Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

A lion would kill the friend who refused to obey God

1 Kings 20:36

The man who received the message from God, is now called a prophet (holy man). As a prophet, he had the serious duty only to declare the true message from God, when he spoke on God’s behalf (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

He and his friend were previously called ‘sons of the prophets’ – in other words, students of the prophets. It seems likely that the two men prayed and studied God’s law together. As friends, they supported and encouraged each other in their relationship with God. When the prophet started to receive messages from God, his friend would know it. That friend knew that God had spoken on this occasion too – but, on purpose, he refused to obey God.

There may be various reasons why he refused to obey. Perhaps he was jealous that the prophet – and not he himself – had received such an important message from God (compare Genesis 4:3-7). He could be trying to stop the prophet so that he could not speak his message to Ahab. Ahab was very cruel; he might kill the man who declared such a message from God to him. Or, maybe the friend was angry that God had told him to hurt the prophet. He did not want to be responsible when a holy man suffered because of his injury.

So, the friend refused to obey the message from God, and he did that on purpose. He caused God’s judgment to be against him. The prophet declared that judgment against his friend: a lion would kill him. Still we do not read that the friend confessed his wrong behaviour to God. He did not change his attitudes – perhaps he did not believe that he was wrong. However, the lion found him and it killed him. That proved that the prophet really was speaking God’s words.

Next part: The prophet appeals to Ahab for his life (1 Kings 20:37-40)


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