The Visitation of Judgment
1 Kings 13:28-29
And he went and found his carcass cast in the way, and the donkey and the lion standing by the carcass: the lion had not eaten the carcass…

The man of God from Judah, deceived by the old prophet of Ephraim, ate and drank in that land of apostasy. This was a disobedience to the word of the Lord, and a complicity in the abominations he was sent to denounce. For this he heard the Divine voice of reproof, and went forth to suffer accordingly, as detailed in the text.


1. Review the prophecy.

(1) Ver. 22. He was, therefore, doomed to die away from his home; and, presumably, by violence.

(2) With what solemn feelings would he see his ass saddled with the prospect of such a journey! Ought not our feelings also to be solemn to whom death is certain, though the moment and the manner be unknown?

2. Note the fulfilment.

(1) Vers. 29, 30. He was met and slain by a lion, and his corpse was cast in the way. There was a spectacle for all passengers! What an evil thing is sin!

(2) Thus suffered for disobedience a "man of God." The sanctity of his profession did not protect him from sin, neither can it protect him from punishment. So neither, the dignity of his office. So neither, the service he had rendered to God (see 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5, 6).

(3) Judgment begins at the house of God, but falls more terribly upon the wicked (1 Peter 4:17, 18). They may well tremble before "Him that can destroy both soul and body in hell."

(4) The man of God came not to the sepulchre of his fathers, yet was mourned over by one who had been a snare to him, but to whom he had been made a blessing. There are strange reciprocities.


1. Miracle controlled the instincts of animals.

(1) The lion was moved, not by thirst for prey, but by revenge. But this revenge was the Lord's. The animal had suffered nothing from the hand of the man of God.

(2) Instinct was otherwise controlled. For here were the lion and the ass together watching the carcase. The ass did not fly from the face of the lion; neither did the lion molest the ass.

(3) Nor was this strange witnessing the accident of a momentary surprise. It was maintained while certain passengers, who first observed it, journeyed to the city and reported it; and until, in consequence, the old prophet, divining its import, came upon the scene.

2. Here let us admire the Divine resources.

(1) He that moved upon the instincts of the lion and the ass was the same who made the representatives of the animal creation defile before Adam to receive their names; who brought them into the ark of Noah; restrained the lions from injuring Daniel; the same who, in the days of His flesh, dwelt among the wild beasts in the wilderness, and who controlled the movements of fishes in the depths (Mark 1:13; Matthew 17:27; Luke 5:4-7). This power over the instincts of the lion and ass is but a sample of corresponding dominion over every department of nature. And the resources of this power are the resources of justice and mercy.

3. But what is the mystical meaning of the signs?

(1) The death of the man of God was judgment for his complicity with the sin of Ephraim in eating and drinking in that polluted place. So it was the last of the series of warnings to Jeroboam before the abandonment of his house to destruction (see ver. 33).

(2) The lion that inflicted the penalty was the symbol of Judah, of its royalty, and especially of Shiloh, in whom that royalty culminated. Hence Messiah is described as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (see Genesis 49:9, 10; Revelation 5:5). Of this glorious Lion, Josiah was to be a type. Messiah visits the sin of Ephraim in the apostasy of the son of Nebat, and the sin of Judah for complicity in its abominations (see Hosea 5:14). So in like manner will He strike down the forms of apostasy extant in these latter times.

(3) The ass was the symbol of Issachar (Genesis 49:14, 15); but not of Judah; for it is difficult to justify the translation in verse 11, which is better rendered, "and him shall the peoples obey; binding up the shoots of the vine, and the branches of the choice vine."

(4) As the ass stood as a witness of this judgment of God upon the sin of Jeroboam, and then carried the carcase away to be buried, so "Baasha, the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar," destroyed and put out of sight the house of Jeroboam, fulfilling the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (ch. 15:27-30). How manifold is the wisdom of God! How deep are His judgments! - J.A.M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.

WEB: He went and found his body cast in the way, and the donkey and the lion standing by the body. The lion had not eaten the body, nor mauled the donkey.

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