Just then a prophet from Judah, sent by the Lord, arrived in Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing near the altar ready to offer a sacrifice. With the authority of the Lord he cried out against the altar, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says, ‘Look, a son named Josiah will be born to the Davidic dynasty. He will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer sacrifices on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’” That day he also announced a sign, “This is the sign the Lord has predetermined: The altar will be split open and the ashes on it will fall to the ground.” When the king heard what the prophet cried out against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam, standing at the altar, extended his hand and ordered, “Seize him!” The hand he had extended shrivelled up and he could not pull it back. The altar split open and the ashes fell from the altar to the ground, in fulfilment of the sign the prophet had announced with the Lord’s authority. The king plead with the prophet, “Seek the favour of the Lord your God and pray for me, so that my hand may be restored.” So the prophet sought the Lord’s favour and the king’s hand was restored to its former condition. The king then said to the prophet, “Come home with me and have something to eat. I’d like to give a present.” But the prophet said to the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I could not go with you and eat and drink in this place. For the Lord gave me strict orders, ‘Do not eat or drink there and do not go home the way you came.’” So he started back on another road; he did not travel back on the same road he had taken to Bethel.
Now there was an old prophet living in Bethel. When his sons came home, they told their father everything the prophet had done in Bethel that day and all the words he had spoken to the king. Their father asked them, “Which road did he take?” His sons showed him the road the prophet from Judah had taken. He then told his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” When they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it and took off after the prophet, whom he found sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the prophet from Judah?” He answered, “Yes, I am.” He then said to him, “Come home with me and eat something.” But he replied, “I can’t go back with you or eat and drink with you in this place. For the Lord gave me strict orders, ‘Do not eat or drink there; do not go back the way you came.’” The old prophet then said, “I too am a prophet like you. An angel told me with the Lord’s authority, ‘Bring him back with you to your house so he can eat and drink.’” But he was lying to him. So the prophet went back with him and ate and drank in his house.
While they were sitting at the table, the Lord spoke through the old prophet and he cried out to the prophet from Judah, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have rebelled against the Lord and have not obeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. You went back and ate and drank in this place, even though he said to you, “Do not eat or drink there.” Therefore your corpse will not be buried in your ancestral tomb.’”
When the prophet from Judah finished his meal, the old prophet saddled his visitor’s donkey for him. As the prophet from Judah was travelling, a lion attacked him on the road and killed him. His corpse was lying on the road, and the donkey and the lion just stood there beside it. Some men came by and saw the corpse lying in the road with the lion standing beside it. They went and reported what they had seen in the city where the old prophet lived. When the old prophet who had invited him to his house heard the news, he said, “It is the prophet who rebelled against the Lord. The Lord delivered him over to the lion and it ripped him up and killed him, just as the Lord warned him.” He told his sons, “Saddle my donkey,” and they did so. He went and found the corpse lying in the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside it; the lion had neither eaten the corpse nor attacked the donkey. The old prophet picked up the corpse of the prophet, put it on the donkey, and brought it back. The old prophet then entered the city to mourn him and to bury him. He put the corpse into his own tomb, and they mourned over him, saying, “Ah, my brother!” After he buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the tomb where the prophet is buried; put my bones right beside his bones, for the prophecy he announced with the Lord’s authority against the altar in Bethel and against all the temples on the high places in the cities of the north will certainly be fulfilled.”
A Prophet Announces the End of Jeroboam’s Dynasty
After this happened, Jeroboam still did not change his evil ways; he continued to appoint common people as priests at the high places. Anyone who wanted the job he consecrated as a priest. This sin caused Jeroboam’s dynasty to come to an end and to be destroyed from the face of the earth.