Ahab Covets Naboth’s Vineyard

In the spirit of adventure, young Lord Clive set out from his British home for India. The ship upon which he sailed was caught in a terrific storm, and continuous adverse gales drove it far off the course. Finally it limped into a South American harbor. There he had to remain for … More

Pouting

A period of peace followed the battle of Aphek (20:26–34). Some time after the battle the events recorded in chapter 21 took place. Naboth was a neighbor of Ahab in Jezreel. Ahab wanted to buy Naboth’s vineyard to use for a vegetable garden. He offered to pay him in cash or give him a better piece of land elsewhere (vv. 1-2). Naboth was a God-fearing Jew and in obedience to the Mosaic Law he refused to sell this family inheritance to Ahab (Num. 36:7). Because of this Ahab behaved in a very childish manner by pouting. He lay on his bed feeling sorry for himself and even refused to eat (vv. 3-4).

When Jezebel saw him behaving strangely she asked what was wrong. He told her about Naboth’s refusal. She told Ahab that as king he should just take what he wanted and if he didn’t want to do this she would (vv. 5-7). Knowing how to use the laws of Israel she sent letters to the leaders of the community. She asked them to declare a fast and have two men to accuse Naboth of cursing God and Ahab so that the people would stone Naboth.

Jewish law required two witnesses to condemn a person to death (Deut. 17:6-7) and cursing God was a crime punishable by stoning (Lev. 24:16).  Cursing the king was not punishable by death but Jezebel added this part because she thought it should also be a part of the law (vv. 8-10). This led to a reappearance of Elijah who went to Ahab to confront him. It is true that Jezebel was directly responsible for Naboth’s death but Ahab was ultimately responsible since the letter she sent to the elders ordering his murder had been sent out under Ahab’s name (v. 8). Ahab had committed the crime of seizing property and killing Naboth.

Application

When Ahab didn’t get what he wanted he went home to pout. It is easy to pout when things don’t go our way. I need to make sure that pouting is never a part of my life. I must remember that “all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28) and “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4).

I Kings 21:1-10 (English Standard Version)

Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money." But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers." And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, "Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?" And he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" And Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, 'You have cursed God and the king.' Then take him out and stone him to death."

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