- 1 Kings 20:1-43; 22:1; 21:1-24, 27-29; 22:51, 2-4;
- 2 Chron. 18:2-3
- 1 Kings 22:5-6, 10-12, 7-9, 13-28
Ahab, the king of Israel, saw a vineyard which was close to his palace, and he decided he wanted it. He contacted Naboth, the owner of the vineyard, and offered him to trade the land for a better vineyard or to buy the property from him. Naboth refused Ahab's offer, valuing the land as his forefathers' inheritance which was passed down to him. This made Ahab so upset. He went home to his palace and lay down on his bed and wouldn't eat anything. Poor King Ahab.
Jezebel, the king's evil wife, went to console her husband. She told Ahab not to be depressed, but to cheer up, for she would get the vineyard for him. After all, he was the king, she said. So she came up with a plan. She wrote letters to the elders of the city of Jezreel, where Naboth lived, telling them to proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Have two scoundrels sit beside him and have them accuse Naboth of cursing GOD and the king. Then stone Naboth. Having no morals or courage to resist these wicked plans, the people went along with Jezebel's scheme. They stoned Naboth.
Jezebel went to Ahab and told him Naboth was dead and he could have the vineyard, so he got up and took possession of it. GOD was very angry, as you would imagine.
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: 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.’ 23 And concerning Jezebel the LORD also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall 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.” ... 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.”
(1 Kings 21:17-29 NKJV)
Even though Ahab was so wicked and provoked GOD to so much wrath, look at the mercy of GOD! Because Ahab humbled himself GOD decided not to bring about the destruction of Ahab's household until after he died. The wrongs were still punished, but GOD was merciful at the same time. Repentance is an amazing thing. GOD wants us to be humble and to obey. When we don't He disciplines us to correct us. In Ahab's case, it took a lot to get his attention, but eventually he humbled himself before GOD. Praise GOD for His great mercy!