SHUNEM (shū'-nĕm, Heb. shûnēm). A place belonging to the tribe of Issachar (
SHUNEM shōō’ nəm (שׁוּנֵֽם). A town in the territory allotted to the tribe of Issachar (
The town appears in a list compiled by Thutmose III (1490-1436 b.c.), describing the extent of his dominion and conquests. A number of Palestinian towns are included, indicating the extensive nature of Egyp. control of Syria-Pal. at this time. In the Amarna letters Shunem appears as Shunama where its overthrow by Lab’aya early in the 14th cent. is cited. It was rebuilt shortly thereafter, however, for the presence of a working party at Shunem, under Biridiya, is cited in the Amarna material.
The Philistines encamped here in preparation for battle against the Israelites. This maneuver led Saul to occupy Mt. Gilboa which was opposite Shunem. The resultant conflict led to Saul’s death on the slopes of Mt. Gilboa (
Abishag, David’s nurse who cared for him shortly before his death, was a Shunammite (feminine form of Shunem). Adonijah sought unsuccessfully to marry her, evidently in an attempt to strengthen his weak claim to the throne (
Elisha lodged frequently at Shunem in the home of a benefactress, the birth of whose son Elisha accurately predicted. He later restored the child to life. His use of Shunem as a stopping place on his way from Samaria indicates that Elisha ministered in an extensive circuit. The modern Solem prob. marks the site of ancient Shunem.
W. F. Albright, “The Topography of the Tribe of Issachar,” ZAW, 3 (1926), 226-234; F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine, II (1938) 470, 471; ANET (1955) 485.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A town in the territory of Issachar named with Jezreel and Chesulloth (
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 (