Ahab Takes Over Naboth's Vineyard
1Some time later King Ahab wanted a certain vineyard. It belonged to Naboth from Jezreel. The vineyard was in Jezreel. It was close to the palace of Ahab, the king of Samaria.
2Ahab said to Naboth, "Let me have your vineyard. It's close to my palace. I want to use it for a vegetable garden. I'll trade you a better vineyard for it. Or, if you prefer, I'll pay you what it's worth."
3But Naboth replied, "May the Lord keep me from giving you the land my family handed down to me."
4So Ahab went home. He was angry. He was in a bad mood because of what Naboth from Jezreel had said. He had told him, "I won't give you the land my family handed down to me."
So Ahab lay on his bed. He was in a very bad mood. He wouldn't even eat anything.
5His wife Jezebel came in. She asked him, "Why are you in such a bad mood? Why won't you eat anything?"
6He answered her, "Because I spoke to Naboth from Jezreel. I said, 'Sell me your vineyard. Or, if you prefer, I'll give you another vineyard in its place.' But he said, 'I won't sell you my vineyard.' "
7His wife Jezebel said, "Is this how the king of Israel acts? Get up! Eat something! Cheer up. I'll get you the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel."
8So she wrote some letters in Ahab's name. She stamped them with his seal. Then she sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in the city where Naboth lived. 9In those letters she wrote, "Announce a day when people are supposed to go without eating. Have Naboth sit in an important place among the people.
10But put two worthless and evil men in seats across from him. Have them witness to the fact that he has called down curses on God and the king. Then take him out of the city. Kill him by throwing stones at him."
11So the elders and nobles who lived in that city did what Jezebel wanted. They did everything she directed in the letters she had written to them. 12They announced a day of fasting. They had Naboth sit in an important place among the people.
13Then two worthless and evil men came and sat across from him. They brought charges against Naboth in front of the people. The two men said, "Naboth has called down curses on God and the king." So they took him outside the city. They killed him by throwing stones at him.
14Then they sent a message to Jezebel. They said, "Naboth is dead. We killed him by throwing stones at him."
15Jezebel heard that Naboth had been killed. As soon as she heard it, she said to Ahab, "Get up. Take over the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel. It's the one he wouldn't sell to you. He isn't alive anymore. He's dead."
16Ahab heard that Naboth was dead. So he got up. He went down to take over Naboth's vineyard.
17Then a message from the Lord came to Elijah, who was from Tishbe. It said, 18"Go down to see Ahab, the king of Israel. He rules in Samaria. You will find him in Naboth's vineyard. He has gone there to take it over. 19Tell him, 'The Lord says, "Haven't you murdered a man? Haven't you taken over his property?" ' Then tell him, 'The Lord says, "Dogs licked up Naboth's blood. In that same place dogs will lick up your blood. Yes, I said your blood!" ' "
20Ahab said to Elijah, "My enemy! You have found me!"
"I have found you," he answered. "That's because you gave yourself over to do evil things. You did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 21So the Lord says, 'I am going to bring horrible trouble on you. I will destroy your children after you. I will cut off every male in Israel who is related to you. It does not matter whether they are slaves or free. 22I will make your royal house like the house of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. I will make it like the house of Baasha, the son of Ahijah. You have made me very angry. You have caused Israel to commit sin.'
23"The Lord also says, 'Dogs will eat up Jezebel near the wall of Jezreel.'
24"Some of the people who belong to Ahab will die in the city. Dogs will eat them up. Others will die in the country. The birds of the air will eat them."
25There was never anyone like Ahab. He gave himself over to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord. His wife Jezebel talked him into it. 26He acted in the most evil way. He worshiped statues of gods. He was like the Amorites. The Lord drove them out to make room for Israel.
27When Ahab heard what Elijah had said, he tore his clothes. He put on black clothes. He went without eating. He even slept in his clothes. He went around looking sad.
28Then a message from the Lord came to Elijah, who was from Tishbe. It said, 29"Have you seen how Ahab has made himself low in my sight? Because he has done that, I will not bring trouble on him while he lives. But I will bring it on his royal house when his son is king."