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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 14

[Continuing the topic of family headship, as shown in the Bible.]
The Woman of Shunem
2 Kings 4:8 One day Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman; and she persuaded him to eat bread. So it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. 9 She said to her husband, “See now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God who passes by us continually. 10 Please let us make a little room on the roof. Let us set for him there a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp stand. When he comes to us, he can stay there.”
11 One day he came there, and he went to the room and lay there. 12 He said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 He said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Behold, you have cared for us with all this care. What is to be done for you? Would you like to be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the army?’”
She answered, “I dwell among my own people.”
14 He said, “What then is to be done for her?”
Gehazi answered, “Most certainly she has no son, and her husband is old.”
15 He said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the door. 16 He said, “At this season, when the time comes around, you will embrace a son.”
She said, “No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your servant.”
17 The woman conceived, and bore a son at that season, when the time came around, as Elisha had said to her. 18 When the child was grown, one day he went out to his father to the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
He said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.”
20 When he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees until noon, and then died. 21 She went up and laid him on the man of God’s bed, and shut the door on him, and went out. 22 She called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the servants, and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.”
23 He said, “Why would you want go to him today? It is not a new moon or a Sabbath.”
She said, “It’s alright.”
24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward! Don’t slow down for me, unless I ask you to.”
25 So she went, and came to the man of God to Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her afar off, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Behold, there is the Shunammite. 26 Please run now to meet her, and ask her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with your child?’”
She answered, “It is well.”
27 When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi came near to thrust her away; but the man of God said, “Leave her alone; for her soul is troubled within her; and Yahweh has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
28 Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn’t I say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”
29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand, and go your way. If you meet any man, don’t greet him; and if anyone greets you, don’t answer him again. Then lay my staff on the child’s face.”
30 The child’s mother said, “As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.”
So he arose, and followed her.
31 Gehazi went ahead of them, and laid the staff on the child’s face; but there was no voice and or hearing. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, “The child has not awakened.”
32 When Elisha had come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and lying on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, and shut the door on them both, and prayed to Yahweh. 34 He went up, and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, and his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. He stretched himself on him; and the child’s flesh grew warm. 35 Then he returned, and walked in the house once back and forth; and went up, and stretched himself out on him. Then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 He called Gehazi, and said, “Call this Shunammite!” So he called her.
When she had come in to him, he said, “Take up your son.”
37 Then she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground; then she picked up her son, and went out.

The unnamed woman in this story was called “prominent.” Almost all of the decision-making described in this passage was done by her. (She did ask her husband about making a chamber for Elisha, but it was apparently her idea.) She didn’t even tell her husband what had happened when her son died. This case is not as clear as some of the others, because there is nothing said about her husband’s spiritual state. But nothing is said of hers, either.


The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. The next post, God willing, will conclude the topic of the last several posts.

Thanks for reading!

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