1 Kings 13

A man that is God's servant visits Jeroboam

1 The LORD ordered a man that was God's servant to go from Judah to Bethel. He came to Bethel while Jeroboam was standing by the altar. Jeroboam was ready to burn something with a nice smell. 2 God's servant shouted loudly against the altar. He did it by the word of the LORD. He shouted, ‘Altar! Altar! This is what the LORD is saying to you. “A son called Josiah will be born in the family of David. He will burn the priests on you, altar. They are the priests that work in the high places. They are offering sacrifices here now. Josiah will burn human bones on you!” ’ 3 The same day, God's servant said what else would happen. He said that it would be like a sign. ‘This is the sign that the LORD has given to you. You will see the altar break in its middle. The ashes on it will pour out.’ 4 Jeroboam heard what God's servant shouted loudly against the altar at Bethel. Then Jeroboam took his hand away from the altar and he pointed it at God's servant. ‘Hold that man’, he said. But after he pointed with his hand, he could not move his arm! He could not pull it back. 5 Also, the altar did break in its middle. And ashes did pour out, as God's servant had said. This was the sign that the word of the LORD gave to Jeroboam. 6 Then the king said to God's servant, ‘Pray for me. Pray to the LORD your God. Pray that my hand will become well again.’ So God's servant prayed to the LORD. And the king's hand became well again, as it was before. 7 Then the king said to God's servant, ‘Come to my home with me. Have something to eat. Then I will give you a gift.’ 8 But God's servant said to the king, ‘You might give to me half of what is yours. But still I would not go with you! I would not eat bread and I would not drink water here. 9 That is because I was sent here by the word of the LORD. God said, “You must not eat bread or drink water there. You must not return on the same road that you came on.” ’ 10 So God's servant returned by another road. He did not go on the road by which he came to Bethel.

The old prophet in Bethel

11 Now a certain old prophet lived in Bethel. And his son came to him. And he told the old prophet everything that God's servant had done there that day. His sons also told their father what God's servant had said to the king. 12 Their father asked his sons, ‘Which way did God's servant go?’ And his sons told him on which road God's servant from Judah had gone. 13 Then the old prophet said to his sons, ‘Get my donkey ready for me to ride.’ When they had got ready the donkey, the old prophet got on to it. 14 Then he rode after God's servant. He found God's servant, who was sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, ‘Are you the servant of God from Judah?’ ‘I am’, God's servant replied. 15 The old prophet said to him, ‘Come to my home with me and eat.’ 16 God's servant said, ‘I cannot come with you. I must not go back to Bethel. I cannot eat bread or drink water with you in that country. 17 The word of the LORD told me, “You must not eat bread or drink water there. You must not return by the way in which you came.” ’ 18 The old prophet answered, ‘I, too, am a prophet like you. But an angel said to me, by the word of the LORD, “Bring him back with you to your house. There, he can eat bread and drink water.” ’ But what the old prophet said was not true. 19 So God's servant went with him. And he ate and drank in his house.

20 They were sitting together at the table. The word of the LORD came to the old prophet, who had brought God's servant back. 21 The old prophet said to the servant of God who had come from Judah:

‘This is what the LORD is saying. You have not obeyed the word of the LORD. You have not done what the LORD your God ordered you to do. 22 You came here. He said to you, “You must not eat bread or drink water in that place.” But you ate bread and you drank water here. As a result, they will not bury your body in the same place as they buried your fathers' body.’

23 God's servant finished his food and his drink. Then the prophet, who had brought him back, made his donkey ready for him. 24 But when he went on his journey, a lion met him on the road. The lion killed him and it threw his body down on to the road. Then, both the donkey and the lion stood by the dead body. 25 Some people, who passed it, saw the dead body. It lay on the road. The lion stood by the dead body. They went and reported it in the city. The old prophet lived in that city.

26 That was the old prophet who had brought God's servant back from his journey. When he heard about it, he said, ‘It is the servant of God who did not obey the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him to the lion. The lion has attacked him and it has killed him. The word of the LORD had told him that there would be danger.’ 27 The old prophet said to his sons, ‘Make my donkey ready for me to ride.’ So they did what he had asked them to do. 28 Then the old prophet went and he found the body. It lay on the road. The donkey and the lion stood by it. The lion had not eaten the body and it had not attacked the donkey. 29 So the old prophet put the body of God's servant on to the donkey. And he brought it back to his own city. There, he was sad about it. Then he decided to bury it. 30 He buried the body in the place that he had made for his own dead body. All the people were sad about it, and they said, ‘Oh! My dear friend!’ 31 When they had buried him, the old prophet said to his sons, ‘When I die, bury me in the same place. Put me where we buried the servant of God. Lay my bones by his bones. 32 This is why you must do it. Certainly the message that God's servant brought will become true. The message that he brought was by the word of the LORD. It was against the altar in Bethel. It was also against all the altars on the high places in the towns in Samaria.’

33 Even after this, Jeroboam did not stop doing bad things. He made more priests for the high places from all kinds of people. Anybody who wanted to be a priest, Jeroboam made into a priest for the high places. 34 This was a big sin in the family of Jeroboam. And that is why it did not continue. God destroyed Jeroboam's family from the whole earth.

Notes about chapter 13

13:34Verse 1. The Hebrew Bible says that God's servant came ‘by the word of the LORD’. This is a name for Christ. Really, the servant was a prophet. The writer does not call him a prophet because he does not want to confuse us. There is another prophet in verse 11.
13:34Verse 32. Samaria is another name for the kingdom in the north called Israel.
13:34Verse 34. The ‘family of Jeroboam’ means Jeroboam and the kings that came after him.