1 Kings 13:1-34 … GOD WARNS JEROBOAM THROUGH A YOUNG MAN OF GOD.
Q.1. What is remarkable about the intervention of the man of God? How did Jeroboam respond? – (1 Kgs.13:1-10) =
Q.2. Why did God have to kill the man of God after he was misled by a backslidden prophet? – (1 Kgs.13:11-32) =
Q.3. What does the story tell us about King Jeroboam? What would happen to Jeroboam? – (1 Kgs.13:1-10, 33-34) =
A Man of God Confronts Jeroboam
13 And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. 2 And the man 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, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’” 3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’” 4 And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And 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 torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. 6 And the king said to the man of God, “Entreat now the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” And the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before. 7 And the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” 8 And the man of God said to the king, “If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, 9 for so was it commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.’” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.
The Prophet’s Disobedience
11 Now an old prophet lived in Bethel. And his sons[a] came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told to their father the words that he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him the way that the man of God who came from Judah had gone. 13 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he mounted it. 14 And 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 And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place, 17 for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’” 18 And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. 19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.
20 And as they sat at the table, 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, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have come back and have 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 tomb of your fathers.’” 23 And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body. 25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the road and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
26 And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word that the Lord spoke to him.” 27 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey. 29 And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city[b] to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the saying that he called out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places that are in the cities of Samaria shall surely come to pass.”
33 After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.
Q.1. What was remarkable about the intervention of the man of God? How did Jeroboam respond? – (1 Kgs.13:1-10) = It took great courage for anyone to cross over from Judah, with a prophecy against the northern kingdom of Israel: (i) It was amazing that the Lord revealed the name of King Josiah, and the judgment of the false prophets on the altar at Bethel, three hundred years before the event (1 Kgs.13:1-2 c.f. 2 Kgs. 23:15-18). (ii) He added a sign that the altar would be split, and the ashes poured out … and it came to pass (1 Kgs.13:3 & 5). (iii) Nowhere in Scripture are we given this prophet’s name. When Jeroboam ordered the prophet’s arrest, his arm was frozen. He immediately asked the man of God to plead for healing … and it was so! (1 Kgs.13:4 & 6). Jeroboam was grateful to the prophet, and offered him rich rewards. The prophet refused his offer because – 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 you came’ (1 Kgs.13:9). He then turned and left Bethel a different way.
Q.2. Why did God have to kill the man of God after he was misled by a backslidden prophet? – (1 Kgs.13:11-32) = The confrontation between the prophet and the king had been very public. It made a great impact, particularly upon an old prophet. The first prophet’s declaration that God had commanded him not to delay in Israel, but to go home another route was explicit (1 Kgs.13:8-10). However, he was deceived by the backslidden older prophet, who claimed that – … “I also am a prophet like you, and an 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 he lied to him … he disobeyed God (1 Kgs.13:18 c.f. Gal.1:8). If God had allowed the younger prophet to get away with disobedience, then all leaders from Jeroboam onwards would have had a precedent to disregard God’s commands, and ignore His prophecies. This was God’s judgment for his disobedience (1 Kgs.13:24). Nevertheless, the young prophet was given a proper burial and would eventually be honoured many generations later (1 Kgs.23:17-18).
Q.3. What did the story tell us about King Jeroboam? What would happen to Jeroboam? – (1 Kgs.13:1-10, 33-34) = God had extended lavish grace on Jeroboam, namely, a promise of a lasting dynasty like David’s (c.f. 1 Kgs.11:29-38). However, God’s warning, plus the sign against him at Bethel, and the unusual death of the man of God, failed to deter Jeroboam from rebellion. This was the reason God determined to destroy the house of Jeroboam, and blot it from the face of the earth (1 Kgs.13:34). King Jeroboam stands out in history as one of the biggest fools of all time. He had a cast iron promise of a lasting dynasty, but forfeited it all by his wicked disobedience. Instead of trusting God to establish his name and his kingdom, Jeroboam used carnal strategies to shore up that which would have happened, had he just believed God’s promises, and obeyed Him. His attempt to buy the services of, and to corrupt the man of God revealed a sinister view of power, and of his own importance. What more did God have to do to appeal to his heart? History recorded that Jeroboam was the one who caused Israel to sin.
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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