a. Elisha may have resided near Mount Carmel (2Ki 2:25; 2Ki 4:25).
b. He travelled from village to village as he ministered to the people and taught in the prophet schools.
2. The Shunammite’s Hospitality (v.8)
a. When Elisha passed by Shunem, a great woman urged him to stop for meals.
1) Evidently, she was wealthy.
2) She was also spiritual, one of the 7000 faithful to God.
b. She was hospitable. Elisha did not invite himself. She constrained (lit. laid hold of) him. She was not ashamed to entertain a former farmer and poor prophet. God requires that we too be hospitable (Ro 12:13; 1Pe 4:9).
3. The Shunammite’s Thoughtfulness (v.9-10)
a. As Elisha passed by her place continually in his travels, she had spiritual discernment to perceive that Elisha was a holy man of God. This also testifies of Elisha’s character. People ought to be able to observe our holiness when they are around us.
b. She asked her husband if they could build a little chamber for Elisha. It was her perception and thoughtfulness that initiated this project, yet she submissively sought her husband’s permission (v.10).
c. She did not design their prophet’s chamber to impress, but to meet the basic needs of the prophet. It included simple furnishings (v.10).
d. “There was doubtless an outside stairway leading to it [the upper room], so that the prophet might come and go without disturbing the people in the house.” (Manners & Customs, Wight)
e. Arthur Pink notes, “Instead of taking matters into her own hands and acting independently, this “great woman” sought her husband’s consent and cooperation. How much domestic strife would be avoided if there was more of this mutual conferring.”
f. Keathley thoughtfully adds, “The role of women is indispensable and they can have vital ministries for which every man should have great respect and appreciation.”
4. Elisha’s Thankfulness (v.11-13)
a. Elisha accepted the place to rest with appreciation (v.11).
b. Desiring to thank the generous woman for her kindness, Elisha had his servant Gehazi call her (v.12).
c. Note carefully the pronouns used in verse 13. Elisha had his servant deliver his message. Perhaps he thought she would be more open with him.
1) Elisha acknowledged her care for them.
2) He then asked her if she would like him to speak to the king or captain of the army for her. Though Elisha had little in this world, kings and captains respected him.
3) Her answer (v.13) was one of contentment. Contentment is a great virtue. It must be learned (Php 4:11). It enhances godliness (1Ti 6:6). It is a duty (1Ti 6:8). It contrasts covetousness (Heb 13:5).
5. Gehazi’s Perception (v.14)
a. After she left, Elisha discussed this with Gehazi (v.14).
b. Gehazi noted that the woman was childless and her husband was old. Children are a heritage of the Lord (Ps 127). “It should be remembered that in Old Testament times the giving of a son to those who had long been childless was a special mark of God’s favor and power, as in the cases of Abraham, Isaac, Manoah, and Elkanah.” (Pink)
6. Elisha’s Miraculous Prediction (v.15-16)
a. Elisha called for the Shunammite. She came and stood in the door of his chamber (v.15).
b. He told her that according to the time of life (i.e., about nine months) she would embrace a son (v.16). Note her response. This miracle was not based on her faith, for she did not believe, though she wished for it to be so.
7. God’s Provision (v.17)
a. Just as Elisha promised, she conceived and bore a son in that season.
b. This miracle was different from most in that it was unsought.
c. Just as God rewarded the kindness and hospitality of the Shunammite woman, so God will reward your service for the Lord. He who sees the sparrow fall, will not miss even one act of service you do for His glory (Mt 10:29-31). He delights in rewarding His faithful children (2Co 5:10; Heb 6:10; Mt 10:41-42; 1Co 9:24; Dan 12:3; 2Ti 4:8; 1Pe 5:2-4).