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The Kings of the northern
Kingdom also had reason to be constantly concerned with the legitimacy of their
and whether or not their subject would obey them.
Nabot was within his rights to refuse Ahab but still the fact that Ahab had been refused reflected on his ability to rule in general.
# Proclaim a fast # Yehudah Kiel in Daat Mikra points out that it was the custom to proclaim a fast in the event of a happening that threatened the public peace and welfare of the kingdom. On the other hand in a footnote Rabbi Yoseph Kimchi (father of the Radak) is quoted as saying that the word "Tsom" that we understand to mean "fast" originally meant public meeting and this may have been the intention in the case of Nabot.
10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, You have blasphemed God and the king. Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.
This shows the complexity of the situation at that time. Many of the people including the Royal Family worshipped idols. They also feared the Almighty and punished whosoever should take HIS Name in vain.
11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.
12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people.
13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth has blasphemed God and the king! Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.
14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth has been stoned and is dead.
15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it.
19 You shall speak to him, saying, Thus says the LORD: Have you murdered and also taken possession? And you shall speak to him, saying, Thus says the LORD: In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.
20 So Ahab said to Elijah, Have you found me, O my enemy?
And he answered, I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the LORD:
Ahab knew what Jezebel had done. He had not protested but rather acquiesced and allowed himself to benefit from the deed.
21 Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free.
22 I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.
The sin involved not only the idolatry and other bad practices that Ahab and Jezebel had encouraged but also the death of Nabot. The death of Nabot had been occasioned by an accusation of taking the name of the Almighty in vain. He had been put to death because of it. Not only Ahab and Jezebel but also the leaders of the people had had a hand in this matter. It made them difficult of the very thing Nabot had been accused of. The Honor of God had been offended, at least in the eyes of the people!
23 And concerning Jezebel the LORD also spoke, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall[a] of Jezreel.
24 The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.
25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.
Ahab gave himself over to do evil with great dedication. His wife was the catalyst that enabled him to do this. A woman often fulfils the will of her husband and enables him to realize himself. The problem is that a man has several potentialities. A wife should be a help-meet and enable her husband to bring into reality his better aspects. Jezebel did the opposite.
When a crime is committed the French say, "Cherche la femme!"
The English say, "Behind every great man stands a woman!"
Husbands say, "Behind every
great man stands an astonished mother-in-law!"
26 And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
We may learn two points from this verse:
a) The Israelites worshipped the idols of the Canaanites (Amorites) who were in the Land before them.
b) The Canaanites had been driven out. In the Books of Joshua and Judges we received the impression that over much of the Land the Canaanites remained and that the Israelites intermixed with them. Here we see that at least in the central area the Canaanites had been moved out. They had however stayed long enough to infuse the Hebrews with their own values and superstitions.
When the Lost Ten Tribes went into Exile they were to take this mixture of Hebrew and Canaanite practice with them.
27 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.
28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
29 See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.
See how great is the power of Repentance!!
Scripture tells us that # there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness # (1-Kings 21:25) yet by humbling himself he was able to alleviate the disaster that had been prophesied against him. None of us (I hope) have been guilty of sins as great as those of Ahab. There is hope for all of us. Now we live and we have a chance. God is waiting for us. Let us return to HIM while we can.
1 Kings 21:23 Following Masoretic Text and Septuagint; some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate read plot of ground (compare 2 Kings 9:36).
Continued in Ch. Twenty-Two
|After the Death of Solomon:|
The Divided Kingdom
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