1 Kings 13 Commentary

Jeroboam’s punishment (13:1-14:20)

God soon showed that this new form of religion was totally unacceptable to him. A prophet from Judah came to Bethel and, by bold words and dramatic actions, condemned both the people and the king (13:1-10).

However, there was another prophet, a much older man, who lived in Bethel and had apparently not spoken out against Jeroboam’s wrongdoing. The old prophet seems to have been jealous of the prophet from Judah, and decided to tempt him to disobey God’s command. By using lies and deceit he was successful (11-19).

As the prophet from Judah was returning home, he was killed by a lion in punishment for his disobedience (20-26). When the people of Bethel saw the lion standing quietly beside the body of the man it had killed, without either eating the body or attacking the man’s donkey, they realized that this was no ordinary death. The old prophet also was shocked, and expressed his admiration for the younger man’s boldness (27-32). But in spite of these warnings of judgment, Jeroboam did not change his ways (33-34).

When his son fell ill, Jeroboam sent to the prophet Ahijah for help (14:1-5). Ahijah was the person who had first told Jeroboam that he would become king. Now he told him that God would remove him and his descendants from Israel’s throne, because he had led the nation into idolatry (6-11). Jeroboam


received immediate assurance that this prophecy would come true when his son died, as Ahijah had foretold (12-18). Before the predicted judgment fell on Jeroboam personally, he and the people of the northern kingdom suffered much in a long battle with Judah, which by that time was under the rule of Rehoboam’s son Abijah (19-20; 2 Chron 13:2-20).

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