1 Right when Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn some incense, a man of God arrived in Bethel from Judah in obedience to a command from the LORD. 2 He cursed the altar in this message from the LORD: "Hey altar! Hey altar! This is what the LORD says: "Pay attention to this! A son is going to be born in David's dynasty. His name will be Josiah. He will sacrifice the priests who burn incense on you in these high places. Human bones will be burned on you!'" 3 Later that same day, he gave them a special display of power of what was to come when he said, "Here's proof that the LORD has decreed this: Look! This altar will be split apart and the ashes that are on it will spill out."
4 When he heard the man of God curse the altar in Bethel, the king pointed at the man of God from where the king was standing at the altar. "Seize him!" he ordered. But all of a sudden his hand that he had stretched out dried up, and he could not bring it back to his side! 5 Also, the altar broke apart and the ashes that were on it spilled out from the altar, providing just the proof that the man of God had predicted in his message from the LORD!
6 "Please!" the king begged the man of God, "Ask the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored for me!" So the man of God asked the LORD, and the king's hand was immediately and fully restored, just like it had been before.
7 So the king told the man of God, "Come back to my palace and rest a while. I'd like to give you a reward."
8 But the man of God replied to the king, "Even if you were to offer me half of your house, I wouldn't go with you, and I'm sure not going to eat even a piece of bread or drink water in this place, 9 because the LORD commanded me specifically, "You are not to eat bread, drink water, or return by the way that you came to arrive here!'" 10 Then he left, returning a different way than the one by which he had traveled to Bethel.
11 Now there was an old prophet who lived in Bethel, and his sons went to him and told him everything that the man of God had accomplished that day in Bethel, including the message that he had delivered to the king. 12 "Which way did he go?" their father asked him, since his sons had observed the way that the man of God had taken to return to Judah from Bethel. 13 "Saddle my donkey for me!" he ordered. So they saddled the donkey for him 14 and he rode off after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. "You're the man of God who came from Judah, aren't you?" the old prophet asked him. "I am," he replied.
16 But he replied, "I can't go back with you to your home, be in your company, or even eat food or drink water with you in this place, 17 because I've been given a command in the form of this message from the LORD: "You are to eat no food, drink no water, and do not return to Judah by traveling the way by which you go there.'"
18 "I'm a prophet like you," the old man replied, "and an angel spoke to me and delivered this message from the LORD: "Bring him back with you to your house and give him food and water.'" But he was lying, 19 and the man of God accompanied the old prophet back to his house, ate some food, and drank some water.
20 Later, while they were sitting down at the table, a message from the LORD was delivered to the prophet who had brought him back, 21 so he cried out to the man of God from Judah: "This is what the LORD says: "Because you disobeyed a command from the LORD and haven't done what the LORD your God commanded you to do, 22 but instead you returned to eat and drink in the very place that he told you "Eat no food and drink no water," your body will not be buried in the same grave as your ancestors.'"
23 After the meal was over, and the man had eaten food and had drunk water, the old prophet saddled the donkey for him that is, for the man of God whom he had brought back. 24 Not long after the man of God had left, a lion met him along the road and killed him. His body was left lying in the middle of the road with the donkey standing beside it and with the lion also standing next to the body.
25 When some men passed by and noticed the body lying in the middle of the road and the lion standing beside the body, they went straight to the city and told what had happened in the city where the old prophet lived. 26 The prophet who had brought the man of God back from the road learned about it. "It's the man of God who disobeyed the message from the LORD," he said. "That's why the LORD gave him to that lion, which mauled him and killed him, just as the message from the LORD told rebuke him."
27 Then he ordered his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me." So they did. 28 The old prophet went out, located the body on the road where the donkey and the lion were standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body nor mauled the donkey. 29 The prophet picked up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to the city where the old man lived so he could mourn and bury him. 30 He buried the corpse in his own grave and his family mourned for him, crying out, "Oh, no! My brother!"
31 After he had buried the man of God, he gave these instructions to his children: "When I die, bury me in the same grave in which the man of God is buried. Place my bones beside his, 32 because what he predicted by a message from the LORD against the altar in Bethel and the temples built in the high places of the cities of Samaria will certainly come about."
33 Despite everything that happened, Jeroboam never did repent of his evil practices. Instead, he appointed even more people to act as priests for the high places. Anyone who wanted to be a priest was ordained to be a priest in the high places. 34 This practice became so sinful that the LORD decided to erase Jeroboam's dynasty, thus eliminating it from the face of the earth.