1 a man of Hashem arrived at Beit El from Yehuda at the command of Hashem. While Yerovam was standing on the altar to present the offering, the man of Hashem, at the command of Hashem, cried out against the altar:
Beit El is a spiritually significant location mentioned several times in the Bible. Avraham first calls out in the name of Hashem to the east of Beit El (Genesis 12:8), and this is also where Yaakov awakes from his dream and declares “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven” (Genesis 28:17). Beit El is also chosen as a place of worship and prayer during the era of the judges (Judges 20:26). Therefore, it is not surprising that King Yerovam chooses Beit El as the location in which to erect his alternate altar to God. In spite of Beit El’s holiness, though, the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim is the only place where the Children of Israel are permitted to offer sacrifices. Though Hashem had ordained that Shlomo’s kingdom would be split, He did not intend to diminish the centrality of Yerushalayim and the Temple. Therefore, what Yerovam does is a grave sin which causes others to sin as well. Hashem sends a prophet to proclaim that Yerovam will lose the kingdom and his altar will be destroyed. As recorded in Sefer Melachim II 23, the righteous King of the house of David, Yoshiyahu, destroys the altar in fulfilment of this prophecy.Comment
2 “O altar, altar! Thus said Hashem: A son shall be born to the House of David, Yoshiyahu by name; and he shall slaughter upon you the Kohanim of the shrines who bring offerings upon you. And human bones shall be burned upon you.”
3 He gave a portent on that day, saying, “Here is the portent that Hashem has decreed: This altar shall break apart, and the ashes on it shall be spilled.”
ג וְנָתַן בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא מוֹפֵת לֵאמֹר זֶה הַמּוֹפֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה הִנֵּה הַמִּזְבֵּחַ נִקְרָע וְנִשְׁפַּךְ הַדֶּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר־עָלָיו׃
4 When the king heard what the man of Hashem had proclaimed against the altar in Beit El, Yerovam stretched out his arm above the altar and cried, “Seize him!” But the arm that he stretched out against him became rigid, and he could not draw it back.
5 The altar broke apart and its ashes were spilled—the very portent that the man of Hashem had announced at Hashem‘s command.
6 Then the king spoke up and said to the man of Hashem, “Please entreat Hashem your God and pray for me that I may be able to draw back my arm.” The man of Hashem entreated Hashem and the king was able to draw his arm back; it became as it was before.
ו וַיַּעַן הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים חַל־נָא אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדִי וְתָשֹׁב יָדִי אֵלָי וַיְחַל אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה וַתָּשָׁב יַד־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵלָיו וַתְּהִי כְּבָרִאשֹׁנָה׃
7 The king said to the man of Hashem, “Come with me to my house and have some refreshment; and I shall give you a gift.”
ז וַיְדַבֵּר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים בֹּאָה־אִתִּי הַבַּיְתָה וּסְעָדָה וְאֶתְּנָה לְךָ מַתָּת׃
8 But the man of Hashem replied to the king, “Even if you give me half your wealth, I will not go in with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water in this place;
ח וַיֹּאמֶר אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ אִם־תִּתֶּן־לִי אֶת־חֲצִי בֵיתֶךָ לֹא אָבֹא עִמָּךְ וְלֹא־אֹכַל לֶחֶם וְלֹא אֶשְׁתֶּה־מַּיִם בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה׃
9 for so I was commanded by the word of Hashem: You shall eat no bread and drink no water, nor shall you go back by the road by which you came.”
ט כִּי־כֵן צִוָּה אֹתִי בִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה לֵאמֹר לֹא־תֹאכַל לֶחֶם וְלֹא תִשְׁתֶּה־מָּיִם וְלֹא תָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר הָלָכְתָּ׃
10 So he left by another road and did not go back by the road on which he had come to Beit El.
י וַיֵּלֶךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ אַחֵר וְלֹא־שָׁב בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר בָּא בָהּ אֶל־בֵּית־אֵל׃
11 There was an old Navi living in Beit El; and his sons came and told him all the things that the man of Hashem had done that day in Beit El [and] the words that he had spoken to the king. When they told it to their father,
יא וְנָבִיא אֶחָד זָקֵן יֹשֵׁב בְּבֵית־אֵל וַיָּבוֹא בְנוֹ וַיְסַפֶּר־לוֹ אֶת־כָּל־הַמַּעֲשֶׂה אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים הַיּוֹם בְּבֵית־אֵל אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיְסַפְּרוּם לַאֲבִיהֶם׃
12 their father said to them, “Which road did he leave by?” His sons had seen the road taken by the man of Hashem who had come from Yehuda.
