by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

This content is part of a series.

The Season of Pentecost -- Choices Then and Now (5 of 8)
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

Widow of Zaraphath – 1 Kings 17:7-24
The Shunammite – 2 Kings 4:8-22, 32-37; 2 Kings 8:1-6
Jewish Maid – 2 Kings 5:1-5, 14-15

This study is of three very interesting women who are named in the Bible only by their titles: the Widow of Zarapheth, the Shunammite, and the Jewish Maid. The persons with whom they interact are the main focus of their stories. We will study about the women and also about three interesting encounters with men: Elijah, Elisha, and Naaman.
We start with the story of the Widow of Zarapheth. Elijah is running away from Jezebel, the queen. He has destroyed the Baal prophets and their altars, predicted a drought in the land and in fear for his life, he has fled the country. God directs him to a specific location outside of Israel east of the Jordan to a creek where he will be provided water. The ravens were directed by God to bring him bread and meat morning and night. But finally the famine becomes so wide spread it includes the creek area and it dries up. (1 Kings 16:29-17:8) He has to move on and is directed to Zarephath, a harbor town between Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia.
He comes upon the widow at the town well and asks for a drink, then at the same time demands food. He asks her for provision from her own hand. She has nothing but what little she is going to prepare for her son and herself, and then prepare to die of hunger. You can tell by the story that food and water is scarce not just for her but for all who live in the area. The widow knows by the way Elijah is dressed that he is a holy man. She has also heard of the God of Israel and is in awe of Him but does not believe Him.
Elijah, with all faith that the Lord would provide, commands her to go to her home, make for him first a small cake with the last of the oil and flour. He assures her there would be enough for the three of them until the drought and famine is over. The ...

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