1 Kings 13:4
Now when King Jeroboam, who was at the altar in Bethel, heard the word that the man of God had cried out against it, he stretched out his hand and said, "Seize him!" But the hand he stretched out toward him withered, so that he could not pull it back.
The Pretensions of Error Deepen its ShameJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 13:1-10
Hospitality RefusedA. Whyte, D. D.1 Kings 13:4-6
The Man of SinJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 13:4-6
The Prophecy Against Jeroboam and its Attendant CircumstancesOutline from Sermons by a London Minister1 Kings 13:4-6

When the man of God predicted the confusion of the political religion of Jeroboam, and gave the sign that the altar at Bethel should be rent and its ashes poured out, the pride of the king who stood there as a priest was mortified, and his resentment was manifested as described in the text.


1. He transgressed God's law -

(1) In making images. The law forbad this (Exodus 20:4, 5). But he made two golden calves. Note: Images of God must be caricatures, and God will not be mocked, solemnly or otherwise, with impunity. How many frightful caricatures of Deity has the "man of sin" perpetrated! (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.)

(2) In multiplying altars. Legal worship was limited to one altar "in the place which the Lord should choose" (Deuteronomy 16:16). This was to keep before men the one only Mediator (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). Therefore other altars than that at Jerusalem were "altars unto sin" (Hosea 8:11).

(3) In creating priests. According to the law, none but sons of Aaron had a Divine vocation to the priesthood (Exodus 30:7, 8; 2 Chronicles 26:18; Hebrews 5:4). According to the gospel, Christ is sole Priest. Jeroboam, an Ephrathite, invaded the law principle, making himself high priest, and making subordinate priests of the lowest of the people.

2. He did so impudently.

(1) His sin was not of ignorance, for he had access to the Scriptures; but it did not serve his purpose to refer to them.

(2) Prophecy was particularly distasteful to him, for his doom is written there. Jeroboam had this from the lips of Ahijah, and now has it from the man of God from Judah. Beware of the spirit that would discourage a study upon which God has pronounced a blessing (Revelation 1:3).

(3) The spirit of his religion was political. He would not have troubled himself with it had he not political ends to serve (1 Kings 12:26-29). And to carry out these he dissembled: "It is too much for you to go to Jerusalem!"


1. He was confronted by the word of God.

(1) With this the man of God from Judah withstood him at his altar. So by the word of the Lord, and especially with the spirit of prophecy, has the man of sin been confronted by Waldenses, Paulikiaus, Hussites, Lutherans, and such like men "from Judah."

(2) But against this testimony he invoked the civil power under his usurped control (ver. 4). The spirit of persecution was there. The modern Jeroboam carried it further (Daniel 12:21; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 17:6).

2. He was humbled by the power of God.

(1) His hand was withered; his power to persecute was paralyzed. How powerless is the hand of man when arrested by the hand of God! Behind the political restraints which now hold the persecuting hand of our enemies we must discern the invisible hand of God.

(3) The altar, then, was cloven, and the ashes of the spurious sacrifices poured out as with contempt. This also was effected by the same invisible hand. Who can resist the might of God?

(4) Constrained by these judgments, he confessed the finger of God, and entreated the man of God to pray for the restoration of his hand (see Exodus 10:16, 17; Numbers 21:7; Matthew 5:23, 24).

3. Yet he persisted in his sin.

(1) His humiliation was selfish. It was the creature of his terror and suffering, so it was transient.

(2) True repentance is of a loftier principle, and is enduring. It is a life, as faith also is a life.

(3) Instead of using his restored hand to demolish his high places, he used it to repair the altar at Bethel, and persisted in his sin (vers. 33, 34; 2 Chronicles 13:20). But Josiah executed the judgments of prophecy in due time, So will the modern Jeroboam and his monstrous organization of sin perish in the fires of the judgment (Daniel 7:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). Note: Let those come out of Babylon who would escape her plagues. - J.A.M.

He put forth his hand.
Outline from Sermons by a London Minister.
I. ALL HUMAN POWER AND SKILL ENGAGED AGAINST GOD WILL WITHER. The hand of man is the bodily mark of his superiority to the animal creation; it represents his power and skill. It is the bread winner of the body. By its skilful use he imitates the works of God in nature, and by its means he sends down his thoughts to posterity. Jeroboam's outstretched hand was the type of all human opposition to God's rule, especially the opposition of the rulers of the world. Its withering was the exposition of "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17); "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh" (Psalm 2:4, etc.)

II. PHYSICAL BLESSING IS OF MORE IMPORTANCE TO THE UNGODLY MAN THAN MORALITY OF CHARACTER. Christ's teaching is, "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off " (Matthew 18:8), count no earthly loss worthy of a thought compared with an injury to the spiritual life.

(Outline from Sermons by a London Minister.)

As the man of God from Judah so nobly refuses Jeroboam's royal hospitality, I am reminded of Lord Napier. On one occasion his lordship was sent down to Scotland by the Queen on a royal errand of review and arbitration between a great duke and his poor crofters. The duke, the administration of whose estate was to be inquired into, was good enough to offer his lordship his ducal hospitality for as long as the royal session of review lasted. But Her Majesty's Deputy felt that neither his Royal Mistress nor himself could afford to be for one moment compromised, or even suspected, by her poorest subject; and therefore it was that his lordship excused himself from the duke's table, and took up his quarters in the little wayside inn. "At any rate, you will come to the manse," said the minister, who was on the crofter's side. "Thank you," said Napier. "But in your college days you must have read Plutarch about Caesar's wife. No, thank you." And his lordship lodged all his time in the little hotel, and went back to his Royal Mistress when his work was done, not only with clean hands, but without even a suspicion attaching to her or to him. "Come home with me and refresh thyself." But the man of God said to 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 with thee." So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.

(A. Whyte, D. D.)

David, Jeroboam, Josiah
Bethel, Samaria
Altar, Bethel, Beth-el, Cried, Draw, Dried, Jeroboam, Pass, Pull, Saying, Seize, Shriveled, Stretched
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 13:4

     5296   disabilities

1 Kings 13:1-5

     1450   signs, kinds of

1 Kings 13:3-5

     1403   God, revelation

1 Kings 13:4-5

     1416   miracles, nature of

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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