1 Kings, Chapter 13

- נ ת ה -

A Prophet of God Foretells the Destruction of the Bethel Altar

Jeroboam offers a sacrifice on the altar in Bethel, even though divine law dictates that the Temple in Jerusalem is the only place where such worship is permitted. A man of God arrives from Judah and foretells that the altar and the blasphemous Kingdom of Israel will be destroyed. Jeroboam is enraged by this prophecy and tries to have the emissary killed, but when he stretches out his hand, it immediately becomes paralyzed. God instructs his emissary to take a different route back to Judah from the one he took on his way to the altar. God also tells the man that he must abstain from eating and drinking until he has returned home. 

After the man of God breaks his vows, a lion kills him and his donkey on the road back to Judah, yet miraculously does not eat them. The old prophet brings the body of his former guest to Bethel, buries him there, and demands that he be buried next to him when he dies. The man of God remained faithful and determined to tell the truth and convey God’s rebuke, even though it was controversial and potentially dangerous for him. 

“O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee” (1 Kings 13:2)

“When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; … For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel” (1 Kings 13:31-32)

Pursuit of truth means not only looking outward, but also inward; our life’s mission is to discover truth.