Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 21

Jezebel promises to get Naboth’s vineyard

1 Kings 21:5-8

Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, was a foreign woman. She came from Sidon’s royal family. It seems likely that Jezebel persuaded Ahab to make the religion of Baal into Israel’s official religion (16:31). She accepted personal responsibility for the prophets of the false female god, Asherah (18:19). They were the people who had given themselves completely to that false religion. At the same time, she opposed fiercely those people who served the true God (18:4).

When Naboth refused to sell his vineyard (fruit garden) to Ahab, Ahab became bitter and angry. Naboth would not sell it because that was against the law of the true God (Leviticus 25:23-28). That upset Ahab so much that he refused even to eat. However, he seemed to accept that he could not have the vineyard.

Jezebel had a different attitude. For her, it was a simple matter to gain possession of Naboth’s vineyard. In her opinion, it was only necessary for Ahab to use the power that he already had as the king. Ahab only needed to give his orders to the right people, and they would deal with everything. The opinions of Naboth – or even of the true God – did not matter to Jezebel. Ahab had absolute power over the country that he ruled; and he should use it for his own benefit. That was what Jezebel insisted.

So Ahab handed over his seal to Jezebel. The seal was a simple tool that made a mark on letters. It proved that those letters had the king’s authority. So Ahab was handing over his authority to Jezebel – and in that authority, Jezebel wrote letters to the rulers of Jezreel, Naboth’s city. In those letters, Jezebel demanded the death of Naboth.

Next part: Jezebel pretends that Naboth is guilty of a crime against God (1 Kings 21:9)


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