1 Kings 13

1 And behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel; and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
2 And this man cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD: `Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places who burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burned upon thee.'"
3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, "This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken: Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out."
4 And it came to pass, when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God who had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, "Lay hold on him!" And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in back to him.
5 The altar also was rent and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, "Entreat now the face of the LORD thy God and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me again." And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him again, and became as it was before.
7 And the king said unto the man of God, "Come home with me and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward."
8 And the man of God said unto the king, "If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place.
9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, `Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.'"
10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
12 And their father said unto them, "What way went he?" For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah.
13 And he said unto his sons, "Saddle me the ass." So they saddled him the ass; and he rode thereon,
14 and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. And he said unto him, "Art thou the man of God who camest from Judah?" And he said, "I am."
15 Then he said unto him, "Come home with me and eat bread."
16 And he said, "I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee; neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place.
17 For it was said to me by the word of the LORD: `Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn back to go by the way that thou camest.'"
18 He said unto him, "I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spoke unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, `Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'" But he lied unto him.
19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.
20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet who brought him back;
21 and he cried unto the man of God who came from Judah, saying, "Thus saith the LORD: `Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,
22 but camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which the LORD said to thee, "Eat no bread, and drink no water," thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulcher of thy fathers.'"
23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way and slew him; and his carcass was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it; the lion also stood by the carcass.
25 And behold, men passed by and saw the carcass cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcass; and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
26 And when the prophet who brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, "It is the man of God who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD. Therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him and slain him, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke unto him."
27 And he spoke to his sons, saying, "Saddle me the ass." And they saddled him.
28 And he went and found his carcass cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcass. The lion had not eaten the carcass nor torn the ass.
29 And the prophet took up the carcass of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass and brought it back; and the old prophet came to the city to mourn and to bury him.
30 And he laid his carcass in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, "Alas, my brother!"
31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spoke to his sons, saying, "When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulcher wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones.
32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass."
33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again from the lowest of the people priests for the high places; whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.
34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off and to 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.

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

Third Millennium Bible (TMB), New Authorized Version, Copyright 1998 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc., Gary, SD 57237. All rights reserved.