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God Speaks Against Bethel

1The LORD commanded a man of God from Judah to go to the city of Bethel. King Jeroboam was standing at the altar offering incense when the man of God arrived.

2The LORD had commanded the man of God to speak against the altar. He said, “Altar, the LORD says to you: ‘David’s family will have a son. His name will be Josiah. The priests of the high places are now burning incense on you, but Josiah will offer the priests on you and burn human bones on you, so you can never be used again!’”

3The man of God gave proof to the people that this would happen. He said, “This is the proof that the LORD told me about. He said, ‘This altar will break apart, and the ashes on it will fall onto the ground.’”

4When King Jeroboam heard the message from the man of God about the altar in Bethel, he took his hand off the altar and pointed at the man. He said, “Arrest that man!” But when the king said this, his arm became paralyzed. He could not move it.

5Then the altar broke into pieces, and all its ashes fell onto the ground. This proved that what the man of God had said came from the LORD.

6Then King Jeroboam said to the man of God, “Please pray to the LORD your God for me. Ask him to heal my arm.” So the man of God prayed to the LORD, and the king’s arm was healed, as it was before.

7Then the king said to the man of God, “Please come home with me. Come and eat with me. I will give you a gift.”

8But the man of God said to the king, “I will not go home with you, even if you give me half of your kingdom! I will not eat or drink anything in this place.

9The LORD commanded me not to eat or drink anything here. He also commanded me not to go back the same way I came.”

10So he took a different road home. He did not go back the same way he came to Bethel.

11There was an old prophet living in Bethel. His sons came and told him what the man of God did in Bethel and what he said to King Jeroboam.

12The old prophet said, “Which way did he go when he left?” So the sons showed their father which road the man of God from Judah had taken.

13The old prophet told his sons to saddle his donkey. They put the saddle on the donkey, and the prophet left.

14The old prophet went after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked him, “Are you the man of God who just came from Judah?” The man of God answered, “Yes, I am.”

15So the old prophet said, “Please come home and eat with me.”

16But the man of God said, “I cannot go home with you. I cannot eat or drink anything in this place.

17The LORD said to me, ‘You must not eat or drink anything in that place, and you must go back on a different road.’”

18The old prophet lied to him and said, “But I am a prophet like you. And an angel from the LORD came to me and told me to bring you home and give you something to eat and drink.”

19So the man of God went to the old prophet’s house and ate and drank with him.

20While they were sitting at the table, the LORD spoke to the old prophet,

21and the old prophet spoke to the man of God from Judah. He said, “The LORD said that you did not obey him! You did not do what he commanded.

22He told you not to eat or drink anything in this place, but you came back here and ate and drank. So your body will not be buried in your family grave.”

23The man of God finished eating and drinking. Then the old prophet saddled the man’s donkey for him and the man left.

24On the way home, a lion attacked and killed the man of God. His body was lying on the road while the lion stood next to it. The donkey stood nearby.

25Some people came walking by and saw the body and the lion standing by it. They went into the city where the old prophet lived and told people what they had seen on the road.

26The old prophet heard the story and said, “This is the man of God who did not obey the LORD'S command, so the LORD sent a lion to attack him. The lion has killed him, just as the LORD said would happen.”

27Then the prophet told his sons to saddle his donkey, and they did so.

28The old prophet went to find the body lying on the road. The donkey and the lion were still standing near it. The lion had not eaten the body or hurt the donkey.

29The old prophet put the body on his donkey and carried it back to the city to cry for him and bury him.

30The old prophet buried the man in his own family grave. The old prophet cried for him and said, “Oh, my brother, I am sorry for you.”

31So the old prophet buried the body. Then he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in this same grave. Put my bones next to his.

32The LORD used him to speak against the altar at Bethel and against the high places in the other towns in Samaria. And what he said will certainly happen.”

33King Jeroboam did not change. He continued doing evil. He continued to choose people from different tribes to serve as priests at the high places. Whoever wanted to be a priest was allowed to be one.

34This is the sin that caused the ruin and destruction of his kingdom.

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