1 Kings 13:29

The man of God from Judah, deceived by the old prophet of Ephraim, ate and drank in that land of apostasy. This was a disobedience to the word of the Lord, and a complicity in the abominations he was sent to denounce. For this he heard the Divine voice of reproof, and went forth to suffer accordingly, as detailed in the text.


1. Review the prophecy.

(1) Ver. 22. He was, therefore, doomed to die away from his home; and, presumably, by violence.

(2) With what solemn feelings would he see his ass saddled with the prospect of such a journey! Ought not our feelings also to be solemn to whom death is certain, though the moment and the manner be unknown?

2. Note the fulfilment.

(1) Vers. 29, 30. He was met and slain by a lion, and his corpse was cast in the way. There was a spectacle for all passengers! What an evil thing is sin!

(2) Thus suffered for disobedience a "man of God." The sanctity of his profession did not protect him from sin, neither can it protect him from punishment. So neither, the dignity of his office. So neither, the service he had rendered to God (see 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5, 6).

(3) Judgment begins at the house of God, but falls more terribly upon the wicked (1 Peter 4:17, 18). They may well tremble before "Him that can destroy both soul and body in hell."

(4) The man of God came not to the sepulchre of his fathers, yet was mourned over by one who had been a snare to him, but to whom he had been made a blessing. There are strange reciprocities.


1. Miracle controlled the instincts of animals.

(1) The lion was moved, not by thirst for prey, but by revenge. But this revenge was the Lord's. The animal had suffered nothing from the hand of the man of God.

(2) Instinct was otherwise controlled. For here were the lion and the ass together watching the carcase. The ass did not fly from the face of the lion; neither did the lion molest the ass.

(3) Nor was this strange witnessing the accident of a momentary surprise. It was maintained while certain passengers, who first observed it, journeyed to the city and reported it; and until, in consequence, the old prophet, divining its import, came upon the scene.

2. Here let us admire the Divine resources.

(1) He that moved upon the instincts of the lion and the ass was the same who made the representatives of the animal creation defile before Adam to receive their names; who brought them into the ark of Noah; restrained the lions from injuring Daniel; the same who, in the days of His flesh, dwelt among the wild beasts in the wilderness, and who controlled the movements of fishes in the depths (Mark 1:13; Matthew 17:27; Luke 5:4-7). This power over the instincts of the lion and ass is but a sample of corresponding dominion over every department of nature. And the resources of this power are the resources of justice and mercy.

3. But what is the mystical meaning of the signs?

(1) The death of the man of God was judgment for his complicity with the sin of Ephraim in eating and drinking in that polluted place. So it was the last of the series of warnings to Jeroboam before the abandonment of his house to destruction (see ver. 33).

(2) The lion that inflicted the penalty was the symbol of Judah, of its royalty, and especially of Shiloh, in whom that royalty culminated. Hence Messiah is described as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (see Genesis 49:9, 10; Revelation 5:5). Of this glorious Lion, Josiah was to be a type. Messiah visits the sin of Ephraim in the apostasy of the son of Nebat, and the sin of Judah for complicity in its abominations (see Hosea 5:14). So in like manner will He strike down the forms of apostasy extant in these latter times.

(3) The ass was the symbol of Issachar (Genesis 49:14, 15); but not of Judah; for it is difficult to justify the translation in verse 11, which is better rendered, "and him shall the peoples obey; binding up the shoots of the vine, and the branches of the choice vine."

(4) As the ass stood as a witness of this judgment of God upon the sin of Jeroboam, and then carried the carcase away to be buried, so "Baasha, the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar," destroyed and put out of sight the house of Jeroboam, fulfilling the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (ch. 15:27-30). How manifold is the wisdom of God! How deep are His judgments! - J.A.M.

