THE KING WHO LED ISRAEL TO SIN, AND THE PROPHET WHO WAS SLAIN BY A LION
I Kings xii: 25 , to xiv: 20; xv: 25 to 32.
HE Lord had told Jeroboam that he should become king
over the Ten Tribes, as we read in Story 73;
and the Lord has promised Jeroboam that if he
would serve the Lord, and do his will, then his kingdom
would become great, and his descendants, those who
should come after him, should sit long on the throne.
But Jeroboam, though wise in worldly matters, was not
faithful to the Lord God of Israel.
He saw that his people, though separated from the rule
of King Rehoboam, still went up to Jerusalem to worship
in the Temple, because there was the only altar in all
the land. Jeroboam said to himself:
 "If my people go up to worship at Jerusalem, then after
a time they will become the friends of Rehoboam and his
people; and then they will leave me, or perhaps kill
me, and let Rehoboam rule again over all the land. I
will build places for worship and altars in my own
kingdom; and then my people will not need to go abroad
Jeroboam forgot that the Lord, who had given him the
kingdom, could care for him and keep him, if he should
be faithful to the Lord. But because he would not
trust the Lord, he did that which was very evil. He
chose two places, Bethel in the south, on the road to
Jerusalem, and Dan far in the north; and made these
places of worship for his people. And for each place
he made a calf of god, and set it up; and he said to
the people of Israel:
"It is too far for you to go up to Jerusalem to worship.
Here are gods for you, at Bethel and at Dan. These are
the gods which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Come and worship these gods."
And as the priests of the tribe of Levi would not serve
in Jeroboam's idol-temples, he took men out of all the
tribes, some of them common and low men, and made them
his priests. And all through the land, upon hills and
high places, Jeroboam caused images to be set up, to
lead the people in worshipping idols.
In the fall of the year there was held a feast to the
Lord in Jerusalem, to which the people went from all
the land. Jeroboam made a great feast at Bethel, a few
weeks later than the feast at Jerusalem, in order to
draw people to his idol-temple at Bethel, and to keep
them away from the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem. At
this feast King Jeroboam
went up to the idol-altar at Bethel,
and burned incense, which was a sweet-smelling
smoke, made by burning certain gums. Thus Jeroboam
led his people away from the
Lord to idols; and ever after this, when his name is
mentioned in the Bible, he is spoken of as "Jeroboam,
who made Israel to sin."
On a day when Jeroboam was offering incense at the
altar, a man of God, a prophet, came from Judah; and he
cried out against the altar, saying:
"O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord, Behold, in the
time to come there shall rise up a man of the house of
David, Josiah by name. And Josiah shall burn upon this
altar the bones of the
 priests that have offered
sacrifices to idols in this place. And this altar and
this temple shall be destroyed."
The prophet from Judah also said to Jeroboam, "I will
prove to you that I am speaking in the power of the
Lord; and this shall be the sign. This altar shall
fall apart, and the ashes upon it shall be poured out."
When King Jeroboam heard this, he was very angry. He
stretched out his arm toward the prophet, and called to
his guards, saying, "Take hold of that man!"
And instantly the hand which Jeroboam held out toward
the prophet, dried up and became helpless And as if by
an earthquake the altar before which the king stood was
torn apart, and the ashes fell out upon the ground.
Then the king saw that this was the work of the Lord.
He said to the prophet, "Pray to the Lord your God for
me, that he may make my hand well again."
Then the prophet prayed to the Lord, and the Lord heard
his prayer, and made the king's hand well once more.
Then King Jeroboam said to the prophet, "Come home with
me, and dine, and rest; and I will give you a reward."
And the man of God said to the king:
"If you would give me half of your house, I will not go
to your home, nor eat bread, nor drink water in this
place. For the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
'Eat no bread, and drink no water in this place; and go
to your home in the land of Judah by another way.' "
So the man of God left Bethel by a road different from
that by which he came, and went toward his own home in
the land of Judah.
There was living in Bethel at that time another
prophet, and old man. His sons told him of the coming
of the man of God from Judah, what he said, and what
the Lord had wrought. The old man learned from his
sons which road the prophet had taken, and followed
after him, and found him resting under an oak tree. He
said to him:
"Are you the man of God that came from Judah?"
And he said, "I am." Then said the old prophet of
Bethel to him, "come home with me, and have supper with
But the man of God said to him, "The Lord has commanded
me not to eat bread or drink water in this place; and I
must therefore go back to my own home in the land of
 Then the old man said:
"I am a prophet of the Lord as you are; and an angel
spoke to me from the Lord, saying, 'Bring the prophet
from Judah back to your house, and let him eat and
drink with you.' "
Now this was not true. It was a wicked lie. Then the
prophet from Judah went home with him, and took a meal
at his house. This also was not right, for he should
have obeyed what the Lord had said to him, even though
another man claimed to have heard a different message
from the Lord.
And even while they were sitting at the table, a word
came from the Lord to the old prophet who had told the
lie; and he cried out to the prophet from Judah,
"Thus saith the Lord, 'Because you have disobeyed my
com-  mand, have come back to this place, and have eaten
bread and drunk water here, therefore you shall die and
your body shall not be buried in the tomb with your
After dinner the prophet started again to ride upon his
ass back to his own home. And on the way a lion came
out, and killed him. But the lion did not eat the
man's body. He stood beside it, and the ass stood by
it also. And this was told to the old prophet whose
lies had led him to disobey the Lord. Then the old
prophet came, and took up his body, and laid it in his
own tomb, and mourned over him. And he said to his
"When I am dead, bury me beside the body of the prophet
from the land of Judah. For I know that what he spoke
as the message of God against the altar at Bethel shall
surely come to pass."
A LION CAME OUT AND KILLED THE PROPHET
At one time the child of King Jeroboam was taken very
ill; and his mother, the queen, went to the prophet
Ahijah, the one who had promised the kingdom to Jeroboam,
who was now an old
man and blind, if the child would be well again. But
Ahijah said to her: "Tell King Jeroboam that thus saith
the Lord to him:
"You have done evil worse than any before you; and have
made graven images, and have cast the Lord behind your
back. Therefore the Lord will bring evil upon you and
upon your house. Your sick child shall die, and every
other child of yours shall be slain; and your family
shall be swept away. The dogs shall eat the bodies of
your children in the city, and the birds of the air
shall eat those that die in the field. And in times to
come God shall smite Israel, and shall carry them into
a land far away, because of the idols which they have
THE WIFE OF JEROBOAM AND THE BLIND PROPHET
And after this Jeroboam died, and his son Nadab began
to reign in his place. But after two years Baasha, one
of his servants, rose up against Nadab, and killed him,
and made himself king over Israel. And Baasha killed
every child of Jeroboam, and left not one son or
daughter of Jeroboam alive, as Ahijah the prophet had
So, although Jeroboam was made king, as God had
promised him, it came to pass that the kingdom was
taken away from his family, because he did not obey the
world of the Lord, but led his people into sin.