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1 Kings 12:33--13:32

A Prophet from Judah Visits Bethel

12:33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month (a date he had arbitrarily chosen) 1  Jeroboam 2  offered sacrifices on the altar he had made in Bethel. 3  He inaugurated a festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to offer sacrifices. 13:1 Just then 4  a prophet 5  from Judah, sent by the Lord, arrived in Bethel, 6  as Jeroboam was standing near the altar ready to offer a sacrifice. 13:2 With the authority of the Lord 7  he cried out against the altar, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says, ‘Look, a son named Josiah will be born to the Davidic dynasty. He will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer sacrifices on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’” 8  13:3 That day he also announced 9  a sign, “This is the sign the Lord has predetermined: 10  The altar will be split open and the ashes 11  on it will fall to the ground.” 12  13:4 When the king heard what the prophet 13  cried out against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam, standing at the altar, extended his hand 14  and ordered, 15  “Seize him!” The hand he had extended shriveled up 16  and he could not pull it back. 13:5 The altar split open and the ashes 17  fell from the altar to the ground, 18  in fulfillment of the sign the prophet had announced with the Lord’s authority. 19  13:6 The king pled with 20  the prophet, 21  “Seek the favor of 22  the Lord your God and pray for me, so that my hand may be restored.” So the prophet sought the Lord’s favor 23  and the king’s hand was restored to its former condition. 24  13:7 The king then said to the prophet, “Come home with me and have something to eat. I’d like to give a present.” 13:8 But the prophet said to the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, 25  I could not go with you and eat and drink 26  in this place. 13:9 For the Lord gave me strict orders, 27  ‘Do not eat or drink 28  there and do not go home the way you came.’” 13:10 So he started back on another road; he did not travel back on the same road he had taken to Bethel.

13:11 Now there was an old prophet living in Bethel. 29  When his sons came home, they told their father 30  everything the prophet 31  had done in Bethel that day and all the words he had spoken to the king. 32  13:12 Their father asked them, “Which road did he take?” His sons showed him 33  the road the prophet 34  from Judah had taken. 13:13 He then told his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” When they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it 13:14 and took off after the prophet, 35  whom he found sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the prophet 36  from Judah?” He answered, “Yes, I am.” 13:15 He then said to him, “Come home with me and eat something.” 13:16 But he replied, “I can’t go back with you 37  or eat and drink 38  with you in this place. 13:17 For the Lord gave me strict orders, 39  ‘Do not eat or drink 40  there; do not go back the way you came.’” 13:18 The old prophet then said, 41  “I too am a prophet like you. An angel told me with the Lord’s authority, 42  ‘Bring him back with you to your house so he can eat and drink.’” 43  But he was lying to him. 44  13:19 So the prophet went back with him and ate and drank in his house. 45 

13:20 While they were sitting at the table, the Lord spoke through the old prophet 46  13:21 and he cried out to the prophet from Judah, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You 47  have rebelled against the Lord 48  and have not obeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. 13:22 You went back and ate and drank in this place, even though he said to you, “Do not eat or drink there.” 49  Therefore 50  your corpse will not be buried in your ancestral tomb.’” 51 

13:23 When the prophet from Judah finished his meal, 52  the old prophet saddled his visitor’s donkey for him. 53  13:24 As the prophet from Judah was traveling, a lion attacked him on the road and killed him. 54  His corpse was lying on the road, and the donkey and the lion just stood there beside it. 55  13:25 Some men came by 56  and saw the corpse lying in the road with the lion standing beside it. 57  They went and reported what they had seen 58  in the city where the old prophet lived. 13:26 When the old prophet who had invited him to his house heard the news, 59  he said, “It is the prophet 60  who rebelled against the Lord. 61  The Lord delivered him over to the lion and it ripped him up 62  and killed him, just as the Lord warned him.” 63  13:27 He told his sons, “Saddle my donkey,” and they did so. 64  13:28 He went and found the corpse lying in the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside it; 65  the lion had neither eaten the corpse nor attacked the donkey. 13:29 The old prophet 66  picked up the corpse of the prophet, 67  put it on the donkey, and brought it back. The old prophet then entered the city to mourn him and to bury him. 13:30 He put the corpse into his own tomb, and they 68  mourned over him, saying, “Ah, my brother!” 13:31 After he buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the tomb where the prophet 69  is buried; put my bones right beside his bones, 13:32 for the prophecy he announced with the Lord’s authority 70  against the altar in Bethel 71  and against all the temples on the high places in the cities of the north 72  will certainly be fulfilled.”

1 tn Heb “which he had chosen by himself.”

2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jeroboam) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

4 tn Heb “Look.” The Hebrew particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) is a rhetorical device by which the author invites the reader to visualize the scene for dramatic effect.

5 tn Heb “the man of God.”

6 tn Heb “came by the word of the Lord to Bethel.”

7 tn Heb “by the word of the Lord.

8 sn ‘Lookyou.’ For the fulfillment of this prophecy see 2 Kgs 23:15-20.

9 tn Heb “gave.”

