Ahab and Naboth’s Vineyard

1 Kgs 21:1-29

Without a proper moral foundation, moral standards a laxed and easily swayed. This is the exact case in today’s reading with Ahab the king of Syria.

The passage starts by telling us that Ahab desired Naboth‘s vineyard due to uts closeness to his palace. He wanted to have the vineyard to plant herbs, but Naboth declined the request saying the vineyard was an inheritance from his fathers and God forbid he sold it. Now Ahab was very much willing to ask for the vineyard and not snatch it, he was willing to pay for it and not seize it. He eventually went home sad and displeased at not being able to have possession of the vineyard. If we are thus to judge up tot this point, we won’t say the king had really done any evil.

However, because his moral standards did not have any strong foundation, when his wife Jezebel plotted to have Naboth killed, and devised a plan for that in the king’s name, he did not decline. And eventually when Naboth was lied against and killed, Ahab consented by going ahead to claim the vineyard he was denied before.

God shows he is interested in kings and rulers, and would not allow what Ahab had just done, so he sent Elijah to him. Elijah told him of his sin, and told him that the same place where the dogs licked Naboth’s blood would be the same place where they would lick his too. He also told him, his house would be cut off like Jeroboam and Baasha were cut off because of their sins of idolatry.

Now when Ahab heard all these, he rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, fasted and lay in sack sackcloth and went softly. This is where I strongly feel that Ahab’s problem was that of negative influence. Because he lacked a strong moral foundation in God’s law and commandments, he was influenced by his pagan wife – Jezebel. When God saw the way he humbled himself, he sent Elijah back to him to tell him that the punishments would not come to pass in his own days but in his son’s days.

God’s willingness to be lenient with Ahab when he humbled himself tells us a lot about God’s mercy, and willingness to see even the worse person come to repentance and be saved. If we will humble ourselves before him and draw nigh to him, he will surely draw nigh to us.

Some verses to remember

vs 2: And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.#

vs 13: And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.

vs 25-26: But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

vs 27:  And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

vs 29:  Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.

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