1 Kings 21

Naboth's vineyard

1 Naboth lived in a town called Jezreel. He had a vineyard in Jezreel, near to the palace of Ahab, the king of Samaria. 2 King 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 instead of that one. Or, if you want, I will pay you its value in money.’ 3 Naboth replied to Ahab, ‘The Lord will never allow that to happen! It belongs to me because it belonged to my ancestors.’

21:3Naboth was doing what the Lord said was right. See Numbers 36:7-8.

4 So Ahab went home to his palace. He was angry and upset because of what Naboth had said. He had said, ‘I will not sell you my vineyard that belonged to my ancestors.’ Ahab lay on his bed. He covered his face and he would not eat any food.

5 Ahab's wife, Jezebel, came in to his room. She asked him, ‘Why are you so upset? Why do you refuse to eat anything?’ 6 Ahab answered her, ‘It is because of Naboth, the man from Jezreel. I said to him, “Sell your vineyard to me. Or, if you want, I will give you another vineyard instead of that one.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.” ’

7 Jezebel said, ‘You are the king who rules Israel! Now get up from your bed and eat something. Do not be upset! I will get Naboth's vineyard for you.’

8 Jezebel wrote some letters as if King Ahab had written them. She used his special seal as a mark on them. Then she sent them to the older leaders and important men who lived in Jezreel with Naboth. 9 This is what she wrote in those letters: ‘Choose a day for everyone to fast. Give Naboth a seat where the people can see him. 10 Put two wicked men in seats near him. Tell them to accuse Naboth that he has insulted God and the king. Then take him out. Throw stones at him until he is dead.’

11 So the leaders and the important men who lived in Naboth's city, obeyed Jezebel. They did what she commanded them to do in the letters that she sent to them. 12 They chose a day for the people to fast. They put Naboth in a seat where the people could see him. 13 Then two wicked men came and they sat near to him. They accused Naboth so that the people could all hear them. They said, ‘Naboth has insulted God and the king.’ So the people took him outside the city. They threw stones at him until he was dead. 14 Then the city's leaders sent a message to Jezebel. They told her, ‘The people have killed Naboth with stones.’

15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth was dead, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up from your bed! Go to Jezreel and take Naboth's vineyard for yourself. He refused to sell it to you when he was alive. But now he is dead.’ 16 When Ahab knew that Naboth was dead, he got up from his bed. He went to Naboth's vineyard to take it for himself.

17 After this, the Lord gave a message to Elijah, the prophet from Tishbe. 18 He said to Elijah, ‘Go now to meet King Ahab of Israel who rules in Samaria. He is at Naboth's vineyard to take it as his own vineyard. 19 Say to Ahab, “This is what the Lord says to you: You have murdered a man. You have taken the dead man's field for yourself.” Then say to him, “This is what the Lord says: In the place where the dogs drank Naboth's blood from the ground, dogs will drink your blood. Yes, they will drink your blood there too!” ’

20 When Elijah met Ahab, Ahab said to him, ‘So, my enemy, now you have found me!’ Elijah answered, ‘Yes, I have found you to warn you! You have decided to do things that the Lord says are evil. 21 So the Lord says, “Now I will bring great trouble on you. I will destroy you and your family. I will kill every male among Ahab's descendants in Israel, whoever they are. 22 I will destroy your family as I did to the family of Nebat's son Jeroboam and the family of Ahijah's son Baasha. I will do this because you have made me angry and you have caused Israel's people to do wrong things.” 23 The Lord says this about Jezebel: “Dogs will eat Jezebel's dead body beside the city wall of Jezreel.” 24 If people of Ahab's family die in the city, dogs will eat their bodies. If they die in the country, vultures will eat them.’

21:232 Kings 9:35-37 tells us what happened to Jezebel.

25 Ahab had decided to do everything that the Lord said was evil. He was more wicked than any other person who had lived. His wife Jezebel helped him to be like that. 26 Ahab was so wicked that he worshipped useless idols, as the Amorites did. The Lord had chased those people out of the land so that the Israelites could live there.

27 When Ahab heard Elijah's message, he tore his clothes into pieces. He dressed himself in sackcloth and he did not eat any food. He even wore sackcloth when he slept on his bed. He walked slowly with a sad face.

21:27People who were sorry for their sins wore sackcloth which was very rough. They also ate no food.

28 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 29 ‘You have surely seen that Ahab now respects me. Because he has become humble, I will not destroy his family while he is alive. I will wait until his son rules as king. Then I will bring great trouble on Ahab's descendants.’