Elisha And The Shunammite woman




God’s concern for women and their special needs can be seen in both the preceding and this incident. In contrast to the poor widow in the previous story, we find Elisha and the Shunammite woman (Near Jezrel and about 15 miles from Mount Carmel). It appears that she had great influence, wealth and hospitality (v 8). Elisha evidently stopped at her house regularly so she and her husband decided to build a profit’s chamber on to their house for him to use whenever he traveled by (vv. 9-10).


In return for their kindness Elisha wanted to do something special (vv. 11-13). Later he learned that her one great desire in life was to have a son, he told her that in about a year she would have a son (vv. 14-16). She did bear a son as God had promised (v. 17). However, one morning while the son was still young and with his father in the fields, he was struck with a violent headache (vv. 18-19). Apparently it was a sun stroke, and he was carried  to his mother and died (vv. 20-21).


Her thoughts turned immediately to Elisha and she prepared to seek his help. He was only a few miles away at Mount Carmel so she rode her donkey to find him (vv. 22-24). Elisha spotted her coming. When she came to him, she fell at his feet indicating extreme humility, need, and desperation (vv. 25-28). When Elisha learned that her son was dead, he sent Gehazi, his servant, to lay his staff on the child ( vv. 29-31). Gehazi followed Elisha’s instruction but nothing happened. When Elisha learned this, he went himself and lay across the boy’s body praying he would be restored (vv. 32-37). In a few minutes the child sneezed and was returned to his mother alive.





Elisha’s prayer and method of raising the boy from the dead showed his personal care for hurting people. I need to express genuine concern for others as I carry God’s message to them.


II Kings 4:18-37 (English Standard Version)

When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. And he said to his father, "Oh, my head, my head!" The father said to his servant, "Carry him to his mother." And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. Then she called to her husband and said, "Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again." And he said, "Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath." She said, "All is well." Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, "Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you." So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, "Look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, 'Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?'" And she answered, "All is well." And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, "Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me." Then she said, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me?'" He said to Gehazi, "Tie up your garment and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child." Then the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her. Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, "The child has not awakened." When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the LORD. Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. Then he summoned Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunammite." So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, "Pick up your son." She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground. Then she picked up her son and went out.

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