1 KINGS CHAPTER 13.
Jeroboam and the Prophet of Judah.
JEROBOAM REPROVED FOR HIS SIN. — V.1. And, behold, there came a man of God, a prophet, out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel, like a power which drove and compelled him to make known the Lord’s will; and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense, presuming upon a right which was not his. V.2. And he, the prophet, cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, his addressing the altar making his words all the more significant and emphatic, 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 that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burned upon thee, the greatest possible desecration which could come to an altar, Num. 19, 16. The prophecy was literally fulfilled, as history relates, 2 Kings 23, 15-20. V.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, utterly destroyed, torn to pieces, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out, the fat of the sacrifices being mixed with the ashes, to indicate that the entire worship was unclean. V.4. And it came to pass, when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, in an angry and threatening gesture, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand which he put forth against him dried up, paralyzed or stiffened in a peculiar manner, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The miracle had the effect of terrifying the king’s attendants and keeping them from executing his orders. V.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, all of which served to substantiate the prophet’s words and to terrify the king, at least for the time being. V.6. And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the Lord, thy God, literally, “Soften His face,” which was now turned against him in hardness and anger, beseeching Him so earnestly that He cannot refuse, and pray for me that my hand may be restored me again, so that he would again have its full use. And the man of God besought the Lord, he succeeded in softening Jehovah’s hard face by the fervor of his intercession, and the king’s hand was restored him again and became as it was before, he once more had control of it. V.7. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward, a present, or gift, to win him over to his side, and to weaken or remove the impression made by the awful threat; for Jeroboam was by no means repentant. V.8. And the man of God said unto the king, refusing the hand of fellowship extended by an idolater, if thou wilt give me half thine house, half of all that he possessed, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place; v.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, lest some one, knowing of his passing, might detain him. V.10. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. It is God’s will, most emphatically expressed, that His servants should not fellowship with such as teach, or adhere to, false doctrine.
THE PROPHET PUNISHED FOR HIS DISOBEDIENCE. — V.11. Now, there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel, a member of the great brotherhood of prophets found in Israel since the time of Samuel, who had, however, joined the forces of Jeroboam; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel, one son after the other coming forward to give his account; the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. V.12. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen, and taken note of, what way the man of God went which came from Judah. V.13. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass, evidently the only one which he possessed. So they saddled him the ass; and he rode thereon, v.14. and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak, under the terebinth which was afterward connected with the happening here related. And he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. It mas a very unfortunate delay which permitted the prophet of Bethel to come up with him. V.15. Then he said unto him, Come home with me and eat bread, enjoy the hospitality and the fellowship of the old prophet. V.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; v.17. for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. The manner in which he at first withstood the temptation was most praiseworthy. V.18. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art, and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, by His express command, saying, Bring him back with thee in to thine house that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him, just as many a false prophet in our days deceives men by his glib falsehoods, especially by referring to special divine revelations and visions which he claims to have had. V.19. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house and drank water. He gave way to the deceiver without investigating his claims thoroughly. V.20. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, while the meal was still in progress, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back, this time in a true revelation. V.21. And he cried unto the man of God that 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, v.22. but camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread and drink no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulcher of thy fathers; it was considered a great misfortune at that time to be buried among strangers. V.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, the loan of the beast being intended, as it seems, to atone for the falsehood by which he had effected the return of the Judean prophet. V.24. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way and slew him. And his carcass was cast in the way, thrown down from the beast which he had been riding, and the ass stood by it; the lion also stood by the carcass, an indication that this was an extraordinary occurrence. V.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. V.26. And when the prophet that 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, literally, “crushed him,” for this is done with one stroke of the powerful paws, and slain him according to the word of the Lord which He spake unto him. V.27. And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass, the one obtained in place of that taken by the man of God. And they saddled him. V.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, had not so much as fetched one blow at him, a most unusual thing and one which proved it to be a miracle. V.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. V.30. And he laid his carcass in his own grave, in the sepulcher reserved for his own family, treating the dead man like a near and dear relative, And they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother! This was the usual form of lamentation in the case of a very close friend or relative. V.31. And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake 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; v.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, the altars and buildings used for idol worship, shall surely come to pass. Because the dead man had been a true prophet, therefore the old man wanted to have the honor of resting next to him in death. V.33. After this thing, this happening, Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, he was not repentant, but made again of the lowest of the people, from the mass, from all classes, priests of the high places, whosoever would, every one who had an inclination that way, he consecrated him, literally, “he filled his hand,” inducted him into office by placing into his hands those pieces of the sacrifice which belonged to Jehovah; and he became one of the priests of the high places. V.34. And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, it was charged against him, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth. His guilt brought upon him and upon his entire family the punishment of Jehovah, the final result being the extermination of his house. That is the way of the disobedient, of the unbelievers, who disregard the warnings and the punishments of Jehovah and persist in their evil ways.