Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 21

Ahab offers to buy Naboth’s vineyard

1 Kings 21:1-2

Ahab was a cruel and evil king, and God had already issued a judgment of death against him (20:42). However, God had not yet declared the end of the rule of Ahab’s family, as had happened for some previous kings (14:7-16; 16:1-3).

That would happen after one particularly bad incident: the murder of Naboth to steal his land. In this incident we see how completely wicked Ahab and his wife Jezebel had become. We also see how they gained and used their power. In particular, we will see how they used both the law and religion for their own benefit.

Naboth owned a vineyard – a fruit garden – in Jezreel. This was not merely some land that Naboth had bought or rented. God had given to each family in Israel some land which had to remain in that family’s possession (Leviticus 25:23-28). So, this land belonged permanently to Naboth’s family.

Ahab’s main palace was in Samaria, his capital city. It was a new, wealthy city in the hills, with strong defences. He also had a second palace at Jezreel, near Naboth’s vineyard. Jezreel was in a valley where plants grew extremely well. That was why Ahab wanted to buy Naboth’s vineyard. He wanted a garden near his palace, where his gardeners could grow the best vegetables and other plants. He offered to pay the proper price for it. Ahab’s father Omri made a similar arrangement in order to buy the hill where Samaria stood (16:24).

Next part: Naboth refuses to sell his vineyard to Ahab (1 Kings 21:3-4)


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