Naboth’s Vineyard

1 Kings 21:2- 3
Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden. . . .” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.”

When God gave Israel the land he had promised them, each clan received a tract of land as their inheritance. God also made clear that this inheritance was to remain in each family throughout the generations. When times were hard, some families in debt had to sell their land, but in those cases the sale was never meant to be permanent. (See Leviticus 25; Joshua 13-21.)

However, King Ahab of Israel was wicked and did not want to live in line with God’s way. Near the king’s palace was a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. Ahab offered to buy the land from Naboth, but Naboth refused to sell because God had said the land should remain in the family to whom it was given.

That made Ahab angry, so, with the help of his wife, Jezebel, he came up with a plan. They plotted to have Naboth put to death by having him accused of cursing both God and the king. Ahab then stole the dead man’s land.

As the king of Israel, Ahab was responsible to be a representative of God, the true King. But this abuse of justice was intolerable, and Ahab and Jezebel would pay a heavy price. (See 1 Kings 21:17-29; 2 Kings 9:30-37.)

Perhaps our blood boils as we read of Ahab and Jezebel’s actions, but are we outraged when we see injustice today?

Father, thank you for being a God of justice. Make us a people of justice too! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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