1 Kings 13:30-34
And he laid his carcass in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!…
God has made us free to choose or refuse good or evil Will cannot be coerced and yet be free; coercion here, therefore, would be destruction. But while God does not compel us to choose the right, He induces by gracious promises, and admonishes by alternative penalties. Still we remain free to elect the good with its blessings, or the evil with its entailments of misery. But so loth is He to see His creatures wretched that He has opened a way of repentance and reformation for sinners. In this, mercy is carried to the extreme limit which consists with the welfare of the universe, which must ever depend upon the order and harmony of righteousness. At this point there comes in the law of extremity; and the sinner passing it has to encounter "judgment without mercy."
I. THE OLD PROPHET SOUGHT MERCY.
1. His conduct expressed repentance.
(1) He went out for the corpse of the man of God, and brought it to his home, discerning the hand of God in the judgment. Looking now upon that ghastly form of death he saw his own sad work. He had caused a mischief he could not now repair. How inadequately men estimate beforehand the consequences of their wrong doing! (9.) He decently interred the body in his own grave. This was the only reparation now within his power for the injury he had caused, But how inadequate! What a bitter thought!
(3) He "mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!" This exclamation (הוי אחי) was the refrain of a lamentation (see Jeremiah 22:18). Ward, in his "Manners and Customs of the Hindoos," gives two specimens of such lamentations. There are frequent allusions to these in the prophets (see Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 6:11; Joel 1:15; Amos 5:16, 17; Revelation 18:10-19). With the old prophet this was more than a conventional mourning, he mourned for himself before God.
2. His conduct also expressed faith.
(1) He commanded his sons, when he died, to lay his bones beside those of the man of God. He believed him to be a man of God in reality, notwithstanding this single act of disobedience for which he had suffered death. There are "sins unto death," viz., of the body, which do not involve the final death of the soul. He desired to be with him in the resurrection. The concern of the ancients respecting the disposition of their bodies after death arose out of their faith in a resurrection (see Genesis 1:24 26; Exodus 13:19; Hebrews 11:22; see also 2 Kings 13:20, 21).
(2) He gave as the reason of his command the faith he had in the certainty of the prophecy of the man of God (ver. 32). And in further testimony of his faith put an inscription on the tomb (see 2 Kings 23:17). He desired to be associated in death with the denouncers of Jeroboam's sin rather than with those involved in that sin. Nor would he be identified in the judgment with perverters of true worship.
(3) By this faith his bones were spared when those of the priests and votaries of Jeroboam were burnt upon the altar by Josiah (see 2 Kings 23:19). By a corresponding faith shall we be saved from the judgments of the more illustrious Son of David upon the man of sin of the mystical Babylon.
II. BUT JEROBOAM ENCOUNTERED THE EXTREMITY OF WRATH.
1. He disregarded the goodness of God.
(1) The conditional promises by the hand of Ahijah were very gracious (1 Kings 11:37-39). What a magnificent opportunity he had! But he missed it.
(2) What opportunities have we wasted? Who can estimate their value? No opportunity of glorifying God should escape us.
2. He disregarded his remonstrances.
(1) The judgments upon Rehoboam were lessons to him. The same God who in them visited the sins of Solomon had also set him upon the throne of Israel, and would deal with him upon the same principles. But he sinned against this admonition.
(2) Then came the warning from the man of God at the altar. That God was in this warning was left without doubt by the signs (vers. 3-6). These staggered him for a moment; but there was no true repentance.
(3) Then came the final warning in the death of the man of God for being implicated, though by a deception, in his sin. This also was shown to be from God by miraculous signs (ver. 64). But this also he disregarded (ver. 33).
(4) Now, therefore, the law of extremity must take its course. He and his house are devoted to destruction (ver. 34). This last warning was written in letters of blood. God gave it to Him at the expense of His own servant. And He warns us at the expense of His own Son; and if we finally reject Christ the extremity of mercy is spurned, and we must encounter the extremity of wrath. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!