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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 13

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1As Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn the sacrifice, a man of God from Judah, moved by the word of the LORD, appeared at Bethel. 2He inveighed against the altar in the LORD's name, crying out, ‘O altar, altar! This is the word of the LORD: Listen! To the house of David a child shall be born named Josiah. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the shrines who make offerings on you, and he will burn a 13:2 he will burn: so Gk; Heb. they will burn. human bones on you.’ 3He gave a sign the same day: ‘This is the sign which the LORD has ordained: This altar will be split asunder and the ashes on it will be scattered.’ 4When King Jeroboam heard the sentence which the man of God pronounced against the altar at Bethel, he pointed to him from the altar and cried, ‘Seize him!’ Immediately the hand which he had pointed at him became paralysed, so that he could not draw it back. 5The altar too was split asunder and the ashes were scattered, in fulfilment of the sign that the man of God had given at the LORD's command. 6The king appealed to the man of God to placate the LORD his God and pray for him that his hand might be restored. The man of God did as he asked; the king's hand was restored and became as it had been before. 7He said to the man of God, ‘Come home with me and have some refreshment, and let me give you a reward.’ 8But he answered, ‘If you were to give me half your house, I would not enter it with you: I will eat and drink nothing in this place, 9for the LORD's command to me was to eat and drink nothing, and not to go back by the way I came.’ 10So he went back another way, not returning by the road he had taken to Bethel.

11At that time there was an aged prophet living in Bethel. His sons came b 13:11 His sons came: so Gk; Heb. His son came. and told him all that the man of God had done there that day, and what he had said to the king. 12Their father asked, ‘Which road did he take?’ They pointed out the direction taken by the man of God who had come from Judah. 13He said to his sons, ‘Saddle the donkey for me.’ They saddled the donkey, and, mounted on it, 14he went after the man of God.

He came on him seated under a terebinth and asked, ‘Are you the man of God who came from Judah?’ ‘I am,’ he replied. 15‘Come home and eat with me,’ said the prophet. 16‘I may not go back with you or enter your house,’ said the other; ‘I may neither eat nor drink with you in this place, 17for it was told me by the word of the LORD: You are to eat and drink nothing there, nor are you to go back the way you came.’ 18The old man urged him, ‘I also am a prophet, as you are; and an angel commanded me by the word of the LORD to bring you to my home to eat and drink with me.’ He was lying; 19but the man of Judah went back with him and ate and drank in his house. 20While they were still seated at table the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back, 21and he cried out to the man of God from Judah, ‘This is the word of the LORD: You have defied the word of the LORD your God and have not obeyed his command; 22you have gone back to eat and drink in the place where he forbade it; therefore your body will not be laid in the grave of your forefathers.’

23After the man of God had eaten and drunk, the prophet who had brought him back saddled the donkey for him. 24As he rode on his way a lion met him and killed him, and his body was left lying in the road, with the donkey and the lion both standing beside it. 25Some passers-by saw the body lying in the road and the lion standing beside it, and they brought the news to the town where the old prophet lived. 26When the prophet who had caused him to break his journey heard it, he said, ‘It is the man of God who defied the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him to the lion, and it has broken his neck and killed him in fulfilment of the word of the LORD.’ 27He told his sons to saddle the donkey and, when they did so, 28he set out and found the body lying in the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside it; the lion had neither devoured the body nor broken the back of the donkey. 29The prophet lifted the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own town to mourn over it and bury it. 30He laid the body in his own grave and they mourned for him, saying, ‘Oh, my brother!’ 31After burying him, he said to his sons, ‘When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God lies buried; lay my bones beside his; 32for the sentence which he pronounced at the LORD's command against the altar in Bethel and all the temples at shrines throughout Samaria will surely come true.’

33After this Jeroboam still did not abandon his evil ways, but went on appointing priests for the shrines from all classes of the people; any man who offered himself he would consecrate to be priest of a shrine. 34By doing this he brought guilt on his own house and doomed it to utter destruction.

Notes:

a 13:2 he will burn: so Gk; Heb. they will burn.

b 13:11 His sons came: so Gk; Heb. His son came.

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