|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Two resting-places, a little village in the tribe of Issachar, to the north of Jezreel and south of Mount Gilboa (Joshua 19:18), where the Philistines encamped when they came against Saul (1 Samuel 28:4), and where Elisha was hospitably entertained by a rich woman of the place. On the sudden death of this woman's son she hastened to Carmel, 20 miles distant across the plain, to tell Elisha, and to bring him with her to Shunem. There, in the "prophet's chamber," the dead child lay; and Elisha entering it, shut the door and prayed earnestly: and the boy was restored to life (2 Kings 4:8-37). This woman afterwards retired during the famine to the low land of the Philistines; and on returning a few years afterwards, found her house and fields in the possession of a stranger. She appealed to the king at Samaria, and had them in a somewhat remarkable manner restored to her (Comp. 2 Kings 8:1-6).
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
shoo'-nem (shunem; Codex Vaticanus Sounan; Codex Alexandrinus Sounam): A town in the territory of Issachar named with Jezreel and Chesulloth (Joshua 19:18). Before the battle of Gilboa the Philistines pitched their camp here. They and the army of Saul, stationed on Gilboa, were in full view of each other (1 Samuel 28:4). It was the scene of the touching story recorded in 2 Kings 4:8-37, in which the prophet Elisha raises to life the son of his Shunammite benefactress. Eusebius (Onomasticon) describes it as a village called Sulem, 5 Roman miles South of Mt. Tabor. This points to the modern Solam, a village surrounded by cactus hedges and orchards on the lower southwestern slope of Jebel ed-Duchy ("Hill of Moreh"). It commands an uninterrupted view across the plain of Esdraelon to Mt. Carmel, which is about 15 miles distant. It also looks far across the valley of Jezreel to the slopes of Gilboa on the South. It therefore meets satisfactorily the conditions of Joshua and 1 Samuel. A question has, however, been raised as to its identity with the Shunem of 2 Kings 4. Elisha's home was in Samaria. Apparently Carmel was one of his favorite haunts. If he passed Shunem "continually" (2 Kings 4:9), going to and coming from the mountain, it involved a very long detour if this were the village visited. It would seem more natural to identify the Shunem of Elisha with the Sanim of Eusebius, Onomasticon, which is said to be in the territory of Sebaste (Samaria), in the region of Akrabatta: or perhaps with Salim, fully a mile North of Taanach, as nearer the line of travel between Samaria and Carmel.
There is, however, nothing to show that Elisha's visits to Shunem were paid on his journeys between Samaria and Carmel. It may have been his custom to visit certain cities on circuit, on business calling for his personal attention, e.g. in connection with the "schools of the prophets." Materials do not exist on which any certain conclusion can rest. Both Solam Salim are on the edge of the splendid grain fields of Esdraelon (2 Kings 4:18).
Shunem (3 Occurrences)
Joshua 19:18 Their border was to Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 28:4 The Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and encamped in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped in Gilboa. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 4:8 It fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman; and she persuaded him to eat bread. So it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)