1 Kings 13:34
And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.
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(34) And this thing.—The comment of the author of the book, evidently based on the prophetic denunciation of Ahijah in 1Kings 14:9-11, and its subsequent fulfilment. (See 1Kings 15:25-30.)

1 Kings 13:34. This thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam — An occasion of sin, and a mean of hardening all his posterity in their idolatry; or, rather, it became a punishment, as the word sin often signifies. This his obstinate continuance in his idolatry, after such warnings, brought dreadful punishments upon his family, and these not of an ordinary kind; but such as effected its utter extirpation. We may reflect here with Ostervald, on the astonishing blindness and ingratitude of Jeroboam. “Instead of relying on the promises which God had made him, to preserve the kingdom in his family, if he continued faithful, fearing lest his subjects should forsake him, if they went to worship at Jerusalem; out of a false policy he set up an idolatrous worship in his kingdom, which occasioned the ruin of his family, and at last the ruin of the kingdom of the ten tribes. Thus men, instead of trusting to God, in the faithful discharge of their duty, for security, have recourse to ill methods, whereby they draw upon themselves, at length, those very misfortunes they mean to avoid.” Indeed, all those betray themselves effectually, who endeavour to support themselves or families by any sin. 13:23-34 God is displeased at the sins of his own people; and no man shall be protected in disobedience, by his office, his nearness to God, or any services he has done for him. God warns all whom he employs, strictly to observe their orders. We cannot judge of men by their sufferings, nor of sins by present punishments; with some, the flesh is destroyed, that the spirit may be saved; with others, the flesh is pampered, that the soul may ripen for hell. Jeroboam returned not from his evil way. He promised himself that the calves would secure the crown to his family, but they lost it, and sunk his family. Those betray themselves who think to support themselves by any sin whatever. Let us dread prospering in sinful ways; pray to be kept from every delusion and temptation, and to be enabled to walk with self-denying perseverance in the way of God's commands.This persistence in wrong, after the warning given him, brought a judgment, not only on Jeroboam himself, but on his family. Jeroboam's departure from the path of right forfeited the crown 1 Kings 11:38; and in that forfeiture was involved naturally the destruction of his family, for in the East, as already observed, when one dynasty supplants another, the ordinary practice is for the new king to destroy all the males belonging to the house of his predecessor. See 1 Kings 15:29. 31. bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried—His motive in making this request was either that his remains might not be disturbed when the predicted events took place (see 2Ki 23:18), or he had some superstitious hope of being benefited at the resurrection by being in the same cave with a man of God. This thing became sin; either an occasion of sin, and means of hardening all his posterity in their idolatry; or, a punishment, for so the word sin is oft used. This his obstinate continuance in his idolatry after such warnings was the utter ruin of all his family. And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam,.... All the above things were sins in themselves, as building high places, and putting priests in them, whoever would; but the sense is, that these were the causes of punishment, or of evil things being inflicted on Jeroboam's family; sin is put for the punishment of sin, as it often is:

even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth; so that it become utterly extinct; and the next thing we hear of is the sickness and death of his son.

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.
34. The Hebrew text here also is not clear. Literally it is ‘in this thing there came to be &c.’ But the A.V. and all other versions translate as though the Hebrew were the same as in the beginning of 1 Kings 12:30. Probably the variation is only a slip of the scribe.

to cut it off and to destroy it] God’s judgement wrought the destruction, but yet it was the sin which called it forth. Hence the sin may be called the destroying power. Nadab the son of Jeroboam reigned only two years (1 Kings 15:25), and then met a violent death at the hand of Baasha.Verse 34. - And this thing [Heb. "in this thing:" בַּדָּבָר. Cf. 1 Chronicles 7:23; 1 Chronicles 9:33] 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 15:29. The forfeiture of the crown would bring in its train, almost as a matter of course, the destruction of his family (1 Kings 14:10-14). And we are taught here that both events are to be regarded, under the dispensation of temporal rewards and punishments, as the recompenses of his impiety; of that daring schismatic policy which, in all its branches, betrayed a complete disregard of the terms of the covenant, and which was persevered in contemptuous defiance of the repeated warnings of God.]

He thereupon had his ass saddled, and went and found the corpse and the ass standing by it, without the lion having eaten the corpse or torn the ass in pieces; and he lifted the corpse upon his ass, and brought it into his own city, and laid the corpse in his grave with the customary lamentation: אחו הוי, alas, my brother! (cf., Jeremiah 22:18), and then gave this command to his sons: "When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried, let my bones rest beside his bones; for the word which he proclaimed in the word of Jehovah upon the altar at Bethel and upon all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria will take place" (i.e., will be fulfilled). The expression "cities of Samaria" belongs to the author of these books, and is used proleptically of the kingdom of the ten tribes, which did not receive this name till after the building of the city of Samaria as the capital of the kingdom and the residence of the kings of Israel (1 Kings 16:24). There is a prophetic element in the words "upon all the houses of the high places," etc., inasmuch as the only other erection at that time beside the one at Bethel was a temple of the high places at Dan. But after such a beginning the multiplication of them might be foreseen with certainty, even without any higher illumination.

