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1 Kings 21

Naboth's vineyard

1 Naboth lived in a town called Jezreel. He had a vineyard. After the war with Ben-hadad, this happened. Naboth's vineyard was in Jezreel, near to the palace of Ahab the king of Samaria. 2 Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard. I want to grow vegetables in it, because it is near to my palace. I will give you a better vineyard for it. Or, maybe, you would rather have its value in money.’ 3 Naboth replied to Ahab, ‘The LORD will not let me give the field to you. My ancestors gave it to me.’ 4 So Ahab went to his home. He was angry and he would not speak to people. That was because of what Naboth from Jezreel had said. He had said, ‘I will not give to you the field that my ancestors gave to me.’ Ahab lay on his bed. He was angry and he would not eat any food.

5 Ahab's wife, Jezebel, came in to Ahab's room. She asked him, ‘Why are you so angry? Why will you not eat anything?’ 6 Ahab answered her, ‘It is because I said to Naboth from Jezreel, “Sell your vineyard to me. Or, if you would like it better, I will give you another vineyard instead of it.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.” ’ 7 Ahab's wife Jezebel said, ‘You are the king of Israel, so you can do anything. Get up from your bed and eat something. Be happy! I will get the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel for you.’ 8 Then Jezebel wrote letters. They seemed to come from Ahab, because she used his special mark. She sent them to the older men and the leaders that lived in Naboth's city with him. 9 This is what she wrote in those letters. ‘Tell everybody that there will be a fast. Give Naboth a seat where everybody can see him. 10 But cause two bad men to sit near him. Order them to say that Naboth has said bad things about God and about the king. Then take him out. Throw stones at him until he is dead.’

11 So the older men and the leaders, who lived in Naboth's city, obeyed Jezebel. They did what she ordered them to do in her letters to them. 12 They said that there must be a fast. They put Naboth in a seat where everybody could see him. 13 Then two bad men came and they sat near to him. They said, in front of all the people, that Naboth had said bad things about God and about the king. So the people took him outside their city. They threw stones at him until he was dead. 14 Then they sent a message to Jezebel. ‘The people threw stones at Naboth. He is dead.’ 15 So Jezebel knew that Naboth was dead. He was dead because they threw stones at him. Then she said to Ahab, ‘Get up from your bed and take for yourself the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel. He would not sell it to you, but now he is not alive but dead.’ 16 When Ahab knew that Naboth was dead, he got up from his bed. He went to take for himself Naboth's vineyard.

17 When this had happened, the word of the LORD came to Elijah from Tishbe. 18 He said, ‘Go to meet King Ahab of Israel. He is the ruler of Samaria. He is now in Naboth's vineyard. He is taking it for himself. 19 Say to him, “This is what the LORD says to you. You have killed a man and you have taken his vineyard for yourself.” Then say to him, “This is what the LORD says. In the place where the dogs drank Naboth's blood, dogs will drink your blood. Yes, they will drink your blood!” ’ 20 Ahab said to Elijah, ‘You have found me, my enemy.’ Elijah answered, ‘I have found you because of all the bad things that you have done. You have decided to do everything that the LORD does not like. It is like you have sold yourself. 21 The LORD says, “I will kill you. I will take away your children and their children. I will kill every man in Israel from Ahab's family. It does not matter whether they are slaves or free men. 22 I will make your family like the family of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. I will make it like the family of Baasha the son of Ahijah. I will do this because you have made me very angry. Also, you have caused the people in Israel to sin against me.” 23 Also, the LORD says this about Jezebel. “Dogs will eat Jezebel near the wall of the city of Jezreel. 24 Dogs will eat people who belong to Ahab's family. They will eat them if they die in the city of Samaria. And the birds in the air will eat those people that die outside the city.” ’

25 Ahab had decided to do everything that the LORD did not like. Nobody before him was worse than he was. His wife Jezebel wanted him to be like that. 26 Ahab did the worst things. He worshipped idols like the people called Amorites did. The LORD had killed those people before Israel came into their country.

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes into pieces. He wore hairy clothes and he fasted. He made his bed from hairy blankets and he became humble. 28 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah from Tishbe. 29 ‘You have seen that Ahab has become humble in front of me. I will not destroy his family while he is alive. This is because he has become humble in front of me. I will destroy his family when he is dead. I will destroy his family when his son is alive.’

Notes about chapter 21

21:29Verse 3. Naboth was still a servant of the LORD. (See 1 Kings 19:18.) Naboth was obeying Numbers 36:7-8.
21:29Verse 20. ‘Sold yourself’ means this. Ahab has let other people do bad things for him. Now Ahab cannot do anything to help himself.
21:29Verse 23. 2 Kings 9:35-37 tells us what happened to Jezebel.
21:29Verse 27. People that were sorry for their sins wore hairy clothes. They also fasted.