Melachim I Thirteen: Men of God

“And behold a man of God came from Judah, at the command of the Lord, to Beth El, and Jeroboam was standing on the altar offering sacrifices (Kings I 13:1).” This man shares a prophecy that a new child will be born to the house of David who will slaughter the false priests. Jeroboam attempts to seize the man, but finds himself incapable of doing so. “And the altar split, and the ashes fell from the altar in accordance with the sign that the man of God gave by the word of God (Kings I 13:5).”

Now, Jeroboam realizes that things are serious, so he asks the man to pray on his behalf. The use of his hand is returned to him, and Jeroboam decides to invite the man to his home to reward him. But the man isn’t swayed by this at all, and refuses, because God had already told him not to eat or drink there. He leaves Beth El.

It seems that prophets are pretty common at this point, because there’s another one in Beth El at the time, and he hears about the first one from his son. “And he went after the Man of God and he found him sitting under a terebrinth, and he spoke to him, ‘Are you the Man of God who came from Judah?’ And he replied, ‘I am he (Kings I 13:14).'” The second prophet tries to get the first one to come eat in his house, despite knowing that God told him not to eat or drink in Beth El. The messenger refuses, but the elderly prophet lies to him and says that God told him to feed him. This is totally demonstrative of how easily alleged prophecy can be corrupted, because anyone can claim that God told them to do something in order to justify their actions.

This time, it backfires. The man of God goes and eats and drinks in the elderly prophet’s house. There’s nothing that explains why the elderly prophet wanted this to happen, but it does, and God tells the original messenger that he has rebelled against God. I feel for this man, because it was clearly an unintentional rebellion, which he was misled into performing. The man is killed by a lion, and instead of being taken to his home, the elderly prophet is the one to bury him. That’s super ironic, since it’s basically his fault that the man rebelled and died as a result.

Meanwhile, Jeroboam remains evil. This is a confusing time in Tanakh, because the two kings have such similar names, and the two prophets aren’t named, so there are a lot of pronouns being used. I’m eager to see what the next steps will be for these evil and corrupt rulers!

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