1 Kings 13

1 The Lord commanded a man of God from Judah to go to Bethel. When he arrived, Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer a sacrifice.
2 The Lord had commanded the man of God to speak against the altar. The man said, "Altar, altar, the Lord says to you: 'David's family will have a son named Josiah. The priests for the places of worship now make their sacrifices on you, but Josiah will sacrifice those priests on you. Human bones will be burned on you.'"
3 That same day the man of God gave proof that these things would happen. "This is the Lord's sign that this will happen," he said. "This altar will break apart, and the ashes on it will fall to the ground."
4 When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God said about the altar in Bethel, the king raised his hand from the altar and pointed at the man. "Take him!" he said. But when the king said this, his arm was paralyzed, and he could not move it.
5 The altar also broke into pieces, and its ashes fell to the ground. This was the sign the Lord had told the man of God to give.
6 Then the king said to the man of God, "Please pray to the Lord your God for me, and ask him to heal my arm." So the man of God prayed to the Lord, and the king's arm was healed, becoming as it was before.
7 Then the king said to the man of God, "Please come home and eat with me, and I will give you a gift."
8 But the man of God answered the king, "Even if you gave me half of your kingdom, I would not go with you. I will not eat or drink anything in this place.
9 The Lord commanded me not to eat or drink anything nor to return on the same road by which I came."
10 So he took a different road and did not return on the same road by which he had come to Bethel.
11 Now an old prophet was living in Bethel. His sons came and told him what the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to King Jeroboam.
12 The father asked, "Which road did he use when he left?" So his sons showed him the road the man of God from Judah had taken.
13 Then the prophet told his sons to put a saddle on his donkey. So they saddled the donkey, and he left.
14 He went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. The prophet asked, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?" The man answered, "Yes, I am."
15 The prophet said, "Please come home and eat with me."
16 "I can't go home with you," the man of God answered. "I can't eat or drink with you in this place.
17 The Lord said to me, 'Don't eat or drink anything there or return on the same road by which you came.'"
18 Then the old prophet said, "But I also am a prophet like you." Then he told a lie. He said, "An angel from the Lord came to me and told me to bring you to my home. He said you should eat and drink with me."
19 So the man of God went to the old prophet's house, and he ate and drank with him there.
20 While they were sitting at the table, the Lord spoke his word to the old prophet.
21 The old prophet cried out to the man of God from Judah, "The Lord said you did not obey him! He said you did not do what the Lord your God commanded you.
22 The Lord commanded you not to eat or drink anything in this place, but you came back and ate and drank. So your body will not be buried in your family grave."
23 After the man of God finished eating and drinking, the prophet put a saddle on his donkey for him, and the man left.
24 As he was traveling home, a lion attacked and killed him. His body lay on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing nearby.
25 Some men who were traveling on that road saw the body and the lion standing nearby. So they went to the city where the old prophet lived and told what they had seen.
26 The old prophet who had brought back the man of God heard what had happened. "It is the man of God who did not obey the Lord's command," he said. "So the Lord sent a lion to kill him, just as he said he would."
27 Then the prophet said to his sons, "Put a saddle on my donkey," which they did.
28 The old prophet went out and found the body lying on the road, with the donkey and the lion still standing nearby. The lion had not eaten the body or hurt the donkey.
29 The prophet put the body on his donkey and carried it back to the city to have a time of sadness for him and to bury him.
30 The prophet buried the body in his own family grave, and they were sad for the man of God and said, "Oh, my brother."
31 After the prophet buried the body, he said to his sons, "When I die, bury me in this same grave. Put my bones next to his.
32 Through him the Lord spoke against the altar at Bethel and against the places of worship in the towns of Samaria. What the Lord spoke through him will certainly come true."
33 After this incident King Jeroboam did not stop doing evil. He continued to choose priests for the places of worship from among all the people. Anyone who wanted to be a priest for the places of worship was allowed to be one.
34 In this way the family of Jeroboam sinned, and this sin caused its ruin and destruction from 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

Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.