A prophet was told not to eat or drink or return by the way he came but another old prophet lied to him saying an angel told him to invite him for food

1 Kings 13:16-18 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’” 18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.)

Then God punished the deceived prophet for eating and drinking with the old prophet

“This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’” 23 When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. 24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him,

Is it fair for God to punish the deceived prophet because he was told by the old prophet that an angel had told him to bring back the deceived prophet to eat and drink with him. How is it fair for God to punish him for being deceived

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 4:38

2 Answers 2


How is it fair for God to punish the [younger] prophet for listening to the prophet who deceived him?

Answer: It is irrelevant what the older prophet told the younger.

In this scenario, the man of God was very foolish to accept any words contrary to those delivered by God:

1 Kings 13:9: "For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came’” (emphasis added).

Note the specificity of the command.

The younger prophet was absolutely not to disobey the precise message he was given. Would God have told the man of God one thing only to then invite contradiction by another mere man? And, do all the circumstances to which the younger prophet yielded not contradict exactly what God said not to do?

This should be a warning to everyone: God means what He says throughout the Bible. In fact, if there is one single lesson we should learn from the events of the Old Testament, it is that God has little mercy on those who flagrantly disobey.

The same holds true in the New Testament, where we are told:

1 John 4:1: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

We should always be asking ourselves: Just who are "wolves in sheep's clothing" and who are these "false prophets?"

It seems quite plausible that the disgraceful, lying older prophet was just such a "wolf", an instrument through whom the younger prophet would be tested as we all are. When there is a willing predisposition, the dark forces of this world always provide an opportunity to do that which is forbidden.

The clear and present dangers to Christians of our day are those who deliver pretentious, alluring messages that, while seemingly sincere and genuine, are ultimately nothing more than deceptions foisted upon those seeking to "have their ears tickled" (2 Timothy 4:3).

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 7:21

How can you (we) look at an Old Testament account and sit back and ‘assess’ whether it’s ‘fair’ using our ‘modern’ interpretation of ‘what’s fair’? This is not for us to judge. Albeit some already very good responses to this Q, nevertheless let’s look a little closer. Let’s look at context, the context of this incident.

This story is from the Old Testament. At this time, the Israelites had a covenant with God. It was this covenant that provided the basis for ‘judgement’. This young prophet was being judged under the ‘rules’ of the Law - not by our understanding of what’s fair.

The ‘Law’ could not bend. There was zero leeway. No tolerance - at all! The Israelites knew this - from there recent history.

EXODUS 23:21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions;

A man was stoned for picking up Sticks on the Sabbath - was that fair? - he was punished because he broke the Law. Under their covenant, there was no room for excuse under the Law - none.

But - It is important to realise that it wasn’t God who ‘decided’ to punish the young prophet- it was the Law. That’s why Jesus came and provided the Jews a way to get out from under it! (the Law).

  • I am sorry, while this argument may or may not be suitable elsewhere, it is clearly not suitable here.
    – Joshua
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 3:08
  • @Joshua ? Because?
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 3:25
  • Because in this specific case we actually know. Those who know shall be beaten with many blows; those that do not know shall be beaten by but a few. And there is no greater know than told directly by God.
    – Joshua
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 3:52
  • @Joshua Thanks for the explanation. Appreciated! Your explanation is interesting - that you think God can arbitrarily inflict ‘punishment’. No, ‘you’ can only [righteously] ‘judge’ according to a ‘law’. This ‘prophet’ was under a covenant, and he was rightly ‘judged’ by the Lord - according to that covenants Law, and ‘naivety’ or ‘innocence’ was never an accepted reason for bypassing punishment under this covenant. But, fair enough if you don’t want to consider this context.
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 4:08
  • But it is in the law. Moses died for a similar one.
    – Joshua
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 4:10

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