Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Kings Chapter 13

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-22)
Theme: The Divided Kingdom (c 12-22)
Message: A Prophet Dies for Disobedience (v 1-34)

1 Kings 13 Commentary 

(13:2) A Prophecy is Fulfilled -  Three hundred years later, this prophecy was fulfilled in every detail when Josiah killed the pagan priests at their own altars. The story is found in 2 Kings 23:1-20.

(13:7-32) A Failure to Listen to God - This prophet had been given strict orders from God not to eat or drink anything while on his mission. He died because he listened to a man who claimed to have a message from God by an angel rather than obeying what God himself had told him. This prophet should have continued to follow God's clear instructions. We do not know what the old prophet's motives were, but the lesson for us is that we must trust what God's Word says is true rather than what someone claims God says is true. We should disregard what others claim is a message from God if their words contradict the Bible.

(13:24-25) A Divine Judgement - Lions are mentioned frequently in the Old Testament. They were common enough to be a threat to people and to their flocks. Samson (Judges 14:5-6), David (1 Samuel 17:34-37), and Benaiah (2 Samuel 23:20) all faced wild lions. The fact that the lion and the ass were standing by the prophet's body showed that this was a miraculous event and a divine judgment. Normally, the lion would have attacked the ass or devoured the man.

(13:33-34) Jeroboam's Disobedience Continues - Under penalty of death, God had forbidden anyone to be a priest who was not from the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:10). Levites were assured of lifetime support from the tithe, so they did not have to spend time farming, worrying about tribal interests, or fearing for their financial futures. At the division of the two kingdoms, the true priests and Levites fled to the south, to Judah. Jeroboam's new priests were financed by the king and his fees. They had to mix priestly and secular duties, and they quickly fell into party politics. Because they didn't have job security, these priests were easily corrupted by bribes. Jeroboam's disobedience was the downfall of true worship of God in the northern kingdom. Jeroboam was so intent on securing his own self-interests that he even ignored the miracles before his very eyes and the prophecy that predicted his doom. This should give us pause to ask if we are ignoring or rationalizing away what we know is right and true because we are too intent on getting something else we want.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Listen to God Over Man

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1 Kings with Chapter 13.  In our text, we see a new section in Isreal's History on the split between Israel, Judah, and the Kings that led them. We also see today's account of the incident of the Prophet dying from disobedience as he listened to a man claiming to have a message from God versus listening to the Words of God. In making an application, we see that many false prophets give messages contrary to the Word of God. Let's listen to these messages and follow them. We, too, will follow the path of this Prophet who suffered judgment from this disobedience. How about you? Do you follow the Word of God over the word of man? Let us learn from our text today and the Prophet who suffered from not following the Word of God.


1 Kings 13

1 Kings 13

 1And, 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.

 2And 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.

 3And 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.

 4And 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.

 5The 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.

 6And 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.

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

 8And 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:

 9For 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.

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

 11Now 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.

 12And 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.

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

 14And 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.

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

 16And 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:

 17For 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.

 18He 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.

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

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

 21And 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,

 22But 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.

 23And 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.

 24And 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.

 25And, 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.

 26And 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.

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

 28And 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.

 29And 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.

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

 31And 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:

 32For 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.

 33After 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.

 34And 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.