Translation commentary on 2 Kings 5:4

So renders the common Hebrew conjunction. A logical connection such as this may be required here in many languages. Good News Translation expresses it as “When Naaman heard of this.”

Naaman went in and told is literally “he went and he told … saying.” Revised Standard Version and Good News Translation have added the proper name Naaman for the sake of clarity since the previous verse referred to both Naaman and the prophet in Samaria.

His lord refers to the king of Syria. While Naaman was in authority over many others and was called “my lord” by others (verse 3), he himself was under the authority of the king of Syria, who was considered his lord.

Thus and so spoke the maiden …: Revised Standard Version follows the order of the Hebrew: Object-Verb-Subject. A more normal order in English would, of course, be Subject-Verb-Object. But the quotation is clearly not a true direct quotation even though it is framed as such in Hebrew and in Revised Standard Version. The words Thus and so are a kind of shorthand formula. They serve as a summary of what was certainly a longer and more detailed report of what the young girl had said. In most languages it will be better to avoid a direct quotation in this case and use an indirect statement, such as “he reported to the king all that the young girl … had said.” American Bible says “[he] told his master word for word what the girl … had said.” New American Bible is similar with “[he] told his lord just what the slave girl … had said.” For the expression Thus and so, see the comments on 1 Kgs 1.6.

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on 1-2 Kings, Volume 2. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2008. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .