1 Kings 13:1
Suddenly, as Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD.
The Nameless ProphetA. Rowland 1 Kings 13:1, 2
The Fire of JehovahJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 13:1-3
The Pretensions of Error Deepen its ShameJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 13:1-10

Jeroboam went to inaugurate his feast of tabernacles at his principal temple in Bethel, and to give effect to the ceremonies officiated in person as high priest. Then, as he stood by the altar, censer in hand, he was confronted by the word of the Lord. A man of God from Judah denounced the altar in the words before us, which contain a very remarkable prophecy; and he authenticated his message by a miraculous sign. (Compare Mark 16:20.) The subject teaches -


1. This is evinced in His works of creation.

(1) There is foresight in the constitution and adjustments of the framework, and in the motions, of the orbs.

(2) Also in the anticipatory instincts of animals - storing of food, provisions for young. Moths deposit their eggs upon leaves, not used by themselves as food, but proper to sustain the larvae.

(3) And in the anticipatory faculties of man. Intelligent foresight in business, in politics, in science, in religion.

2. It is evinced in prophecy.

(1) Great outlines of the world's history pre-written there (see Genesis 9:25-27; Daniel 7.).

(2) Particular example here. (Compare this with 2 Kings 23:15-20.) The facts here were attested - By the Jews, on whose behalf they were ordered - By the Ephrathites, who would have impugned their authority if they could.

3. This example is too circumstantial to have been accidental.

(1) The child was to be of the house of David. Who but God could foresee that the house of David should occupy the throne of Judah at a distance of 856 years?

(2) Who but God could foresee that Bethel would then have passed from the kings of Israel under the dominion of Judah? (See 2 Chronicles 13:19.)

(3) Who but God could foresee that at a distance of 840 years a child should be born to the house of David, bearing the name of Josiah, who should in due time do these things?

(4) Who else could anticipate, even when Josiah received his name, that the grandson of the wicked Manasseh, and son of the no less wicked Amen, should come to the throne, and with pious zeal bring these things to pass? Note: Such prescience as God displayed in this prophecy, and such providence as He evinced in its accomplishment, encourage faith. They assure us that our very names are in His book (Philippians 4:8). They encourage prayer.


1. The message to Jeroboam was to this very effect.

(1) He bore His testimony against the altar. It had been consecrated, after a fashion, by the king, but God would desecrate it. The bodies of its priests were to be sacrificed upon it, and the bones of men were to be burnt upon it (1 Kings 13:2). God will accept no will worship - no worship ordered after the policy of statesmen.

(2) In the demolition of the altar, not only is the religion connected with it doomed to be overthrown, but the judgment involves its votaries - the king, his priests, his people.

(3) The testimony was strong. The man of God cried aloud. He did not quail in the presence of the king amidst his friends. God's messengers should never cringe nor quail God's word can never fail.

2. These things were an allegory.

(1) Many of the wonderful narratives of Holy Scripture may be thus understood. We have the famous example, Galatians 4:21-31.

(2) Here Jeroboam, like all other leaders in apostasy, was a forerunner of the Antichrist. As the religion of the "man of sin" is a caricature of the religion of Christ, so was that of Jeroboam a parody upon the Mosaic.

(3) Josiah was a type of Christ, the true Son of David. (Compare Isaiah 7:14.) Warning and mercy come before destruction. The army of Judah was stayed from crushing Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:24), and in the mission of the man of God there was mercy in the warning. Let the sinner be admonished not to refuse the gospel. - J.A.M.

If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day... then they will be thy servants for ever.
These words are of deep-reaching import, and contain a principle of universal application. They especially apply to starts in life. When the son leaves the parental home for his new calling, for foreign land, to make his way in the world, our text contains a sentence which the father may, at the last moment of departure, whisper in his ear as an expression of the deepest thoughts in his heart for the guidance of the young beginner. To fulfil these words beautifies life, to have fulfilled them softens death. They contain a prescription which one can never repent of following.

I. THE FOLLY OF REHOBOAM. In the ancient, town of Shechem, a town that recalls to the Israelite memories of patriarchal limes, a king is about to be crowned. Solomon the Great has gone the way of all his fathers, and by right of succession the crown falls to Rehoboam his son. All Israel assembled at Shechem to make him king. For ages that old city had retained traces of its ancient dignity, just as Rheims, the old capital of France, continued to be the scene of coronations long after it had ceased to be the national capital. There was a time when Amsterdam was threatened to be deprived of its right of Royal Coronation, but since the severance of Belgium and Holland, the New Church here holds that honour undisputed. Shechem was full of representatives from all parts of the country. The king came down in royal state from Jerusalem. No opposition was offered to Rehoboam's succession. He was the only son of Solomon, and the people were prepared. to receive him as such. They had, however, many grievances which they wished to have redressed. Solomon had not been everything that a king should be.

