Summary: The Shunammite Woman’s son. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Reading: 2 Kings chapter 4 verses 8-37.


• An atheist was arguing with a Christian on the possibility of miracles.

• Naturally, the atheist kept attacking the Christian on his view that miracles were possible.

• After arguing for awhile, the atheist finally said to the Christian,

• "Could you, Mr Christian, give me an EXAMPLE of a miracle?"

• The Christian thought for a moment, then said,

• "Certainly, I will give you a great example of a miracle. Now, turn around."

• Obeying him, the atheist turned around,

• And as he did so, the Christian aimed a fearsome kick at his behind.

• "Did you feel that?" he asked the atheist.

• "Of COURSE I did!" snarled the atheist.

• "Well," said the Christian,

• "It would have been a MIRACLE if you HADN'T felt that!"

In this Sunday evening series on Elisha:

• We are looking at the six ‘real’ authentic miracles that he performed,

• And tonight we are looking at the second miracle in the series of six.

(a). A great woman (verses 8-10).

“One day Elisha went to Shunem………..(pause for a moment).

Shunem was about twenty miles northwest of Elisha's hometown (Abel-me-ho-lah),

• And twenty-five miles or so beyond Shunem was Mount Carmel;

• A place Elisha often went to e.g. verse 25.

• The average traveller (most travelled on foot);

• Could cover fifteen miles per day (or twenty if you were in 5th gear),

• So whenever he went to Mount Carmel to pray, meditate, and seek the Lord;

• Shunem was the perfect half-way point for Elisha to stop and rest,

Back to the reading:

“….and a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat.

9 She said to her husband, I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.

10 Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us”.

(1). She was anonymous: ‘a woman’ (verse 8).

• Don’t you find it curious that the text doesn’t give us her name,

• But takes time (verse 10) to identify the specific items of furniture in the room

I am sure you must have noticed that the Bible is a book full of names:

• I am amazed sometimes that God records lists of peoples names;

• Interesting with the Bible on tape or C.D. they are all abridged (name lists removed!)

• God recalls for us list after list of names e.g. Ezra chapter 2 list of exiles who returned.

• People who we will never know about but they occupy a place in this book.

What is just as amazing to me:

• Are the names of those who we might expect to read about but who are left anonymous;

• e.g. Lot’s wife. The writer of the book of Genesis could have easily included her name but he did not!

• Same is true in the New Testament;

• Dr Luke suppressed the names of some of the out standing characters he met.

• e.g. The Philippian jailor.

• But records for us lesser names of characters, such as Rhoda, Blastus, Demetrius.

Perhaps these key figures remain anonymous:

• Because God wants us to observe the type of person;

• Rather than the name of that person.

• For certain people inevitably represent groups of mankind;

• So we may not have this woman’s name but we have her example to note!


• Jean Frederick Oberlin, was a minister in Germany during the 18th century,

• One day he was travelling by foot in winter when he was caught in a severe snowstorm.

• He soon lost his way in the blowing snow and feared he would freeze to death.

• In despair he sat down, not knowing which way to turn.

• Just then, a man came along in a wagon and rescued Oberlin.

• He took him to the next village and made sure he would be cared for.

• As the man prepared to journey on, Oberlin said,

• “Tell me your name so that I may at least have you in grateful remembrance before God.”

• The man, who by now had recognized Oberlin, replied,

• “You are a minister. Please tell me the name of the Good Samaritan.”

• Oberlin said, “I cannot do that, for it is not given in the Scriptures.”

• His benefactor responded, “Until you can tell me his name, please permit me to withhold mine.”

Names are important:

• That is why God records lists of people who are just references to us,

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