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2nd Kings 4

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

8 One day Elisha was passing through Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to have a meal. So whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for a meal. 9 She said to her husband, "Look, I am sure that this man who regularly passes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let us make a small roof chamber with walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that he can stay there whenever he comes to us." 11 One day when he came there, he went up to the chamber and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, "Call the Shunammite woman." When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 He said to him, "Say to her, Since you have taken all this trouble for us, what may be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?" She answered, "I live among my own people." 14 He said, "What then may be done for her?" Gehazi answered, "Well, she has no son, and her husband is old." 15 He said, "Call her." When he had called her, she stood at the door. 16 He said, "At this season, in due time, you shall embrace a son." She replied, "No, my lord, O man of God; do not deceive your servant." 17 The woman conceived and bore a son at that season, in due time, as Elisha had declared to her.

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Musings

Elisha performs many miracles along the lines of Elijah, and this is no exception. The only hint of why the Shunammite woman wanted a child was because her husband was old. This could be anything from needing an heir to help in managing the family business to simply the desire to have children. In this case the man and woman are wealthy, so they don't need children to see to their care in old age, but in most other cases that would be a good bet. There was no retirement system per se back in the day. God is often associated with fertility or lack there of, so the request would not be considered out of the ordinary. God, through Elisha, grants the request.


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