Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 13:11

Now an old prophet was living in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the deeds which the man of God had done that day in Bethel; the words which he had spoken to the king, these also they related to their father.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Falsehood;   Judgments;   Minister, Christian;   Temptation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Leaders;   Prophets;   Religious;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Iddo;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Jeroboam;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jadon;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bethel ;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Old Prophet, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Amaziah;   Jeroboam;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

An old prophet - Probably once a prophet of the Lord, who had fallen from his steadfastness, and yet not so deeply as to lose the knowledge of the true God, and join with Jeroboam in his idolatries. We find he was not at the king's sacrifice, though his sons were there; and perhaps even they were there, not as idolaters, but as spectators of what was done.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The truly pious Israelites quitted their homes when Jeroboam made his religious changes, and, proceeding to Jerusalem, strengthened the kingdom of Rehoboam 2 Chronicles 10:16-17. This “old prophet” therefore, who, without being infirm in any way, had remained under Jeroboam, and was even content to dwell at Bethel - the chief seat of the new worship - was devoid of any deep and earnest religious feeling.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE DISOBEDIENCE OF THE MAN OF GOD

"Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and one of his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them also they told unto their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? Now his sons had seen what way the man of God went, that came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass; and he rode thereon. Now he went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak; and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee; neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: for it was said to me by the word of Jehovah, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. And he said unto him, I also am a prophet as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of Jehovah, saying, bring him back with thee into thy house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water."

"He ... found him sitting under an oak" (1 Kings 13:14). It must be considered significant that the man of God was idly resting under an oak tree instead of returning to Judah, and the man could not have been blameless, because God had dearly instructed him to waste no time on his mission. Many a servant of God has been overcome with disaster in a moment of idleness.

"Come home with me, and eat bread" (1 Kings 13:15). One may only speculate as to the motivation of the "old prophet." He was a lying scoundrel, and it is possible that he suspected the man of God as being a fellow of the same school, and therefore decided to test him.

In any event, the man of God was quite foolish to believe the words of the lying pretender. Would God have told the man of God one thing and then have contradicted it by sending an authentic word by another? "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). Although not stated, there appears to have been an unworthy desire on the part of the man of God to return, and, where there is an antecedent willingness, there is always provided by the Evil One an opportune invitation to do wrong.

The warning for present-day Christians in this is clear enough. There are many pious, attractive, and pretentious religious propositions in our own times that, in the last analysis, are nothing but lies, dressed up with every plausible appearance of authenticity by the devices of Satan, but still unqualified lies.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-kings-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel,.... The Targum is, a false prophet, so JosephusF2Antiqu. l. 8. c. 9. sect. 1. ; it is hard to say what he was, a good man or a bad man; if a good man, he was guilty of many things which are not in his favour, as dwelling in such an idolatrous place suffering his sons to attend idolatrous worship, and telling the man of God a premeditated lie; and yet there are several things which seem contrary to his being a bad man, and of an ill character, since he is called an old prophet, did not attend idolatrous worship, showed great respect to the man of God, had the word of God sent unto him concerning him, believed that what he had prophesied should come to pass, buried the man of God in his own grave, and desired his sons to bury him with him. In some copies his name is said to be Micah, as Kimchi observes, and other Jewish writersF3T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 104. 1. say the same; though some take him to be Amaziah the priest of Bethel, and others Gersom the son of MosesF4Shalshalet Hakabala, ut supra. (fol. 11. 1.) Shirhalbirim Rabba, fol. 10. 2. , but without any foundation; though he now dwelt at Bethel, he was originally of Samaria, 2 Kings 23:18,

and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; that the altar was rent, and the ashes poured out, as he had said, and that Jeroboam's hand withered, and was restored upon his prayer to God:

the words which he had spoken unto the king; that one should be born of the family of David, Josiah by name, that should offer the idolatrous priests, and burn the bones of men upon that altar, and that that should be rent, and its ashes poured forth, which was done:

them they told also their father; gave him a particular account of his actions and words.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el — If this were a true prophet, he was a bad man.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-13.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(11) ¶ Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

The character of this man is not far to fetch. Had he been a true prophet of the Lord how could he live in Beth-el, and be witness to Jeroboam's continued iniquity, without reproving him? Hence, therefore, in the very opening of his history it is easy to discover that he was of the false prophets. And we read not only of Jezebel's prophets, but of the prophets of Samaria, who caused the Lord's people to err. See 1 Kings 18:19; Jeremiah 23:13-14. With this view of the real character of this old prophet, as he is called, we shall be now better able to enter into a proper apprehension of the circumstances of the whole history.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-13.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

A prophet — One to whom, and by whom God did sometimes impart his mind; as it is manifest from verse20,21, 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, verse18. 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 worship.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 13:11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

Ver. 11. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel.] A prophet of God, likely, but corrupt, resty, vicious. Prophecy doth not always presuppose sanctification. The Chaldee here calleth him Michal, the false prophet; Josephus, Rupertus, Cajetan, and others hold the same. See reasons to the contrary in Junius upon the text.

