1 Kings 13:6
And the king answered and said to the man of God, Entreat now the face of the LORD your God, and pray for me…
Jeroboam is not allowed to pursue his iniquitous career without solemn Divine rebuke and warning. Though Rehoboam has been forbidden to attempt forcibly to suppress the revolt of the tribes (1 Kings 12:24), a "man of God out of Judah" is sent sternly to denounce the rival altar, and to give the sacrilegious king something like a symbolic forewarning of the disasters that should surely befall him. The scene, described here with so much simplicity and dramatic force, is full of moral instruction.
I. In the person of the king we see THE HELPLESSNESS OF A WICKED MAN IN THE HANDS OF AN OFFENDED GOD. The physical associations and the mental conditions here presented are alike suggestive of this. It is a striking picture of restrained infatuation and impotent rage.
1. The king's withered arm tells how God can in a moment turn the strength that is used against Him to weakness. "When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity," etc. (Psalm 39:11).
2. The rent altar suggests the certain frustration, sooner or later, of the purposes and plans of those that are at enmity with God. "The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought," etc. (Psalm 33:10). "If this counsel or this work be of man," etc. (Acts 5:38).
3. The king's inability to pray for himself reminds us how God sometimes forsakes those who forsake Him, so that it seems utterly vain for them to call upon Him. Many a man has felt like Saul, "I am sore distressed, and God is departed from me," etc. (1 Samuel 28:15).
4. His appeal to the prophet to intercede for him is typical of the way in which ungodly men are often contrained by force of circumstance to seek succour from those whom they have despised. "The wheel of fortune turns and lowers the proud," and they are placed, perhaps, at the mercy of the very men whom they once scorned and injured. Such are the penalties that God often inflicts on those who trifle with His authority and defy His power. Such is the curse that falls upon "presumptuous sin."
II. The behaviour of the prophet presents A FINE EXAMPLE OF MORAL DIGNITY AND CONSCIOUS STRENGTH. See here -
(1) The courage of a man who knows that God is on his side. The prophets of old, conscious of a more majestic Presence and a higher Sovereignty, never trembled before the face of wicked kings. The fear of God casts out all other fear. "Be not afraid of them that kill the body," etc. (Luke 12:4, 5). "If God be for us," etc. (Romans 8:31).
(2) The magnanimity of one who feels that he is called to witness for God among men. The prophet will not take advantage of the king's helpnessness; rather responds at once to his appeal. He who is inspired by God's Spirit will not return scorn for scorn, or retaliate an attempted injury, but rather use for beneficent ends the power that he possesses. "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of," etc. (Luke 9:54, 56).
(3) The efficacy of the prayer of a righteous man. The withered arm is restored, and though this had no happy moral effect, as might have been expected, on Jeroboam, the whole transaction, in which mercy was thus blended with judgment, vindicated the honour of Jehovah, and established afresh His sovereign claim to the allegiance alike of king and people. - W.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
WEB: The king answered the man of God, "Now entreat the favor of Yahweh your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again." The man of God entreated Yahweh, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.