God sent a Prophet from Judah to Bethel to proclaim a message from the Lord to the Jeroboam, and then not fellowship with anyone, but to go back home. Later, an old (second) prophet came to the first prophet, and lied to him. He said:

And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’”  (1Ki 13:18)

So the first prophet went off with the second prophet, and ate with him. Then things get weird:

And as they sat at the table, the word of the LORD came to the (second) prophet who had brought him back. And he cried to the man of God (first prophet) who came from Judah, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD and have not kept the command that the LORD your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’” (1Ki 13:20-22)

Sure enough, on the way home, the first prophet died. The second prophet hears about it, and then:

And he (second prophet) went and found his (first prophet) body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey. And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city to mourn and to bury him. And he laid the body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!”  And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. (1 Ki 13:28-31)

So, why didn’t the lying prophet get killed too?

We’re not told. Lying in the name of God as a prophet was a pretty serious offence. Though it wasn’t actually false prophecy, just a straight out lie. Maybe the second prophet worried about his standing before God, and this explains his action? But we’re not told. (Just like we don’t know why God didn’t kill Judah)

 

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  • Julia

    Answer to the question above – Though the bible does not mention any punishment on the old prophet, from the other verses of the bible we see that such lie will not be left without punishment (unless it is repented of).
    E.g. Pro 6:16, 17 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue.

    Related question – WHY GOD TELLS THE PROPHET NOT TO EAT WITH THE REST OF ISRAEL? Commanding the prophet not to eat with Israel, God possibly wants to show that in such way the prophet is not a part of fellowship with those who disobey God.
    2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    Related question – WHY DID THE OLD PROPHET LIE? It’s possible that he wanted to be in fellowship (friendship) both with those who disobeyed God and with the true prophet. Some people in our days are ready to share communion with unbelievers or believers from different churches, thinking themselves to be particularly kind.

    Related question – WHY DID GOD KILL THE TRUE PROPHET? God (it seems) was trying to teach people important principle – separation from ungodly. True prophet should have consulted with God, but he seemed to have followed his own desires.
    1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

  • Mike Dunne

    Julia,

    I think the answer to the question is, ‘We don’t know,’ which you rightly pointed out. Although your related questions are interesting, I’m not sure it would help someone seeking answers. While we all question the whys and wherefores that we come across in Scripture, sometimes the simple answer, ‘We don’t know,’ is sufficient.

    The other day I listened to a Muslim giving his testimony – he spoke of why he decided to follow Islam and the main answer he gave was a scathing indictment (in my opinion) of Christians:

    He said, “When I asked hard questions of Muslims, they would open the Qu’ran and show me the answer. When I asked Christians, they would give me their opinion.”

    Then he went on to say that the opinions of Christians – of different denominations but sometimes within the same denomination – were all different.

    In other words, there was no consistency to the message, but more importantly you can surmise the he believed Christians were depending on their own insight and/or their own personal interpretation of the Bible to answer the man’s questions – instead of just opening up the book and showing him (I’m thinking of Philip in Acts 8). Philip didn’t share his opinions about Christ and the Gospel of salvation, he took the Scripture the Eunuch was reading (Isaiah) and helped the man understand how the Prophet’s message was fulfilled in Jesus.

    There are many things that God has simply chosen not to reveal to us. While this is frustrating, perhaps Christians need to re-think our desire to extrapolate sometimes.

    Have a great day,

    X

    • Dexter Dickson

      I’m sorry but I beg to differ at this point. I once like you all tried to equate this story with that of eve and the serpent but it is not. first, I used to think that the problem was that the prophet rested. but no where in that account does it mention that God told him not to rest. secondly, the bible puts it that the older prophet was a prophet of the true God. we don’t care about his sons. Eli was an upright priest and yet his sons were not. that removed nothing from Eli. in like manner, since this prophet is a prophet of the true God, its’ either God indeed spoke to him to deceive the younger prophet or he lied (which is less likely, seeing as he is the true prophet of God). if he lied, then, God not calling judgement on him immediately for speaking what God had not said is a tacit permission from God. Secondly, God used the ‘lying’ prophet to declare judgement on the younger prophet which means that God, knowing fully well that this prophet had just lied in his name, without his permission and caused another to stumble, still approved of him, and what he did. This lie was different from the one that Satan told Eve. Satan told Eve that God lied – when God said ‘you will die’, Satan said ‘you will not die’. It was left to Eve to choose who had her best interest more. as she hearkened to Satan she proved that she had no love, or trust for God, and was presumptuous. this prophet was told, ‘an angel spoke to me to, thus, saying…’ which means the older prophet told the younger that God had sent him, not that God was wrong. And he was an older, more experienced, more respected prophet. Most people do not think twice about the claims of their pastors receiving revelations from God. Not now, not ever. that’s why Elisha studied under Elijah and Gehazi under Elisha. On many occasions, God had spoken to David personally and still spoken to him through other prophets. so if the older prophet of the true God had said to the younger ‘God has said…’ and the younger did not obey (and God had really said), what do you think? Added to the fact that these (hunger and tiredness) are human failings that God should have understood. If i tell my kid ‘Dont take things from strangers’, and unfortunately, my kid goes missing for two day and is taken care of by a good samaritan who gives him food, I certainly will not scold him, much less beat him for that. So only God knows the justification for this act. Looking at it through every angle, I see no fault in the younger prophet. He did the assignment, was bold in the face of death, refused the enticement of greed, did not follow the path that he came by and to reward him, God orchestrated (or allowed) an entrapment to snare him that was sure to work (the prophet wholeheartedly believed God had spoken to the older one and felt he was still in line with God’s injunction)?

