The General and The Prophet
THE GENERAL, THE CIVILIAN AND THE PROPHET
(2nd Kings 5: 1-14)
I wonder why military men are almost
It seems the higher the rank,
the more arrogant they are.
And they have a very high sense of
They could break any law in the land,
knowing they would get away with it.
They all sure need a strong dose in
humility. And that is exactly what
happened to my boss, General Naaman…
You see, my boss is a military man
through and through. He is a veteran
of several wars both in our country
and had served in the United Nations
Peace Keeping Mission in several
countries in conflict.
I have been working for him for several
years and I have gotten used to being
called “Bloody Civilian!” by him and
other soldiers in the barracks where
I am one of his domestic staff,
doing the laundry, sweeping, cleaning
and generally the hands-on man in the
There are a few of us working in the
house- the gardener, the cook, the butler-
and a few female staff who work with the
Now, my boss happened to be a leper.
He caught the disease on one of his
foreign missions a few months ago.
Several soldiers caught the disease
then and were all relieved of their
duties and honourably discharged from
the army. My boss was retained because
he was still very valuable to them.
They still needed his experience in battle,
so they decided to manage his condition
for as long as they could.
Just last week, I overheard one of
the madam’s maids telling her
”Ma, if only Oga can go to my village-
there is a prophet there who will cure
this leprosy disturbing him!”
Seriously? Does this girl know what
she’s talking about?
Why doesn’t she just mind her business
and do the job she was hired for?
I know her type- they want to get
special favours from the boss.
Unfortunately, Oga heard and took her serious!
I won’t blame him- he had tried to get a
cure in the best hospitals in the country
and abroad to no avail.
It seemed his type of leprosy is different
from the common one.
It had defied all known cure, and Oga
was getting desperate.
So he decided to travel to the maid’s
village to see the prophet.
And he chose ME to be on his entourage!
I was stunned. Why me? All I know to do
is sweep and wash clothes- what am I
doing in the entourage of a leprosy
infected General seeking help for his
medical condition? Well, I didn’t
really have a say so I was carried
along on the journey to the village.
We got to the village and we were
directed to the prophet’s house.
I was sure the villagers had never
seen such a large convoy of vehicles
Almost all of them came out of their
huts, wondering what was going on.
We got to the house and it seemed
the prophet was aware we were around
because he had sent his servant to
meet us at the door with an
instruction: “General Naaman, go
and bathe in river Jordan seven
times and you will be cured.”
Or, is it?
My boss blew his top when he heard
“Me? Bathe in River Jordan- that
dirty and stinking river?
This prophet must be a joker!
He has no respect!
He didn’t even come out to greet me!
Who does he think he is? Bloody civilian!
Does he know how many wars I have fought?
Does he know who I am? He is so manner-less!
Even if I must bathe in a river, why Jordan?
Are there not better, bigger and
He went on and on, ranting and raving
like a bull in a China shop- those
who heard him were wondering what was
wrong with him.
I wondered why Oga was angry.
He has a problem.
Someone suggested a solution.
And it won’t cost him a dime!
Why doesn’t he just go ahead and do it?
I don’t understand these soldiers, at times.
They could be so obstinate.
And the irony of it all is all
we came with sided with him.
Is there something in the Army that
makes these soldiers lose their reasoning?
I decided to talk to him.
Maybe I was on his entourage on this
trip for such a time like this.
After all, I was the only civilian
in the team.
So I approached him with my heart
in my mouth. “Sir…”
I could see he was still very
“Sir, I was just wondering:
if this prophet had asked you to do
something very difficult,
wouldn’t you have done it?
How much more bathe and be cured?
Just do it sir-
we all want you to be cured,
that is why we are here,
that is our mission on this trip sir…”
My boss looked at me for a long time.
My heart was beating rapidly.
I couldn’t remember it ever beating so fast!
I felt I would faint.
What was going through his mind?
Have I goofed?
To think just a few days ago, I was
wondering why the maid would not mind
her own business…
My boss cleared his throat and said,
“Ok. Let’s go” Ok? Let’s go? Go where?
Back home? I felt stupid.
So, my intervention didn’t work.
I went back to my vehicle and we drove off.
And we stopped by River Jordan!
General Naaman came down, stripped
and went into the river to bathe.
And as he came out the seventh time,
his skin got healed!
We were all excited!
General Naaman was so ecstatic!
He laughed, cried and hugged everybody-
I had never seen this side of him for
all the years I had been working for him.
As he entered his vehicle,
I heard him tell his driver,
“Drive back to the prophet’s house,
I must reward him for this!”
I smiled as I wondered,
“Doesn’t that maid deserve a reward too?
Don’t I deserve to be rewarded too?”
Thank God I am a bloody civilian;
else you would still be a leper,