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William Shepard

Naboth's Vineyard

There was a man named Naboth, who had a field near the city of Jezreel. Now this field was next to a field that belonged to the king. And the king wanted to buy Naboth's field, in order that he might make one farm out of the two properties. But Naboth refused all his offers, saying that the land had come down to him from his fathers, and he did not wish to part with it.

Ahab was greatly grieved at this, and Jezebel, noticing his affliction, asked him the cause of it, and he told her. Then Jezebel told him he need not distress himself, for she would have Naboth punished. She sent word to the rulers of Jezreel, commanding them to call together an assembly of the people, at which three bold men should rise and accuse Naboth both of having blasphemed God and the king, after which he was to be taken out and stoned to death. All was done as the queen had commanded, and then the rulers of Jezreel wrote to Ahab, asking him to take the farm of Naboth as a gift. Ahab was glad, and rose at once from his bed and went to see the farm. But God was very angry, and He sent Elijah to meet him there. And Elijah said to Ahab,—

"Because thou hast done this unjust thing, the Lord will punish thee. Thy blood and the blood of thy wife shall be shed in the place where Naboth was stoned to death, and the dogs will come and lick it up. And thy family will be destroyed off the face of the earth."