The Man of God Speaks Against Bethel
1The Lord commanded a man of God from Judah to go to Bethel. When he arrived, Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer a sacrifice. 2The Lord had commanded the man of God to speak against the altar. The man said, “Altar, altar, the Lord says to you: ‘David’s family will have a son named Josiah. The priests for the places of worship now make their sacrifices on you, but Josiah will sacrifice those priests on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’ ” 3That same day the man of God gave proof that these things would happen. “This is the Lord’s sign that this will happen,” he said. “This altar will break apart, and the ashes on it will fall to the ground.”
4When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God said about the altar in Bethel, the king raised his hand from the altar and pointed at the man. “Take him!” he said. But when the king said this, his arm was paralyzed, and he could not move it. 5The altar also broke into pieces, and its ashes fell to the ground. This was the sign the Lord had told the man of God to give.
6Then the king said to the man of God, “Please pray to the Lord your God for me, and ask him to heal my arm.”
So the man of God prayed to the Lord, and the king’s arm was healed, becoming as it was before.
7Then the king said to the man of God, “Please come home and eat with me, and I will give you a gift.”
8But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you gave me half of your kingdom, I would not go with you. I will not eat or drink anything in this place. 9The Lord commanded me not to eat or drink anything nor to return on the same road by which I came.” 10So he took a different road and did not return on the same road by which he had come to Bethel.
11Now an old prophet was living in Bethel. His sons came and told him what the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to King Jeroboam. 12The father asked, “Which road did he use when he left?” So his sons showed him the road the man of God from Judah had taken. 13Then the prophet told his sons to put a saddle on his donkey. So they saddled the donkey, and he left.
14He went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. The prophet asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
The man answered, “Yes, I am.”
15The prophet said, “Please come home and eat with me.”
16“I can’t go home with you,” the man of God answered. “I can’t eat or drink with you in this place. 17The Lord said to me, ‘Don’t eat or drink anything there or return on the same road by which you came.’ ”
18Then the old prophet said, “But I also am a prophet like you.” Then he told a lie. He said, “An angel from the Lord came to me and told me to bring you to my home. He said you should eat and drink with me.” 19So the man of God went to the old prophet’s house, and he ate and drank with him there.
20While they were sitting at the table, the Lord spoke his word to the old prophet. 21The old prophet cried out to the man of God from Judah, “The Lord said you did not obey him! He said you did not do what the Lord your God commanded you. 22The Lord commanded you not to eat or drink anything in this place, but you came back and ate and drank. So your body will not be buried in your family grave.”
23After the man of God finished eating and drinking, the prophet put a saddle on his donkey for him, and the man left. 24As he was traveling home, a lion attacked and killed him. His body lay on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing nearby. 25Some men who were traveling on that road saw the body and the lion standing nearby. So they went to the city where the old prophet lived and told what they had seen.
26The old prophet who had brought back the man of God heard what had happened. “It is the man of God who did not obey the Lord’s command,” he said. “So the Lord sent a lion to kill him, just as he said he would.”
27Then the prophet said to his sons, “Put a saddle on my donkey,” which they did. 28The old prophet went out and found the body lying on the road, with the donkey and the lion still standing nearby. The lion had not eaten the body or hurt the donkey. 29The prophet put the body on his donkey and carried it back to the city to have a time of sadness for him and to bury him. 30The prophet buried the body in his own family grave, and they were sad for the man of God and said, “Oh, my brother.”
31After the prophet buried the body, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in this same grave. Put my bones next to his. 32Through him the Lord spoke against the altar at Bethel and against the places of worship in the towns of Samaria. What the Lord spoke through him will certainly come true.”
33After this incident King Jeroboam did not stop doing evil. He continued to choose priests for the places of worship from among all the people. Anyone who wanted to be a priest for the places of worship was allowed to be one. 34In this way the family of Jeroboam sinned, and this sin caused its ruin and destruction from the earth.
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