A Man of God Goes to Bethel 13 1A man of God went from Judah to Bethel. He had received a message from the Lord. He arrived in Bethel just as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer a sacrifice. 2The man cried out. He shouted a message from the Lord against the altar. He said, “Altar! Altar! The Lord says, ‘A son named Josiah will be born into the royal family of David. Altar, listen to me! Josiah will sacrifice the priests of the high places on you. They will be the children of the priests who are offering sacrifices here now. So human bones will be burned on you.’ ” 3That same day the man of God spoke about a miraculous sign. He said, “Here is the sign the Lord has announced. This altar will be broken to pieces. The ashes on it will be spilled out.” 4The man of God announced that message against the altar at Bethel. When King Jeroboam heard it, he reached out his hand from the altar. He said, “Grab him!” But as he reached out his hand toward the man, it dried up. He couldn’t even pull it back. 5Also, the altar broke into pieces. Its ashes spilled out. That happened in keeping with the miraculous sign the man of God had announced. He had received a message from the Lord. 6King Jeroboam spoke to the man of God. He said, “Pray to the Lord your God for me. Pray that my hand will be as good as new again.” So the man of God prayed to the Lord for the king. And the king’s hand became as good as new. It was just as healthy as it had been before. 7The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me. Have something to eat. I’ll give you a gift.” 8But the man of God replied to the king. He said, “What if you were to give me half of what you own? Even then I wouldn’t go with you. I wouldn’t eat bread or drink water here. 9The Lord gave me a command. He said, ‘Do not eat bread or drink water there. Do not return the same way you came.’ ” 10So he took another road. He didn’t go back on the same road he had taken when he came to Bethel. 11An old prophet was living in Bethel. His sons came and spoke to him. They told him everything the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what the man had said to the king. 12Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” His sons showed him the road the man of God from Judah had taken. 13So he said to his sons, “Put a saddle on the donkey for me.” When they had done it, he got on the donkey. 14He traveled on the same road the man of God had taken. He found the man sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he replied. 15So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me. I’ll give you something to eat.” 16The man of God said, “I can’t go back to Bethel with you. I can’t eat bread or drink water with you there. 17I’ve received a message from the Lord. He told me, ‘Do not eat bread or drink water there. Do not return the same way you came.’ ” 18The old prophet answered, “I’m also a prophet, just like you. An angel gave me a message from the Lord. The message said, ‘Bring the man of God back with you to your house. Then he can eat bread and drink water with you.’ ” But the old prophet was telling him a lie. 19The man of God returned with him. He ate and drank in his house. 20They were sitting at the table. The Lord gave a message to the old prophet who had brought the man of God back. 21He cried out to the man who had come from Judah. He told him, “The Lord says, ‘You have not done what I told you to do. You have not obeyed the command I gave you. I am the Lord your God. 22You came back here and ate bread and drank water. You did it in the place where I told you not to. So your body will not be buried in your family tomb.’ ” 23The man of God finished eating and drinking. Then the old prophet who had brought him back put a saddle on the man’s donkey for him. 24And the man went on his way. A lion attacked him on the road and killed him. His body was left lying on the road. The donkey and the lion were standing beside it. 25Some people passed by. They saw the body lying on the road. They saw the lion standing beside the body. Then they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived. 26The prophet who had brought the man back from his journey heard about what had happened. He said, “It’s the man of God. He didn’t do what the Lord told him to do. So the Lord has given him over to the lion. The lion has attacked him and killed him. Everything has happened just as the Lord’s message had warned him it would.” 27The old prophet said to his sons, “Put a saddle on the donkey for me.” So they did. 28Then he went out. He found the body of the man of God lying on the road. The donkey and the lion were standing beside it. The lion hadn’t eaten the body. It hadn’t attacked the donkey either. 29So the prophet picked up the man’s body. He put it on the donkey. He brought it back to his own city. He wanted to sob over him and bury him. 30Then he placed the body in his own tomb. People sobbed over him. They said, “My friend! My dear friend!” 31After the old prophet had buried the body of the man of God, he spoke to his sons. He said, “When I die, bury my body in the grave where the man of God is buried. Put my bones next to his bones. 32I want you to do that because he announced a message from the Lord. He spoke against the altar in Bethel. He also spoke against all of the temples that were on the high places. They are in the towns of Samaria. What the man of God said will certainly come true.” 33Even after all of that happened, Jeroboam still didn’t change his evil ways. Once more he appointed priests for the high places. He made priests out of all kinds of people. In fact, he let anyone become a priest who wanted to. He set them apart to serve at the high places. 34All of that was the great sin the royal family of Jeroboam committed. It led to their fall from power. Because of it, they were destroyed from the face of the earth.
New International Readers Version® / © 1984 Biblica, Inc. About