Elisha traveled to a town called Shunem. A prominent woman provided a meal for him. She then gave him an invitation to eat at their home whenever he was in their town.
Sometime later, the woman said to her husband, “The man who comes here is a holy man. Let’s make a small room for him upstairs. We’ll provide a bed, table, chair, and a lamp. He can stay there whenever he comes to our city.” They prepared the room, and Elisha used it whenever he was in Shunem.
One day, the prophet stopped at the home and went up to his room. He said to Gehazi his servant, “The Shunammite woman has done all of this for us. Go ask her what I can do for her. Possibly she would like me to speak to the king for her, or a commander of the army.
Gehazi went and talked to her, but she said that her family provided for all her needs. Elisha then asked his servant, “Do you have any ideas of what we can do for her?”
“Well, she doesn’t have a son, and her husband is old.”
Elisha said, “Tell her to come and stand in the doorway.”
The woman went up the stairs and stood in the doorway of the prophet’s room. He said to her, “This time next year, you’ll have a son.”
She begged him. “Oh man of God, don’t tell me that unless it’s true.”
A year later, she gave birth to a baby boy, just as Elisha had promised. The child grew and in time was old enough to help his father with the harvest.
One day out in the field, he complained of a severe headache. His father told a servant to take the boy to his mother. The servant took him there and she held her son on her lap. Still, he died around noon. She took him up to Elisha’s room and laid him on the prophet’s bed.
She then sent a message to her husband. “Please send me a donkey and a servant. I need to hurry and go see the man of God. I’ll come back as fast as I can.”
The husband agreed and sent her a donkey and a servant. She said to the servant, “Take me to the man of God at Mount Carmel. Don’t slow down unless I tell you.”
Elisha saw her coming from a distance, but the Lord didn’t tell him why she was coming. He sent Gehazi to ask why, but she wouldn’t tell him.
When she got to the prophet, she ran up, fell down, and grabbed his feet. Gehazi started to pull her away, but the prophet said, “Don’t! She’s deeply troubled and God still hasn’t told me why.”
The woman looked up and yelled, “I told you not to tell me I’d have a son unless it was true!”
The prophet turned to Gehazi. “Run back to her house. Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Take this staff and place it on the boy’s face.”
Gehazi took the staff and left. Elisha then told the woman that she and her servant could go home. She said, “Listen to me carefully. As sure as God is alive, and as sure as you’re alive, I’m not leaving you until my son is alive.” So Elisha went with them to her house.
Gehazi got there first and placed the staff on the boy’s face. Nothing happened. When Elisha arrived, he went into the room alone and locked the door. He prayed to the Lord, and then went over and stretched out over the boy’s body with his eyes over the boy’s eyes, his mouth over the boy’s mouth, and his hands over the boy’s hands. Soon the boy’s flesh became warm once again, but he didn’t start breathing.
The prophet got up and paced back and forth. Then he once again stretched out over the boy’s body. Suddenly the boy sneezed … and then he sneezed again … and then he sneezed again. He sneezed a total of seven times. After that, the boy opened his eyes and looked at the prophet.
Elisha got up and called for Gehazi. “Go and get the Shunammite woman.”
When she came into the room, the prophet said, “Pick up your son.” Without saying a word, she knelt at the feet of the man of God. She then picked up her son and left.