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A prophet threatens Jeroboam's altar, and gives a sign, which
immediately comes to pass, ver, 1 - 5.
He restores Jeroboam's withered hand, and leaves Bethel, ver. 6 - 10.
The old prophet deceives and entertains him, ver. 11 - 19.
He is threatened with death, ver. 20 - 23.
Slain by a lion and buried, ver. 24 - 32.
Jeroboam is hardened in his idolatry, ver. 33, 34.
1: Man of God - An holy prophet. By the word, &c. - By Divine
inspiration and command.
2: The altar - And consequently, against all that worship.
O altar - He directs his speech to the altar, because the following signs
were wrought upon it. Josiah - Which being done above three hundred
years after this prophecy, plainly shews the absolute certainty of God's
providence; and fore - knowledge even in the most contingent things. For this
was in itself uncertain, and wholly depended upon man's will, both as to the
having of a child, and as to the giving it this name. Therefore God can
certainly and effectually over - rule man's will which way he pleaseth; or
else it was possible, that this prediction should have been false; which is
blasphemous to imagine. The priests - The bones of the priests,(2Ki 23:15,16), whereby the altar should be defiled. How bold was
the man, that durst attack the king in his pride, and interrupt the
solemnity he was proud of? Whoever is sent on God's errand, must not fear
the faces of men. It was above three hundred and fifty years ere this
prophecy was fulfilled. Yet it is spoken of as sure and nigh at hand.
For a thousand years are with God as one day.
3: Gave a sign - That is, he then wrought a miracle, to assure them
of the truth of his prophecy.
4: Put forth, &c. - To point out the man whom he would have the
people lay hands on. The altar - Where it was employed in offering
something upon it. Dried up - Or, withered, the muscles and sinews,
the instruments of motion, shrunk up. This God did, to chastise
Jeroboam for offering violence to the Lord's prophet: to secure the
prophet against farther violence: and, that in this example God might
shew, how highly he resents the injuries done to his ministers, for the
faithful discharge of their office.
6: Thy God - Who hath manifested himself to be thy God and friend,
in a singular manner; and therefore will hear thy prayers for me, though
he will not regard mine, because I have forsaken him and his worship.
Besought - To assure Jeroboam, that what he had said, was not from
ill - will to him, and that he heartily desired his reformation, and not his
ruin. Restored - Because he repented of that violence, which he intended
against that prophet, for which God inflicted it: and that this goodness
of God to him, might have led him to repentance; or, if he continued
impenitent, leave him without excuse.
9: For so, &c. - My refusal of thy favour, is not from any contempt,
or hatred of thy person; but in obedience to the just command of my God,
who hath forbidden me all father converse or communication with thee.
Eat nor drink - In that place, or with that people. Whereby God declares,
how detestable they were in God's eyes; because they were vile apostates
from the true God, and embraced this idol - worship, against the light of
their own consciences, merely to comply with the king's humour and command.
Nor turn - That by thy avoiding the way that led thee to Beth - el as
execrable, although thou wentest by my special command, thou mightest teach
all others, how much they should abhor that way, and all thoughts of going
to that place, or to such people, upon any unnecessary occasion.
11: A prophet - One to whom, and by whom God did sometimes impart his
mind; as it is manifest from ver.(20), ver.(21), and one that had a respect to
the Lord's holy prophets, and gave credit to their predictions: but whether
he was a good man, may be doubted, seeing we find him in a downright lie,
ver.(18). And altho' an holy prophet may possibly have continued in the
kingdom of Israel, he would never have gone from his own habitation,
to dwell at Beth - el, the chief seat of idolatry, unless with design to
preach against it: which it is evident he did not; his sons seem to have
been present at, and, and to have joined with others in that idolatrous
21: Cried - With a loud voice, the effect of his passion, both for
his own guilt and shame, and for the prophet's approaching misery.
22: Shall not, &c. - Thou shalt not die a natural, but a violent
death; and that in this journey, before thou returnest to thy native
habitation. But is it not strange that the lying prophet escapes, while
the man of God is so severely punished? Certainly there must be a judgment
to come, when these things shall be called over again, and when those who
sinned most and suffered least in this world, will receive according to
23: Saddled for him - But, it is observable, he doth not accompany
him; his guilty conscience making him fear to be involved in the same
judgment with him.
24: Slew him - But why doth God punish a good man so severely for so
small an offence? His sin was not small, for it was a gross disobedience
to a positive command. And it cannot seem strange if God should bring his
deserved death upon him in this manner, for the accomplishment of his own
glorious designs, to vindicate his own justice from the imputation of
partiality; to assure the truth of his predictions, and thereby provoke
Jeroboam and his idolatrous followers to repentance; and to justify
himself in all his dreadful judgments which he intended to inflict upon
Jeroboam's house, and the whole kingdom of Israel.
28: He found, &c. - Here was a concurrence of miracles: that the ass
did not run away from the lion, according to his nature, but boldly stood
still, as reserving himself to carry the prophet to his burial; that the
lion did not devour its prey, nor yet go away when he had done his work,
but stood still, partly to preserve the carcase of the prophet from other
wild beasts or fowls, partly, as an evidence that the prophet's death was
not casual, nor the effect of a lion's ravenous disposition, but of God's
singular and just judgment; and consequently, that his prediction was
divine, and should be infallibly accomplished in its proper time; and
partly, as a token of God's favour to the deceased prophet, of whose very
carcase he took such special care: thereby signifying, that although for
wise and just reasons he thought fit to take away his life, yet his remains
was precious to him.
30: His grave - So that threatening, ver.(22), was fulfilled; and
withal, the memory of his prophecy was revived and preserved among them,
and his very carcase resting there, might be a witness of their madness
and desperate wickedness, in continuing in their abominable idolatry, after
such an assurance of the dreadful effects of it. They - The old prophet
and his sons, and others, whom common humanity taught to lament the untimely
death of so worthy a person. Alas, &c. - Which was an usual form of
expression in funeral - lamentations.
31: When I am dead, &c - Tho' he was a lying prophet, yet he desired
to die the death of a true prophet. Gather not my Soul with the sinners of
Beth - el, but with this man of God: Because what he cried against
the altar of Beth - el, shall surely come to pass. Thus by the mouth of
two witnesses was it established, if possible to convince Jeroboam.
32: Samaria - That is, of the kingdom of Samaria; as it was
called, though not when this fact was done, yet before these books were
written. Samaria was properly this name of one city, (1Ki 21:1),
but from hence the whole kingdom of Israel was so called.
33: After this - That is, after all these things: the singular number
put for the plural; after so many, and evident, and successive miracles.
Made again - He abated not so much as a circumstance in his idolatrous
worship. Whosoever - Without any respect to tribe or family, or integrity
of body, or mind, or life; all which were to be regarded in the priesthood.
34: Sin - Either, an occasion of sin, and means of hardening all his
posterity in their idolatry: or, a punishment, for so the word sin
is often used. This his obstinate continuance in his idolatry, after such
warnings, was the utter ruin of all his family. They betray themselves
effectually, who endeavour to support themselves by any sin.