And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Carried him forth—as usual, in order to avoid polluting the city with blood—possibly to his own ground, the coveted vineyard itself.1 Kings 21:13. They stoned him — And, it seems, his sons too, either with him, or after him; for God afterward says, (2 Kings 9:26,) I have seen the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons. Let us commit the keeping of our lives and comforts to God, for innocence itself will not always be our security. This account of Ahab’s unjust and barbarous conduct toward Naboth, placed, as it is by the sacred historian, immediately after his gentle treatment of Ben-hadad, shows the great inconsistency and extreme wickedness of his conduct. He spares the proud, boasting, and blaspheming heathen, and even terms him his brother, and honours him by taking him into his chariot; nay, and enters into a covenant with him: but he basely and barbarously murders, or, at least, connives at his wife’s murdering, the just and pious Israelite; and that under colour of justice, and with the formalities of a legal process! which was a great aggravation of the crime. For, to use that power for the preservation of the guilty and the murdering of the innocent, which ought to have been used for the punishment of the former and the protection of the latter, was such a violent perversion of justice and judgment, as cannot easily be paralleled. But there is a judgment to come when such iniquitous judgments as these will be called over again!Joshua 7:24-25). In the East, a parent's guilt constantly involves the punishment of his children. Contrast 2 Kings 14:6.
they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him—The law, which forbade cursing the rulers of the people, does not specify the penalty for this offense but either usage had sanctioned or the authorities of Jezreel had originated stoning as the proper punishment. It was always inflicted out of the city (Ac 7:58).2 Kings 9:26, that so the king might have an undisturbed possession; for which they might pretend those examples, Numbers 16:32 Joshua 7:24. But these were examples of extraordinary vengeance, and by special warrant from God; and the law of God was positively contrary to it, Deu 24:16. Acts 25:16. Josephus says (d) there were "three" men to accuse him; but the Targum, and all the ancient versions, have only "two":
and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people; both before the judges of the court, and before all the people that filled it, who came to hear the trial; so bold and impudent were they:
saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king; or "bless", an euphemism; the phrase of cursing God being shocking to the ear, and therefore such a word is used to express it, see Job 1:5,
then they carried him forth out of the city; without any further process of examining witnesses, and of hearing what the accused had to say in his defence; but immediately they carried him out of court, and out of the city, to put him to death, malefactors being executed always without the city:
and stoned him with stones, that he died; which was the death blasphemers were put to, Leviticus 24:14, of the manner of which; see Gill on Acts 7:58, it seems from 2 Kings 9:26, that his sons were stoned with him.And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. And there came in two men, children of Belial] R.V. And the two men, sons of Belial, came in. The Hebrew noun is definite and the sense requires that it should be indicated.
witnessed] R.V. bare witness. As in 1 Kings 21:10.
even against Naboth, in the presence of the people] These words are omitted by the LXX. As much publicity as possible was given to the accusation, that thus it might have the colour of being legally carried out.
did blaspheme] R.V. did curse. The word is the same as in 1 Kings 21:10. But a different word is used for ‘blaspheme’ in Leviticus 24:16.
they carried him forth out of the city] This explains what is meant by ‘carry him out’ in 1 Kings 21:10. The place of execution was to be outside the walls, according to the legal ordinance (Leviticus 24:14), ‘Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp … and let all the congregation stone him.’ From this we see that this enactment was before the Exile.
that he died] Not only was Naboth put to death, but, according to another passage (2 Kings 9:26), his sons were included in the destruction.Verse 13. - And there came in [Heb. came. The assembly was probably held al fresco. From the word אֶמֶשׁ, A.V. yesterday, but strictly, yesternight, Stanley suggests that the trial took place by night. But the word is often used in the wider sense of "yesterday" (Gesenius)] two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people [The whole congregation was interested in a charge of blasphemy. If unpunished, the guilt rested on the congregation. Hence the provision of Deuteronomy 24:14. By the imposition of hands they testified that the guilt of the blasphemer thenceforth rested upon his own head], saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth [Heb. made him to go forth] out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. [It appears from 2 Kings 9:26 that the children of Naboth, who otherwise might have laid claim to their patrimony, were put to death at the same time, and probably in the same way; cf. Joshua 7:24, 25; Numbers 16:27. This was the rule of the East (Daniel 6:24). The principle of visiting the sins of the parents upon the children seems to have been carried to an excess, as we find Joash (2 Kings 14:6) instituting a more merciful rule.]
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