1 Kings 13

1 Just then, as Yarov'am was standing by the altar to burn incense, a man of God came out of Y'hudah, directed to Beit-El by a word from ADONAI.
2 And by the word from ADONAI he cried out against the altar: "Altar, altar, here is what ADONAI says: 'A son will be born to the house of David; his name will be Yoshiyahu; and on you he will sacrifice the cohanim of the high places who burn incense on you! They will burn human bones on you!'"
3 That same day he also gave a sign: "Here is the sign which ADONAI has decreed: "'The altar will be split apart; the ashes on it will be scattered about.'"
4 When the king heard what the man of God said, how he denounced the altar in Beit-El, Yarov'am took his hand away from the altar and said, "Seize him!" But his hand, the one he had stretched out against him, shriveled up; so that he could not draw it back to himself.
5 Also the altar was split apart, and the ashes scattered from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of ADONAI.
6 The king then responded to the man of God. "Ask now the favor of ADONAI your God," he said, "and pray for me, that my hand will be restored to me." The man of God prayed to ADONAI, and the king's hand was restored to him and became as it had been before.
7 The king then said to the man of God, "Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.
8 But the man of God replied to the king, "Even if you give me half your household, I will not accept your hospitality; nor will I eat food or drink water in this place.
9 For this is the order I received through the word of ADONAI: 'Don't eat food or drink water, and don't return by the road you took when you came.'"
10 So he went another way and did not return by the road by which he had come to Beit-El.
11 Now there lived an old prophet in Beit-El; and one of his sons came and told him all the things the man of God had done that day in Beit-El; also they told their father what he had said to the king.
12 Their father asked them, "Which way did he go?" For his sons had seen what road the man of God from Y'hudah had taken.
13 He then said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me." So they saddled the donkey for him; and, riding on it,
14 he went after the man of God. He found him sitting under a pistachio tree and said to him, "Are you the man of God who came from Y'hudah?" He answered, "I am."
15 Then he said to him, "Come home with me and eat some food."
16 He replied, "I cannot return with you or partake of your hospitality, nor will I eat food or drink water with you in this place;
17 because it was said to me by the word of ADONAI, 'You are not to eat food or drink water there, and you are not to go back by the way you came.'"
18 The other said to him, "I too am a prophet, just like you; and an angel spoke to me by the word of ADONAI and said, 'Bring him back with you to your house, so that he can eat food and drink water.'" But he was lying to him.
19 So he went back with him and did eat food and drink water in his house.
20 As they were sitting at the table, the word of ADONAI came to the prophet who had brought him back;
21 and he cried to the man of God who had come from Y'hudah, "Here is what ADONAI says: 'Since you rebelled against the word of ADONAI and didn't obey the mitzvah ADONAI your God gave you,
22 but came back and ate food and drank water in the place where he warned you not to eat food or drink water, your corpse will not arrive at the tomb of your ancestors."
23 After he had eaten food and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back.
24 But after he had gone, a lion encountered the man of God on the road and killed him. His corpse lay there in the road, with the donkey and the lion standing next to it.
25 In time, people passed by and saw the corpse lying in the road with the lion standing next to it; and they came and told about it in the city where the old prophet lived.
26 When the prophet who had brought him back from the road heard about it, he said, "It is the man of God who rebelled against the word of ADONAI; this is why ADONAI handed him over to the lion to tear him to pieces and kill him, in keeping with the word ADONAI spoke to him."
27 To his sons he said, "Saddle the donkey for me," and they saddled it.
28 He went and found his corpse lying in the road, with the donkey and the lion standing next to the corpse; the lion had neither eaten the corpse nor attacked the donkey.
29 The prophet picked up the corpse of the man of God, laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city where he lived, to mourn and bury him.
30 He laid the corpse in his own burial cave, and they mourned him - "Oh! My brother!"
31 After burying him he said to his sons, "When I die, put me in the burial cave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones next to his bones.
32 For the thing he cried by the word of ADONAI against the altar in Beit-El and against all the temples on the high places near the cities of Shomron will surely happen."
33 After this, Yarov'am did not turn back from his evil way but continued appointing cohanim for the high places from among all the people; he consecrated anyone who wanted to be a cohen of the high places.
34 This brought sin to the house of Yarov'am that would eventually cut it off and destroy it from the face of the earth.

