Ahab Takes Naboth’s Vineyard
1After these things had happened, this is what followed. A man named Naboth owned a vineyard in Jezreel, near the palace of Ahab king of Israel. 2One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard. It is near my palace, and I want to make it into a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in its place, or, if you prefer, I will pay you what it is worth.”
3Naboth answered, “May the Lord keep me from ever giving my land to you. It belongs to my family.”
4Ahab went home angry and upset, because he did not like what Naboth from Jezreel had said. (Naboth had said, “I will not give you my family’s land.”) Ahab lay down on his bed, turned his face to the wall, and refused to eat.
5His wife, Jezebel, came in and asked him, “Why are you so upset that you refuse to eat?”
6Ahab answered, “I talked to Naboth, the man from Jezreel. I said, ‘Sell me your vineyard, or, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ But Naboth refused.”
7Jezebel answered, “Is this how you rule as king over Israel? Get up, eat something, and cheer up. I will get Naboth’s vineyard for you.”
8So Jezebel wrote some letters, signed Ahab’s name to them, and used his own seal to seal them. Then she sent them to the elders and important men who lived in Naboth’s town. 9The letter she wrote said: “Declare a day during which the people are to fast. Call the people together, and give Naboth a place of honor among them. 10Seat two troublemakers across from him, and have them say they heard Naboth speak against God and the king. Then take Naboth out of the city and kill him with stones.”
11The elders and important men of Jezreel obeyed Jezebel’s command, just as she wrote in the letters. 12They declared a special day on which the people were to fast. And they put Naboth in a place of honor before the people. 13Two troublemakers sat across from Naboth and said in front of everybody that they had heard him speak against God and the king. So the people carried Naboth out of the city and killed him with stones. 14Then the leaders sent a message to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been killed.”
15When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been killed, she told Ahab, “Naboth of Jezreel is dead. Now you may go and take for yourself the vineyard he would not sell to you.” 16When Ahab heard that Naboth of Jezreel was dead, he got up and went to the vineyard to take it for his own.
17At this time the Lord spoke his word to the prophet Elijah the Tishbite. The Lord said, 18“Go to Ahab king of Israel in Samaria. He is at Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take it as his own. 19Tell Ahab that I, the Lord, say to him, ‘You have murdered Naboth and taken his land. So I tell you this: In the same place the dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, they will also lick up your blood!’ ”
20When Ahab saw Elijah, he said, “So you have found me, my enemy!”
Elijah answered, “Yes, I have found you. You have always chosen to do what the Lord says is wrong. 21So the Lord says to you, ‘I will soon destroy you. I will kill you and every male in your family, both slave and free. 22Your family will be like the family of King Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the family of King Baasha son of Ahijah. I will destroy you, because you have made me angry and have led the people of Israel to sin.’
23“And the Lord also says, ‘Dogs will eat the body of Jezebel in the city of Jezreel.’
24“Anyone in your family who dies in the city will be eaten by dogs, and anyone who dies in the fields will be eaten by birds.”
25There was no one like Ahab who had chosen so often to do what the Lord said was wrong, because his wife Jezebel influenced him to do evil. 26Ahab sinned terribly by worshiping idols, just as the Amorite people did. And the Lord had taken away their land and given it to the people of Israel.
27After Elijah finished speaking, Ahab tore his clothes. He put on rough cloth, fasted, and even slept in the rough cloth to show how sad and upset he was.
28The Lord spoke his word to Elijah the Tishbite: 29“I see that Ahab is now sorry for what he has done. So I will not cause the trouble to come to him during his life, but I will wait until his son is king. Then I will bring this trouble to Ahab’s family.”