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Naboth's vineyard. 1 Kings 21
Naboth's vineyard
1 Kings 21

Last week we took a look at 1 Kings 20. In that passage God- that King Ahab might know that the LORD/the God of the Bible- is the one true God- twice miraculously saves Israel from the invading armies of the Arameans.

Instead of turning to God in faith and repentance, Ahab befriended the defeated king of the Arameans. For the sin of sparing and befriending that wicked king, God has a prophet confront Ahab. Again, instead of owning up to his sin and seeking the forgiveness of God, we are left with these words; "Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria" v.43

The closing of 1 Kings 20 with Ahab being sullen and angry serves as a segue into 1 Kings 21- for in 1 Kings 21 after a man named Naboth refuses to sell his vineyard to Ahab, we are told that "Ahab went home, sullen and angry".

Not only did Ahab go home sullen and angry, he went home, went straight to his room, slammed the door, and lay on his bed sulking and refusing to eat. This got his wife's attention. She came to him and asked "Why are you so sullen? Why won't you eat?" Ahab then tells her-- out of this came a great evil-- for Jezebel proceeds to have Naboth murdered so Ahab can get what he wants.

Let's read 1 Kings 21 together. READ TEXT

Note when you get to v.21 that the NIV reading is inaccurate. The language has been softened by the english translators. Should read "Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth (urinates) against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,"

Phrase also occurs in KJV of 1 Kings 14:10-11; 1 Samuel 25:22

Point: By these words Elijah punctuates what a despicable act had been committed by Ahab. Descriptive of the character and class of Ahab and his family. No better than a dog - for that is what dogs do (also note how dogs appear frequently in the surrounding verses)


1. While sulking and being angry is one way to try and get what we want, these are not good qualities to have. See v.4

1 Kings 21:4 says; "So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors." He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat."

How we respond when we don't get what we want or ask for is big deal when it comes to us and God and us and people.

The silent treatment, anger, yelling, crying, withdrawal are not healthy or holy ways of dealing with someone saying NO to us. In fact, I've discovered that such things actually result in conflict or added conflict in relationship.

We can't or shouldn't be always able to get everything we want. When said NO to by God we need to to YES to God's will and "Lord willing" When said NO to by our parents, our teachers, our spouse, our friends when need to exercise patience, self control, restraint- and while we might be disappointed we must not resort to sin, sulking, or provocation.

In Galatians 5:22-23 it says; "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

2. While Ahab's request of Naboth might sound reasonable, it was NOT.

Note what Ahab did: Coveting Naboth's property (for conveniences sake) he tried to appeal to Naboth on the basis of money (a big temptation for a lot of people) that he might acquire it for himself.

Note also how he makes his request sound reasonable -- especially to his wife Jezebel v.6 (omitting Naboth's rebuke of him) "He answered her, "Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, 'Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.' But he said, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'"

Why Ahab's request was wrong/evil

The land he wanted was land that God had given to Naboth's family as an inheritance from the LORD. It was there allotted inheritance in the land.

Naboth refused on the grounds that God said he could not sale the land. God said exactly that: Lev. 25:23-28; Num. 36:7. In fact, the Word of God was clear that the king could not buy the inheritance of the people, Eze. 46:18.

Naboth realized that what he possessed was not his to sale anyway. What he possessed was the gift of God and he was merely a caretaker. Naboth was to keep the land in the family and pass it down from generation to generation.

APPLICATION: Some folks are very skilled with their words making what is evil sound good- We need to be on guard against this.

ie. A woman's right to choose
i.e The right to die
i.e You're an adult now, you can do whatever you want
i.e You need to live together first to find out how you'll be as a couple
i.e It's only a little bit. One won't hurt you. It's just one time, etc

Smooth words to make evil things sound good.

We need discernment. To know right from wrong, our Bible's must always be in our hands. We need to be on guard against appeals that are geared to our senses, our desires, our flesh.

3. Part of being a good husband or good wife is to encourage the other to do what is right in the sight of the LORD. See 1 Kings 21:25

"There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife."

In marriage each person has a responsibility to encourage the other person to do what is right in the sight of God. Neither Jezebel or Ahab did this for each other.

In my wife I'm blessed to have someone who encourages me to be compassionate, patient, generous, and who lovingly calls me out as it regards my bad behavior and sometimes wrong attitudes.

A scripture to ponder

Hebrews 10:24 says; "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

We are to spur one another on to righteousness, by the Word of God we are to gently call out sinfulness and seek to restore to right living.

What should have Jezebel done when she found Ahab sulking in his room. She should have rebuked him. She said have told him that he had no business trying to take another man's inheritance. Instead she added to his sin and piled sin upon sin.

4. God sending Elijah down to Naboth's vineyard just as Ahab was taking possession of it shows that God sees and knows all and that He holds us accountable for what we do and think v.17ff.

When it comes to God there are no secrets. He knows everything.

This point a gentle reminder to us that we accountable to God. We to give an account.

When we sin we need to be quick to confess, repent of it, get right with God.

The pursuit of holiness is to be an ongoing concern for us

FYI: God's sending Elijah to confront Ahab mirrors God sending Nathan to confront David (2 Samuel 11-12)

When David tried to pass off his marrying of Bathsheba as a compassionate act, God sent the prophet Nathan to him to confront him about his murder of her husband.

Though Ahab appears to have the right to take Naboth's property (for he had been technically convicted of blaspheming God and cursing the king) God sends Elijah to confront him about his murdering of Naboth.

-both equally despicable acts
-both had the air of respectability (but all fake)
-both guilty of murder
-both found out by God
-both faced consequences

Difference: David truly repented. David forgiven. David carried on with God.

5. "Sold out for God?" or "Sold out to do evil?" v.20

A very strange sentence appears in 1 Kings 21:20. When Ahab sees Elijah walk around the corner, the first words out of his mouth are "So you have found me, my enemy!". In reply, Elijah says "I have found you because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD"

Ahab lived by a philosophy that put himself and his passions first. The call of God is to put Him first- for He is our Creator.

Avoiding evil was not on Ahab's schedule. Purposefully doing wrong (whether it be erecting idols throughout the land or killing off God's prophets) was what Ahab was all about

The key question: Is God first or is our passions first?

As Christians we are not our own, we have been bought at a price- therefore we are to honor /God with our bodies and lives.
6. God is incredibly merciful-- Take hold of His mercy, grace, and forgiveness

After pronouncing judgment on Ahab-- every bit of which he deserved (for the murder, the idol worship, the killing of God's prophets, his hatred of Elijah, his continual rejection of God and His ways, his coveteousness) Ahab tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, fasted, and went around meekly.

Ahab took Elijah's words seriously. God's word frightened him. He believed what Elijah said-- so he humbled himself before God. (This doesn't mean that Ahab turned to God- for he never did)

In response to Ahab's temporary humbling of himself God points this out to Elijah (who was no fan of Ahab) and announces that the he would delay the execution of his judgments upon Ahab's house.

NOTE: All that Elijah declared happened (Ahab's 70 sons were executed, dogs licked up his blood at the place where they licked up Naboth's, and Jezebel was eaten by dogs) but what's amazing is that God delayed things all because Ahab humbled himself.

It's amazing how many chances that God gave Ahab to repent of his sin and follow him.

God gives just as many chances today to people to turn and follow Christ. The call of God's word is not to ignore God's call but to turn and be saved while we can be.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 says; "As God's co-workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.