Women in the Bible: The Shuammite Woman
Elisha travels to the city of Shunem, and a wealthy woman urges him to stay for a meal. From then on, whenever he’s in the area, he stops by. Realizing he’s a man of God, she makes a room for him to stay when he’s in town.
Grateful, Elisha wants to do something nice for her. She has no son, and with an older husband, she has no expectation of ever having a son. Elisha prophesies that within a year, she will have a boy.
As promised, a year later she gives birth to a son.
When the boy grows older, one day his head hurts, and he later dies in her arms. She puts him in Elisha’s room. Without telling her husband what happened, she searches for Elisha. With great intention, she finds him but then blames him for raising her hopes in the first place, when she didn’t ask for a son.
Elisha sends his servant to resurrect the boy, but she refuses to leave Elisha. So the two of them head for her home. It’s a good thing they do, because despite doing what Elisha instructs, his servant can’t restore life to the boy. Though it takes a couple of tries, Elisha brings the boy back to life.
Later, Elisha warns the woman of a seven-year famine and sends her away. When she returns, the king restores her land to her, along with the profits it generated while she was gone.
The Shuammite woman honored God by caring for his prophet. As a result, God cared for her, through both good times and bad.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.