Biblical People

Biblical People: The Shunammite 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 in when he’s in town.

Grateful, Elisha wants to do something nice for her. She has no son. And with an aging husband, they have no expectation of ever having kids. 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 begins to hurt, and he dies in her arms. She puts him in Elisha’s room.

Without telling her husband what happened, she searches for the prophet. With great intent, she finds him, but then blames him for raising her hopes in the first place, when she didn’t even ask for a son.

The prophet 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 following what Elisha instructed, his servant can’t resurrect 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 to another country. When she returns, the king restores her land to her, along with the profits it generated while she was gone.

The Shunammite woman honored God by caring for his prophet. As a result, God cared for her, through both good times and bad.

What can we do to honor God?

[Discover more about the woman from Shunem in 2 Kings 4:8–37 and 2 Kings 8:1–6.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at