1 Kings 13:20
And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet that brought him back:
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(20) The word of the Lord came.—It is, perhaps, the most terrible feature in the history that the Divine sentence is spoken—no doubt, as in the case of Balaam, unwillingly—through the very lips which by falsehood had lured the prophet of Judah from the right path, and at the very table of treacherous hospitality. Josephus, with his perverse tendency to explain away all that seems startling, misses this point entirely, and assigns the revelation to the prophet of Judah himself. Striking as this incident is, it is perhaps a symbol of a general law constantly exemplifying itself, that the voice of worldly wisdom first beguiles the servants of God to disobedience by false glosses on their duty to Him, and then proclaims unsparingly their sin and its just punishment.

1 Kings 13:20-22. The word of the Lord came, &c. — God obliged the prophet, who had caused him to sin, to denounce a punishment against him for it, that it might the more affect him; nothing being more piercing than to be reflected on by those who have caused us to err. And he cried unto the man of God — With a loud voice, the effect of his passion, both for his own guilt and shame, and for the prophet’s approaching misery. Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord — That is, the word of command coming out of his mouth; thy carcass shall not come into the sepulchre of thy fathers — Thou shalt not die a natural, but a violent death, and that in this journey, before thou returnest to thy own habitation. 13:11-22 The old prophet's conduct proves that he was not really a godly man. When the change took place under Jeroboam, he preferred his ease and interest to his religion. He took a very bad method to bring the good prophet back. It was all a lie. Believers are most in danger of being drawn from their duty by plausible pretences of holiness. We may wonder that the wicked prophet went unpunished, while the holy man of God was suddenly and severely punished. What shall we make of this? The judgments of God are beyond our power to fathom; and there is a judgment to come. Nothing can excuse any act of wilful disobedience. This shows what they must expect who hearken to the great deceiver. They that yield to him as a tempter, will be terrified by him as a tormentor. Those whom he now fawns upon, he will afterwards fly upon; and whom he draws into sin, he will try to drive to despair.But he lied unto him - It is always to be remembered that the prophetic gift might co-exist with various degrees of moral imperfection in the person possessing it. Note especially the case of Balaam. 18. an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord—This circuitous mode of speaking, instead of simply saying, "the Lord spake to me," was adopted to hide an equivocation, to conceal a double meaning—an inferior sense given to the word "angel"—to offer a seemingly superior authority to persuade the prophet, while really the authority was secretly known to the speaker to be inferior. The "angel," that is, "messenger," was his own sons, who were worshippers, perhaps priests, at Beth-el. As this man was governed by self-interest, and wished to curry favor with the king (whose purpose to adhere to his religious polity, he feared, might be shaken by the portents that had occurred), his hastening after the prophet of Judah, the deception he practised, and the urgent invitation by which, on the ground of a falsehood, he prevailed on the too facile man of God to accompany him back to his house in Beth-el, were to create an impression in the king's mind that he was an impostor, who acted in opposition to his own statement. As they sat at the table; there the prophet meets with a severe judgment, where he was pleasing himself with this seasonable refreshment.

The word of the Lord came by secret instinct into his mind, as sometimes God spake to Moses and other prophets when they were in company with others.

Unto the prophet that brought him back; so he makes this prophet publicly to call himself liar, and to pronounce a terrible sentence against him, to whom he professed so much kindness. Indeed the Hebrew words are ambiguous, and by others rendered thus, to the prophet whom he had brought back which agrees very well with the Hebrew phrase, and may seem to be the best translation, by comparing 1 Kings 13:23, where the very same phrase is so rendered; and 1 Kings 13:26, where this message is said to be spoken to him. But these arguments are not cogent; not that from 1 Kings 13:23, because it is a common thing for the same phrase in divers verses, and sometimes in one and the same verse, to be diversely used; nor that from 1 Kings 13:27, for that may be rendered concerning him. And therefore our translation is better, as is manifest from 1 Kings 13:21. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table,.... The old prophet, with his sons, and the man of God; the Arabic version adds, "and did eat", there being a pause in the Hebrew text, as if something was wanting, and to be understood and supplied:

that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back; that is, to the old prophet, who was the means of bringing back the man of God; the word did not come to him who had transgressed the command of the Lord, but to him who was the occasion of it; though Abarbinel is of opinion that the word came to the latter, and so some versions, both ancient and modern, render the clause, "to the prophet whom he had brought back" (f) and which is countenanced by what is said, 1 Kings 13:26,

according to the word of the Lord which he spoke unto him: but the former sense best agrees with what follows.

(f) Syr. Ar. Junius & Tremellius.

And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:
20. as they sat at the table] They were having a proper meal. The expression ‘to eat bread and to drink water’ signifies ‘to take food and drink’ and must not be understood literally. The idea meant to be conveyed by the prohibition is that nothing of any sort was to be taken.Verse 20. - And it came to pass, as they sat at the table [cf. Psalm 78:30. He is taken in the act, "even in the blossoms of his sin"], that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back. Seduction of the man of God by an old prophet, and his consequent punishment. - 1 Kings 13:11-19. The man of God had resisted the invitations of Jeroboam, and set out by a different road to return to Judah. An old prophet at Bethel heard from his sons what had taken place (the singular בנו יבוא as compared with the plural ויספּרוּם may be explained on the supposition that first of all one son related the matter to his father, and that then the other sons supported the account given by the first); had his ass saddled; hurried after him, and found him sitting under the terebinth (the tree well known from that event); invited him to come into his house and eat with him; and when the latter appealed to the divine prohibition, said to him (1 Kings 13:18), "I am a prophet also as thou art, and an angel has said to me in the word of the Lord: Bring him back with thee into thy house, that he may eat and drink," and lied to him (לו כּחשׁ without a copula, because it is inserted as it were parenthetically, simply as an explanation) - then he went back with him, and ate and drank in his house.
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