Elisha the Prophet & the Shunammite Woman

To Remember:
"You reap what you sow" - kindness returns to the giver.

prophet: someone who speaks for God (chosen by God)
Lesson Handout Pages (.pdf) or use as lesson text

Lesson Outline
2 Kings 4:8-37
  • Elisha passes through Shunem regularly
  • A wealthy woman there offers him food when he comes through
  • She convinces her husband to build him a room with furniture so he can stay there
  • Elisha offers her a reward but she is content with nothing
  • Elisha's servant remarks that she has no son and no one to care for her as she ages
  • Elisha prophesies that she will bare a son, and she does
  • When the child is older, he becomes ill and dies
  • The woman goes to Elisha for help
  • He sends Gehazi to the child but the child is dead
  • Elisha goes to the child, prays and lies on him, and he lives again!
Activity: Kindness bounces back (taken from Bring a beach ball to class and have the students bounce it back and forth between each other. Each time say kindness bounces back. Review the kindnesses of the story in order: woman feeds Elisha, woman builds room for Elisha, Elisha gives woman a son, Elisha revives the son.

Build or draw a paper or lego house, and add a room to it for Elisha. Put in it the things the woman did: bed, table, chair, lamp. There are several house templates online - search for house craft

Some people wait until they need something to approach God, or the church. The Shunammite woman built her relationship with God, through Elisha, before she was in need. Because she had already shown kindness to Elisha and appreciation for God's work, she had somewhere to go when her son died, and was able to receive much more. How do we build relationships that will support us in hard times? First we have to get to know God. How do we do that? We talk to him through prayer, we listen to him through study of the Bible, and we see and acknowledge his work in our lives through praise. We also get to know his family (the church) by meeting with them regularly, spending time with them individually, and meeting their needs. We don't do all this just to have help ourselves, but it is part of God's plan for helping us.

The Shunammite woman was kind to Elisha, and still a terrible thing happened to her son. Bad things don't happen because we've done something wrong. The story of Job tells us that Satan targets the faithful for trials, but that God controls how much we go through.  Jesus explained in John 9:2-3 that God can turn a hardship into a sign of glory to God. He certainly did that for this woman. Her son had died but lived again through Elisha's miraculous power. When we are going through hard times, we should not think that it is necessarily a punishment for wrong, nor should we think God doesn't care. We should trust in his power to control the situation, and even to bring a great good from it.

Memory Work: (be sure to explain what the words mean)              

2 Corinthians 9:6
"Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

"This little light of mine"

Review Questions
for gameboard

linguistic questions

  1. What is a prophet? (messenger for God)
  2. What does our memory verse mean?
  3. Spell Elisha.
activity questions
  1. Act out Elisha seeing his "room" for the first time.
  2. Quickly sketch a house.
  3. Locate Shunem on a map. (In Issachar)
  4. Trace the woman's route from Shunem to Mt. Carmel on a map.
 emotion questions
  1. What feelings led the woman to provide a place for Elisha? (she respected Elisha and wanted to do something to help him)
  2. How did Elisha feel about her kindness to him? (he was grateful and he appreciated her)
  3. How did the woman feel when her son died? (she was sad, she felt unfairly "punished")
  4. How did the woman feel when her son lived again? (happy, thankful)
 application questions
  1. Name two reasons to be kind to others. (God wants us to, it shows respect for God, it builds relationships, the kindness will return to us...)
  2. How can we build relationships with God's family? (get to know them, fill their needs by being kind, respect God's workers)
  3. How can we show respect for God's work? (by assisting those who are doing it, by doing it ourselves, by using our resources to help God's work)
fact questions
  1. What did the Shunammite ask for in return for building Elisha a room? (nothing)
  2. What did Elisha give her? (a son)
  3. How did Elisha revive her son? (prayer, laid on the child)
review questions
  1. How did the woman show her respect for God and His messenger? (by helping the messenger. She used her resources (money) to build him a place to stay)
  2. How did Elisha show his appreciation to the woman? (by using his resources, God's spirit, to give her what she really wanted, a son)
  3. Why did the Shunammite woman go to Elisha when her son died? (she knew he had power from God and her relationship with him was close enough to ask for help)