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Chapter 13

A man of God came from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, while Jeroboam was standing at the altar to burn incense. (A)He cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: “Altar, altar, thus says the Lord: A child shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, who shall slaughter upon you the priests of the high places who burn incense upon you, and they shall burn human bones upon you.” (B)He also gave a sign that same day and said: “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: The altar shall be torn apart and the ashes on it shall be scattered.” When the king heard the word of the man of God which he was crying out against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched forth his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched forth against him withered, so that he could not draw it back. (The altar was torn apart and the ashes from the altar were scattered, in accordance with the sign the man of God gave by the word of the Lord.)

Then the king said to the man of God, “Entreat the Lord, your God, and intercede for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored as it was before. The king told the man of God, “Come with me to the house for some refreshment so that I may give you a present.” The man of God said to the king, “If you gave me half your palace, I would not go with you, nor eat bread or drink water in this place. For I was instructed by the word of the Lord: Do not eat bread or drink water, and do not return by the way you came.” 10 So he departed by another road and did not go back the way he had come to Bethel.

Prophetic Disunity.[a]

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Footnotes

  1. 13:11–34 The next major unit illustrates how Jeroboam’s cultic innovations begin to alienate prophetic figures of the two kingdoms. Nevertheless, the Lord’s word is stronger than any human attempt to thwart it. The two prophets also foreshadow the destinies of their respective kingdoms. Israel’s experiment with idolatry can tempt Judah to abandon its faithfulness to the Lord. If Judah succumbs, and no longer speaks the word that can call Israel back to the true God, then the only hope for reuniting the two kingdoms will be when they have both died the death of exile.

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