1 Kings 21: What is the price of greed?

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In 1 Kings 21, we see how deceiving some Bible characters can actually be. Jezebel, the feme fatal of the Bible, shows how manipulative she can be. However, this story started out quite innocent. Ahab wanted to purchase a vineyard, that was beside the palace, from Naboth. Naboth refused to sell it because it was his birthright. Ahab cried like a baby and Jezebel had Naboth killed and Ahab takes over the vineyard. All for a vegetable garden…….

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So, what is the significance of this story? Lets start at the beginning. According to http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1121.htm , the ancient Israelites cherished their land.

“They believed that the land was an inheritance from God, parceled out to individual tribes and families according to His will. Therefore land was never really sold, only leased – and that only under the most dire circumstances. Real Estate offices in ancient Israel didn’t do very good business.”

So, this makes sense why Naboth would not sell his land. Ahab probably just wanted it for his convenience, I mean, it was right beside him. However, this does not explain the temper tantrum he pitched. He was even refusing food. What kind of grown man refuses food? He was the king of Samaria, he could have had anything to eat he wanted.

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Jezebel sees how her manly husband is reacting, so she decides to fix it. According to http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/view.cgi?book=1ki&chapter=021 , Jezebel shows a side of evil no man really shows in the Bible. Perhaps, the writer shows her portraying this form of sin to give women readers a model not to go by. Looking back to the earlier chapters of the Old Testament, we see heroic women characters. However, Jezebel gives a different side to the woman figure.  Not only is she deceitful, but she is smart as well, but not smart enough to think the vengeful God of the Old Testament will let her get away with her actions.

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She steals the kings seal to write a letter basically  saying Naboth should be killed and uses Ahab’s seal.1-kings-graphic

Also, according to http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/view.cgi?book=1ki&chapter=021 she uses Ahab’s name as if he is writing it himself. It states that she does this knowing it could back fire, but pleasing him is worth it in the end. According to https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=607 ,“The story of Naboth’s vineyard, recorded in 1 Kings 21, can perhaps be read and interpreted as the ultimate trespass by Ahab against God’s admonition to (and the Deuteronomistic Historian’s judgment of) the kings of ancient Israel to be fully faithful to Yahweh alone. Before the “Naboth incident,” Ahab’s acts of faithlessness involved other gods and the prophet whom Yahweh sent to keep Ahab in line.” 

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Jezebel needed an out. According to http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1121.htm , “The idea was that some evil or calamity came upon Israel, and a scapegoat had to be found for the evil. Jezebel intended that Naboth be revealed as the scapegoat.” She found a way to get rid of him and she did. Since Jezebel made false accusations against Naboth, it caused him his life. Her evil is shown all throughout Kings, and it is a “miracle” God let her live as long as he did. The writers are wanting the grace that God has to be shown to the readers. No matter how evil you are, there is always some form of redemption God can give. However, he can easily take it away, which has been shown all throughout the Old Testament.

Also, something very interesting is the foreshadowing in this chapter. According to http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1121.htm , “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king! Jesus was charged with similar crimes, accused of offending both God and Caesar. Naboth, just like Jesus, was completely innocent of such accusations and was murdered without cause. The stoning of Naboth over a piece of land for a vegetable garden shows the brutal and amoral character of Jezebel and Ahab.” This shows just how in aligned the Bible is. The writers had no clue about Jesus and yet, there are examples of foreshadowing all throughout the Old Testament.

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When Elijah comes it all changes. By now, we know that Elijah and Ahab are enemies.

Ahab said to Elijah, “Have yo found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in sight of the Lord” 1 Kings 21:20

This absolutely terrifies Ahab, because Elijah tells him how it is going to be. he threatens that his lineage will be completely cut off.( We know how important that is in ancient times.) When he talks about dogs licking up his blood just like they did Naboth and they will also eat Jezebel, he completely surrenders to God. In chapter 21, God allows Ahab and Jezebel to live, because of the redemption Ahab showed, but God’s kindness towards them is not permanent. The prophecy of their death is not fully fulfilled like he says it is going to be, but not fully unfulfilled either. They do both eventually die, and Canis lupus familiaris’  do lick up Ahab’s blood, but it is in a different town. How pleasant.

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One of the big questions about this chapter is why does this all occur? Is it building up to their deaths? Or is it a lesson in disguise? I think, like all things in the Bible, it is a lesson for the future readers. Maybe it is a lesson for men how to act and how not to act. Jezebel kind of portrays Satan in her deceptiveness. She slides in like he does in the Garden of Eden.jezebel-1

The story could also show who to trust and who not to trust. Selfeshness does not get a person far, and I think that is one of the main points the writer is trying to make. Ahab had everything at the tip of his fingers, except respect. If he would of respected God’s wishes for Naboth’s land, their might have been a different outcome. Moral of the chapter, respect God’s wishes, so dogs will not lick up your blood.

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So many lessons could be pulled from 1 Kings 21, but the main one is probably: If you do not get your way, don’t go jump on your bed, pitch a fit, and refuse food. That is just not healthy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNbspRcPSgs

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