Mothers of the Bible: The Shunammite Woman, Hospitality to Great Faith

The Shunammite Woman witnessed a miracle not once, but twice.

Her name is not known.  All we know is that she was from the land of Shunem.  It is

map of Shunem

believed that the location of the Biblical Shunem, is located in the northern part of modern day Israel.

Elisha is passing through Shunem, when he brought into the house of a couple there.  Every time he was in the area he stopped to eat bread with the couple.   The woman recognizes him as a woman of God.  “ And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, that passeth by us continually.”   {2 Kings 4:9}

The couple sets up a small room with a bed, table and candlestick for Elisha.

Elisha visited a couple in Shunem

The woman definitely has the gift of hospitality, which is a spiritual gift.

Elisha calls the woman in to him and ask him “Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?”  {2 Kings 4:13}

But she answers, “I dwell among mine own people.”  Apparently, she is a very humble woman, who has everything she needs.

So, Elisha asks his servant, Gehazi what he can do for the woman.

for their hospitality Elisha wanted to bless the couple

“And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no son, and her husband is old.”  {2 Kings 4:14}

Elisha calls her in to her again and says, “At this season, when the time cometh round, thou shalt embrace a son.”

The woman says, “Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thy handmaid.”  {2 Kings 4:16}

The promise is so great that the woman doesn’t know how to handle this news.  It’s probably very overwhelming when she first hears it.

The Women of the Bible says, “The Shunammite had resolved to live a life marked by the rejection of hope until Elisha appeared and gave her hope despite herself.”

The couple was blessed with a son

But the woman conceived and had a son.

The child grows up, but one day while reaping with his father, he begins to complain of his head. The father takes the son home to his mother, and he “sits on her knees”.  {2 Kings 4:20}  She clearly cradled him and cared for him.

But then the unthinkable happens, the son dies.

But the woman does not weep and mourn.   Instead, when her son dies, she jumps up and calls for the horses.  Upon the horses being saddled, she tells her servant to drive and not let on.

the boy had a headache…

No, she’s not gone crazy but she is on a mission.

She goes to Elisha, who recognizes she is greatly troubled.

The woman says to Elisha, “Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?”  {2 Kings 4:28}

Elisha sends Gehazi to the child, but the child does not awaken.

The woman refuses to leave Elisha, until he sees to her son and they journey to her house together.

…and later died

“And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.”  {2 Kings 4:32}

Elisha went in to the child, closing the door and praying over the child.  Elisha stretched out to breath life into the child and pray over the child.

“Then he returned, and walked in the house once to and fro; and went up, and [h]stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.”  {2 Kings 4:35}

The child sneezed seven times.  Seven is the perfect number of God.  The child then opened his eyes.

the woman begged for the life of her son…her faith did not waiver that Elisha would restore her son to her

So, what does Elisha do?  He tells Gehazi, “Call this Shunammite…And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.”   {2 Kings 4:36}

Elisha tells the woman to take her son.

 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground; and she took up her son, and went out.”   {2 Kings 4:37}

Notice, the first thing she did was to bow before Elisha.  In essence, she was bowing to God in thanksgiving.

The woman received a miracle in the birth of her son and a second miracle in the resurrection of her son.

Elisha prayed over the child

The Women of the Bible Devotional says, “the Shunammite woman knew there was hope even in the most devastating of circumstances.  She had been promised a son when she was barren, and now she tenaciously held on that promise even though her little son lay dead on Elisha’s couch…She knew God wouldn’t forsake her.”

The woman had faith that God would not forsaken her.  He’d not forsaken her when she was barren and he wouldn’t forsake her now.

How has God never forsaken you?

He was restored to life



Pictures courtesy of

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