The Shunammite Woman’s Hospitality
Second Kings chapter four records the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. The woman is described as a rich, married, and of high rank in the village of Shunem. But she had no children. This woman persuaded the prophet Elisha to accept her hospitality and come lodge at her place. She even arranged a small upper room on the wall so that whenever the prophet came by that way, he would have a place to stay.
Elisha’s First Blessing to the Woman
In gratitude, the prophet asked how he could reward the Shunammite woman’s hospitality. Gehazi, his servant, said that she had no son and her husband was old. The prophet then called the woman and told her that she would have a son by that time next year. The prophet’s prediction came to pass and the woman had a boy.
Elisha’s Second Blessing to the Woman
After a period of time, it happened one day that the boy went out to his father while they were reaping a harvest. And the boy said to his father, “My head, my head!” This was probably a case of sunstroke for harvesting was a strenuous task carried on at the hottest season of the year. Then, the child fell ill and shortly afterwards passed away in his mothers arms.
The Shunammite woman however refused to grieve over her son. She placed her dead child on the bed in the prophet’s room and went out to look for him and told him what had transpired. The prophet followed her home and when he came into the house, he found the boy lying dead on his bed. He then prayed to the LORD.
“And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes” (2 Kings 4:34-35). The child was raised back to life and returned to his overjoyed mother.
Elisha’s Third Blessing to the Woman
The Bible mentions another incident where the prophet blessed this woman. The prophet of God warned her to depart with her household and sojourn wherever she could because the LORD was to send a seven-year famine upon the land (2 Kings 8:1). So, the woman left her land for seven years and escaped the famine.
But when she returned, she found that she had lost her land. And “she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, ‘Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.’ And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, ‘My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.’ And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, ‘Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now’” (2 Kings 8:3–6).
The Shunammite’s heartfelt hospitality to God’s prophet and her faith in the Lord brought her and her family bountiful rewards. Jesus taught, “He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Matthew 10:41).
In His service,