The conduct of the old prophet at Bethel appears so strange, that Josephus and the Chald., and most of the Rabbins and of the earlier commentators both Catholic and Protestant, have regarded him as a false prophet, who tried to lay a trap for the prophet from Judah, in order to counteract the effect of his prophecy upon the king and the people. But this assumption cannot be reconciled with either the divine revelation which came to him at the table, announcing to the Judaean prophet the punishment of his transgression of the commandment of God, and was so speedily fulfilled (1 Kings 13:20-24); or with the honour which he paid to the dead man after this punishment had fallen upon him, by burying him in his own grave; and still less with his confirmation of his declaration concerning the altar at Bethel (1 Kings 13:29-32). We must therefore follow Ephr. Syr., Theodor., Hengstenberg, and others, and regard the old prophet as a true prophet, who with good intentions, and not "under the influence of human envy" (Thenius), but impelled by the desire to enter into a closer relation to the man of God from Judah and to strengthen himself through his prophetic gifts, urged him to enter his house. The fact that he made use of sinful means in order to make more sure of securing the end desired, namely, of the false pretence that he had been directed by an angel to do this, may be explained, as Hengstenberg suggests (Dissert. vol. ii. p. 149), on the ground that when Jeroboam introduced his innovations, he had sinned by keeping silence, and that the appearance of the Judaean prophet had brought him to a consciousness of this sin, so that he had been seized with shame on account of his fall, and was anxious to restore himself to honour in his own eyes and those of others by intercourse with this witness to the truth. But however little the lie itself can be excused or justified, we must not attribute to him alone the consequences by which the lie was followed in the case of the Judaean prophet. For whilst he chose reprehensible means of accomplishing what appeared to be a good end, namely, to raise himself again by intercourse with a true prophet, and had no wish to injure the other in any way, the Judaean prophet allowed himself to be seduced to a transgression of the clear and definite prohibition of God simply by the sensual desire for bodily invigoration by meat and drink, and had failed to consider that the divine revelation which he had received could not be repealed by a pretended revelation from an angel, because the word of God does not contradict itself. He was therefore obliged to listen to a true revelation from God from the moth of the man whose pretended revelation from an angel he had too carelessly believed, namely, to the announcement of punishment for his disobedience towards the commandment of God, which punishment he immediately afterwards endured, "for the destruction of the flesh, but for the preservation of the spirit: 1 Corinthians 15:5" (Berleb. Bible). That the punishment fell upon him alone and not upon the old prophet of Bethel also, and that for apparently a smaller crime, may be accounted for "not so much from the fact that the old prophet had lied with a good intention (this might hold good of the other also), as from the fact that it was needful to deal strictly with the man who had just received a great and holy commission from the Lord" (O. v. Gerlach). It is true that no bodily punishment fell upon the old prophet, but this punishment he received instead, that with his lie he was put to shame, and that his conscience must have accused him of having occasioned the death of the man of God from Judah. He was thereby to be cured of his weakness, that he might give honour to the truth of the testimony of God. "Thus did the wondrous providence of God know how to direct all things most gloriously, so that the bodily destruction of the one contributed to the spiritual and eternal preservation of the soul of the other" (Berleb. Bible). - Concerning the design of these marvellous events, H. Witsius has the following remarks in his Miscell. ss. i. p. 118 (ed. nov. 1736): "So many wondrous events all occurring in one result caused the prophecy against the altar at Bethel to be preserved in the mouths and memories of all, and the mission of this prophet to become far more illustrious. Thus, although the falsehood of the old man of Bethel brought disgrace upon himself, it injured no one but the man of God whose credulity was too great; and, under the overruling providence of God, it contributed in the most signal manner to the confirmation and publication of the truth."

(Note: Compare with this the remark of Theodoret in his quaest. 43 in 3 libr. Reb.: "In my opinion this punishment served to confirm the declaration concerning the altar. For it was not possible for the statement of such a man to be concealed: and this was sufficient to fill with terror those who heard it; for if partaking of food contrary to the command of God, and that not of his own accord, but under a deception, brought such retribution upon a righteous man, to what punishments would they be exposed who had forsaken the God who made them, and worshipped the likenesses of irrational creatures?")

The heaping up of the marvellous corresponded to the great object of the mission of the man of God out of Judah, through which the Lord would enter an energetic protest against the idolatrous worship of Jeroboam at its first introduction, to guard those who feared God in Israel, of whom there were not a few (2 Chronicles 11:16; 2 Kings 18:3; 2 Kings 19:18), from falling away from Him by joining in the worship of the calves, and to take away every excuse from the ungodly who participated therein.

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