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1 And behold, there came a man of God out of Iudah by the word of the Lord vnto Bethel: and Ieroboam stood by the altar to burne incense.

2 And hee cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord, Behold, a child shalbe borne vnto the house of Dauid, Iosiah by name, and vpon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burne incense vpon thee, and mens bones shall bee burnt vpon thee.

3 And he gaue a signe the same day, saying, This is the signe which the Lord hath spoken: Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are vpon it, shalbe powred out.

4 And it came to passe when king Ieroboam 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, saying, Lay hold on him: And his hand which hee put foorth against him, dried vp, so that hee could not pull it in againe to him.

5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes powred out from the altar, according to the signe which the man of God had giuen by the word of the Lord.

6 And the king answered, and said vnto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for mee, that my hand may be restored mee againe. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the kings hand was restored againe, and became as it was before.

7 And the king said vnto the man of God, Come home with mee, and refresh thy selfe, and I wil giue thee a reward.

8 And the man of God said vnto the king, If thou wilt giue mee halfe thine house, I will not goe in with thee, neither will I eat bread, nor drinke water in this place:

9 For so was it charged mee by the word of the Lord, saying, Eate no bread, nor drinke water, nor turne again by the same way that thou camest.

10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that hee came to Bethel.

11 Now there dwelt an old Prophet in Bethel, and his sonne came and told him all the workes that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which hee had spoken vnto the king, them they tolde also to their father.

12 And their father said vnto them, What way went he? for his sonnes had seene what way the man of God went, which came from Iudah.

13 And hee saide vnto his sonnes, Saddle me the asse. So they sadled him the asse, and he rode thereon,

14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting vnder an oke; and he said vnto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Iudah? And he said, I am.

15 Then hee said vnto him, Come home with me, and eate bread.

16 And he said, I may not returne with thee, nor goe in with thee: neither will I eat bread, nor drinke water with thee in this place.

17 For it was said to mee by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eate no bread, nor drinke water there, nor turne againe to go by the way that thou camest.

18 He said vnto him, I am a prophet also as thou art, and an angel spake vnto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him backe with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread, and drinke water: But he lied vnto him.

19 So he went backe with him, and did eate bread in his house, and dranke water.

20 And it came to passe as they sate at the table, that the word of the Lord came vnto the prophet that brought him backe:

21 And he cried vnto the man of God that came from Iudah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeied the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandement which the Lord thy God commanded thee,

22 But camest backe, and hast eaten bread, and drunke water, in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eate no bread, and drinke no water; thy carcaise shall not come vnto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

23 And it came to passe after he had eaten bread, and after hee had drunke, that he sadled for him the asse, to wit, for the Prophet, whome hee had brought backe.

24 And when he was gone, a lyon met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcaise was cast in the way, and the asse stood by it, the lyon also stood by the carcaise.

25 And beholde, men passed by, and saw the carcaise cast in the way, and the lyon standing by the carcaise: and they came and told it in the citie where the old prophet dwelt.

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 vnto the word of the Lord: therefore the Lord hath deliuered him vnto the lion, which hath torne him, and slaine him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake vnto him.

27 And he spake to his sonnes, saying, Saddle me the asse: and they sadled him.

28 And he went and found his carcaise cast in the way, and the asse and the lyon standing by the carcaise: the lyon had not eaten the carcaise, nor torne the asse.

29 And the prophet tooke vp the carcaise of the man of God, and laid it vpon the asse, and brought it backe: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourne, and to burie him.

30 And hee laid his carcaise in his owne graue, and they mourned ouer him, saying, Alas my brother.

31 And it came to passe after hee had buried him, that he spake to his sonnes, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre, wherein the man of God is buried, lay my bones beside his bones.

32 For the saying which hee 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 passe.

33 After this thing, Ieroboam returned not from his euill way, but made againe of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoeuer would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.

34 And this thing became sinne vnto the house of Ieroboam, euen to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

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Commentary for 1 Kings 13

Jeroboam's sin reproved. (1-10) The prophet deceived. (11-22) The disobedient prophet is slain, Jeroboam's obstinacy. (23-34)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.

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.

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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