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Ahab and Jezebel Intensify Their Sin 

First Kings 21

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 11, In the year of our Lord, 2016

  1. First Kings 21.1–4 | Ahab Wants Naboth’s Vineyard

    1 And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” 4 So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food.

    1. Which commandment did Ahab break?
    2. Is it wrong to offer to buy someone’s property?
    3. Do we have to sell our property is someone offers to buy it?
    4. How do we know that he had a problem with covetousness?
    5. What is your impression of King Ahab?
  2. First Kings 21.5–10 | Jezebel Has a Scheme

    5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?” 6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it. And he answered, I will not give you my vineyard.” 7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8 And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying,

    Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; 10 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. Did Jezebel truly want to give her husband what he wanted, or was it an excuse to exercise authority?
      1. She said that Ahab had the authority, but then she was the one who took actions against Naboth.
      2. She forged letters in Ahab’s name.
    2. What did she want done?
      1. Why did she bother with a trial for Naboth?
      2. It is hard to imagine such an evil woman.
  3. First Kings 21.11–14 | They Kill Naboth

    11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people. 13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”

    1. What do you think of all these men doing as Jezebel said to do?
      1. Could or would you stand up to her?
    2. Why did they first honor Naboth?
      1. Were they seeking to make themselves look good?
      2. Everyone would appear as friendly toward Naboth until the scoundrels showed up.
    3. What kind of heart allows a person to name God while doing evil?
  4. First Kings 21.15–16 | Ahab Possesses Naboth’s Vineyard

    15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

    1. Jezebel shows no remorse.
      1. Could you take an innocent life?
      2. What would it take for you to do as she did?
    2. What do you think about Ahab here?
      1. He does not rebuke his wife.
      2. He seems to be happy that he can now have what he wanted.
  5. First Kings 21.17–24 | Elijah Confronts Ahab

    17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19 You shall speak to him, saying, Thus says the LORD: Have you murdered and also taken possession? And you shall speak to him, saying, Thus says the LORD: In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” 20 So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the LORD: 21 Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. 22 I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin. 23 And concerning Jezebel the LORD also spoke, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. 24 The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.”

    1. It was time for the Lord to intervene through the prophet Elijah.
      1. The Lord needed a fearless prophet who would speak forcefully and bluntly to the king, and the Lord found the prophet in Elijah.
      2. What made Elijah fearless and bold?
    2. Was Elijah the enemy of Ahab?
      1. Yes and no.
      2. Living as he had, made him an enemy of all righteous people.
      3. Yet, Elijah had not become his enemy by telling him the truth.
      4. See Gal 4.16.
    3. In what way had Ahab murdered?
    4. What would happen to Ahab?
      1. People often say that they do not care what happens to their bodies after they die.
      2. Should we care?
        1. If we should not care, what would be the meaning of this prophecy?
        2. Truly, our bodies should be treated with respect after we die.
      3. What did it picture that dogs would like the blood of Ahab?
        1. We expect kings to be honored in death.
        2. However, this shows that he would die with dishonor.
    5. What would the dogs do to Jezebel?
  6. First Kings 21.25–26 | The Extreme Wickedness of Ahab

    25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. 26 And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.

    1. The writer paused momentarily to provide us with insight into Ahab’s evil.
      1. He sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord.
      2. He followed idols.
      3. He did what the Amorites did.
    2. This explains why Elijah rebuked the king often and why Ahab called Elijah his enemy.
  7. First Kings 21.27–29 | Ahab Humbles Himself

    27 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. 28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”

    1. We did not expect Ahab to show any sign of repentance.
      1. Yet, why did the Lord send prophets?
      2. Was it not to get people to repent?
    2. Does this show that Ahab may have known of his guilt and when a prophet revealed that the Lord knew what he had done, the king could do nothing else but repent?
    3. Ahab had already seen Elijah defeat the false prophets at Carmel.
    4. Notice that the Lord would still send calamity to Israel, but would delay it.