While the king thought his actions prudent, the Lord sent a prophet to the king and nation that the king’s actions were not prudent, but damning. In fact, there was a prophecy given to the king about the existence of this altar some 300 years before its actual occurrence (13:1-3; cf. 2 Kings 23:15-20). The king rejects this and calls for the arrest of the prophet, but this suddenly turns out not so good for the king (13:4-6). The king quickly appeals to the prophet for relief, and the prophet appeals to the Lord, and the king is relieved of his anguish (13:7-10). However, the relief being given, the king invites him to his house as a sign of gratitude, but the prophet turns him down because of the Lord’s will. While the prophet turned the king’s invite down, he did accept the invite of a false prophet. This cost him his life (13:11-32).
Application: To him who is given much, much is expected. The prophet who did the Lord’s bidding was confused (lied to) by the old prophet who actually turned out to be a false prophet. Why did not the Lord tend to the false prophet before He tended to the one who was actually killed? Only the Lord can answer that, but it ought not to be overlooked that the false prophet would be (and was) tended to by the Lord in due time (we simply know nothing about it). Whatever can be said about the false prophet, what is important for our application is the importance of adhering to the Lord’s will as He has revealed Himself and His will to man. If we have a question (or questions), then it is the principle of Isaiah 8:20 (1 John 4:1) that must be applied. This is the only way that we can know for certain.