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:
13:1 A man of Hashem arrived at Beit El from Yehuda
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.