A prophet from Judah. Jeroboam’s constant apostasy.
VERSE 1. Behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the LORD’s word to Bethel; and Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense.
a man of God. This is a prophet of the Most High God. And his identity is completely anonymous.
out of Judah. Judah is not under the kingship of Jeroboam.
Jeroboam was standing by the altar. This prophet delivers his prophecy in public. It is at the moment when Jeroboam is offering his apostate sacrifice.
VERSE 2. He cried against the altar by the LORD’s word, and said, “Altar! Altar! the LORD says: ‘Behold, a son will be born to David’s house, Josiah by name. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and they will burn men’s bones on you.’ ”
by the LORD’s word. This is an authentic prophecy. It is a judgment fully authorized by the LORD God.
Josiah by name. This is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible. It predicts the name and actions of a king who will not appear for 290 years.
King Josiah reigned from 640 to 609 BC. He fulfills this prophecy.
VERSE 3. He gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Behold, the altar will be split apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.”
VERSE 4. When the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam put out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him!” His hand, which he put out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back again to himself.
Seize him! Apostate king Jeroboam responds to the prophet from his narcissistic ego. He orders the prophet arrested.
His hand, which he put out against him, dried up. King Jeroboam extends his arm to point. And it withers.
The authority of the LORD God is greater than Jeroboam’s.
VERSE 5. The altar was also split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the LORD’s word.
VERSE 6. The king answered the man of God, “Now intercede for the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again.” The man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored to him again, and became as it was before.
the LORD your God. Jeroboam refers to the LORD as your God, and not “my God.” This testifies to his own idolatry.
VERSE 7. The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.”
Come home with me. In those days, hospitality was a sacred custom. The king is offering favor and privilege.
VERSE 8. The man of God said to the king, “Even if you gave me half of your house, I would not go in with you, neither would I eat bread nor drink water in this place;
I would not go in with you. The prophet will have nothing to do with this apostate.
VERSE 9. for so was it commanded me by the LORD’s word, saying, ‘You shall eat no bread, drink no water, and don’t return by the way that you came.’ ”
he went another way. Something similar happens in the New Testament:
Matthew 2:12. Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way
VERSE 11. Now an old prophet lived in Bethel, and one of his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king.
an old prophet. This is a different person than the anonymous prophet above.
lived in Bethel. This old prophet lives in the territory of apostate king Jeroboam.
And Bethel is the very center of the king’s apostate system of worship.
VERSE 12. Their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” Now his sons had seen which way the man of God went, who came from Judah.
VERSE 13. He said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it.
VERSE 14. He went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. He said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” He said, “I am.”
He went after the man of God. Why the old prophet rode after the prophet from Judah is not stated.
This is the same proposal that Jeroboam offered.
VERSE 16. He said, “I may not return with you, nor go in with you. I will not eat bread or drink water with you in this place.
VERSE 17. For it was said to me by the LORD’s word, ‘You shall eat no bread or drink water there, and don’t turn again to go by the way that you came.’ ”
VERSE 18. He said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the LORD’s word, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” He lied to him.
He lied to him. The old prophet lies.
In our day many believers assume that Christian leaders tell the truth. But in our observation, truth-telling is rare among Christian leaders.
VERSE 19. So he went back with him, ate bread in his house, and drank water.
VERSE 20. As they sat at the table, the LORD’s word came to the prophet who brought him back;
VERSE 21. and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “The LORD says, ‘Because you have been disobedient to the LORD’s word, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you,
VERSE 22. but came back, and have eaten bread and drank water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread, and drink no water,” your body will not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ”
VERSE 23. After he had eaten bread and after he drank, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back.
VERSE 24. When he had gone, a lion met him by the way and killed him. His body was thrown on the path, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the body.
a lion met him by the way and killed him. This is a tragic end.
VERSE 25. Behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown on the path, and the lion standing by the body; and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
VERSE 26. When the prophet who brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who was disobedient to the LORD’s word. Therefore the LORD has delivered him to the lion, which has mauled him and slain him, according to the LORD’s word which he spoke to him.”
VERSE 27. He said to his sons, saying, “Saddle the donkey for me,” and they saddled it.
VERSE 28. He went and found his body thrown on the path, and the donkey and the lion standing by the body. The lion had not eaten the body nor mauled the donkey.
VERSE 29. The prophet took up the body of the man of God, and laid it on the donkey, and brought it back. He came to the city of the old prophet to mourn, and to bury him.
laid his body in his own grave. Something similar happens in the New Testament:
Matthew 27:60. and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
VERSE 31. After he had buried him, he spoke to his sons, saying, “When I am dead, bury me in the tomb in which the man of God is buried. Lay my bones beside his bones.
VERSE 32. For the saying which he cried by the LORD’s word against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, will surely happen.”
VERSE 33. After this thing, Jeroboam didn’t turn from his evil way, but again made priests of the high places from among all the people. Whoever wanted to, he consecrated him, that there might be priests of the high places.
Jeroboam didn’t turn from his evil. Even with this powerful confrontation (see above), Jeroboam does not repent of his evil.
He totally disregards the revealed will of the LORD God.
made priests of the high places. Jeroboam did many evil things. This might be the worst, given that it leads the entire nation into apostasy. And from that, many other evils emerged.
VERSE 34. This thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off and to destroy it from off the surface of the earth.
to destroy it from off the surface of the earth. Jeroboam’s sin will cause the destruction of the nation.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.