“Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight more than all who were before him... He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he had built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole. Ahab did more to anger the LordGod of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30–33). “There was no one like Ahab, who devoted himself to do what was evil in the Lord’s sight, because his wife Jezebel incited him. He committed the most detestable acts by following idols as the Amorites had” (1 Kings 21:25–26).
Toward the end of Ahab’s thirty-eight-year reign in Israel, we’re introduced to an innocent man named Naboth, a local boy, whose family had lived in Jezreel for generations.
When Ahab moved into the neighborhood, he built his palace on the plot of ground bordering Naboth’s property. One sunny day, Ahab paid his neighbor a visit and proposed a sale or a swap. “Give me your vineyard so I can have it for a vegetable garden, since it is right next to my palace. I will give you a better vineyard in its place, or if you prefer, I will give you its value in silver” (1 Kings 21:2).
Naboth’s land had been in his family for generations. His dad had owned it, as had his grandad and his granddad’s dad. Naboth couldn’t part with it. Furthermore, it would break God’s law to sell the inherited tract of land. “No inheritance belonging to the Israelites is to transfer from tribe to tribe, because each of the Israelites is to retain the inheritance of his ancestral tribe” (Numbers 36:7). “The land is not to be permanently sold because it is mine, and you are only aliens and temporary residents on my land” (Leviticus 25:23). “Sorry Ahab, I can’t sell it!”
What a cry-baby. “Ahab went to his palace resentful and angry because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had told him... He lay down on his bed, turned his face away, and didn’t eat any food” (1 Kings 21:4).
Jezebel wasn’t a cry-baby. She was a murdering scoundrel. When Ahab told his wretched wife about Naboth, she took charge. She paid some villains to give false testimony about Naboth, claiming that Naboth had cursed God. Wham-bam! Just like that... Naboth was stoned to death. Problem solved! (1 Kings 21:7-15). “When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite to take possession of it” (1 Kings 21:16).
That’s when God tapped Elijah on the shoulder, saying, “Go to Naboth’s vineyard and pronounce My judgment upon Ahab, that no-account, good-for-nothing king.” God instructed His faithful prophet to boldly declare, “In the place where the dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, the dogs will also lick up your blood!” (1 Kings 21:19).
Soon after, Ahab, the king of Israel, died in battle. Guess what happened! When a servant washed the king’s chariot, “the dogs licked up his blood” (1 Kings 22:37–38).
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV).
That’s the story of Ahab!