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


    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,