And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
A. M. 3105. B.C. 899. after
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.
The request of Ahab, at first view, appears fair and honourable. But, as he most evidentially wished Naboth to alienate it finally, which was expressly forbidden and provided against in the law of God, (Le 25:14-28,) it was high iniquity in Ahab to tempt him to do it, and to covet it showed the depravity of his soul.
a garden of herbs
seem good to thee
Heb. be good in thine eyes.
And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
I should give
And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
I will not
And he laid him
But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
Why is thy spirit
And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
I will not give
And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
Dost thou now
I will give thee
So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
Proclaim a fast
on high among
Heb. in the top of.
And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.
sons of Belial
Thou didst blaspheme
Some, with Parkhurst, would render the original, bairachta elohim wamailech, "Thou hast blessed the gods and Molech;" a sense, however, which seems extremely forced, and is not acknowledged by any of the ancient versions, though the LXX. and Vulgate render bairachta by [eulogese] benedixit, "blessed." It is no unusual thing for a word to have opposite senses.
And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them.
did as Jezebel
They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people.
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.
the men of Belial
they carried him
Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.
Naboth is stoned
And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
Ahab rose up
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
which is in Samaria
And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
Hast thou killed
In the place
This punishment, on Ahab's humiliation and repentance, was transferred from him to his son Jehoram, (ver. 29,) in whom it was literally accomplished: see the parallel texts.
And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
Hast thou found me
thou hast sold
Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
him that pisseth
him that is shut up
And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
made Israel to sin
And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
Shocking as this must appear to minds that have been humanized by the kindly influence of Christianity, we still find similar instances in the accounts of modern travellers. Mr. Bruce says, that when at Gondar, "the bodies of those killed by the sword were hewn to pieces and scattered about the streets, being denied burial. I was miserable, and almost driven to despair, at seeing my hunting dogs, twice let loose by the carelessness of my servants, bringing into the court-yard the heads and arms of slaughtered men, and which I could no way prevent, but by the destruction of the dogs themselves."
Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
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.
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.
lay in sackcloth
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.