And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof.
The most careful review of this man's conduct does not make it easy to comprehend it; nor, indeed, do we know enough about him to satisfy us in pronouncing decidedly on the subject. Still there are circumstances in his history which do throw light on certain points of his character; and give them sufficient distinctness for us to apprehend a drift in them, and see an instruction which they convey to us. The first circumstance I would notice, is what we find in the twenty-third chapter of the Second Book of Kings; where we read, at the eighteenth verse, that the relics of him who was buried by the side of the man of God, are stated to be "the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria." He was originally of Samaria, the capital of his country; and now, in his old age, we find him removed to Bethel; the very mount of corruption, the temple of sacrilege, the very throne and stronghold of that "son of Nebat," who had so fearfully "made Israel to sin." Wherefore was he there? Had he gone there in grief and dismay at the doings of his prince, to remonstrate against and correct them? Had he gone, in jealousy of zeal and affection for the honour of his God and his Church? Alas! no; he could have gone with no such wish or object as this, or it would not have required God's special mission of one of His prophets from Judah, to declare the violated truth before king, and priests, and people at Bethel! It is too clear that the old prophet must have been, at least, a consenting party to the doings which had made Israel an abomination in the sight of God. He must have even preferred the new order of things under this spiritual revolution of Jeroboam, or he need not have remained where they must day after day have done violence to his habits, and shocked his principles of religion.

1. That the burden of causing this misery and sin was mainly to be laid to the old prophet's charge, there can be no doubt whatever. Although the delinquency of the man of God was great, the guilt of his aged brother was greater far; the former, indeed, yielded unjustifiably to temptation, but the latter assumed a part fit only for the malice of Satan him. self. Our blessed Lord spoke with His characteristic monitory expression, when He joined the character of "a liar and a murderer" together; and pointed out to certain of the Jews that their "father the devil" had been "a destroyer from the beginning, because he abode not in the truth, and there was no truth in him."

2. The next thing we should observe, is the singular faith and courage of his conduct, after he had been forced to announce his own victim's punishment, and after the result of his treachery had broken, in its dreadful reality, upon his mind. Compunction and remorse evidently seized upon his mind, when he set forth upon the sorrowful errand of bringing back to an honoured burial, and a deep mourning, the man whom he had hurried to this untimely end. He saw and acknowledged the finger of God in this thing.

3. Moreover, it is evident that he must by this time have become touched with the truths which God had proclaimed by the mouth of His servant, and the richly earned vengeance in store for the crying sins of Israel. For, according to the words of our text, he solemnly forewarned his sons of the certain accomplishment of "the saying which was cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and all the houses of the high places which were in the cities of Samaria"; this, said he, "shall surely come to pass." And that there was repentance in the after-conduct of the old prophet; and that God was mercifully pleased to look upon it with a pitying eye, there is some ground for hope in the issue of the event, as it came to pass in God's own time. For when Josiah had accomplished the Divine vengeance on all the abominations of Bethel; had deposed its priests, broken clown its high places, and defiled its altars; and was in the act of taking the dead from the sepulchres on the mount, and burning them on the altars of the former sin; we read that he religiously spared "the sepulchre of the man of God that came from Judah"; and that they let his bones alone, together with "the bones of the prophet that came cub of Samaria." A signal act of mercy this, on a day of severe and general retribution!Lessons:

1. I need scarcely say that this example directs its first and broadest rebuke against all such as would ever knowingly and wilfully oppose and pervert the truth. This is a species of guilt so monstrous and offensive in the eyes of God and man; so merely malicious in its whole drift, and policy, and endeavour; that one would think it needs only to be noted, to be at once shunned and abhorred. It was the first origin of all corruption and misery on the face of God's pure and perfect creation; the cause of man's degradation, and the cursing of the earth for his sake: by it "sin entered into the world, and death by sin."

2. But further, there is a modification of the old prophet's sin, into which we may sometimes fall, without at all going to its full extent. We are apt to be enamoured of our own particular views of what we are pleased to think is truth; to cherish these, and to propagate these, without sufficient warranty for their sound and solid foundation in what is right.

