1 Kings 13:31

God has made us free to choose or refuse good or evil Will cannot be coerced and yet be free; coercion here, therefore, would be destruction. But while God does not compel us to choose the right, He induces by gracious promises, and admonishes by alternative penalties. Still we remain free to elect the good with its blessings, or the evil with its entailments of misery. But so loth is He to see His creatures wretched that He has opened a way of repentance and reformation for sinners. In this, mercy is carried to the extreme limit which consists with the welfare of the universe, which must ever depend upon the order and harmony of righteousness. At this point there comes in the law of extremity; and the sinner passing it has to encounter "judgment without mercy."


1. His conduct expressed repentance.

(1) He went out for the corpse of the man of God, and brought it to his home, discerning the hand of God in the judgment. Looking now upon that ghastly form of death he saw his own sad work. He had caused a mischief he could not now repair. How inadequately men estimate beforehand the consequences of their wrong doing! (9.) He decently interred the body in his own grave. This was the only reparation now within his power for the injury he had caused, But how inadequate! What a bitter thought!

(3) He "mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!" This exclamation (הוי אחי) was the refrain of a lamentation (see Jeremiah 22:18). Ward, in his "Manners and Customs of the Hindoos," gives two specimens of such lamentations. There are frequent allusions to these in the prophets (see Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 6:11; Joel 1:15; Amos 5:16, 17; Revelation 18:10-19). With the old prophet this was more than a conventional mourning, he mourned for himself before God.

2. His conduct also expressed faith.

(1) He commanded his sons, when he died, to lay his bones beside those of the man of God. He believed him to be a man of God in reality, notwithstanding this single act of disobedience for which he had suffered death. There are "sins unto death," viz., of the body, which do not involve the final death of the soul. He desired to be with him in the resurrection. The concern of the ancients respecting the disposition of their bodies after death arose out of their faith in a resurrection (see Genesis 1:24 26; Exodus 13:19; Hebrews 11:22; see also 2 Kings 13:20, 21).

(2) He gave as the reason of his command the faith he had in the certainty of the prophecy of the man of God (ver. 32). And in further testimony of his faith put an inscription on the tomb (see 2 Kings 23:17). He desired to be associated in death with the denouncers of Jeroboam's sin rather than with those involved in that sin. Nor would he be identified in the judgment with perverters of true worship.

(3) By this faith his bones were spared when those of the priests and votaries of Jeroboam were burnt upon the altar by Josiah (see 2 Kings 23:19). By a corresponding faith shall we be saved from the judgments of the more illustrious Son of David upon the man of sin of the mystical Babylon.


1. He disregarded the goodness of God.

(1) The conditional promises by the hand of Ahijah were very gracious (1 Kings 11:37-39). What a magnificent opportunity he had! But he missed it.

(2) What opportunities have we wasted? Who can estimate their value? No opportunity of glorifying God should escape us.

2. He disregarded his remonstrances.

(1) The judgments upon Rehoboam were lessons to him. The same God who in them visited the sins of Solomon had also set him upon the throne of Israel, and would deal with him upon the same principles. But he sinned against this admonition.

(2) Then came the warning from the man of God at the altar. That God was in this warning was left without doubt by the signs (vers. 3-6). These staggered him for a moment; but there was no true repentance.

(3) Then came the final warning in the death of the man of God for being implicated, though by a deception, in his sin. This also was shown to be from God by miraculous signs (ver. 64). But this also he disregarded (ver. 33).

(4) Now, therefore, the law of extremity must take its course. He and his house are devoted to destruction (ver. 34). This last warning was written in letters of blood. God gave it to Him at the expense of His own servant. And He warns us at the expense of His own Son; and if we finally reject Christ the extremity of mercy is spurned, and we must encounter the extremity of wrath. - 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
Beside, Body, Bones, Buried, Bury, Burying, Burying-place, Dead, Death, Die, Grave, Kept, Lay, Pass, Rest, Safe, Saying, Sepulcher, Sepulchre, Sons, Spake, Speaketh, Spoke, Tomb, Wherein
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 13:31

     5137   bones
     9040   grave, the

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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