Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 21

The murder of Naboth

1 Kings 21:10-14

The punishment for a person who, on purpose, chose to speak evil words against God, was death (Leviticus 24:13-16). In God’s law, this was the worst crime. All the people had the responsibility to kill that person. They threw stones at that person until he was dead. However, in every legal matter, God’s law says that there must be proper witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15-20).

The people understood that God had appointed their king to rule over them. Therefore, they believed that it was a similar crime to speak evil words against the king (2 Samuel 16:5-9).

Jezebel wished to use this law against Naboth. Of course, Naboth was innocent and there was no evidence against him. So, she told the leaders of Jezreel to arrange for two evil men to act as witnesses against him. Probably the leaders had to pay those witnesses to speak their lies.

The court of law happened in public. The judges were the same important people who had arranged the false witnesses. Naboth sat on one side, and the two witnesses sat opposite him. All the people gathered to watch it.

At the court, the judges decided that Naboth was guilty. They also decided to kill Naboth’s sons (2 Kings 9:26), although it was against God’s law to do that (Deuteronomy 24:16).

The leaders of Jezreel were very eager to please Jezebel. She actually wrote her orders to them in her husband’s name (21:8). However, the leaders realised that she was responsible. So, after they had killed Naboth, they reported back to Jezebel (21:14).

Next part: Ahab goes to claim Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:15-16)


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