In Kings II 5:1 we are told that Naaman the general of Aram was afflicted with tzaraas. I have seen several explanations which outline something he did wrong, the punishment for which was tzaraas. However, from what I understand tzaraas is a spiritual affliction, which seems to have very little to do with non-Jews (see Negaim chapters 3, 11, and 12 the first mishna in each). In every answer I have seen we could replace tzaraas with any other disease and the 'effect' (ie the spiritual tit-for-tat punishment to Naaman) would have been the same.

I would like to know if there is a reason that Naaman was punished with this disease specifically.


1 Answer 1


The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 7:5) lists 11 causes for Tzaraat and brings proof for each one of them.

On of the causes listed is Haughtiness, and Naaman is used as a proof. The verse says, "וְנַעֲמָן שַׂר צְבָא מֶלֶךְ אֲרָם הָיָה אִישׁ גָּדוֹל", and the Midrash defines "Gadol" as being haughty, since he was a great warrior.

This article says that Naaman's feelings of greatness were undeserved, since he unwittingly killed Achav (see Rashi on Melachim I 22:34), and his punishment was tzaraat.

Text of the Midrash:

ועל גסות הרוח, זה נעמן, שנאמר (מלכים ב ה):(ונעמן): [שר צבא מלך ארם] היה איש גדול. מהו גדול? שהיתה רוחו גסה, מפני שהיה גבור חיל, ועל ידי כך נצטרע.

  • See however a different version of the Midrash on Arachin 16a.
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2013 at 6:55
  • @doubleaa. While different it is not contradictory. It just brings a different proof that haughtiness bring tzaraat.
    – Menachem
    Aug 27, 2013 at 18:34
  • But It also gives a different reason for Naaman's tzaraat.
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2013 at 18:37
  • @DoubleAA: The reference to Naaman is in regards to Gechazi. He lied to Elisha and told him he didn't do anything, when in reality he went to collect payment from Naaman.
    – Menachem
    Aug 27, 2013 at 21:28
  • non-Jews are punished for haughtiness? Why this person specifically as opposed to say Pharaoh or Hiram who claimed to be gods themselves. Nov 25, 2013 at 13:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .