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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

1 Kings 13

Verses 1-10

The Man of God Cries Out Against the Altar in Bethel In 1 Kings 13:1-10 we have the story of a man of God who is given no name cries out against the pagan altar that King Jeroboam set up in Bethel while the king was offering incense. The king held his hand forth towards the man of God and commanded his men to seize him, at which time his hand withered. When the king asked the man to intercede for him, prayer was made and the king’s hand restored.

1 Kings 13:1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.

1 Kings 13:2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.

1 Kings 13:2 Comments - This prophecy, spoken around 931 B.C., was fulfilled 300 years later in the time of King Josiah (921 B.C.):

2 Kings 23:15-16, “Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.”

1 Kings 13:3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.

1 Kings 13:4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.

1 Kings 13:4 “And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up” Comments - The hand was the symbol of authority. This act demonstrated that God was greater than the king.

1 Kings 13:5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.

1 Kings 13:6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.

1 Kings 13:7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.

1 Kings 13:8 And the man of God said unto 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 in this place:

1 Kings 13:9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.

1 Kings 13:9 Comments The man of God is set apart for the ministry. Worldly involvement brings him into compromise with his confessions of faith, talking on the behaviour of the world, making his gift of prophecy difficult to maintain. The prophet must be particularly careful of his words, so the prophets of God are often seen in the Scriptures as men who have separated themselves.

1 Kings 13:10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.

Verses 1-34

The Reign of Jeroboam over Northern Israel (930-909 B.C.) In 1 Kings 12:1 to 1 Kings 14:20 we have the story of Jeroboam ruling over the northern kingdom of Israel. It is important to draw a parallel account of Jeroboam’s reign to that of King David and Solomon. The reigns of both David and Solomon record the judgment of adversaries, the establishment of their thrones, the institution of national worship, God makes a covenant with David and Solomon, the prosperity of their reigns, their sin and judgment, and an epilogue. Jeroboam’s rule follows a similar sequence of events.

1. Jereboam Establishes His Throne 1 Kings 12:1-24

2. Jereboam Institutes National Worship 1 Kings 12:25-33

3. God Speaks to Jereboam thru a Prophet 1 Kings 13:1-32

4. Jereboam’s Sin and Judgment 1 Kings 13:33 to 1 Kings 14:18

Verses 11-34

A Lion Slays the Man of God Note R. W. Shambach's four-point sermon outline on 1 Kings 13:11-34.

1. Idle Distraction (1 Kings 13:14) - “Sitting” is a stance of idleness, lack of faith. Standing is a position of faith (Ephesians 6:13).

Ephesians 6:13, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

2. Diabolical Deception (1 Kings 13:18) - The devil tries to get supernatural in our lives:

John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

3. Deliberate Disobedience (1 Kings 13:21-22) - Sin brings judgment even in godly men’s lives. Illustration: Moses struck the rock twice, so he did not lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land.

4. Definite Destruction (1 Kings 13:24) - The man of God did not repent. The lion did not really want to eat the ass or the carcass. He was just carrying out God’s judgement. [31]

[31] R. W. Schambach, “Sermon,” Schambach Ministries (Flint, Texas), cassette tape.

1 Kings 13:34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

1 Kings 13:34 “even to cut it off” Comments - To cut what off? Jeroboam’s house, or his descendants, would be cut off from living and ruling in Israel.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.