1 Kings 13:3
That day the man of God gave a sign, saying, "The LORD has spoken this sign: 'Surely the altar will be split apart, and the ashes upon it will be poured out.'"
The Fire of JehovahJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 13:1-3
The Pretensions of Error Deepen its ShameJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 13:1-10

Jeroboam went to inaugurate his feast of tabernacles at his principal temple in Bethel, and to give effect to the ceremonies officiated in person as high priest. Then, as he stood by the altar, censer in hand, he was confronted by the word of the Lord. A man of God from Judah denounced the altar in the words before us, which contain a very remarkable prophecy; and he authenticated his message by a miraculous sign. (Compare Mark 16:20.) The subject teaches -


1. This is evinced in His works of creation.

(1) There is foresight in the constitution and adjustments of the framework, and in the motions, of the orbs.

(2) Also in the anticipatory instincts of animals - storing of food, provisions for young. Moths deposit their eggs upon leaves, not used by themselves as food, but proper to sustain the larvae.

(3) And in the anticipatory faculties of man. Intelligent foresight in business, in politics, in science, in religion.

2. It is evinced in prophecy.

(1) Great outlines of the world's history pre-written there (see Genesis 9:25-27; Daniel 7.).

(2) Particular example here. (Compare this with 2 Kings 23:15-20.) The facts here were attested - By the Jews, on whose behalf they were ordered - By the Ephrathites, who would have impugned their authority if they could.

3. This example is too circumstantial to have been accidental.

(1) The child was to be of the house of David. Who but God could foresee that the house of David should occupy the throne of Judah at a distance of 856 years?

(2) Who but God could foresee that Bethel would then have passed from the kings of Israel under the dominion of Judah? (See 2 Chronicles 13:19.)

(3) Who but God could foresee that at a distance of 840 years a child should be born to the house of David, bearing the name of Josiah, who should in due time do these things?

(4) Who else could anticipate, even when Josiah received his name, that the grandson of the wicked Manasseh, and son of the no less wicked Amen, should come to the throne, and with pious zeal bring these things to pass? Note: Such prescience as God displayed in this prophecy, and such providence as He evinced in its accomplishment, encourage faith. They assure us that our very names are in His book (Philippians 4:8). They encourage prayer.


1. The message to Jeroboam was to this very effect.

(1) He bore His testimony against the altar. It had been consecrated, after a fashion, by the king, but God would desecrate it. The bodies of its priests were to be sacrificed upon it, and the bones of men were to be burnt upon it (1 Kings 13:2). God will accept no will worship - no worship ordered after the policy of statesmen.

(2) In the demolition of the altar, not only is the religion connected with it doomed to be overthrown, but the judgment involves its votaries - the king, his priests, his people.

(3) The testimony was strong. The man of God cried aloud. He did not quail in the presence of the king amidst his friends. God's messengers should never cringe nor quail God's word can never fail.

2. These things were an allegory.

(1) Many of the wonderful narratives of Holy Scripture may be thus understood. We have the famous example, Galatians 4:21-31.

(2) Here Jeroboam, like all other leaders in apostasy, was a forerunner of the Antichrist. As the religion of the "man of sin" is a caricature of the religion of Christ, so was that of Jeroboam a parody upon the Mosaic.

(3) Josiah was a type of Christ, the true Son of David. (Compare Isaiah 7:14.) Warning and mercy come before destruction. The army of Judah was stayed from crushing Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:24), and in the mission of the man of God there was mercy in the warning. Let the sinner be admonished not to refuse the gospel. - 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
Altar, Apart, Ashes, Behold, Broken, Burned, Declared, Forth, Overturned, Poured, Rent, Saying, Sign, Split, Spoken, Torn, Waste
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 13:1-3

     1429   prophecy, OT fulfilment
     8748   false religion

1 Kings 13:1-5

     1450   signs, kinds of

1 Kings 13:3-5

     1403   God, revelation

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

1 Kings 13:3 NIV
1 Kings 13:3 NLT
1 Kings 13:3 ESV
1 Kings 13:3 NASB
1 Kings 13:3 KJV

1 Kings 13:3 Bible Apps
1 Kings 13:3 Parallel
1 Kings 13:3 Biblia Paralela
1 Kings 13:3 Chinese Bible
1 Kings 13:3 French Bible
1 Kings 13:3 German Bible

1 Kings 13:3 Commentaries

Bible Hub
1 Kings 13:2
Top of Page
Top of Page