1 Kings 21

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… And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face, and would eat no food.

But Jezebel his wife came 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, if it please you, or else 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 nobles who dwelt with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people; and set two base fellows 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.”

And the men of his city, the elders and nobles who dwelt in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it written in the letters which she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And the two base fellows came in and sat opposite him; and the base fellows brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying “Naboth cursed God and the King.” So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”

As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboath had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise; take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”

And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying “Arise, go down to meet Ahab King of Israel, who is in Samaria. Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed and taken possession?”‘ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.”‘”

Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?”

He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon you; I will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free in Israel; and I will make your house like the house of Jeoboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the bounds of Jezreel. Any one belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and any one of his who dies in the country the birds of the air shall eat.'”

(There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He did very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)

And when Ahab heard these words, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about dejectedly.

And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son’s days I will bring the evil upon his house.”

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2 responses

  1. Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite!”Where can I get a woman like this? Why haven’t I figured out until just now that the cure for depression is murder, theft, appropriation, and food? Have I signed up for the wrong side? What's wrong with me?

  2. Hey, a woman like this might decide she wants your side of the bed. From not governing Israel, you might go to fearing for your life! And besides, sackcloth is said to be uncomfortable.This passage may clarify why "worshipping other gods" was considered a bad thing in ancient Israel. Neither Israelite kingdom looks particularly good at raising princes; the kings we've seen so far are uniformly spoiled and unscrupulous; and the Yahwist prophets have represented the only power capable of keeping them in line. It's not that clergypersons of other gods are necessarily bad people– but they can't make a fire in a drought, and they don't get these calls to rap the King's knuckles. Whatever the nature of Torah in Ahab's day, at least some corrupt practices are recognizably "evil in the sight of the Lord."

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