(J. Puckle, M. A.)

"Bury me," said the remorseful old man to his sons standing in tears around his miserable death-bed, "bury me in the same grave with the bones of the man of God out of Judah." And the old prophet's sons so buried their father. And an awful grave that was in Bethel, with an awful epitaph upon it. Now, suppose this Suppose that you were buried on the same awful principle — in whose grave would your bones lie waiting together with his till the last trump to stand forth before God and man together? And what would your epitaph and his be? Would it be this: "Here lie the liar and his victim "? Or would it be this: "Here lie the seducer and the seduced"? Or would it be this: "Here lie the hater and him he hated down to death"? Or would it be this: " Here lie the tempting host and his too willing to be tempted guest"? Or, if you are a minister, would it be this: "Here lies a dumb dog, and beside him one who was a crowded preacher in the morning of his days, but a castaway before night"? Alas, my brother.

(A. Whyte, D. D.)

David, Jeroboam, Josiah
Bethel, Samaria
Ass, Body, Bringeth, Bury, Carcase, Carcass, Corpse, Donkey, Laid, Lament, Mourn, Picked, Placeth, Prophet, Rest, Taketh, Town, Weeping
1. Jeroboam's hand withers
6. and at the prayer of the prophet is restored
7. The prophet departs from Bethel
11. An old prophet brings him back
20. He is reproved by God
23. slain by a lion
26. buried by the old prophet
31. who confirms the prophecy
33. Jeroboam's obstinacy

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 13:23-29

     4633   donkey

1 Kings 13:29-30

     5661   brothers

Whether Christ Took Flesh of the Seed of David?
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ did not take flesh of the seed of David. For Matthew, in tracing the genealogy of Christ, brings it down to Joseph. But Joseph was not Christ's father, as shown above ([4138]Q[28], A[1], ad 1,2). Therefore it seems that Christ was not descended from David. Objection 2: Further, Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, as related Ex. 6. Now Mary the Mother of Christ is called the cousin of Elizabeth, who was a daughter of Aaron, as is clear from Lk. 1:5,36. Therefore,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Interpretation of Prophecy.
1. The scriptural idea of prophecy is widely removed from that of human foresight and presentiment. It is that of a revelation made by the Holy Spirit respecting the future, always in the interest of God's kingdom. It is no part of the plan of prophecy to gratify vain curiosity respecting "the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:7. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God"--this is its key-note. In its form it is carefully adapted to this great end.
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

And Yet, by Reason of that Affection of the Human Heart...
9. And yet, by reason of that affection of the human heart, whereby "no man ever hateth his own flesh," [2731] if men have reason to know that after their death their bodies will lack any thing which in each man's nation or country the wonted order of sepulture demandeth, it makes them sorrowful as men; and that which after death reacheth not unto them, they do before death fear for their bodies: so that we find in the Books of Kings, God by one prophet threatening another prophet who had transgressed
St. Augustine—On Care to Be Had for the Dead.

The Prophet Hosea.
GENERAL PRELIMINARY REMARKS. That the kingdom of Israel was the object of the prophet's ministry is so evident, that upon this point all are, and cannot but be, agreed. But there is a difference of opinion as to whether the prophet was a fellow-countryman of those to whom he preached, or was called by God out of the kingdom of Judah. The latter has been asserted with great confidence by Maurer, among others, in his Observ. in Hos., in the Commentat. Theol. ii. i. p. 293. But the arguments
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Paul's Departure and Crown;
OR, AN EXPOSITION UPON 2 TIM. IV. 6-8 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR How great and glorious is the Christian's ultimate destiny--a kingdom and a crown! Surely it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what ear never heard, nor mortal eye ever saw? the mansions of the blest--the realms of glory--'a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' For whom can so precious an inheritance be intended? How are those treated in this world who are entitled to so glorious, so exalted, so eternal,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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