יב וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵהֶם אֲבִיהֶם אֵי־זֶה הַדֶּרֶךְ הָלָךְ וַיִּרְאוּ בָנָיו אֶת־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּא מִיהוּדָה׃
13 “Saddle the ass for me,” he said to his sons. They saddled the ass for him, and he mounted it
יג וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־בָּנָיו חִבְשׁוּ־לִי הַחֲמוֹר וַיַּחְבְּשׁוּ־לוֹ הַחֲמוֹר וַיִּרְכַּב עָלָיו׃
14 and rode after the man of Hashem. He came upon him sitting under a terebinth and said to him, “Are you the man of Hashem who came from Yehuda?” “Yes, I am,” he answered.
יד וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ יֹשֵׁב תַּחַת הָאֵלָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הַאַתָּה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּאתָ מִיהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר אָנִי׃
15 “Come home with me,” he said, “and have something to eat.”
טו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו לֵךְ אִתִּי הַבָּיְתָה וֶאֱכֹל לָחֶם׃
16 He replied, “I may not go back with you and enter your home; and I may not eat bread or drink water in this place;
טז וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אוּכַל לָשׁוּב אִתָּךְ וְלָבוֹא אִתָּךְ וְלֹא־אֹכַל לֶחֶם וְלֹא־אֶשְׁתֶּה אִתְּךָ מַיִם בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה׃
17 the order I received by the word of Hashem was: You shall not eat bread or drink water there; nor shall you return by the road on which you came.”
יז כִּי־דָבָר אֵלַי בִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה לֹא־תֹאכַל לֶחֶם וְלֹא־תִשְׁתֶּה שָׁם מָיִם לֹא־תָשׁוּב לָלֶכֶת בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר־הָלַכְתָּ בָּהּ׃
18 “I am a Navi, too,” said the other, “and an angel said to me by command of Hashem: Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.” He was lying to him.
יח וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ גַּם־אֲנִי נָבִיא כָּמוֹךָ וּמַלְאָךְ דִּבֶּר אֵלַי בִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה לֵאמֹר הֲשִׁבֵהוּ אִתְּךָ אֶל־בֵּיתֶךָ וְיֹאכַל לֶחֶם וְיֵשְׁתְּ מָיִם כִּחֵשׁ לוֹ׃
19 So he went back with him, and he ate bread and drank water in his house.
יט וַיָּשָׁב אִתּוֹ וַיֹּאכַל לֶחֶם בְּבֵיתוֹ וַיֵּשְׁתְּ מָיִם׃
20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of Hashem came to the Navi who had brought him back.
כ וַיְהִי הֵם יֹשְׁבִים אֶל־הַשֻּׁלְחָן וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהֹוָה אֶל־הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר הֱשִׁיבוֹ׃
21 He cried out to the man of Hashem who had come from Yehuda: “Thus said Hashem: Because you have flouted the word of Hashem and have not observed what Hashem your God commanded you,
כא וַיִּקְרָא אֶל־אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּא מִיהוּדָה לֵאמֹר כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה יַעַן כִּי מָרִיתָ פִּי יְהֹוָה וְלֹא שָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת־הַמִּצְוָה אֲשֶׁר צִוְּךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃
22 but have gone back and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, ‘Do not eat bread or drink water [there],’ your corpse shall not come to the grave of your fathers.”
כב וַתָּשָׁב וַתֹּאכַל לֶחֶם וַתֵּשְׁתְּ מַיִם בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלֶיךָ אַל־תֹּאכַל לֶחֶם וְאַל־תֵּשְׁתְּ מָיִם לֹא־תָבוֹא נִבְלָתְךָ אֶל־קֶבֶר אֲבֹתֶיךָ׃
23 After he had eaten bread and had drunk, he saddled the ass for him—for the Navi whom he had brought back.
כג וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי אָכְלוֹ לֶחֶם וְאַחֲרֵי שְׁתוֹתוֹ וַיַּחֲבָשׁ־לוֹ הַחֲמוֹר לַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר הֱשִׁיבוֹ׃
24 He set out, and a lion came upon him on the road and killed him. His corpse lay on the road, with the ass standing beside it, and the lion also standing beside the corpse.
