The Wickedness of Jeroboam
Now Jeroboam, king over the ten tribes that had revolted from Rehoboam, was worried for fear the people would return to their allegiance to the son of Solomon. He wished to remain king over Israel, and was afraid if the people went up to Jerusalem to worship in the great temple that Solomon had
built, that they would forsake him and return to Rehoboam.
Therefore, he made two calves of gold and set them up for the people to worship, one in Bethel and one in Dan. Then he said to the people: "It is too much trouble for you to go to Jerusalem. Be
hold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt."
And the foolish people went to Bethel and to Dan to worship the golden calves, which was a great sin in the sight of the Lord. Jeroboam built temples and made priests of the lowest of the people that were not Levites, and gave a great feast and offered sacrifices upon the altars of the heathen gods. He did this to keep the people from going to Jerusalem
to worship God in the temple that Solomon had built.
A man of God came from the tribe of Judah and stood by the heathen altar when Jeroboam was offering sacrifice. The man cried out aloud: "O, altar, altar, a child shall be born from the family of David and Josiah shall be his name. Upon this altar he shall offer a sacrifice, the priests of the high places and men's bones shall be burned here. The altar shall be broken and the ashes shall be scattered."
When Jeroboam heard these words of the man of God he stretched out his hand and said to those around him: "Lay hold on that man." But his hand which he stretched out dried up so that he could not pull it in again to him. Then the altar was broken and the ashes were scattered even as the man of God had said.
Then Jeroboam begged the prophet: "Pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me." And the man of God prayed to the Lord, and the king's hand was restored to him, and became as it was before.
Jeroboam then begged the man to go with him and refresh himself and accept a reward. But the prophet replied: "If you were to give me half the riches of your house, I would not go with you nor eat bread nor drink water in this place, for the Lord charged me not to eat nor drink nor rest while I was here." And the prophet turned and went back to his own land.
There was also an old prophet who lived in Bethel. His sons came to him and told him what the man of God had done that day. The old prophet then said to his sons: "Which way went he?" And his sons told him the way the man of God had gone. The old prophet then said: "Saddle me the ass." And his sons brought him the ass with a saddle on it, and the old prophet rode after the man of God.
He found him sitting under an oak and the old prophet said to him: "Are you the man of God that came from Judah?" and he answered: "I am."
"Come home with me and eat bread," said the old prophet. "I will not return with you, nor eat bread nor drink water, nor rest, while I am in this place, for the Lord commanded me not to do so," replied the man of God.
Then the prophet said: "I am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me saying that I should bring you back and that you should eat bread and drink water in my house." The prophet was telling a falsehood, but the man of God believed him, and went back to his house and ate and drank with him.
As they sat at the table the Lord made the old prophet say to the man of God: "You have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept His commandments. You have come back, and have eaten bread and have drunk water and have rested in this place." Then the old prophet saddled the ass and put the man of God on it and sent him away.
When the man was on his way back to Judah, a lion met him and slew him. The lion did not eat his dead body but stood by it, and the ass did also. Some men passed by and saw the dead man's body and the lion and the ass standing by it, and they went and told the old prophet in Bethel what they had seen.
"It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the Lord. Therefore, the lion has slain him by the way," said the old prophet. Then he told his sons to saddle the ass and the old prophet rode to the place where the man of God was lying and brought back his body to Bethel where he buried it in the prophet's own sepulchre.