Accessory to Murder
by Adele Butler
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Imagine Ahab wanted Naboth's vineyard because he wanted to turn it into a vegetable garden! It was conveniently near to Ahab's house. He was offering Naboth a better vineyard or money. Naboth turned him down, saying, "The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you." NIV Study Bible offers this explanation for Naboth's refusal. Naboth's refusal to dispose of his land was based on the conviction that the land was the Lord's, that He had granted a perpetual lease to each Israelite family and that this lease was to be jealously preserved as the family's permanent inheritance in the promised land.
Like a spoiled child Ahab went home and sulked, refusing to eat any food. Jezebel noticed his behavior and asked him what was wrong. He told her and she decided to take matters into her own hands. She told Ahab, "I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." How was she going to accomplish what her husband couldn't? Why didn't Ahab wonder or question what she was going to do?
Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab's name and put his seal on them. In the letters she wrote to the elders and nobles to proclaim a fast, set Naboth with high honor among the people and seat two men, scoundrels to bear false witness against Naboth, claiming that he blasphemed God and the king. Then they were instructed to take him out and stone him to death.
Exodus 22:28 states, "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people." In Leviticus 24, a man blasphemed the name of God and was cursed so he was taken outside the camp and stoned. The people were warned, "Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death" (verse 16).
Why did the elders and nobles go along with Jezebel's evil plan? Exodus 20:16 clearly states: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Exodus 23:1, 7 state: "You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the witness." The elders and nobles must have known that the men were lying about Naboth yet they had him stoned to death.
When Jezebel told Ahab that Naboth was dead and that he could go and take possession of the vineyard, Ahab did not ask any questions. He got up and went to take possession of the vineyard. Ahab was an accessory to murder.
The Lord said to Ahab, through Elijah, "Have you murdered and also taken possession?" Calamity would come on Ahab because he sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Ahab was told that Jezebel would meet an unpleasant end. God predicted that in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs would lick Ahab's blood. This prophecy was fulfilled in 1 Kings 22:38 which says, "Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.
Jezebel was thrown down and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses. When they went to bury her because she was a king's daughter all they found were her skull, feet and palms of her hands. The words of Elijah had been fulfilled. "On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel (2 Kings 9:33-36).
Ahab's willing compliance with Jezebel's scheme made him guilty of murder and theft. His repentance postponed certain aspects of the prophecy concerning him and his house until the time of his son Joram. Joram was killed and thrown into the field of Naboth. "'Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons,'says the Lord. Now therefore, take and throw him on the plot of ground, according to the word of the Lord. Jehu remembered when the Lord laid this burden on Ahab (2 Kings 9:24-26). In killing Naboth's sons, Jezebel had eliminated his heirs.
We learn that Jehu killed all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke to Elijah (2 Kings 10:17). God had said, "You shall striked down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free. So I will make the house of Ahab liek the house of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha, the son of Ahijah" (2 Kings 9:7-9). These words were directed at Jehu who was anointed king over Israel.
Ahab wanted another man's possession and when he didn't get his way, he behaved childishly and went on a hunger strike. We can't always get what we want and we must learn how to deal with disappointments like mature adults. And when we don't get what we want, we should not take matters into our own hands. We should not force the issue by devising schemes. God warned us about covetousness. He wrote by His own hand, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:16, 17). Covetousness is what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven and Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden. And it is what caused Ahab everything.
It goes to show you that you should not envy people. You don't know what they had to do in order to get what they have.
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