December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- A man of God came from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, while Jeroboam was standing at the altar to offer sacrifice.
- He cried out against the altar the word of the LORD: "O altar, altar, the LORD says, 'A child shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, who shall slaughter upon you the priests of the high places who offer sacrifice upon you, and he shall burn human bones upon you.'"
- He gave a sign that same day and said: "This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: The altar shall break up and the ashes on it shall be strewn about.
- When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God was crying out against the altar, he stretched forth his hand from the altar and said, "Seize him!" But the hand he stretched forth against him withered, so that he could not draw it back.
- Moreover, the altar broke up and the ashes from it were strewn about--the sign the man of God had given as the word of the LORD.
- Then the king appealed to the man of God. "Entreat the LORD, your God," he said, "and intercede for me that I may be able to withdraw my hand." So the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king recovered the normal use of his hand.
- "Come home with me for some refreshment," the king invited the man of God, "and I will give you a present."
- "If you gave me half your kingdom," the man of God said to the king, "I would not go with you, nor eat bread or drink water in this place.
- For I was instructed by the word of the LORD not to eat bread or drink water and not to return by the way I came."
- So he departed by another road and did not go back the way he had come to Bethel.
- There was an old prophet living in the city, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. When they repeated to their father the words he had spoken to the king,
- the father asked them, "Which way did he go?" And his sons pointed out to him the road taken by the man of God who had come from Judah.
- Then he said to his sons, "Saddle the ass for me." When they had saddled it, he mounted
- and followed the man of God, whom he found seated under a terebinth. When he asked him, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?" he answered, "Yes."
- Then he said, "Come home with me and have some bread."
- "I cannot go back with you, and I cannot eat bread or drink water with you in this place," he answered,
- "for I was told by the word of the LORD neither to eat bread nor drink water here, and not to go back the way I came."
- But he said to him, "I, too, am a prophet like you, and an angel told me in the word of the LORD to bring you back with me to my house and to have you eat bread and drink water." He was lying to him, however.
- So he went back with him, and ate bread and drank water in his house.
- But while they were sitting at table, the LORD spoke to the prophet who had brought him back,
- and he cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah: "The LORD says, 'Because you rebelled against the command of the LORD and did not keep the command which the LORD, your God, gave you,
- but returned and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you to do neither, your corpse shall not be brought to the grave of your ancestors.'"
- After he had eaten bread and drunk water, the ass was saddled for him, and he again
- set out. But a lion met him on the road, and killed him. His corpse lay sprawled on the road, and the ass remained standing by it, and so did the lion.
- Some passers-by saw the body lying in the road, with the lion standing beside it, and carried the news to the city where the old prophet lived.
- On hearing it, the prophet who had brought him back from his journey said: "It is the man of God who rebelled against the command of the LORD. He has delivered him to a lion, which mangled and killed him, as the LORD predicted to him."
- Then he said to his sons, "Saddle the ass for me." When they had saddled it,
- he went off and found the body lying in the road with the ass and the lion standing beside it. The lion had not eaten the body nor had it harmed the ass.
- The prophet lifted up the body of the man of God and put it on the ass, and brought it back to the city to mourn over it and to bury it.
- He laid the man's body in his own grave, and they mourned over it: "Alas, my brother!"
- After he had buried him, he said to his sons, "When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried. Lay my remains beside his.
- For the word of the LORD which he proclaimed against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the cities of Samaria shall certainly come to pass."
- Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this event, but again made priests for the high places from among the common people. Whoever desired it was consecrated and became a priest of the high places.
- This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.
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