May 25, 2003

                                    I Kings 21-22

                                II Chronicles 17-20

 

A Case Study in what happens when people turn their

back on the Lord.

 

History tells of few crimes more cruel or cold-blooded

than this.  A just man because of his fidelity to God, & His

Law, judicially done to death, by the representative of God,

by authority appointed to execute the law.

           

vs. 1-2 - “Give me thy vineyard that I may have it for

            a garden of herbs”

 

v. 3 - Naboth refused - it would be an act displeasing to

            the Lord and violating the law of Moses - Lev. 25:23

 

The restraints of the old Mosaic law began to be irksome

in that latitudinarian age.  Many of its provisions were

already considered to be obsolete.

 

latitudinarian - broad & liberal in standards of religion,

belief and conduct.  NOT SO NABOTH!

 

v. 4 - Ahab pouted and childishly would eat no bread.

 

vs. 5- 7 - Jezebel gets involved - “are you a man or a mouse?”

 

vs. 8-10 - “and she wrote letters” - set Naboth up.

The terrible power of two or three witnesses of denouncing

a man to death, accounts for the prominence given the sin

of bearing false witness.  Ex. 20:16, Deut. 19:16

 

v. 11 - The ready compliance of elders & so called nobles

            in the city shows the deep moral degradation of the

            Israelites at that period - also the terror which the

            name of Jezebel inspired - Acts 5:29 - “we ought

            to obey God rather than men”

 

The queen was near and God was a long way off.

 

They defied the law - Ex. 23:2 - “Thou shalt not follow

a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a

cause to decline after many to wrest judgment”.

 

They may say they would have died had they resisted

her:  they should have died rather than slay the innocent!

 

One would expect that the judges and officers which the

Lord had given them would judge the people with just

judgment - Deut. 16:18

 

They only feared for their skins - they argued that one

or the other must die, and if so it must be Naboth.

 

So Naboth died, and they bear the stain of his blood

on their souls to this day.

 

PAYDAY SOMEDAY!

 

v.12 - The role of two men, children of Belial

 

vs. 13-15 - Naboth is stoned, his property confiscated,

            forfeited to the crown for treason.

 

Who saw the astonishment & pain in Naboth’s face?

When there arose two miserable wretches to swear that

he, the humble servant of the Lord, the man who had

striven to honestly keep the law, was accused of blaspheming

God and the king.

 

In vain he protests his innocence, his cries & those of his

wife and children go unheeded.

 

Naboth’s name and those of his sons were added to the

glory role of martyrs.

 

“which he refused to give thee for money” - a proud

and malicious triumph in these words - he refused,

simple fool, to sell it.

 

If he had done what others had done (ch. 16:24), sacrificed

principle for temporary gain, he might have lived.

 

It violated Lev. 25:23 - “the land shall not be sold for ever”

and Num. 36:7 - “cleave to the inheritance of the

tribe of his fathers”

 

 

The vineyard came from his fathers and it was his

duty to transmit it to his descendants. 

 

Naboth died because he believed in a Living God

and because he kept His law, especially the first

and fifth commandments.

 

How would this affect the men of that age? 

 

* They would ask whether there was a God that

    judgeth in the earth.

* They would see the triumph of force & wrong.

* They would be tempted to ask “What is the Almighty

    that we should serve Him?  and what profit is it to

    pray to Him?

* They would be tempted to think that “in the keeping

    of His commandments there was no reward”  - a

    contradiction of Ps. 19:11

* Tempted to say in their hearts “There is no God”

 

They must be reminded that there is a Prophet in

Israel and a God who will by no means clear the guilty!

 

vs. 16 - Ahab goes to take possession of Naboth’s

            vineyard. 

 

Even a child would have known where Ahab was

headed that day.

 

 

All Israel shall learn that there is a just God in

heaven, that the king, himself, is responsible to a

higher power and that God, Himself is against

the evildoer and shall render to him his works.

 

“Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked

the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even

thine”

 

Nor shall proud Jezebel, the prime mover of this,

escape.  “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall

of Jezreel”

 

 

 

“And they went to bury her;  but they found no more

of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of

her hands” - II Kings 9:35

 

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding

the evil and the good” - Prov. 15:3

 

“Verily there is a reward for the righteous, verily He

is a God that judgeth in the earth” - Ps. 58:11

 

“Be sure your sin will find you out” - Num. 32:23

 

“Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be

unpunished”  - Prov. 11:21

 

Ahab’s problem was unbelief, by breaching the first

commandment, he violated the 6th, 8th, 9th & 10th

commandments.

 

The 10th led to the problem.  Of all men, he should

have been the last to defy or disregard it.

 

Jezebel broke the 6th, 8th, 9th & 10th commandments.

 

No name is as infamous as hers.  Her ingenuity used

the law of the Lord to compass Naboth’s death, no

doubt laughing up her sleeve by the crafty use she

made of the hated system of the Jews.

 

 

 

 

 

Num. 11:31-33 - “and while the flesh was yet

            between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the

            wrath of the Lord was kindled against the

            people & the Lord smote the people with a

            very great plague”

 

vs. 17-19

 

v. 20 - “Hast thou found me, O my enemy” - the

            very moment when Ahab was entering on

            the fruit of his misdoing.

 

“I have found thee:  because thou has sold thyself to

work evil in the sight of the Lord”

 

vs. 21-24 - Outside the walls of towns of that time

            was a trash heap for refuse of every kind,

            where dogs prowled & vultures feasted.

II Kings 9

 

vs. 25-26***

 

vs. 27-29 - the repentance of Ahab