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1 Kings 21:1-16

Ahab Murders Naboth

21:1 After this the following episode took place. 1  Naboth the Jezreelite owned a vineyard in Jezreel adjacent to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2  21:2 Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard so I can make a vegetable garden out of it, for it is adjacent to my palace. I will give you an even better vineyard in its place, or if you prefer, 3  I will pay you silver for it.” 4  21:3 But Naboth replied to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should sell you my ancestral inheritance.” 5 

21:4 So Ahab went into his palace, bitter and angry that Naboth the Jezreelite had said, 6  “I will not sell to you my ancestral inheritance.” 7  He lay down on his bed, pouted, 8  and would not eat. 21:5 Then his wife Jezebel came in and said to him, “Why do you have a bitter attitude and refuse to eat?” 21:6 He answered her, “While I was talking to Naboth the Jezreelite, I said to him, ‘Sell me your vineyard for silver, or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not sell you my vineyard.’” 9  21:7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “You are the king of Israel! 10  Get up, eat some food, and have a good time. 11  I will get the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”

21:8 She wrote out orders, 12  signed Ahab’s name to them, 13  and sealed them with his seal. She then sent the orders 14  to the leaders 15  and to the nobles who lived in Naboth’s city. 16  21:9 This is what she wrote: 17  “Observe a time of fasting and seat Naboth in front of the people. 21:10 Also seat two villains opposite him and have them testify, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”

21:11 The men of the 18  city, the leaders 19  and the nobles who lived there, 20  followed the written orders Jezebel had sent them. 21  21:12 They observed a time of fasting and put Naboth in front of the people. 21:13 The two villains arrived and sat opposite him. Then the villains testified against Naboth right before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they dragged him 22  outside the city and stoned him to death. 23  21:14 Then they reported to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.” 24 

21:15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she 25  said to Ahab, “Get up, take possession of the vineyard Naboth the Jezreelite refused to sell you for silver, for Naboth is no longer alive; he’s dead.” 21:16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, 26  he got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

1 tn Heb “after these things.” The words “the following episode took place” are added for stylistic reasons.

2 sn King Ahab of Samaria. Samaria, as the capital of the northern kingdom, here stands for the nation of Israel.

map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

3 tn Heb “if it is good in your eyes.”

4 tc The Old Greek translation includes the following words: “And it will be mine as a garden of herbs.”

5 tn Heb “Far be it from me, by the Lord, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you.”

6 tn Heb “on account of the word that Naboth the Jezreelite spoke to him.”

7 tn Heb “I will not give to you the inheritance of my fathers.”

8 tn Heb “turned away his face.”

9 tn Heb “While I was talking…, I said…, he said….” Ahab’s explanation is one lengthy sentence in the Hebrew text, which is divided in the English translation for stylistic reasons.

10 tn Heb “You, now, you are exercising kingship over Israel.”

11 tn Heb “so your heart [i.e., disposition] might be well.”

12 tn Heb “scrolls.”

13 tn Heb “in the name of Ahab.”

14 tn Heb “scrolls.”

15 tn Heb “elders.”

16 tn Heb “to the nobles who were in his city, the ones who lived with Naboth.”

17 tn Heb “she wrote on the scrolls, saying.”

18 tn Heb “his.”

19 tn Heb “elders.”

20 tn Heb “and the nobles who were living in his city.”

21 tn Heb “did as Jezebel sent to them, just as was written in the scrolls which she sent to them.”

22 tn Heb “led him.”

23 tn Heb “and they stoned him with stones and he died.”

24 tn Heb “Naboth was stoned and he died.” So also in v. 15.

25 tn Heb “Jezebel”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“she”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

26 tc The Old Greek translation includes the following words here: “he tore his garments and put on sackcloth. After these things.”

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