Three Great Women

Leslie M. Grant

The devoted faithfulness of many women of Scripture furnishes a study of deepest blessing, not only to Christian women and girls, but to men as well. We propose to consider only three of these in this article, the first a wife and mother in the Old Testament, and both of the others single women in the New Testament. The first is called "a great woman," but the others are great also by reason of their taking a place of lowly subjection to the Lord Jesus.

The Great Woman of Shunem

This dear child of God is introduced to us in 2 Kings 4:8-37. The grace of God working within her heart is evident in the way she discerned how to act rightly in each of her relationships. The most vital of these is seen first:

Her Attitude Toward The Lord

She was not "afraid with any amazement," as a mere slave (1 Pet. 3.6), but as a faithful yet submissive wife, she made her request, "Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall" (2 Kings 4.10). Her character was plainly such that the heart of her husband could safely trust in her, so that later, when he questioned why she was going to the man of God and come again, she told him simply, "It shall be well," and he asked no more (v. 22-23). She knew the Lord's things were not as vital to him as to her, and that he could not enter into the turmoil through which her soul was passing, nor answer the need, as the man of God could. Therefore she did not even tell him the child had died. Her wisdom and self-control in this are remarkable

Her Attitude Toward Her Child

When Elisha told her she would have a son in one year, she could not believe it. It is clear that she had longed for a child, but had decided to be content without one, since her husband was old. The son being born, there is no doubt her love for him was pure and strong. Yet she was not a merely possessive mother, or fearful for her son's safety, for she allowed him to go out to his father at time of harvest. When he complained about his head, his father knew where to send him. In times of trouble, how good for a child to have a loving mother!

Tenderly she held him on her knees until he died. But let us observe that her love for him was not so uncontrolled that she broke down. Without doubt deeply feeling this unexpected sorrow, she laid the boy on Elisha's bed and went out (v. 21). Only faith in the living God could uphold her at such a time. No doubt inwardly she realized a truth of great importance for every parent: our chil