First Kings 13 Commentary
How times have changed! Under Moses’ time, Jeroboam’s idolatry would have been punished by death! Instead, Jeroboam is given chance to repent.
This is a chapter of extremes. The man of God who came from Judah delivers the LORD’S message to Jeroboam. Jeroboam doesn’t exactly repent but he gets his healing and returns to the palace to enjoy more years.
The old prophet misleads the younger prophet to his untimely death. He lies about the word of the LORD but is shockingly spared to bury a man more righteous than himself.
What is happening here? Has the LORD forgotten to be righteous? No. We are back to the LORD’s impossible mixture of compassion and justice. “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34 verses 6 and 7.
Here are the facts from this chapter. The man of God from Judah had initially obeyed the LORD and the LORD confirmed the word by signs. But he had also disobeyed by agreeing to stop and eat in a forbidden place. The old prophet was lying. He didn’t get any word from the LORD.
The young prophet needed to know that the LORD doesn’t change instructions like that. The saint is warned here. Not every word claimed to come from the LORD is the word of God. The world has never run short of false prophets. What an expensive lesson for the young prophet!
When the young prophet is punished, who should deliver the message but the old more sinful prophet? This is so strange! Is the LORD trying to help the old prophet see his own sin and probably find his way to repentance? The LORD is sovereign and perfect. He does no wrong.
The highlight however is on Jeroboam who fails to repent even after the message from the LORD. Mortals cannot expect anything else at this point. Jeroboam’s dynasty would come to an end and his house would be wiped out in judgment. This is easier to understand.
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