1 Kings 21: Murder for a Vineyard – the Wimp and the Wicked Witch

Shades of King David and Uriah! If something stands in the way of what you want (not need), simply eliminate it. That’s Jezebel’s evil tactic when she finds her husband, King Ahab, sulking because he couldn’t get what he wanted. What God does at the end of today’s story shows that no one is too sinful for God’s mercy. Let’s dig in….

1 Kings 21

Now there was a man named Naboth, from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.”

But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.”

So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth’s answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat!

“What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him. “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?”

“I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her.

“Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the town where Naboth lived. In her letters she commanded: “Call the citizens together for a time of fasting, and give Naboth a place of honor. 10 And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

11 So the elders and other town leaders followed the instructions Jezebel had written in the letters. 12 They called for a fast and put Naboth at a prominent place before the people. 13 Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death. 14 The town leaders then sent word to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.”

15 When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, “You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!” 16 So Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it.

17 But the Lord said to Elijah, 18 “Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be at Naboth’s vineyard in Jezreel, claiming it for himself. 19 Give him this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!’”

20 “So, my enemy, you have found me!” Ahab exclaimed to Elijah.

“Yes,” Elijah answered, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the Lord’s sight. 21 So now the Lord says, ‘I will bring disaster on you and consume you. I will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel! 22 I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’

23 “And regarding Jezebel, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel.’

24 “The members of Ahab’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.”

25 (No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. 26 His worst outrage was worshiping idols just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.)

27 But when Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothing, dressed in burlap, and fasted. He even slept in burlap and went about in deep mourning.

28 Then another message from the Lord came to Elijah: 29 “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy his dynasty.”

1 Kings 21 NLT

Points to Ponder

  • Give the devil a foothold and evil penetrates marriages, households, churches, even kingdoms and countries like cancer.
  • God keeps His promises, however, if He sees a repentant heart, He shows Mercy.
  • This proves that…
    • No one is beyond hope
    • God’s Mercy extends to even the most vile if they sincerely repent.

Jesus said…

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Luke 5:32 NLT

One thing’s for sure, Elijah wasn’t shy! He faced Ahab with the truth of his sin. It was enough to make Ahab realize that he was a sinner and repent. God saw this and showed him mercy.

A Foreshadowing of Jesus’ Fake Trial

Like Naboth, Jesus was falsely accused of blaspheming God’s name and was killed after a fake trial.

Paul writes…

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

Colossians 2:13-15 NLT

No Sin is Too Great

Evil is undeniably all over the world today. We need to pray for the evil-doers that God would shake them up, make them see the error of their ways and get right with God (before it’s too late!). Sometimes it takes spending some time in jail to get set straight. My church supports a prison ministry and I’ve heard the stories of former criminals — both men and women — whom Jesus changed their lives completely.

If you have a friend or family member who has gone astray — a prodigal — keep praying for them. Don’t give up. Ask your church family to pray for them. God works in mysterious ways.

If you feel that you’ve sinned so horribly that Jesus could never forgive you, you are WRONG! All you have to do is…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Jesus


Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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