1 Kings 21

Ahab Murders Naboth

21:1 After this the following episode took place.1 Naboth the Jezreelite owned a vineyard in Jezreel adjacent to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria.2 21:2 Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard so I can make a vegetable garden out of it, for it is adjacent to my palace. I will give you an even better vineyard in its place, or if you prefer,3 I will pay you silver for it.”4 21:3 But Naboth replied to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should sell you my ancestral inheritance.”5

21:4 So Ahab went into his palace, bitter and angry that Naboth the Jezreelite had said,6 “I will not sell to you my ancestral inheritance.”7 He lay down on his bed, pouted,8 and would not eat. 21:5 Then his wife Jezebel came in and said to him, “Why do you have a bitter attitude and refuse to eat?” 21:6 He answered her, “While I was talking to Naboth the Jezreelite, I said to him, ‘Sell me your vineyard for silver, or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not sell you my vineyard.’”9 21:7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “You are the king of Israel!10 Get up, eat some food, and have a good time.11 I will get the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”

21:8 She wrote out orders,12 signed Ahab’s name to them,13 and sealed them with his seal. She then sent the orders14 to the leaders15 and to the nobles who lived in Naboth’s city.16 21:9 This is what she wrote:17 “Observe a time of fasting and seat Naboth in front of the people. 21:10 Also seat two villains opposite him and have them testify, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”

21:11 The men of the18 city, the leaders19 and the nobles who lived there,20 followed the written orders Jezebel had sent them.21 21:12 They observed a time of fasting and put Naboth in front of the people. 21:13 The two villains arrived and sat opposite him. Then the villains testified against Naboth right before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they dragged him22 outside the city and stoned him to death.23 21:14 Then they reported to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.”24

21:15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she25 said to Ahab, “Get up, take possession of the vineyard Naboth the Jezreelite refused to sell you for silver, for Naboth is no longer alive; he’s dead.” 21:16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead,26 he got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

21:17 The Lord told Elijah the Tishbite:27 21:18 “Get up, go down and meet King Ahab of Israel who lives in Samaria. He is at the vineyard of Naboth; he has gone down there to take possession of it. 21:19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Haven’t you committed murder and taken possession of the property of the deceased?”’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “In the spot where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood they will also lick up your blood – yes, yours!”’”

21:20 When Elijah arrived, Ahab said to him,28 “So, you have found me, my enemy!” Elijah29 replied, “I have found you, because you are committed30 to doing evil in the sight of31 the Lord. 21:21 The Lord says,32 ‘Look, I am ready to bring disaster33 on you. I will destroy you34 and cut off every last male belonging to Ahab in Israel, including even the weak and incapacitated.35 21:22 I will make your dynasty36 like those of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah because you angered me and made Israel sin.’37 21:23 The Lord says this about Jezebel, ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the outer wall38 of Jezreel.’ 21:24 As for Ahab’s family, dogs will eat the ones39 who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the country.” 21:25 (There had never been anyone like Ahab, who was firmly committed40 to doing evil in the sight of41 the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel.42 21:26 He was so wicked he worshiped the disgusting idols,43 just like the Amorites44 whom the Lord had driven out from before the Israelites.)

21:27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and fasted. He slept in sackcloth and walked around dejected. 21:28 The Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite,45 21:29 “Have you noticed how Ahab shows remorse46 before me? Because he shows remorse before me, I will not bring disaster on his dynasty during his lifetime, but during the reign of his son.”47

Next Chapter