(1 Kings 21:1-29; 2 Kings 9:25-26)

Ahab was the son of Omri and the seventh king of Israel (1 Kings 16:30), who cemented a political friendship between Israel and Phoenicia with his marriage to Jezebel.  Jezebel was the nefariously wicked daughter of Ethbaal (worshipper of Baal), king of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31).  Ahab’s conversion to his wife’s false religion soon led to many immoral acts in every facet of his life.

From the window of his summer palace, Ahab could see a lovely vineyard as he viewed the landscape.  He pondered how convenient it would be to turn that into a vegetable garden next door to his palace and decided to purchase it.  To this point, Ahab’s covetousness did not pass the normal boundaries accepted by most men; however, when his offer was rejected his covetousness took full control of him.  Imagine a king pouting and refusing to eat because he could not have his heart’s desire.  Even yet, his covetousness appeared harmless enough to outsiders.  When Jezebel promised to procure the vineyard for him and took his ring, he was passively in agreement to whatever method she might use to get the land.  After she had finished her job, instead of taking action against her for dishonesty and murder, he resolutely went to put his name on the stolen property.  It appears that he had absolutely no remorse for the corrupt judgment or the murders he caused as long as he could possess what his avarice demanded.  When it came to dealing with Naboth, Ahab’s covetousness sprang from a greedy self-centeredness and an arrogant disregard of God’s law. Truly greed can make a very hard heart.

On the other hand, Jezebel had neither religious scruples nor any regard for the established government of Israel (Lev 25:23-34).  She had Naboth tried unjustly and killed so that Ahab could take over his property (1 Kings 21:1-16). Jezebel bribed two mercenaries to bear false witness against Naboth and testify they heard him blaspheme God and the king. As a result of their lies, Naboth was found guilty; and both he and his sons were stoned to death (2 Kings 9:26). Elijah the prophet pronounced God’s judgment against Ahab and his house for this horrible act of false witness and murder (1 Kings 21; 2 Kings 9:21-26).

Naboth, the object of the crime, was an Israelite of Jezreel who owned a vineyard next to the summer palace of Ahab, king of Samaria (1 Kings 21:1). Ahab offered Naboth the worth of his vineyard in money or a better vineyard, but Naboth refused to part with his property, explaining that it was a family inheritance to be passed on to his descendants.  Had Naboth deeply considered the laws regarding property, he might have understood that the land would be returned to him or to his heirs in the year of Jubilee. The concept of the sacred birthright probably accounted for Naboth’s refusal to sell his vineyard to King Ahab. He answered, “The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” (1 Kings 21:3).


1.Ahab was king and Naboth was his subject.  What kind of strain would that put on Naboth when Ahab demanded his vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-3)?

2.Ahab had an intense desire to possess something that belonged to another man.  The Law of Moses prohibited that attitude (Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21). What did Ahab reason in his heart about the imagined need for such a garden?

3.Why did he desire (covet) Naboth’s property (1 Kings 21:1-2)?

4.Did Ahab’s offer to buy or trade seem reasonable if there had been no law against it?

5.What was Ahab’s reaction to the answer Naboth gave him (1 Kings 21:3-4)?

6.Pouting, sullenness and depression seem to be childish behaviors.  Was it a harmless matter for Ahab to dwell on his disappointment and become depressed and morose about not getting what he wanted (1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Pet. 2:14-15; Matt. 6:21; Luke 12:34)?

7.Who came to Ahab’s “rescue” (1 Kings 21:5-7)?

8.What was Jezebel’s plan for taking the vineyard by force (1 Kings 21:8-10)?

9.Relate the events of Naboth’s unjust judgment (1 Kings 21:11-13).

10.Was Naboth the only one who died that day (2 Kings 9:25-26)?

11.Why would it be necessary (in Ahab’s eyes) to kill the sons of Naboth?  This answer is partly based on the research in question #18.

12.After Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, what did he do (1 Kings 21:14-16)?

13.Which prophet went to meet Ahab there (1 Kings 21:17-18)?

14.What was the message God had told the prophet to give Ahab (1 Kings 21:19, 21-24)?

15.What was Ahab’s temporary reaction to this message (1 Kings 21:27)?

16.As a result, what was God’s reaction to Ahab (1 Kings 21:28-29)?

17.In spite of the apparent repentance, what does God say about Ahab’s character (1 Kings 21:25-26)?


The following ideas have to do with possession of property under the Law of Moses.  This is pertinent for understanding Naboth’s answer to Ahab and for understanding what happened to Naboth’s sons at the same time (2 Kings 9:26).

Why might Naboth not want to sell his vineyard (Num. 36:7; Ezek. 46:18)?

Using Leviticus 25:1-55, answer the following questions:

     * How do you know that fields could be redeemed by the original owner within a year or, if not then, in the year of Jubilee?

     * Who could the Israelites NOT sell their lands to?  Why?

In the account found in Numbers 27 and Numbers 36, who received the inheritance of their father?  What would happen if they married within another tribe (Num. 27:7; Num. 36)?

By implication, who usually received the inheritance (You may also search keywords birthright or firstborn.)?

When there was no heir, who inherited?  Give the line of succession.

Who were daughters to marry (Num. 36:3-13; Deut. 7:1-4)?

By implication, who would sons of the tribes marry?

What was to be the inheritance of the tribe of Levi (Num. 18; Num. 35; Deut. 10:9; 18:1)?

What was the situation surrounding Ruth’s inheritance and why the nearest of kin could not take possession of it when Boaz gave him the chance (Ruth 4:5)?