Condemnation of the altar at Bethel (1 Kings 13:1-13:10)

“While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer incense, a man of God came out of Judah, by the order of Yahweh, to Bethel. He proclaimed against the altar by the order of Yahweh. He said. ‘O altar, altar, thus says Yahweh. A son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name. He shall sacrifice your priests of the high places who offer incense for you. Human bones shall be burned for you.’ He gave a sign the same day, saying. ‘This is the sign that Yahweh has spoken. The altar shall be torn down. The ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’ When the king heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying. ‘Seize him.’ But the hand that he stretched out against him withered so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down. The ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the order of Yahweh. The king said to the man of God. ‘Entreat now the favor of Yahweh your God. Pray for me, so that my hand may be restored to me.’ So the man of God entreated Yahweh. The king’s hand was restored to him. It became as it was before. The king said to the man of God. ‘Come home with me, and dine. I will give you a reward gift.’ The man of God said to the king. ‘If you give me half your kingdom, I will not go in with you. I will not eat food or drink water in this place. Thus I was commanded by Yahweh. You shall not eat food, or drink water, or return by the way that you came.’ So he went another way. He did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.”

While Jeroboam was sacrificing at the altar in Bethel, a man of God from Judah came up to him. He was both a man of God, thus a prophet, and from Judah, the land under King Rehoboam. This prophet made a proclamation, condemning the altar. Josiah from Judah would come and burn human bones on this altar. King Jeroboam stretched out his hand and ordered the man of God seized. However, the hand of Jeroboam withered up. In fact, the altar was torn down and ashes spread all over the place. Then Jeroboam asked the man of God for a favor. He wanted his hand restored. The man of God restored his hand. Then Jeroboam was happy and wanted to reward him by inviting him to dine with him. The man of God said that he had orders from Yahweh. ‘Do not eat or drink in that place.’ In fact, he was to return a different way than the way that he went there. The prophet, this man of God, left by a different way as he also refused to eat or drink with Jeroboam.

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