Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21)

Ahab desired to have the vineyard of Naboth, because it was next to his palace.  He asked Naboth for it, telling him he wanted to plant a vegetable garden there.  Naboth told Ahab that we would not give him his inheritance (land).  Ahab went home, laid on his bed, and pouted.  Jezebel asked why he was so sullen, and Ahab told her the story.  Jezebel told him to get up and be happy, because she would get the vineyard for him.  She devised a plot for two men to falsely accuse Naboth of blasphemy, which they did, and the people stoned Naboth.  When word came to the palace, Ahab arose and took possession of the vineyard.

The Lord instructed Elijah to go to Jezreel and confront Ahab.  He was to tell him that in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick the blood of Ahab as well.  When Elijah confronted Ahab, he told him that all the posterity of Ahab would be cut off, and that the dogs would eat whoever belongs to Ahab who dies in the city, and the birds would eat whoever dies in the field.  Ahab was an evil king, following idols and sinning greatly.  However, at Elijah’s words, Ahab tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and humbled himself.  So the Lord told Elijah that he would not bring this calamity in Ahab’s day, but in the days of his son.

Land was an extremely important and valuable commodity in the days of Israel.  Not only was it a source of income, it was a sign of promise from the Lord.  Inheritance was from God and from one’s ancestors.  Therefore, land–once given–was not to be sold or bartered away permanently.  Instead, even if one was poor and had to give up their land temporarily, it would revert back to the family in the year of Jubilee.  This land law was a big reason Naboth did not agree to give King Ahab his vineyard.  So Jezebel, ignoring God’s law and plan, manipulated the system and had Naboth murdered, for all intents and purposes.

Ahab was not a great king, possibly not even a good king.  He was not regal, but rather a spoiled child, pouting when he did not get his way.  He abdicated his responsibility for leadership to his wife, who was evil and coniving, allowing her to lead him into idolatry and sin.  The worst part is that his sins, although heinous, did not just affect his life, but trickled down to his children, as the punishment for his debauchery would be meted out in his son’s reign.  Be sure that your sins will find you out, but they will not only harm you, but will affect those around you as well.  Your sin reaches beyond your own harm to the harm of those you love.  Next time you are tempted, don’t just think about your own pleasure or fulfillment, but think about your family and friends, and how that sin will affect them as well!

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