Wednesday 8 July 2009

Walter Brueggemann on 2 Kings 5

Walter Brueggemann, ‘2 Kings 5: Two Evangelists and a Saved Subject’, Missiology: An International Review 35, 3 (2007), 263-72.

The Gospel, says Brueggemann, intrudes into our ‘settled world with an unexpected counter-reality that explodes the settlement and offers news of a counter-reality’ (263).

He notes that the line of royal power in 1 and 2 Kings is disrupted by the emergence of prophets, including Elisha at the centre of this narrative.

Naaman is ‘a representative figure of the known and recurring world with all the show of well-being, but utterly without hope’, while the young woman, ‘a war captive pressed into service… makes the best of her situation and even cares about the general’s wife and, consequently, she cares about the general’ (265).

The young woman is a ‘true evangelist… engaged in a world of need where God had put her… remembered where she came from and how it was back there… offered transformative possibilities for the future… and she spoke [setting] in motion an entirely new narrative of rescue’ (265-66).

The second evangelist is Gehazi, who ‘also knows the place of healing transformation’, but ‘cannot let the miracle be itself… wants to turn it into benefit, and… thereby betrays the gift’ (270).

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