Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 13

Josiah will destroy Jeroboam’s altar

1 Kings 13:2

The name ‘Bethel’ means the house of God. This place truly was a holy place for Jacob. Here, Jacob had the extraordinary dream in Genesis 28:10-22, in which God spoke to him.

This was one of the places where Jeroboam had set up an idol. An idol is an image; it is against God’s law to use such images for religion (Exodus 20:4-6). In front of the idol, Jeroboam made an altar, a place to offer sacrifices. Sacrifices are the gifts, usually animals, that people offer for the purposes of religion.

God sent a holy man to declare God’s message against the wrong things that Jeroboam was doing. The holy man declared that message to the altar itself – not to the king, or the people, or the idol.

In the message, God declared what would happen in that place about 300 years later. At that time, the king of Judah would be a man called Josiah. Josiah would be from David’s family – and he would serve the real God loyally, even as David did (2 Kings 23:25).

Josiah would be so eager for the honour of the real God that he would act against false gods. He would destroy the places where people served those false gods. He would even go to Bethel, which was not part of the country that he ruled. There, he would destroy completely the altar that Jeroboam had made. Josiah would even burn human bones there, so that nobody would still consider that place sacred.

All of this happened 300 years afterwards (2 Kings 23:15-18).

Next part: A sign from God (1 Kings 13:3-5)


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