II. THE PREROGATIVE OF SERVICE. A wise king would have at once acceded to such a request. But Rehoboam, although the son of a wise father, had not the common sense to do so. Wisdom is not inherited. "Who knoweth whether his son will be a wise man or a fool?" He was the king. The people had no rights but what he chose to give them. They were his servants, not he their servant. His will was their law. He knew nothing and would hear nothing of the rights of the individual. According to the mind of Jesus, he is the greatest who renders the greatest service to others. "They assert that the strength of a monarch's throne is service for and sympathy with his people." A throne built on such a foundation will last unshaken for ever. Oh, happy king to have such counsellors! Oh, foolish man to turn aside from them! The consequence of this incredibly foolish reply was such as might have been expected. "The work of two generations was undone in a moment." Under the leadership of Jeroboam, who promised them the reforms they wanted, the Ten Tribes revolted.

III. SELFISH AUTOCRACY. It is the old story of the consequence of selfish and inconsiderate autocracy. It is a lesson which makes but slow progress in the minds of men. The old heathen idea of forcible dominion is still largely the governing one of politics — that to be great is to receive much service, not to render it. Politics has too often been a game of ambition rather than a sphere of service.

(W. Thomson, M. A. , B. D.)

Christian Commonwealth.
The honour of service is emphasised by Solomon in the title he gives to his father. He speaks of him by a more honourable name than that of king — "Thy servant David." Solomon recognised that he owed his exalted .position entirely to God. The most universal function in nature is that of service. Nothing in creation is serving itself, but every element is intended to serve some other. The flowers bloom in beauty, but soon serve us by transformation into seed. The winds purify the earth. The clouds carry moisture across all regions. The sun is regal in majestic splendour, but this monarch of the planets is, in reality, far more their servant, as their light and heat bearer. Above all, the idea of service is ennobled by Jesus, who as minister to His disciples was "servant of all." So are we to seek to serve God and man.

(Christian Commonwealth.)

David, Jeroboam, Josiah
Bethel, Samaria
Altar, Behold, Beth, Bethel, Beth-el, Burn, Burning, El, Incense, Jeroboam, Jerobo'am, Judah, Offer, Offering, Offerings, Order, Perfume, Standing, Stood
1. Jeroboam's hand withers
6. and at the prayer of the prophet is restored
7. The prophet departs from Bethel
11. An old prophet brings him back
20. He is reproved by God
23. slain by a lion
26. buried by the old prophet
31. who confirms the prophecy
33. Jeroboam's obstinacy

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 13:1-3

     1429   prophecy, OT fulfilment
     1431   prophecy, OT methods
     8748   false religion

1 Kings 13:1-5

     1450   signs, kinds of

Whether Christ Took Flesh of the Seed of David?
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ did not take flesh of the seed of David. For Matthew, in tracing the genealogy of Christ, brings it down to Joseph. But Joseph was not Christ's father, as shown above ([4138]Q[28], A[1], ad 1,2). Therefore it seems that Christ was not descended from David. Objection 2: Further, Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, as related Ex. 6. Now Mary the Mother of Christ is called the cousin of Elizabeth, who was a daughter of Aaron, as is clear from Lk. 1:5,36. Therefore,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Interpretation of Prophecy.
1. The scriptural idea of prophecy is widely removed from that of human foresight and presentiment. It is that of a revelation made by the Holy Spirit respecting the future, always in the interest of God's kingdom. It is no part of the plan of prophecy to gratify vain curiosity respecting "the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:7. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God"--this is its key-note. In its form it is carefully adapted to this great end.
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

And Yet, by Reason of that Affection of the Human Heart...
9. And yet, by reason of that affection of the human heart, whereby "no man ever hateth his own flesh," [2731] if men have reason to know that after their death their bodies will lack any thing which in each man's nation or country the wonted order of sepulture demandeth, it makes them sorrowful as men; and that which after death reacheth not unto them, they do before death fear for their bodies: so that we find in the Books of Kings, God by one prophet threatening another prophet who had transgressed
St. Augustine—On Care to Be Had for the Dead.

The Prophet Hosea.
GENERAL PRELIMINARY REMARKS. That the kingdom of Israel was the object of the prophet's ministry is so evident, that upon this point all are, and cannot but be, agreed. But there is a difference of opinion as to whether the prophet was a fellow-countryman of those to whom he preached, or was called by God out of the kingdom of Judah. The latter has been asserted with great confidence by Maurer, among others, in his Observ. in Hos., in the Commentat. Theol. ii. i. p. 293. But the arguments
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Paul's Departure and Crown;
OR, AN EXPOSITION UPON 2 TIM. IV. 6-8 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR How great and glorious is the Christian's ultimate destiny--a kingdom and a crown! Surely it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what ear never heard, nor mortal eye ever saw? the mansions of the blest--the realms of glory--'a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' For whom can so precious an inheritance be intended? How are those treated in this world who are entitled to so glorious, so exalted, so eternal,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

1 Kings 13:1 NIV
1 Kings 13:1 NLT
1 Kings 13:1 ESV
1 Kings 13:1 NASB
1 Kings 13:1 KJV

1 Kings 13:1 Bible Apps
1 Kings 13:1 Parallel
1 Kings 13:1 Biblia Paralela
1 Kings 13:1 Chinese Bible
1 Kings 13:1 French Bible
1 Kings 13:1 German Bible

1 Kings 13:1 Commentaries

Bible Hub
1 Kings 12:33
Top of Page
Top of Page