What Is To Be Done For Thee by Elspeth Young

What Is To Be Done For Thee

{ The Shunammite }
Pre-mounted Giclées on canvas (gatorboard)
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12" x 16"$140.0014" x 18"$175.0016" x 20"$215.0018" x 24"$280.00
12" x 18"$154.0014" x 20"$191.0016" x 24"$252.00
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12" x 18"$55.0016" x 20"$73.0016" x 24"$84.0018" x 24"$93.00
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Original oil painting$6,276.00 Sold
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Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee?

2 Kings 4:13

The story behind What Is To Be Done For Thee

This noble woman of Shunem (known as "the Shunammite") provides a place in her home for the Prophet Elisha.  The Prophet offers this woman help in return for her kindness and "care."  She asks nothing for herself, but Elisha's servant observes to Elisha that she is childless.  Subsequently, the prophet extends the Lord's promise that she will "embrace a son," a promise which is completely fulfilled.

The moment depicted here, however, is the time before she receives the promise.  She is in what appears to be an empty room.  The room is as empty as she must have felt without a child of her own.  She appears in the dark, but there is warm light just beyond her, waiting to envelope her as soon as she walks toward it.  This light within the image, on the other hand, is meant to represent the blessings the Lord has in store for the faithful.  As Paul states, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).  The blessing of a child awaits her because she has been so selfless and faithful.  It is just beyond the emptiness she currently surveys.

As recounted in 2 Kings chapters 4 and 8, later in her life, the Shunnamite runs straight to the prophet in her sore need at the death of her son and witnesses the miraculous raising of her son from the dead by the Lord's prophet.  Later, she heeds the prophet's counsel to leave her home prior to a famine.  Upon her return at the famine's end, her lands are restored to her along with all the increase her seven years away would have granted her.  These miracles combine to give us a little taste of the "things which God hath prepared for them that love him" if we, like this woman, "run" to the words and counsel of the Lord's prophet in our time of need, and provide a place for his words in our hearts.

Symbolism in What Is To Be Done For Thee

The light on the large curtain behind her represents the light the prophet of the Lord can offer her. The Lord who is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), holds all the solutions to her difficulties and personal tragedies, and ultimately makes her very life beautiful.


Freeman, James M. Manners and Customs of the Bible. New York: Logos International, 1972.

Matthews, Victor H. Manners and Customs in the Bible. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991.

© By Elspeth Young, All Rights Reserved. You may not print, copy, or reproduce this artwork or make derivative works from it without the prior written consent of the copyright holder. For permissions, please review our FAQ page.

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Illustration: What Is To Be Done For Thee

By Al R. Young
High-resolution digital copies are available from the Studios for use as illustrations.  Use the serial number—appearing below the thumbnail—in requesting permission from the Studios (see links at the bottom of this page for detail).

The correct form of attribution when publishing an image is specified in the license agreement issued to the publisher by Al Young Studios.Guidelines for requests to copy or publish artworks created by the Artists of Al Young Studios

Guidelines for commissioning Al Young Studios to create illustrations
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