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.
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
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
Nor shall proud Jezebel, the prime mover of this,
escape. “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall
“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
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”
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. 27-29 - the repentance of Ahab