Day One Hundred Fifty-Six, I Kings 20—22
Today’s reading only highlights the level of evil that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel embodied.
Ahab covets the vineyard of a man named Naboth. Ahab wants it, because it is a good vineyard and it is near his palace. He offers to exchange it for a better vineyard for Naboth. Or, he offers to pay Naboth a good price for it. But because that vineyard was the inheritance of Naboth’s family, Naboth tells Ahab, “Thanks, but no thanks, it’s NOT for sale.”
So Ahab does what any grown man would do, right? He goes home, lies around sulking and refusing to eat. Jezebel gets tired of it and she’s like, “Why are you acting like this???” Ahab responds (and I can almost hear the whining in his voice), “Naboth has a vineyard that I want, and he won’t sell it to me! I made an offer and everything…”
Jezebel says, “Seriously?!?!?” Are you king or are you king??? Why don’t you just take the vineyar…wait, you know what, never mind! I’ll handle this myself!!!”
So she writes letters in Ahab’s name with his seal and sends them to the nobles who live in Naboth’s city. She says, “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a place of honor. But then have two scoundrels lie about him, have them claim that he cursed both God and the king. Then have him stoned to death!”
The people that lived in Naboth’s city followed Jezebel’s instructions, and the innocent Naboth was killed. When Jezebel heard the news, she told Ahab, “Okay, now quit acting like a two-year-old; go take Naboth’s vineyard.”
So King Ahab took over the vineyard and he and Queen Jezebel lived happily ever after.
Praise God that’s not how the story ends! Our God is a God of justice, and he does not look the other way when people are treated unfairly. Rather, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel live happily until Elijah comes to them with yet another message from the Lord: “I am going to destroy you. I will cut off every male from your household. And that wife of yours…DOGS will devour her in the place where Naboth was killed.”
On an unrelated note, I was also amused in this day’s reading by Ahab’s response to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, when they are looking for a prophet that they may inquire of the Lord. Ahab says, “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad.” I wonder if it ever occurred to Ahab that his actions might be the problem there? Just wondering.