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A Man of God Proclaims Judgment against the False Altar

13 Suddenly a man of God from Judah came to Bethel, by the word of Yahweh, while Jeroboam was standing at the altar to offer incense. Then he proclaimed against the altar by the word of Yahweh and said, “O altar, altar, thus says Yahweh: ‘Look, a son will be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall burn on you.’”

He gave a sign on that day, saying, “This is the sign that Yahweh has predetermined: Look, this altar will be torn apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.”

It happened at the moment the king heard the word of the man of God that he cried out against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him!” But his hand which he stretched out to him was paralyzed, and he was not able to draw it back to himself. Then the altar was torn apart and the ashes from the altar poured out according to the sign which the man of God had announced by the word of Yahweh. Then the king responded and said to the man of God, “Please entreat the favor of Yahweh your God, and pray for me that my hand may return to me.” So the man of God entreated the face of Yahweh, and the hand of the king returned to him, as it was in the beginning. Then the king spoke to the man of God, “Come with me to the house and refresh yourself, that I may give you a gift.” Then the man of God said to the king, “Even if you give to me half of your house I will not come with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water in this place, for the word of Yahweh has commanded me, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water, and you shall not return on the way that you came.’” 10 So he went another way, and he did not return by the way on which he had come to Bethel.

The Man of God Disobeys

11 Now a certain older prophet was living in Bethel, and his son came and recounted to him all of the things that the man of God had done that day in Bethel and the words he had spoken to the king, and they told them to their father. 12 Then their father asked them, “Which way did he go?”[a] His sons had seen the way which the man of God who had come from Judah had taken. 13 Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him, and he mounted it 14 and went after the man of God. He found him sitting under the oak and said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” He said, “I am.” 15 Then he said to him, “Come with me to the house and eat some food.” 16 Then he said, “I am not able to return with you or to go with you. I will not eat food nor will I drink water with you in this place. 17 For a word came to me by the word of Yahweh, ‘You shall not eat food, nor shall you drink water there. You shall not return to go by the way that you came.’”

18 Then he said, “I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of Yahweh, saying, ‘Let him return with you to your house that he may eat food and drink water.’” He lied to him. 19 So he returned with him and ate food in his house and drank water.

20 Now it happened that they were sitting at the table, and the word of Yahweh came to the prophet who brought him back. 21 He proclaimed to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says Yahweh: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of Yahweh and have not kept the command which Yahweh your God commanded you, 22 but you have returned and have eaten food and drank water in the place which he ordered you not to eat food nor to drink water, then your dead body shall not return to the tomb of your ancestors.’”[b]

The Disobedient Man of God Dies

23 It happened after he ate food and drank water that he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 When he left, a lion found him on the road and killed him, and his dead body was thrown on the road with the donkey standing beside it, and the lion was standing by the dead body. 25 As men were passing by and they saw the dead body thrown in the road and the lion standing beside the dead body, they came and told it in the city where the old prophet was living. 26 When the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the mouth of Yahweh, and Yahweh has given him to the lion. He tore him in pieces and killed him according to the word of Yahweh which he had spoken to him.” 27 Then he spoke to his sons, saying, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled it. 28 He went and found his dead body thrown in the road and a donkey with the lion standing beside it, but the lion had not eaten the corpse nor attacked the donkey. 29 So the prophet lifted up the corpse of the man of God and put it on the donkey and brought it back. He came to the city of the old prophet to mourn him and to bury him. 30 He put his corpse in his tomb, and they mourned over him, “Alas, my brother!” 31 It happened after he buried him that he said to his sons, “When I die, you shall bury me in the tomb where the man of God is buried; you shall lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For surely, the thing which he proclaimed by the word of Yahweh against the altar which is in Bethel will happen, as it will against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria.”

Jeroboam Continues in His Sin

33 After this event, Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but he returned and again made priests for the high places of people from all walks of life.[c] He filled his hand with all his desire and became one of the priests of the high places himself. 34 This matter became sin in the house of Jeroboam, to make it disappear and to destroy it from the surface of the earth.


  1. 1 Kings 13:12 Literally “Where is this way he went?”
  2. 1 Kings 13:22 Or “fathers”
  3. 1 Kings 13:33 Literally “from the fringes of the people”