The Prophet's Temptation and Fall
1 Kings 13:11-32
Now there dwelled an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel…

Holy Scripture gives some terrible warnings as to the power and danger of temptation. Notably, the fall of men of God through temptation. This narrative is such a warning. Brings before us —

1. Generally, the subject of temptation.

2. Specially, temptation.

(1)  By means of our fellow-men.

(2)  To disobedience of God's express command. It is thus illustrative of, and illustrated by, other passages of Scripture.


1. Plain command had been given to this "man of God" (ver. 9). But no reason assigned. This is in keeping with many positive obligations of God's law..

2. King Jeroboam desires him to act in opposition to God's command.

(1)  It is an open temptation, recognised as such.

(2)  It is a temptation of the world.

(3)  It appeals to self-interest: something is to be gained (ver. 7). Like the temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:5), of Balaam (Numbers 22:16, 17), of Christ (Matthew 4:8, 9).

3. He understands it, resolves, acts. He turns away from it (ver. 10). Like Joseph (Genesis 39:9-12). Learn — our real safety is to flee from temptation.


1. Again the same temptation comes: but not now from standpoint of the world, of open enmity with God. A seeming prophet is tempter (vers. 11-15).

2. The man of God feels some inward desire to comply with the temptation. There is hesitation In his resistance; he says, "I may not," and therefore "will not." Learn —

(1) The beginning of our fall is when our will begins to be out of accord with God's law; when we would sin, but dare not.

(2) There is danger in parleying with temptation.


1. For third time same temptation assails him, and with additional inducement. Satan becomes as an "angel of light," his emissary assumes the position of a minister of God (ver. 18). This case resembles Satan's quotation of Scripture (Matthew 4:3, 6).

2. The man of God is deceived by the insidiousness of the lie.

(1)  Temptation at first repelled, then entertained, is at last successful.

(2)  He yields, and disobeys God's Word.

(3)  His sin meets with direct judgment (ver. 24).Learn —

(1)  The transgression of God's law in any particular is sin.

(2)  The wages of sin is death.Conclusion — Two passages in the New Testament sum up and enforce the whole subject: —

1. 1 Corinthians 10:13.

(1) Temptation is a law of all human life. The man of God is not exempt.

(2) Temptation is in God's mercy regulated according to our ability to resist.

(3) A way of escape is ever open to us. Generally by our promptly turning away from the person or thing tempting us.

2. Galatians 1:8.

(1) Temptation often comes by the example or persuasion of our fellow-creatures.

(2) It will come as though with the authority of God. This specially in temptations to scepticism and disbelief as to the truth of Romans 6:23.

(3) God's Word cannot contradict itself. Should it seem to do so, or any human interpretation make it appear to do so, we may doubt our own views or the interpretation of others, and should adhere to the plain truth of Holy Scripture.

(T. H. Barnet.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

WEB: Now there lived an old prophet in Bethel; and one of his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king.

The Penalty of Disobedience
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