1 Kings 13

A Man of God Goes to Bethel

1 A man of God went from Judah to Bethel. He had received a message from the Lord. He arrived in Bethel just as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer a sacrifice.
2 The man cried out. He shouted a message from the LORD against the altar. He said, "Altar! Altar! The LORD says, 'A son named Josiah will be born into the royal family of David. Altar, listen to me! Josiah will sacrifice the priests of the high places on you. They will be the children of the priests who are offering sacrifices here now. So human bones will be burned on you.' "
3 That same day the man of God spoke about a miraculous sign. He said, "Here is the sign the LORD has announced. This altar will be broken to pieces. The ashes on it will be spilled out."
4 The man of God announced that message against the altar at Bethel. When King Jeroboam heard it, he reached out his hand from the altar. He said, "Grab him!" But as he reached out his hand toward the man, it dried up. He couldn't even pull it back.
5 Also, the altar broke into pieces. Its ashes spilled out. That happened in keeping with the miraculous sign the man of God had announced. He had received a message from the Lord.
6 King Jeroboam spoke to the man of God. He said, "Pray to the LORD your God for me. Pray that my hand will be as good as new again." So the man of God prayed to the LORD for the king. And the king's hand became as good as new. It was just as healthy as it had been before.
7 The king said to the man of God, "Come home with me. Have something to eat. I'll give you a gift."
8 But the man of God replied to the king. He said, "What if you were to give me half of what you own? Even then I wouldn't go with you. I wouldn't eat bread or drink water here.
9 The LORD gave me a command. He said, 'Do not eat bread or drink water there. Do not return the same way you came.' "
10 So he took another road. He didn't go back on the same road he had taken when he came to Bethel.
11 An old prophet was living in Bethel. His sons came and spoke to him. They told him everything the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what the man had said to the king.
12 Their father asked them, "Which way did he go?" His sons showed him the road the man of God from Judah had taken.
13 So he said to his sons, "Put a saddle on the donkey for me." When they had done it, he got on the donkey.
14 He traveled on the same road the man of God had taken. He found the man sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?" "I am," he replied.
15 So the prophet said to him, "Come home with me. I'll give you something to eat."
16 The man of God said, "I can't go back to Bethel with you. I can't eat bread or drink water with you there.
17 I've received a message from the Lord. He told me, 'Do not eat bread or drink water there. Do not return the same way you came.' "
18 The old prophet answered, "I'm also a prophet, just like you. An angel gave me a message from the Lord. The message said, 'Bring the man of God back with you to your house. Then he can eat bread and drink water with you.' " But the old prophet was telling him a lie.
19 The man of God returned with him. He ate and drank in his house.
20 They were sitting at the table. The LORD gave a message to the old prophet who had brought the man of God back.
21 He cried out to the man who had come from Judah. He told him, "The LORD says, 'You have not done what I told you to do. You have not obeyed the command I gave you. I am the LORD your God.
22 You came back here and ate bread and drank water. You did it in the place where I told you not to. So your body will not be buried in your family tomb.' "
23 The man of God finished eating and drinking. Then the old prophet who had brought him back put a saddle on the man's donkey for him.
24 And the man went on his way. A lion attacked him on the road and killed him. His body was left lying on the road. The donkey and the lion were standing beside it.
25 Some people passed by. They saw the body lying on the road. They saw the lion standing beside the body. Then they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived.
26 The prophet who had brought the man back from his journey heard about what had happened. He said, "It's the man of God. He didn't do what the LORD told him to do. So the LORD has given him over to the lion. The lion has attacked him and killed him. Everything has happened just as the LORD's message had warned him it would."
27 The old prophet said to his sons, "Put a saddle on the donkey for me." So they did.
28 Then he went out. He found the body of the man of God lying on the road. The donkey and the lion were standing beside it. The lion hadn't eaten the body. It hadn't attacked the donkey either.
29 So the prophet picked up the man's body. He put it on the donkey. He brought it back to his own city. He wanted to sob over him and bury him.
30 Then he placed the body in his own tomb. People sobbed over him. They said, "My friend! My dear friend!"
31 After the old prophet had buried the body of the man of God, he spoke to his sons. He said, "When I die, bury my body in the grave where the man of God is buried. Put my bones next to his bones.
32 I want you to do that because he announced a message from the Lord. He spoke against the altar in Bethel. He also spoke against all of the temples that were on the high places. They are in the towns of Samaria. What the man of God said will certainly come true."
33 Even after all of that happened, Jeroboam still didn't change his evil ways. Once more he appointed priests for the high places. He made priests out of all kinds of people. In fact, he let anyone become a priest who wanted to. He set them apart to serve at the high places.
34 All of that was the great sin the royal family of Jeroboam committed. It led to their fall from power. Because of it, they were destroyed 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

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