1 Kings 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Jeroboam's sin reproved. (1-10) The prophet deceived. (11-22) The disobedient prophet is slain, Jeroboam's obstinacy. (23-34)

Verses 1-10 In threatening the altar, the prophet threatens the founder and worshippers. Idolatrous worship will not continue, but the word of the Lord will endure for ever. The prediction plainly declared that the family of David would continue, and support true religion, when the ten tribes would not be able to resist them. If God, in justice, harden the hearts of sinners, so that the hand they have stretched out in sin they cannot pull in again by repentance, that is a spiritual judgment, represented by this, and much more dreadful. Jeroboam looked for help, not from his calves, but from God only, from his power, and his favour. The time may come when those that hate the preaching, would be glad of the prayers of faithful ministers. Jeroboam does not desire the prophet to pray that his sin might be pardoned, and his heart changed, but only that his hand might be restored. He seemed affected for the present with both the judgment and the mercy, but the impression wore off. God forbade his messenger to eat or drink in Bethel, to show his detestation of their idolatry and apostacy from God, and to teach us not to have fellowship with the works of darkness. Those have not learned self-denial, who cannot forbear one forbidden meal.

Verses 11-22 The old prophet's conduct proves that he was not really a godly man. When the change took place under Jeroboam, he preferred his ease and interest to his religion. He took a very bad method to bring the good prophet back. It was all a lie. Believers are most in danger of being drawn from their duty by plausible pretences of holiness. We may wonder that the wicked prophet went unpunished, while the holy man of God was suddenly and severely punished. What shall we make of this? The judgments of God are beyond our power to fathom; and there is a judgment to come. Nothing can excuse any act of wilful disobedience. This shows what they must expect who hearken to the great deceiver. They that yield to him as a tempter, will be terrified by him as a tormentor. Those whom he now fawns upon, he will afterwards fly upon; and whom he draws into sin, he will try to drive to despair.

Verses 23-34 God is displeased at the sins of his own people; and no man shall be protected in disobedience, by his office, his nearness to God, or any services he has done for him. God warns all whom he employs, strictly to observe their orders. We cannot judge of men by their sufferings, nor of sins by present punishments; with some, the flesh is destroyed, that the spirit may be saved; with others, the flesh is pampered, that the soul may ripen for hell. Jeroboam returned not from his evil way. He promised himself that the calves would secure the crown to his family, but they lost it, and sunk his family. Those betray themselves who think to support themselves by any sin whatever. Let us dread prospering in sinful ways; pray to be kept from every delusion and temptation, and to be enabled to walk with self-denying perseverance in the way of God's commands.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter is an account of a man of God being sent to exclaim against Jeroboam's altar, and threaten its destruction, of which he gave a sign, which was accomplished, and with it the withering of the king's hand, which was healed upon the prophet's prayer for him, 1Ki 13:1-7, who would have entertained him at his house, but he refused the offer, and departed, 1Ki 13:8-10, but an old prophet in Bethel hearing of him, rode after him, and fetched him back to eat bread with him, through a lie he told him, 1Ki 13:11-19 upon which the word came to the old prophet, threatening the man of God with death for disobeying his command, and which was accordingly executed by a lion that met him in the way, and slew him, 1Ki 13:20-24, of which the old prophet being informed, went and took up his carcass, and buried it in his own sepulchre, where he charged his sons to bury him also when dead, believing that all the man of God had said would be fulfilled, 1Ki 13:25-30 and the chapter is closed with observing the continuance of Jeroboam in his idolatry, 1Ki 13:33,34.

1 Kings 13 Commentaries

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.