1 Kings 21

1 After these things, Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near my house; and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.” 3 Naboth said to Ahab, “May the LORD forbid me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” 4 Ahab came into his house sullen and angry because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He laid himself down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sad, that you eat no bread?” 6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ He answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” 7 Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be merry. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and to the nobles who were in his city, who lived with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high amongst the people. 10 Set two men, base fellows, before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king!’ Then carry him out, and stone him to death.” 11 The men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had instructed them in the letters which she had written and sent to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high amongst the people. 13 The two men, the base fellows, came in and sat before him. The base fellows testified against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king!” Then they carried him out of the city and stoned him to death with stones. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned, and is dead.” 15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned, and was dead, 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 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. 17 The LORD’s word came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who dwells in Samaria. Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19 You shall speak to him, saying, ‘the LORD says, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ You shall speak to him, saying, ‘the LORD says, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs will lick your blood, even yours.”’” 20 Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do that which is evil in the LORD’s sight. 21 Behold, I will bring evil on you, and will utterly sweep you away and will cut off from Ahab everyone who urinates against a wall, and him who is shut up and him who is left at large in Israel. 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 for the provocation with which you have provoked me to anger, and have made Israel to sin.” 23 The LORD also spoke of Jezebel, saying, “The dogs will eat Jezebel by the rampart of Jezreel. 24 The dogs will eat he who dies of Ahab in the city; and the birds of the sky will eat he who dies in the field.” 25 But there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do that which was evil in the LORD’s sight, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26 He did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. 27 When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. 28 The LORD’s word came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab humbles himself before me? Because he humbles himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but I will bring the evil on his house in his son’s day.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–4

Naboth, perhaps, had been pleased that he had a vineyard situated so near the palace, but the situation proved fatal to him; many a man’s possessions have been his snare, and his neighbourhood to greatness, of bad consequence. Discontent is a sin that is its own punishment, and makes men torment themselves. It is a sin that is its own parent; it arises not from the condition, but from the mind: as we find Paul contented in a prison, so Ahab was discontented in a palace. He had all the delights of Canaan, that pleasant land, at command; the wealth of a kingdom, the pleasures of a court, and the honours and powers of a throne; yet all avails him nothing without Naboth’s vineyard. Wrong desires expose men to continual vexations, and those that are disposed to fret, however well off, may always find something or other to fret at.

Verses 5–16

When, instead of a help meet, a man has an agent for Satan, in the form of an artful, unprincipled, yet beloved wife, fatal effects may be expected. Never were more wicked orders given by any prince, than those Jezebel sent to the rulers of Jezreel. Naboth must be murdered under colour of religion. There is no wickedness so vile, so horrid, but religion has sometimes been made a cover for it. Also, it must be done under colour of justice, and with the formalities of legal process. Let us, from this sad story, be amazed at the wickedness of the wicked, and the power of Satan in the children of disobedience. Let us commit the keeping of our lives and comforts to God, for innocence will not always be our security; and let us rejoice in the knowledge that all will be set to rights in the great day.

Verses 17–29

Blessed Paul complains that he was sold under sin, Ro 7:14, as a poor captive against his will; but Ahab was willing, he sold himself to sin; of choice, and as his own act and deed, he loved the dominion of sin. Jezebel his wife stirred him up to do wickedly. Ahab is reproved, and his sin set before his eyes, by Elijah. That man’s condition is very miserable, who has made the word of God his enemy; and very desperate, who reckons the ministers of that word his enemies, because they tell him the truth. Ahab put on the garb and guise of a penitent, yet his heart was unhumbled and unchanged. Ahab’s repentance was only what might be seen of men; it was outward only. Let this encourage all that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe the holy gospel, that if a pretending partial penitent shall go to his house reprieved, doubtless, a sincere believing penitent shall go to his house justified.

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