 5:20-27).
He afterwards appeared before king Joram, to whom he recounted the great deeds of his master (2Ki 8:1-6).
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 1Pe 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 2Ki 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 (2Ki 20:1-5). This seems a more likely solution than supposing that this incident occurred before Gehazi's leprosy and has been transposed.
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 (2Ki 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 (2Ki 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 (2Ki 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' (2Ki 5:20 ff.). With this dread sentence, Gehazi is ushered off the stage of sacred history, never to reappear.
James A. Kelso.
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. 2Ki 4:12-36; 5:20-27; 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.
(valley of vision), the servant or boy of Elisha. He was sent as the prophet's messenger on two occasions to the good Shunammite,
... (B.C. 889-887); obtained fraudulently money and garments from Naaman, was miraculously smitten with incurable leprosy, and was dismissed from the prophet's service.
... Later in the history he is mentioned as being engaged in relating to King Joram all the great things which Elisha had done.