In my last post, we continued to explore the ministry of Elisha by looking at 2 Kings 4:11-17 where we learned that a Great Women bore a son. In this post, we learn about this Great Woman’s Sorrow in 2 Kings 4:18-28.
“18 When the child was old enough, he went out one day to be with his father, who was with the reapers. 19 Suddenly he cried out to his father, ‘My head! My head hurts!’ He said to his servant, ‘Carry him back to his mother.’ 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he lay on her lap until noon; and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door on him and went out. 22 She called to her husband and said, ‘Please send me one of the servants with a donkey. I must get to the man of God as fast as I can; I’ll come straight back.’ 23 He asked, ‘Why are you going to him today? It isn’t Rosh-Hodesh [New Moon] and it isn’t Shabbat.’ She said, ‘It’s all right.’ 24 Then she saddled the donkey and ordered her servant, ‘Drive as fast as you can; don’t slow down for me unless I say so.’ 25 She set out and came to the man of God on Mount Karmel. When the man of God saw her in the distance, he said to Geichazi his servant, ‘Look, here comes that Shunamit.26 Run now to meet her, and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you? with your husband? with the child?’ She answered, ‘Everything is all right.’ 27 But when she reached the man of God on the hill, she grabbed his feet. Geichazi came up to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her alone. She is in great distress, but Adonai has hidden from me what it is, he hasn’t told me.’ 28 Then she said, ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Didn’t I say not to deceive me?” ~ 2 Kings 4:18-28 (CJB)
The Great Woman’s Sorrow
The son was still a young boy when these events occurred, for his mother was able to hold him on her lap and carry his limp body up to Elisha’s room on the roof. The cause of the lad’s illness is not specified, but perhaps the heat of the harvest season affected him. Despite the miraculous birth, she is depicted as resolute in her plight. When the child dies in her arms, she immediately lays the body on the bed of the man of God and prepares to confront Elisha.
Her husband, concerned about bringing in the harvest, is presented as uncompassionate and skeptical. Her request for release of a farm worker in the middle of the harvest is met with the protest of inopportune timing; Shabbat or feast days were the normal time to travel to Mount Karmel when worked ceased and matters of faith were given priority. The fact that she was leaving suggested that the boy was safe, probably taking a nap. No doubt she feared her husband would order an immediate burial, for nobody wants a corpse in the house during the hot harvest season. Her husband wondered why she wanted to see Elisha when it was not a special holy day.
Geichazi’s attitude toward the woman’s coming reveals a dark side in his character that shows up even more in the next chapter (see also Matthew 15:23; 19:13-150. Perhaps the woman and her servant intruded on their afternoon siesta. However, Elisha discerned that something was wrong that Adonai had not revealed to him. Even Yeshua occasionally asked for information (see Mark 5:9; 9:21; John 11:34). Of course, the woman was bitter and heartbroken, and it sounds like she was blaming Elisha for the tragedy. She had not asked for a son, and if Elisha and Geichazi had not interfered, her joy would not have been snatched from her.
In my next post, we continue to explore the life of Elisha. In this post, we learn that a second Great Miracle in the life of the Great Women in 2 Kings 4:29-37.