And his sons came and told him.] Had this old prophet been so good as he should, why dwelt he at Bethel? Why came he from Samaria to dwell there? [2 Kings 23:18] and what make his sons at Jeroboam’s idolatrous worship?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 13:11. An old prophet—and his sons came and told him It appears from this, that these sons of the old prophet were present when Jeroboam stood at the altar, and therefore joined in that idolatrous worship, though their father did not: who, nevertheless, was too timorous to reprove them. There are various opinions concerning this prophet of Beth-el. Some will needs have him to have been a false prophet, highly in esteem with king Jeroboam, because he prophesied to him soft things, and such as would humour him in his wickedness. Others, however, have believed, that he was a true prophet of God, though a wicked one; not unlike the famous Balaam, who sacrificed every thing to his interest; whilst others say that he was a weak one, who thought that he might innocently employ an officious lie to bring the prophet of Judah back, who was under a prohibition indeed, but such a one as, in his opinion, related only to the house of Jeroboam, and such others as were of an idolatrous religion. See Joseph. Antiq. l. viii. c. 3.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-13.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

An old prophet; a prophet of the Lord; one to whom and by whom God did sometimes impart his mind, as is manifest from 1 Kings 13:20,21, and one first had a respect to the Lord’s holy prophets, and gave credit to their predictions; all which the following relation shows: but whether he was a holy and good man may justly be doubted, seeing all those qualifications might meet in a vicious man, to and by whom he may reveal some part of his mind, as he did to Balaam, Num 23, &c., and in such his other qualities are sometimes found; and we find him in a downright and premeditated lie, and that without any great temptation to it, 1 Kings 13:18. And albeit a holy prophet might 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 to have joined with others in that idolatrous worship, 1 Kings 13:11, and that not without their father’s connivance. In Beth-el; for thither he came to dwell, probably expecting some great advantages from Jeroboam; but he came out of Samaria, 2 Kings 23:18, where he either was born, and had lived before; or his usual dwelling was at Beth-el, but had lately been at Samaria, and was now returned to Beth-el.

His sons came; who probably were eye and ear witnesses of what had passed.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.An old prophet — An old man who in his youth had probably been trained up in the schools of the prophets, and thence derived the title of prophet. It is usually supposed, and with reason, that he had fallen from his integrity, and had become corrupt and worldly.

His sons came and told him — He did not himself go forth to witness the abominations of the king’s calf-worship, but he allowed his sons to go.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-13.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 13:11. There dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el — One to whom and by whom God did sometimes reveal his will, as is manifest from 1 Kings 13:20-21; and one who had a respect to God’s holy prophets, and gave credit to their predictions. But that he was not a truly and uniformly good and pious man is certain, because we here find him guilty of a downright lie, 1 Kings 13:18. And, although a holy prophet, who had lived there before, might possibly have continued in the kingdom of Israel after its separation from Judah, and defection from the true worship of God; yet such a one would not have chosen to reside at Beth-el, the chief seat of idolatry, unless with a design to preach against it: this, it is evident, he did not; for his sons, it appears, were present when Jeroboam stood at the altar, and therefore joined in that idolatrous worship, and yet their father was too timorous to reprove them. He was probably somewhat like the famous Balaam, who was commissioned to utter divers true prophecies, but nevertheless loved the wages of unrighteousness, and was a wicked man.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Bethel, originally (Haydock) from Samaria, 4 Kings xxiii. 18. (Menochius) --- Josias would have burnt his bones, like those of the false prophets, if they had not be blended with those of the man of God. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

in Beth-el. A true prophet could not have remained there. Compare 2 Chronicles 11:16, 2 Chronicles 11:17.

and his sons. Septuagint reads "whose sons".

the words. Syriac and Vulg, read "and the words".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el. If this was a true prophet, he was a bad man, and in effecting the malevolent design he had in view, an emissary of Satan, Gods true prophets were holy men (2 Peter 1:21). But it appears that the prophetic gift, or at least occasional communications of that gift, were imparted to some who did not possess that character - of which Balaam presents a notable example. This seems to have been the case with this old prophet. He deceived the prophet of Judah with a lie, uttered in the name of God, He may have been employed to announce communications from heaven; but his heart was not perfect toward God. He was unfaithful: he dwelt in a city of idolaters, and did not testify against their sin. He could not therefore be enlisted by Yahweh in the solemn service of reproving Israel.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) An old prophet in Bethel.—The narrative clearly implies—and, indeed, part of its most striking instructiveness depends on this—that this old prophet was not a mere pretender to prophetic inspiration, nor an apostate from the worship of Jehovah. Like Balaam, he united true prophetic gifts with a low worldliness of temper, capable on occasion of base subterfuge and deceit. Such union of elements, which should be utterly discordant, is only too characteristic of man’s self-contradictory nature. He had thrown in his lot with Jeroboam’s policy, which did not want plausible grounds of defence: in spite of this adhesion, he desired to continue still a prophet of the Lord, and to support the king’s action by prophetic influence. It has been noticed that, after the maintenance of the idolatry of Beth-el, even the true prophets did not break off their ministry to the kingdom of Israel, and that, indeed, they never appeared in open hostility to that kingdom, till the introduction of Baal worship. But their case is altogether different from that of the old prophet. He deliberately supports the idolatry, and that by the worst of falsehoods—a falsehood in the name of God. They rebuke the sin (see 1 Kings 14:9), but do not forsake their ministry to the sinner.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
an old prophet
20,21; Numbers 23:4,5; 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:11; 2 Kings 23:18; Ezekiel 13:2,16; Matthew 7:22; 2 Peter 2:16
sons
Heb. son. came.
1 Timothy 3:5
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 12:22 - the man

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 13:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-13.html.