10 tn Heb “spoken.”

11 tn Heb “the fat.” Reference is made to burnt wood mixed with fat. See HALOT 234 s.v. דשׁן.

12 tn Heb “will be poured out.”

13 tn Heb “the man of God.”

14 tn Heb “Jeroboam extended his hand from the altar.”

15 tn Heb “saying.”

16 tn Heb “dried up” or “withered.” TEV and NLT interpret this as “became paralyzed.”

17 tn Heb “the fat.” Reference is made to burnt wood mixed with fat. See HALOT 234 s.v. דשׁן.

18 tn Heb “were poured out from the altar.”

19 tn Heb “according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.

20 tn Heb “The king answered and said to.”

21 tn Heb “the man of God” (a second time later in this verse, and once in v. 7 and v. 8).

22 tn Heb “appease the face of.”

23 tn Heb “appeased the face of the Lord.

24 tn Heb “and it was as in the beginning.”

25 tn Heb “house.”

26 tn Heb “eat food and drink water.”

27 tn Heb “for this he commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying.”

28 tn Heb “eat food and drink water.”

29 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

30 tn Heb “and his son came and told him.” The MT has the singular here, but several other textual witnesses have the plural, which is more consistent with the second half of the verse and with vv. 12-13.

31 tn Heb “the man of God.”

32 tn Heb “all the actions which the man of God performed that day in Bethel, the words which he spoke to the king, and they told them to their father.”

33 tn The Hebrew text has “and his sons saw” (וַיִּרְאוּ [vayyiru], Qal from רָאָה [raah]). In this case the verbal construction (vav consecutive + prefixed verbal form) would have to be understood as pluperfect, “his sons had seen.” Such uses of this construction are rare at best. Consequently many, following the lead of the ancient versions, prefer to emend the verbal form to a Hiphil with pronominal suffix (וַיַּרְאֻהוּ [vayyaruhu], “and they showed him”).

34 tn Heb “the man of God.”

35 tn Heb “the man of God.”

36 tn Heb “the man of God.”

37 tn Heb “I am unable to return with you or to go with you.”

38 tn Heb “eat food and drink water.”

39 tn Heb “for a word to me by the word of the Lord.

40 tn Heb “eat food and drink water.”

41 tn Heb “and he said to him.”

42 tn Heb “by the word of the Lord.

43 tn Heb “eat food and drink water.”

44 tn Or “deceiving him.”

sn He was lying to him. The motives and actions of the old prophet are difficult to understand. The old man’s response to the prophet’s death (see vv. 26-32) suggests he did not trick him with malicious intent. The old prophet probably wanted the honor of entertaining such a celebrity, or perhaps simply desired some social interaction with a fellow prophet.

45 tn Heb “and he returned with him and ate food in his house and drank water.”

46 tn Heb “and the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back.”

47 tn The Hebrew text has “because” at the beginning of the sentence. In the Hebrew text vv. 21-22 are one long sentence comprised of a causal clause giving the reason for divine punishment (vv. 21-22a) and the main clause announcing the punishment (v. 22b). The translation divides this lengthy sentence for stylistic reasons.

48 tn Heb “the mouth [i.e., command] of the Lord.

49 tn Heb “and you returned and ate food and drank water in the place about which he said to you, ‘do not eat food and do not drink water.’”

50 tn “Therefore” is added for stylistic reasons. See the note at 1 Kgs 13:21 pertaining to the grammatical structure of vv. 21-22.

51 tn Heb “will not go to the tomb of your fathers.”

52 tn Heb “and after he had eaten food and after he had drunk.”

53 tn Heb “and he saddled for him the donkey, for the prophet whom he had brought back.”

54 tn Heb “and he went and a lion met him in the road and killed him.”

55 tn Heb “and his corpse fell on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it, and the lion was standing beside the corpse.”

56 tn Heb “Look, men were passing by.”

57 tn Heb “the corpse.” The noun has been replaced by the pronoun (“it”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

58 tn The words “what they had seen” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

59 tn Heb “and the prophet who had brought him back from the road heard.”

60 tn Heb “the man of God.”

61 tn Heb “the mouth of the Lord.”

62 tn Heb “broke him,” or “crushed him.”

63 tn Heb “according to the word of the Lord which he spoke to him.”

64 tn Heb “and they saddled [it].”

65 tn Heb “the corpse.” The noun has been replaced by the pronoun (“it”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

66 tn Heb “the prophet.” The word “old” has been supplied in the translation to distinguish this individual from the other prophet.

67 tn Heb “the man of God.”

68 tn “They” is the reading of the Hebrew text here; perhaps this is meant to include not only the old prophet but his sons (cf. v. 31).

69 tn Heb “the man of God.”

70 tn Heb “for the word which he cried out by the word of the Lord

71 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

72 tn Heb “Samaria.” The name of Israel’s capital city here stands for the northern kingdom as a whole. Actually Samaria was not built and named until several years after this (see 1 Kgs 16:24), so it is likely that the author of Kings, writing at a later time, is here adapting the old prophet’s original statement.

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