      And if God can justify ‘instant’ judgement on the younger prophet who trusted and ‘erred’, why not the sam on the older who lied in his name? Gal 1:8 as quoted by Richard Speights above ‘curses’ the one that brings the message other than gospel. not the one ‘gullible’ enough to receive it. yes the prophet disobeyed but isnt that the point of psalm 130:3? (God, if you keep account of iniquity, who could stand?).God clearly did not put into consideration that this man had weakenesses and that he might have not fallen for that temptation if his belly was full and his legs not flailing. there was no second chance for this prophet. if you put this into context of other men of God (such as Aaron, who as priest of the most high built a golden calf – probably of Marduk, David, who in violation of God’s clear command took bathsheba as wife and killed Uzziah, and Peter who denied Jesus 3 times), then this is an unnecessarily cruel punishment to this prophet. its also painful that this prophet doesn’t have a name. Please, any reply to this position should not be personal.

      P.S: you can reach me on dexaetherna@gmail.com. I wrote this for yahoo answers but unfortunately, that thread is ended and I cant post so…

  • Dexter Dickson

    I’m sorry but I beg to differ at this point. I once like you all tried to equate this story with that of eve and the serpent but it is not. first, I used to think that the problem was that the prophet rested. but no where in that account does it mention that God told him not to rest. secondly, the bible puts it that the older prophet was a prophet of the true God. we don’t care about his sons. Eli was an upright priest and yet his sons were not. that removed nothing from Eli. in like manner, since this prophet is a prophet of the true God, its’ either God indeed spoke to him to deceive the younger prophet or he lied (which is less likely, seeing as he is the true prophet of God). if he lied, then, God not calling judgement on him immediately for speaking what God had not said is a tacit permission from God. Secondly, God used the ‘lying’ prophet to declare judgement on the younger prophet which means that God, knowing fully well that this prophet had just lied in his name, without his permission and caused another to stumble, still approved of him, and what he did. This lie was different from the one that Satan told Eve. Satan told Eve that God lied – when God said ‘you will die’, Satan said ‘you will not die’. It was left to Eve to choose who had her best interest more. as she hearkened to Satan she proved that she had no love, or trust for God, and was presumptuous. this prophet was told, ‘an angel spoke to me to, thus, saying…’ which means the older prophet told the younger that God had sent him, not that God was wrong. And he was an older, more experienced, more respected prophet. Most people do not think twice about the claims of their pastors receiving revelations from God. Not now, not ever. that’s why Elisha studied under Elijah and Gehazi under Elisha. On many occasions, God had spoken to David personally and still spoken to him through other prophets. so if the older prophet of the true God had said to the younger ‘God has said…’ and the younger did not obey (and God had really said), what do you think? Added to the fact that these (hunger and tiredness) are human failings that God should have understood. If i tell my kid ‘Dont take things from strangers’, and unfortunately, my kid goes missing for two day and is taken care of by a good samaritan who gives him food, I certainly will not scold him, much less beat him for that. So only God knows the justification for this act. Looking at it through every angle, I see no fault in the younger prophet. He did the assignment, was bold in the face of death, refused the enticement of greed, did not follow the path that he came by and to reward him, God orchestrated (or allowed) an entrapment to snare him that was sure to work (the prophet wholeheartedly believed God had spoken to the older one and felt he was still in line with God’s injunction)?

    And if God can justify ‘instant’ judgement on the younger prophet who trusted and ‘erred’, why not the sam on the older who lied in his name? Gal 1:8 as quoted by Richard Speights above ‘curses’ the one that brings the message other than gospel. not the one ‘gullible’ enough to receive it. yes the prophet disobeyed but isnt that the point of psalm 130:3? (God, if you keep account of iniquity, who could stand?).God clearly did not put into consideration that this man had weakenesses and that he might have not fallen for that temptation if his belly was full and his legs not flailing. there was no second chance for this prophet. if you put this into context of other men of God (such as Aaron, who as priest of the most high built a golden calf – probably of Marduk, David, who in violation of God’s clear command took bathsheba as wife and killed Uzziah, and Peter who denied Jesus 3 times), then this is an unnecessarily cruel punishment to this prophet. its also painful that this prophet doesn’t have a name. Please, any reply to this position should not be personal.

    P.S: you can reach me on dexaetherna@gmail.com. I wrote this for yahoo answers but unfortunately, that thread is ended and I cant post so,…