Book: The Hunt for Ancient Israel
Chapter: The Irrevocable Word of God (1 Kings 13:1–32)
The story of the man of God and the old prophet in 1 Kings 13 has been analyzed using various methods of interpretation. Some scholars have been concerned to determine the source or sources of the story; others have focused on its placement in the book of Kings or its function in the Deuteronomistic History as a whole. These approaches have enriched our knowledge of the story, but debate continues, especially regarding the point of the story. Is it a moral lesson drawn from the consequences of obedience and disobedience to the word of God? Does the story give the reader a way to distinguish true and false prophecy? Is the authority of the prophet its main concern? Is its point to say something of significance about the nature of the word of God? This essay will enter into the debate surrounding the point of the story employing a literary analysis of the structure of the narrative and its dialogue to determine the central message of the story.