Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 21

Jezebel pretends that Naboth is guilty of a crime against God

1 Kings 21:9

Jezebel’s plan was to make Ahab the legal owner of Naboth’s land. There were various ways by which Ahab could take that land – but not all of those ways would have made him the legal owner.

So, for example, Ahab could have sent his men to take possession of the land. However, if he did that, everyone would believe his actions to be wrong. They would have considered him a thief, not the legal owner.

If Jezebel had simply murdered Naboth, then his family would have remained the legal owners of the land. So Jezebel saw that she must kill Naboth by a legal method. If he was guilty of a terrible crime against God, then perhaps his family would lose their rights to the land. So, Ahab could claim the land, because he was the king. It seemed right that land without an owner should belong to the king.

Jezebel fiercely opposed the true God. However, she wanted to give an impression that people were following Israel’s true religion in this legal matter (compare Revelation 2:20). So, she urged Jezreel’s leaders to act as if Naboth had deeply offended the true God. At times of great trouble, people did not eat, in order to make themselves humble in front of God. The great trouble here was that certain people had accused Naboth, an important citizen of Jezreel, of a terrible crime. So the leaders had to arrange a court of law in front of all the people, to make a legal judgment. They must hear the witnesses and then make their decision. By the law, a man who was guilty of such a terrible crime against God, must die.

Next part: The murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21:10-14)


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