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THE LITTLE BOY AT SHUNEM
II Kings iv: 8 to 37.
HE prophet Elisha went through the land of Israel,
meeting in many places the people who worshipped the
Lord, and teaching them. On one of his journeys he
visited the little city of Shunem, which was on a hill
looking over the great plain of Esdraelon from the
east. A rich woman who was living in that place asked
him to come to her house, and to take his meals there
whenever he journeyed by. So, as often as Elisha came
to Shunem on his journeys, he stopped for a meal or a
night at this woman's home. After a time the lady said
to her husband, "I see that this is a holy man of God
who comes to our house so often. Let us build a little
room for him on the side of the house; and let us place
in the room for him a
 bed, and a table, and a stool,
and a candlestick; so that when he comes it will be a
home for him, and he can sleep there."
So they built the room, and as often as Elisha passed
by he stayed there with his servant, the man who waited
on him, as Elisha himself in other days had waited upon
Elijah. The servant's name was Gehazi. At one time
Elisha said to the woman, "You have been very kind to me
and to my helper, and have done much for us. Now, what
can I do for you? Shall I ask the king to show you
some favor? Or would you like anything that the chief
of the army can do for you?" The woman said, "I live
among my own people, and there is nothing else that I
wish." Then Gehazi said to Elisha, "This woman has no
son." And Elisha said to her, "A year from this time,
God will give to you a little boy."
The promise made the woman very happy; but she could
scarcely believe it to be true, until the little child
came. He grew up, and became old enough to go with his
father out into the field among the men who were
reaping grain. Suddenly, in the field, the child cried
out to his father, "O my head, my head!"
His father saw that he was very ill, and he told one of
his men to take him to his mother. He lay in his
mother's arms until noon,
 and then he died. The mother
did not tell her husband that the boy was dead; but she
rode as quickly as she could go to the prophet, who was
on the other side of the plain, near Mount Carmel.
While she was yet far off, Elisha saw her coming, and
he said to Gehazi, his servant, "Run to meet this lady
of Shunem, and ask her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it
well with your husband? Is it well with the child?' "
She answered, "It is well;" but she did not stop until
she met the prophet, and then she fell down before him
and took hold of his feet. Gehazi, the prophet's
servant, did not think it was proper for her to seize
him in this manner, and was about to take her away.
But Elisha said to him, "Let her alone, for she is in
deep trouble; and the Lord has hid it from me, and has
not told me."
And the woman said, "Did I ask for a son? Did I not
say, ‘Do not deceive me?' " Then Elisha knew what had
taken place. He said to Gehazi, "Take my staff, and go
at once to this woman's house. If you meet any man, do
not stop to speak to him; and if any one speaks to you,
do not stop to answer him. But go, and lay my staff on
the face of the child."
But the mother was not content to have the servant only
go to her house. She wanted Elisha himself to go; and
she said, "As surely as the Lord lives, and as your
soul lives, I will not leave you."
Then Elisha followed her back to Shunem, across the
plain. On the way they met Gehazi coming back. He had
laid the staff, as he had been told to lay it, on the
face of the child; and he said, "The child is not
When Elisha came he found the child dead, and laid upon
the bed in the prophet's room, the staff upon his face.
He shut the door, and prayed beside the bed to the
Lord. And after his prayer, he lay with his face upon
the child's face, and his hands on the child's hands;
and as he lay the child's body began to grow warm.
Then he rose up, and walked up and down in the house;
and again he lay upon the child, and put his arms
around him. Suddenly the child began to sneeze, and
then he opened his eyes, alive once more.
ELISHA LAYS HIS FACE ON THE CHILD'S FACE
Elisha told his servant to call the mother, and when
she came he said to her, "Take up your son."
The mother saw that her son was alive from the dead;
she fell at Elisha's feet to show how great was her
thankfulness to him, and then she took her son up in
her arms, and went out.