1 Kings 13

Jeroboam Warned, Stricken

1 Now behold, there came 1a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar 2to burn incense.
2 3He cried against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar, thus says the LORD, 'Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, 4Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.' "
3 Then he gave a sign the same day, saying, "5This is the sign which the LORD has spoken, 'Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.' "
4 Now when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Seize him." But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself.
5 The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
6 The king said to the man of God, "Please 6entreat the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me." So 7the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him, and it became as it was before.
7 Then the king said to the man of God, "Come home with me and refresh yourself, and 8I will give you a reward."
8 But the man of God said to the king, "9If you were to give me half your house I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water in this place.
9 "For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.' "
10 So he went another way and did not return by the way which he came to Bethel.

The Disobedient Prophet

11 Now 10an old prophet was living in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the deeds which the man of God had done that day in Bethel; the words which he had spoken to the king, these also they related to their father.
12 Their father said to them, "Which * way did he go?" Now his sons had seen the way which the man of God who came from Judah had gone.
13 Then he said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me." So they saddled the donkey for him and he rode away on it.
14 So he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak; and he said to him, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?" And he said, "I am."
15 Then he said to him, "Come home with me and eat bread."
16 He said, "11I cannot * return with you, nor go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.
17 "For a command came to me 12by the word of the LORD, 'You shall eat no bread, nor drink water there; do not return by going the way which you came.' "
18 He said to him, "13I also am a prophet like you, and 14an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.' " But 15he lied to him.
19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house and drank water.
20 Now it came about, as they were sitting down at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back;
21 and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, "Thus says the LORD, 'Because * you have disobeyed the command of the LORD, and have not observed the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you,
22 but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, "Eat no bread and drink no water "; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.' "
23 It came about after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 Now when he had gone, 16a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road, with the donkey standing beside it; the lion also was standing beside the body.
25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown on the road, and the lion standing beside the body; so they came and told it in the city where 17the old prophet lived.
26 Now when the prophet who brought him back from the way heard it, he said, "It is the man of God, who disobeyed the command of the LORD; therefore the LORD has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke to him."
27 Then he spoke to his sons, saying, "Saddle the donkey for me." And they saddled it.
28 He went and found his body thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the body; the lion had not eaten the body nor torn the donkey.
29 So the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back, and he came to the city of the old prophet to mourn and to bury him.
30 He laid his body in his own grave, and they mourned over him, saying, "18Alas, my brother!"
31 After he had buried him, he spoke to his sons, saying, "When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; 19lay my bones beside his bones.
32 "20For the thing shall surely come to pass which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and 21against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of 22Samaria."
33 After this event Jeroboam did not return from his evil way, but 23again he made priests of the high places from among all the people; 24any who would, he ordained *, to be priests of the high places.
34 25This event became sin to the house of Jeroboam, 26even to blot it out and destroy it from off 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.

Cross References 26

  • 1. 1 Kings 12:22; 2 Kings 23:17
  • 2. 1 Kings 12:33
  • 3. 1 Kings 13:32
  • 4. 2 Kings 23:15, 16
  • 5. Exodus 4:1-5; Judges 6:17; Isaiah 38:7; John 2:18; 1 Corinthians 1:22
  • 6. Exodus 8:8, 28; Exodus 9:28; Exodus 10:17; Acts 8:24; James 5:16
  • 7. Luke 6:27, 28
  • 8. 1 Samuel 9:7, 8; 2 Kings 5:15
  • 9. Numbers 22:18; Numbers 24:13; 1 Kings 13:16, 17
  • 10. 1 Kings 13:25; 2 Kings 23:18
  • 11. 1 Kings 13:8, 9
  • 12. 1 Kings 20:35
  • 13. Matthew 7:15; 1 John 4:1
  • 14. Galatians 1:8
  • 15. Proverbs 12:19, 22; Proverbs 19:5; Jeremiah 29:31, 32; Ezekiel 13:8, 9; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2
  • 16. 1 Kings 20:36
  • 17. 1 Kings 13:11
  • 18. Jeremiah 22:18
  • 19. Ruth 1:17; 2 Kings 23:17, 18
  • 20. 1 Kings 13:2
  • 21. Leviticus 26:30; 1 Kings 12:31
  • 22. 1 Kings 16:24; John 4:5; Acts 8:14
  • 23. 1 Kings 12:31, 32
  • 24. Judges 17:5
  • 25. 1 Kings 12:30; 2 Kings 17:21
  • 26. 1 Kings 14:10; 1 Kings 15:29, 30

Footnotes 18

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

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.