כד וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אַרְיֵה בַּדֶּרֶךְ וַיְמִיתֵהוּ וַתְּהִי נִבְלָתוֹ מֻשְׁלֶכֶת בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְהַחֲמוֹר עֹמֵד אֶצְלָהּ וְהָאַרְיֵה עֹמֵד אֵצֶל הַנְּבֵלָה׃
25 Some men who passed by saw the corpse lying on the road and the lion standing beside the corpse; they went and told it in the town where the old Navi lived.
כה וְהִנֵּה אֲנָשִׁים עֹבְרִים וַיִּרְאוּ אֶת־הַנְּבֵלָה מֻשְׁלֶכֶת בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְאֶת־הָאַרְיֵה עֹמֵד אֵצֶל הַנְּבֵלָה וַיָּבֹאוּ וַיְדַבְּרוּ בָעִיר אֲשֶׁר הַנָּבִיא הַזָּקֵן יֹשֵׁב בָּהּ׃
26 And when the Navi who had brought him back from the road heard it, he said, “That is the man of Hashem who flouted Hashem‘s command; Hashem gave him over to the lion, which mauled him and killed him in accordance with the word that Hashem had spoken to him.”
כו וַיִּשְׁמַע הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר הֱשִׁיבוֹ מִן־הַדֶּרֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים הוּא אֲשֶׁר מָרָה אֶת־פִּי יְהֹוָה וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ יְהֹוָה לָאַרְיֵה וַיִּשְׁבְּרֵהוּ וַיְמִתֵהוּ כִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר־לוֹ׃
27 He said to his sons, “Saddle the ass for me,” and they did so.
כז וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל־בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר חִבְשׁוּ־לִי אֶת־הַחֲמוֹר וַיַּחֲבֹשׁוּ׃
28 He set out and found the corpse lying on the road, with the ass and the lion standing beside the corpse; the lion had not eaten the corpse nor had it mauled the ass.
כח וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיִּמְצָא אֶת־נִבְלָתוֹ מֻשְׁלֶכֶת בַּדֶּרֶךְ וַחֲמוֹר וְהָאַרְיֵה עֹמְדִים אֵצֶל הַנְּבֵלָה לֹא־אָכַל הָאַרְיֵה אֶת־הַנְּבֵלָה וְלֹא שָׁבַר אֶת־הַחֲמוֹר׃
כט וַיִּשָּׂא הַנָּבִיא אֶת־נִבְלַת אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים וַיַּנִּחֵהוּ אֶל־הַחֲמוֹר וַיְשִׁיבֵהוּ וַיָּבֹא אֶל־עִיר הַנָּבִיא הַזָּקֵן לִסְפֹּד וּלְקָבְרוֹ׃
30 He laid the corpse in his own burial place; and they lamented over it, “Alas, my brother!”
ל וַיַּנַּח אֶת־נִבְלָתוֹ בְּקִבְרוֹ וַיִּסְפְּדוּ עָלָיו הוֹי אָחִי׃
31 After burying him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of Hashem lies buried; lay my bones beside his.
לא וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי קָבְרוֹ אֹתוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר בְּמוֹתִי וּקְבַרְתֶּם אֹתִי בַּקֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים קָבוּר בּוֹ אֵצֶל עַצְמֹתָיו הַנִּיחוּ אֶת־עַצְמֹתָי׃
33 Even after this incident, Yerovam did not turn back from his evil way, but kept on appointing Kohanim for the shrines from the ranks of the people. He ordained as Kohanim of the shrines any who so desired.
לג אַחַר הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לֹא־שָׁב יָרָבְעָם מִדַּרְכּוֹ הָרָעָה וַיָּשָׁב וַיַּעַשׂ מִקְצוֹת הָעָם כֹּהֲנֵי בָמוֹת הֶחָפֵץ יְמַלֵּא אֶת־יָדוֹ וִיהִי כֹּהֲנֵי בָמוֹת׃