Hospitality: An Old Testament Example

Read: 2 Kings 4:8-17

One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. (v. 8)

While there are numerous commands in the New Testament for God’s people to be hospitable, the Old Testament also has many examples of hospitality in practice. Today’s example involves the prophet Elisha and a woman from Shunem who lived on his “preaching circuit” as Elisha ministered from town to town.

The woman’s hospitality began with simply providing a meal to the prophet when he was in the area. As time went by, she became aware of two things; first, that Elisha was “a holy man of God” (v. 9), and second, that he needed more than just a meal. He needed a place to stay. She urged her husband to build a room for Elisha on their home’s roof—a place to be his “home base” when he was in Shunem. Elisha was touched by her kindness, but the woman sought no special favors or repayment. Still, Elisha prophesied a blessing for her that he himself could never give—God’s gracious gift of a son.

Elisha and this woman developed a strong friendship over the years. Later, when this same son sickened and died, the woman came to Elisha for help—resulting in one of the Old Testament’s greatest miracles when God raised the boy back to life (vv. 18-37). This beautiful friendship between the two began because this kindhearted woman saw a need, had the means to meet the need, and followed through on her good intentions. —Laura N. Sweet

As you pray, ask God to help you see the needs of others and follow through on your intentions to help them.

About the Author

Laura Sweet

Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series Christian Hospitality