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Naboth

The Vineyard of Envy


The king offered to pay full value for the vineyard, or, provide Naboth with a better vineyard in return. After the hearing of the king's proposals, Naboth refused him and would not sell Ahab his vineyard: "The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.

( Bible Study Article Covers : 1 Kings 21:1-28 )









Short Recap



In the last article we'd learned that God had surprisingly sent an unnamed prophet to go and help Ahab with his current stressful situation with Ben-Hadad. For the Lord used this unnamed prophet, when it came to instructing the Israel king, on how he should go about carrying out his war campaign, in regard to defending the Israel kingdom against Ben-Hadad's very powerful and massive army. This would lead to Ahab not allowing the Syrian king to strike first. For the Lord had pointed out through the prophet that Ahab was to deliver the first blow.

Also keep in mind that Ben-Hadad wasn't expecting Ahab to have enough courage, when it came to the Israel king being willing to come at him first, head on.

"Then a prophet came to see King Ahab and told him: 'This is what the Lord says:

"Do you see all these enemy forces? Today I will hand them all over to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord."' "But who will do this?" asked Ahab. Then the prophet replied: 'This is what the Lord says: "The young officers of the provincial commanders will do it."' "And who will start the battle?" he asked. The prophet answered: 'You will.'" -- 1 Kings 20:13,14

Again, know that it was crucial that Ahab was to strike first, being that Ben-Hadad wasn't expecting the Israel king to have enough courage, to actually come at him head on. Also, by Ahab making such a bold and unexpected move, the Syrian king would find himself in an unexpected position of vulnerability. Perhaps putting him in a situation that he has never had to deal with.

And make no mistake, it was because of the Lord that Ahab was able to pull off such a move, and be successful with the execution of it. As a matter of fact, the move was so successful... in the end, Ben-Hadad and his men ended up retreating. But this wouldn't be the last that we would hear of the Syrian king, for we find that eventually he would end up regrouping with an army that was arguably more formidable than the first.






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In Spite of Ahab's Success...





But unfortunately, in spite of his recent success on the battlefield, the Israel king still came up short. For you see, even with the unexpected, temporary favor that Ahab had received from the Lord, the Israel king still disobeyed the very same God that had just given him victory. And he did this by allowing Ben-Hadad to go free, after he had soundly defeated him:

"Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, 'Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, "Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life; or you must pay a talent of silver." Now while your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.

"That is your sentence," the king of Israel said. "You have pronounced it yourself." Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. He said to the king, "This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man, I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.'" -- 1 Kings 20:38-42






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God's Judgement Plan : All Three Phases Now In Play





Now keep in mind, that by letting Ben-Hadad go free, Ahab had prolonged one of the three phases of God's plan. Remember what the Lord had told Elijah back when he was reassuring him: "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram." However, in spite of Ahab's disobedience, Ben-Hadad's hold on the Armenian (Syrian) throne has been severely weakened. And because of this, Hazael's appointment to take over the throne, has just moved a lot closer.

And then again, perhaps Ahab's disobedience was by God's design, for you see, Ahab's disobedient actions did kick in another phase of God's plan. For we must also remember that the Lord had just reveal through His unnamed prophet, that in return for Ahab's disobedience, the Israel king will eventually lose his kingdom and his own life. Therefore bringing Jehu closer to his kingship.

Also keep in mind, with Elijah already anointing and now training Elisha to be his successor, all three of phases of God's plan is now in play: "The Lord said to Elijah: 'Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi, king over Israel; and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, from Abel Meholah, to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.'" -- 1 Kings 19:15-17

 




 

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Naboth's Vineyard





Nonetheless, as we move forward in our journey, the Sacred Record brings us back to Ahab. For we now find him back at his palace. And it's here, the king has his sights set on a very beautiful vineyard. Now this vineyard was located from within a very desirable place, which is a place that's also located from within Ahab's kingdom. O how Ahab admired and coveted this vineyard. But there was one major problem when it came to this particular group of grapevines... it was a place that was owned by Naboth the Jezreelite.

Now keep in mind that this vineyard's location, is what had made it so attractive and valuable to the king to begin with. For you see, the mere fact that Ahab wasn't going to keep the location as a vineyard, but instead, he was going to turn it into a vegetable garden, reveals that he was more into the location of the vineyard, instead of the vineyard itself: "So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying: 'Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house. And for your trouble, I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you, what its worth in money.'" -- 1 Kings 21:2

Now notice how Ahab had offered, to pay Naboth full value for the vineyard. And if that offer wasn't acceptable, the king was willing to provide Naboth with a better vineyard, albeit, in a different location. However, after Naboth had heard the king's proposals, he surprised Ahab, by flat out refusing. To put it simply, Naboth would not sell Ahab his vineyard. And this is why we find the Jezreelite telling the Israel king: "The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers."






