Gehazi

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Gehazi attempts to awaken the son of the Shunammite woman with the staff of Elisha

Gehazi, Geichazi, or Giezi (Douay-Rheims) (Hebrew: גֵּיחֲזִי‬; Tiberian: Gêḥăzî; Standard: Geẖazi; "valley of vision") is a figure found in the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible. As a servant of Elisha he was in a position of power but he was corrupt, and misused his authority and cheated Naaman the Syrian, a leper. As a punishment, Elisha cursed him, transferring Naaman's leprosy to him and his descendants for ever. In Rabbinic literature, Gehazi is identified as one of four commoners who forfeited his share in the afterlife because of his wickedness. He is the subject of a poem by Rudyard Kipling.

Etymology[edit]

Two meanings for the name "Gehazi" have been suggested: "valley of vision" or "valley of avarice".[1]

Biblical account[edit]

Gehazi was the servant of the prophet Elisha. He appears in connection with the history of the Shunammite woman and her son [2] and of Naaman the Syrian. On the latter occasion, Gehazi, overcome with avarice, obtained in the prophet's name two talents of silver and two changes of garments from Naaman. Consequently, he was guilty of duplicity and dishonesty of conduct, causing Elisha to denounce his crime with righteous sternness, and determine that "the leprosy of Naaman would cleave to him and his descendants for ever". After Elisha cursed Gehazi, Gehazi became leprous "as white as snow" (2 Kings 5.27).[3]

Later in the biblical narrative, he appeared before King Joram, to whom he recounted the great deeds of his master.[4][5] The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges suggests that "it is probable that the accounts of Elisha’s work and influence are not related [in 2 Kings] in their chronological order".[6]

Appearance in literature[edit]

In Rabbinic literature, Gehazi is identified as one of four commoners who forfeited his share in Olam haba, the afterlife, because of his wickedness, especially in the presence of an upstanding example such as Elisha, and his consistent refusal to repent.[7]

He is ostensibly the subject of Rudyard Kipling's poem Gehazi, thought to be aimed at Rufus Isaacs, a member of the British Liberal government at the time the poem was composed.[8]

He also appears in John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress".

References[edit]

  • Jewish Encyclopedia
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Gehazi". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.