Containing The Interval Of One Hundred And Sixty-Three Years.
From The Death Of David To The Death Of Ahab.
How Jadon The Prophet Was Persuaded By Another Lying Prophet And Returned [To Bethel], And Was Afterwards Slain By A Lion. As Also What Words The Wicked Prophet Made Use Of To Persuade The King, And Thereby Alienated His Mind From God.
1. NOW there was a certain wicked man in that city, who was a false prophet, whom Jeroboam had in great esteem, but was deceived by him and his flattering words. This man was bedrid, by reason or the infirmities of old age: however, he was informed by his sons concerning the prophet that was come from Jerusalem, and concerning the signs done by him; and how, when Jeroboam's right hand had been enfeebled, at the prophet's prayer he had it revived again. Whereupon he was afraid that this stranger and prophet should be in better esteem with the king than himself, and obtain greater honor from him: and he gave orders to his sons to saddle his ass presently, and make all ready that he might go out. Accordingly they made haste to do what they were commanded, and he got upon the ass and followed after the prophet; and when he had overtaken him, as he was resting himself under a very large oak tree that was thick and shady, he at first saluted him, but presently he complained of him, because he had not come into his house, and partaken of his hospitality. And when the other said that God had forbidden him to taste of any one's provision in that city, he replied, that
"for certain God had not forbidden that I should set food before thee, for I am a prophet as thou art, and worship God in the same manner that thou dost; and I am now come as sent by him, in order to bring thee into my house, and make thee my guest."
Now Jadon gave credit to this lying prophet, and returned back with him. But when they were at dinner, and merry together, God appeared to Jadon, and said that he should suffer punishment for transgressing his commands, - and he told him what that punishment should be for he said that he should meet with a lion as he was going on his way, by which lion he should be torn in pieces, and be deprived of burial in the sepulchers of his fathers; which things came to pass, as I suppose, according to the will of God, that so Jeroboam might not give heed to the words of Jadon as of one that had been convicted of lying.
However, as Jadon was again going to Jerusalem, a lion assaulted him, and pulled him off the beast he rode on, and slew him; yet did he not at all hurt the ass, but sat by him, and kept him, as also the prophet's body. This continued till some travelers that saw it came and told it in the city to the false prophet, who sent his sons, and brought the body unto the city, and made a funeral for him at great expense. He also charged his sons to bury himself with him and said that all which he had foretold against that city, and the altar, and priests, and false prophets, would prove true; and that if he were buried with him, he should receive no injurious treatment after his death, the bones not being then to be distinguished asunder. But now, when he had performed those funeral rites to the prophet, and had given that charge to his sons, as he was a wicked and an impious man, he goes to Jeroboam, and says to him,
"And wherefore is it now that thou art disturbed at the words of this silly fellow?"
And when the king had related to him what had happened about the altar, and about his own hand, and gave him the names of divine man, and an excellent prophet, he endeavored by a wicked trick to weaken that his opinion; and by using plausible words concerning what had happened, he aimed to injure the truth that was in them; for he attempted to persuade him that his hand was enfeebled by the labor it had undergone in supporting the sacrifices, and that upon its resting awhile it returned to its former nature again; and that as to the altar, it was but new, and had borne abundance of sacrifices, and those large ones too, and was accordingly broken to pieces, and fallen down by the weight of what had been laid upon it.
He also informed him of the death of him that had foretold those things, and how he perished; [whence he concluded that] he had not any thing in him of a prophet, nor spake any thing like one. When he had thus spoken, he persuaded the king, and entirely alienated his mind from God, and from doing works that were righteous and holy, and encouraged him to go on in his impious practices (26) and accordingly he was to that degree injurious to God, and so great a transgressor, that he sought for nothing else every day but how he might be guilty of some new instances of wickedness, and such as should be more detestable than what he had been so insolent as to do before. And so much shall at present suffice to have said concerning Jeroboam.
(26) How much a larger and better copy Josephus had in this remarkable history of the true prophet of Judea, and his concern with Jeroboam, and with the false prophet of Bethel, than our other copies have, is evident at first sight. The prophet's very name, Jadon, or, as the Constitutions call him, Adonias, is wanting in our other copies; and it is there, with no little absurdity, said that God revealed Jadon the true prophet's death, not to himself as here, hut to the false prophet. Whether the particular account of the arguments made use of, after all, by the false prophet against his own belief and his own conscience, in order to persuade Jeroboam to persevere in his idolatry and wickedness, than which more plausible could not be invented, was intimated in Josephus's copy, or in some other ancient book, cannot now be determined; our other copies say not one word of it.