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Ahab What's Your Problem





Now when Ahab had heard Naboth's reply, he'd returned back to his palace, once again, sullen and angry. Remember the king was sullen and angry, after the Lord had passed judgement against him for disobeying, when it came to Ben-Hadad. Now we find the king once again, angry and disappointed. As a matter of fact, the king was so upset, he refused to eat, and he just wanted to lay on his bed sulking. Now later on, when Jezebel had seen how upset and depressed her husband was, she asked him why he was so moody. Then the king answered his wife, by telling her about the situation that had just taken place between him and Naboth.

Now after Jezebel had heard her husband's reasoning for being so upset and sad, she immediately fired back at him, by saying: "Is this how you act? Are you not, king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up! I'll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." So Jezebel hatched a plan to get Ahab his so desired vineyard. She did this by first, writing letters in the king's name, and sealed those letters with the royal seal. She then had them delivered to the all the elders and nobles that were living in Jezreel.

Now from within these letters, Jezebel had instructed that these officials proclaim a day of fasting, and that Naboth should be seated in a prominent place at these festivities. After this had been done, these city officials were to put two false witnesses on each side of him. And as these false witnesses sat beside him, they would openly testify that Naboth had cursed, both God and the king:

"Jezebel wrote in the letters, saying: 'Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people. And seat two men,  scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying: "You have blasphemed God and the king.' Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.'" -- 1 Kings 21:9,10






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Ahab Go Claim Your Prize





And needless-to-say, these city officials did as Jezebel had instructed. For they had their day of fasting. These officials also ended up placing Naboth on trial, as they provided for two false witnesses to come forth, and tell the people the lies that they were instructed to tell, from within Jezebel's letters. And because of this, Naboth was found guilty and was eventually put to death by stoning. A stoning that had taken place right outside of the city.

Next we find the officials sending out word to Jezebel, letting her know that her orders had been carried out, when it came to Naboth being stoned to death. And after Jezebel received this message of good news, she went to inform Ahab: "Get up and go take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. That very same vineyard, that he'd refused to sell you. For he's no longer alive, but dead."

So after Jezebel had said this to Ahab, the king got up, and went down to claim possession of the vineyard he so desired. However, after the king had went down to claim his prize, the voice of the Lord came to prophet Elijah. The Lord would instruct the prophet to immediately go down and meet the Israel king, while he was down in the vineyard. And when Ahab had seen Elijah approaching him from within the vineyard, he called out to the prophet: "So you have found me, my enemy!"






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The Foretelling of Ahab & Jezebel's Demise





Now after Elijah had heard how Ahab had greeted him, the prophet responded by delivering this message: "Yes I have found you, and because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. I'm going to bring disaster upon you. Know that I will consume your descendants, and cut off from Ahab, every last male in Israel -- slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. And like that of Baasha son of Ahijah. I will do this, because you have provoked me to anger, and have caused Israel to sin. And also concerning Jezebel, the Lord says: 'Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab, who die in the city. And the birds of the air, will feed on those, who die in the country.'"

Now after Ahab had heard this message from the prophet, he immediately tore his clothes. Next the king would in return, put on sackcloth, and began to fast. Ahab would then walk around in sackcloth, while in turn, becoming very humble in nature. Understand that the change that Ahab had made, was so dramatic that the Lord took notice. And because of this, God would say these words to Elijah: "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house, in the days of his son."







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In The Next Upcoming Article :



Now that God has used Elijah to inform the king that his days were now numbered. Exactly how much time, will the king have left? And now that Ahab has humbled himself before the Lord, will this make a difference, when it comes to the judgment that the Lord has just foretold against him and his wife Jezebel? 



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01) Elijah the Fire Prophet

02) Obadiah and the Caves of Refuge

03) The Fire Contest Between God & Baal

04) The Gift of Rain That Came From The Heavens

05) Elisha The Prophet Apprentice

06) The Thirty Two Kings of Mass Destruction

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09) The Prophets of the Groves

10) Micaiah The One True Prophet

11) The Demise of King Ahab

12) The Cursed Seed of Ahab

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