King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Kings 13

Jeroboam’s sin reproved. (1-10) The prophet deceived. (11-22) The disobedient prophet is slain, Jeroboam’s obstinacy. (23-34)

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Jeroboam’s sin reproved

1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.

2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.

4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.

5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.

6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.

7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.

8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:

9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.

10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.

The prophet deceived

11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.

13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,

14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.

15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.

16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:

17 For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.

18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.

19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:

21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,

22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

The disobedient prophet is slain, Jeroboam’s obstinacy

23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.

24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.

25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.

26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.

27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.

28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.

29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.

30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!

31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:

32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.

34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. A man. Some suppose his name was Addo. 2 Par. ix. 29. But this is quite uncertain. — Incense, or victims. C.

Ver. 2. Altar, in which the prodigy was to take place, for the instruction of all. M. — Name: 340 (C.) or 350 years after. Salien. — This prediction proves the truth of the religion; for, though the author of this book might have seen it verified, yet he would undoubtedly insert the very words of the prophet, which were known to all the people. 4 Kings xxiii. 15. In this passage we do not read that Josias destroyed the priests. But v. 19. and 20, it is clearly insinuated. C. — Who now. He will reduce their bones to ashes upon this altar; or, those who shall imitate these priests, shall be there burnt alive. H.

Ver. 3. Sign. This would take place immediately, to convince the king that what he had said would be accomplished. So Moses and Achaz were treated. Ex. iii. 2. 12. Isai. vii. 14. 16. C.

Ver. 6. Thy God. He does not say my, being conscious that he had abandoned his service. M. — Before. We may be surprised that God thus heals a man, whose heart was not changed, v. 33. E. — But miracles do not always work a conversion. Pharao, Saul, and Achaz beheld the in vain: only one of the ten lepers returned to give thanks. Lu. xvii. 17. This miracle rendered Jeroboam still more inexcusable. C.

Ver. 8. With thee. He considers the king as one excommunicated, the he must thus be induced to repent. Salien.

Ver. 10. Bethel, which was defiled. 1 K. xxi. 5. God would thus caution us to keep at the greatest distance (T.) possible from evil company, (H.) and from whatever may lead to sin. M. — Besides the literal sense, Sanchez believes that the prophet was thus admonished to comply exactly with his injunctions, and to leave nothing unfinished; as God says, by the way that he came, he shall return, (Isai. xxxvii. 34.) to denote that Sennacherib’s attempts should be frustrated. C.

Ver. 11. Bethel, originally (H.) from Samaria. 4 K. xxiii. 18. M. — Josias would have burnt his bones, like those of the false prophets, if they had not be blended with those of the man of God. C.

Ver. 18. An angel spoke to me, &c. This old man of Bethel was indeed a prophet, but he sinned in thus deceiving the man of God; the more, because he pretended a revelation for what he did; (Ch. W.) though he did it with a good intention, and supposed that the prophet had only been forbidden to eat with Jeroboam and his followers. Theod. q. 42. — This lie might cause him to be styled, “a false prophet,” by Josephus. Abulensis thinks he was a wicked man, like Balaam; and many suppose that he was the chief instrument in deluding the king. Josep. S. Greg. &c. — After the man of God had been torn to pieces, he might easily persuade the people that he was only an impostor, and that the pretended miracles were merely the effects of natural causes. It is not certain that this man was inspired by God, v. 20. — Deceived. Heb. “he lied unto him, (C.) and thus caused him to transgress. W.

Ver. 20. Table. After this the Masorets place a piska, or circle, to denote some omission, which the Syriac version alone supplies; “and did eat.” Kenn. — Back. Some translate, “whom he had brought back.” Junius, Syr. &c. — This would destroy the principal proof of those who esteem the man of Bethel to have been a true prophet. C. — Prot. agree with us; and the context seems to assert, that God addressed his servant by another’s mouth. H.

Ver. 22. Fathers. This was a great punishment for the Hebrews. Gen. xlix. 29.

Ver. 23. For. Some Latin MSS. read propheta, as if the prophet saddled his own ass. But he probably came on foot, and the man of Bethel lent him one. C.

Ver. 24. Killed him. Thus the Lord often punishes his servants here, that he may spare them hereafter. For the generality of divines[theologians] are of opinion, that the sin of this prophet, considered with all its circumstances, was not mortal. Ch. — He had received a positive order, and ought to have tried spirits, whether they were from God. 1 Jo. iv. 1. Gal. vi. 18. Every prophecy which contradicts the word of God, comes from an evil principle. C. — The prophet might suppose, however, that some cause had intervened, which authorized him to eat with this his brother, (v. 30.) whom he probably revered as a true prophet. Many of God’s commands are conditional. H. — Serenus observes, that God often inflicts death for the smallest faults. Cassian vii. 26. S. Greg. Dial. iv. 24. — St. Augustine (cura, c. 7.) doubts not of the prophet’s salvation. — Body, without even hurting the ass, ver. 28. H. — God protected the relics of his servant, by stationing the lion for a guard. Procop. M. — How impenetrable are the counsels of God! He suffers Jeroboam, and the prophet who had seduced his servant, to live; while he punishes the latter for a fault which he had committed undesignedly. But he thus purified him from guilt, (C.) while he reserved Jeroboam for more lasting torments in another world. H. — Nothing could prove more forcibly the existence of future rewards and punishments. C. — Not only the deceiver, but he also who is deceived, so as to transgress God’s orders, must be punished. W.

Ver. 30. Brother. Such titles were customary. Jer. xxii. 18. M.

Ver. 31. Bones. Sept. add, “that my bones may be saved along with his.” The conduct and faith of this man would lead us to conclude that he had done wrong, without any malicious design, v. 18. H.

Ver. 32. Samaria. The city was built by Amri, fifty years after the death of Jeroboam. C. xvi. 24. But the sacred writer speaks of places by the names which they bore in his time. C. — If this man was a prophet, he might easily mention Samaria, which would give its name to the kingdom of Israel. There was also probably a village of this name long before, on the mountain Samir, where one of the judges was buried. Judg. x. 2. H.

Ver. 33. Way. Every thing promotes the salvation of the just, while the wicked pervert the most gracious designs of Providence to their own ruin. The king concluded that the prediction deserved no regard, v. 18. C. — Meanest. C. xii. 31. Thus he wished to eradicate all sense of religion. H. — His, suam, “own.” Any person who brought the oil and the necessary victims, might assume the office of priest. See Ex. xxviii. 41. H.

Ver. 34. Earth. Heb. “to destroy it from the face of the earth.” The Vulg. insinuates that it had taken place before the author wrote. In the third year of Asa, 22 years after this revolt, Bansa slew the whole family. C. xv. 29.