1 Kings 13

A servant of God visits Jeroboam

13:1A servant of God was a way to describe a prophet.

1 King Jeroboam was standing in front of the altar at Bethel. He was ready to make an offering. At that time, the Lord told one of his servants to go from Judah to Bethel. 2 When he arrived at Bethel, he shouted the message that the Lord had given to him. He said, ‘Altar! Altar! This is what the Lord says to you: “Listen! One day, a son will be born in David's family. His name will be Josiah. On this altar, he will burn as sacrifices the priests who offer sacrifices on the hills. He will burn the bones of dead people on you!” ’

3 The same day, God's servant spoke another message to warn Jeroboam. He said, ‘This is the sign to show that the Lord has decided to do this: You will see the altar break into two pieces. The ashes of the sacrifices that are on it will fall to the ground.’

4 King Jeroboam heard the message that God's servant shouted against the altar at Bethel. As he stood there at the altar, the king pointed his hand at God's servant. He said, ‘Take hold of that man!’ But when he pointed with his hand, it suddenly became useless and he could not pull it back. 5 Then the altar broke into two pieces and the ashes fell to the ground. That is what God's servant had said would happen, to show that he spoke with the Lord's authority.

6 The king said to God's servant, ‘Please pray to the Lord your God that he will be kind to me. Pray that my hand will become strong again.’ So God's servant prayed to the Lord. And the king's hand became strong again, as it was before.

7 Then the king said to God's servant, ‘Come home with me. Have some food to eat. I would also like to give you a gift.’ 8 But God's servant said to the king, ‘I could never go with you, even if you gave me half of your riches. I could not eat or drink anything while I am here. 9 The Lord commanded me, “You must not eat or drink anything there. You must not return home on the same road that you came on.” ’ 10 So God's servant started to travel home on a different road. He did not go on the same road that he came to Bethel.

An old prophet in Bethel

11 An old prophet lived in Bethel. His sons came home. They told him about everything that God's servant had done in Bethel that day. They told their father what God's servant had said to the king. 12 Their father asked them, ‘Which road did he go home on?’ So his sons showed him the road that God's servant from Judah was on.

13 Then the old prophet said to his sons, ‘Prepare my donkey for me to ride.’ When they had prepared the donkey, the old prophet got onto it. 14 Then he rode along the road to find God's servant. He found him as he was sitting under an oak tree. The old prophet asked him, ‘Are you the servant of God from Judah?’ He answered, ‘I am.’ 15 The old prophet said to him, ‘Come to my home with me and eat some food.’ 16 God's servant said, ‘I cannot go back with you. I cannot eat or drink anything with you in this place. 17 The Lord commanded me, “You must not eat or drink anything there. You must not return home on the same road that you came on.” ’ 18 The old prophet then said, ‘I am also a prophet, as you are. An angel gave me a message from the Lord. He said, “Bring the man back with you to your house. There, he can eat some food and drink some water.” ’ But what the old prophet said was a lie. 19 So God's servant went back with him and he ate and drank in his house.

20 While they were sitting together to eat, the Lord gave a message to the old prophet. 21 He spoke this message to the servant of God who had come from Judah:

‘This is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed the Lord. You have not done what the Lord your God commanded you to do. 22 He had told you, “You must not eat or drink anything in that place.” But you came back here to eat and to drink. As a result, they will not bury your body in the same place as your ancestors' grave.’

23 God's servant from Judah finished his meal. Then the old prophet prepared his donkey for him to ride. 24 But as God's servant from Judah was travelling along the road, a lion attacked him. The lion killed him and it left his body on the road. The donkey and the lion stood beside the dead body. 25 When some people came along the road, they saw the dead body as it lay there. The lion was standing beside the body. The people went back to Bethel, the city where the old prophet lived. They reported what they had seen on the road.

26 The old prophet who had brought God's servant back to his house heard the news. He said, ‘That dead man is God's servant who did not obey the Lord. So the Lord has given him to the lion, to tear him to pieces and to kill him. The Lord had warned him that this would happen.’

27 The old prophet said to his sons, ‘Prepare my donkey for me to ride.’ So they did that. 28 Then the old prophet went along the road and he found the body. It was lying on the road. The donkey and the lion were standing beside it. The lion had not eaten the body. It had not attacked the donkey. 29 So the old prophet picked up the body of God's servant. He put it on the donkey. He brought it back to Bethel. He showed that he was very sad that the man had died and then he buried him. 30 He put the body in the grave that he had prepared for himself. He and his sons were very upset, and they said, ‘Oh! My brother!’

31 When they had buried the man, the old prophet said to his sons, ‘When I die, bury me in the same grave where we buried the servant of God. Put my bones there, beside his bones. 32 The Lord's message that he spoke will certainly become true. He spoke against the altar in Bethel and against all the altars on the hills of Samaria's towns.’

13:32Samaria is another name for the kingdom of Israel in the north that Jeroboam ruled.

33 Even after this happened, Jeroboam did not stop doing evil things. He chose ordinary people to be priests for the altars on the hills. If somebody wanted to become a priest, Jeroboam agreed to make him a priest. 34 This sin caused Jeroboam's family to disappear from the earth. He would no longer have descendants to rule the kingdom.

13:33God's Law said that only Levites who were descendants of Aaron could be priests.