1 Kings 21:3
And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you.
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21:1-4 Naboth, perhaps, had been pleased that he had a vineyard situated so near the palace, but the situation proved fatal to him; many a man's possessions have been his snare, and his neighbourhood to greatness, of bad consequence. Discontent is a sin that is its own punishment, and makes men torment themselves. It is a sin that is its own parent; it arises not from the condition, but from the mind: as we find Paul contented in a prison, so Ahab was discontented in a palace. He had all the delights of Canaan, that pleasant land, at command; the wealth of a kingdom, the pleasures of a court, and the honours and powers of a throne; yet all avails him nothing without Naboth's vineyard. Wrong desires expose men to continual vexations, and those that are disposed to fret, however well off, may always find something or other to fret at.The Lord forbid it me - Or, "Yahweh forbid it me." Naboth, as a worshipper of Yahweh, not of Baal, considers it would be wrong for him to comply with the king's request, as contrary to the Law (margin). His was not a mere refusal arising out of a spirit of sturdy independence, or one based upon the sentiment which attaches men to ancestral estates. CHAPTER 21

1Ki 21:1-4. Naboth Refuses Ahab His Vineyard.

1-3. Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel—Ahab was desirous, from its contiguity to the palace, to possess it for a vegetable garden. He proposed to Naboth to give him a better in exchange, or to obtain it by purchase; but the owner declined to part with it. In persisting in his refusal, Naboth was not actuated by any feelings of disloyalty or disrespect to the king, but solely from a conscientious regard to the divine law, which, for important reasons, had prohibited the sale of a paternal inheritance [Le 25:23; Nu 36:7]; or if, through extreme poverty or debt, an assignation of it to another was unavoidable, the conveyance was made on the condition of its being redeemable at any time [Le 25:25-27]; at all events, of its reverting at the jubilee to the owner [Le 25:28]. In short, it could not be alienated from the family, and it was on this ground that Naboth (1Ki 21:3) refused to comply with the king's demand. It was not, therefore, any rudeness or disrespect that made Ahab heavy and displeased, but his sulky and pettish demeanor betrays a spirit of selfishness that could not brook to be disappointed of a favorite object, and that would have pushed him into lawless tyranny had he possessed any natural force of character.

For God hath expressly, and for divers weighty reasons, forbidden the alienation of lands from the tribes and families to which they were allotted, Leviticus 25:15,23,25 Num 36:7 Ezekiel 46:18. And although these might have been alienated till the jubilee, yet he durst not sell it to the king for that time; because he supposed that if once it came into the king’s hand, especially to be made a garden of pleasure, and affixed to his palace, neither he nor his posterity could ever recover it again; and so he should both offend God, and wrong his posterity; which being, as it seems, a pious man, he durst not do. And Naboth said to Ahab, the Lord forbid it me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. The inheritances of families were not to be alienated to another family, or tribe, nor even to be sold, unless in extreme poverty, and then to return at the year of jubilee, Leviticus 25:23. Now Naboth was a man in good circumstances, and under no necessity of selling his vineyard; and, if he sold it, he might reasonably conclude, it becoming a part of the royal demesnes, would never revert to his family; and therefore, both out of regard to the law of God, and the good of his family, would not part with it at any rate: this shows that he was a conscientious man, and therefore is thought to be one of those that would not bow his knee to Baal, and against whom Ahab had a grudge, and sought an opportunity against him. And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
3. The Lord forbid it me] This verse is very interesting, because (1) it makes clear that Naboth was a worshipper of Jehovah and, in spite of the persecution of the prophets, did not shrink from making it known to the king by his language. Here was an example of one who had not bowed the knee nor given a kiss to Baal. And (2) the reason which he alleges for clinging to his inheritance shews that the teaching of the law of Moses (Numbers 36:7-8; Leviticus 25:27-28) concerning the sacredness of a paternal inheritance had taken firm hold of the minds of the people, so that Ahab did not think of venturing on harsh measures against one who put forward this religious plea as a bar to the royal desire.Verse 3. - And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me [Heb. Far be it to me from Jehovah. These words reveal to us, first, that Naboth was a worshipper of the Lord - otherwise he would hardly have used the sacred name, and that to Ahab, with whom the servants of the true God had found but scant favour; and, secondly, that he looked upon the alienation of his patrimony as an act displeasing to the Lord, and as violating the law of Moses (Leviticus 25:23 sqq.; Numbers 36:7 sqq.) We have instances of the sale of land to the king in 2 Samuel 24:24 - but that was by a Jebusite - and in 1 Kings 16:24], that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. ["The preservation of the נַחֲלָה was for every covenant keeping Israelite a matter not merely of piety towards his family and his tribe but a religious duty" (Bahr). It is clear, however, that the restraints of the old Mosaic law began to be irksome in that latitudinarian age. Many of its provisions were already regarded as obsolete.] When the king passed by, he cried out to him and related the following fictitious tale: He had gone to the war, and a man had come aside to him (סוּר as in Exodus 3:3; Judges 14:8, etc.), and had given a man (a prisoner) into his care with this command, that he was to watch him, and if he should be missing he was to answer for his life with his own life, or to pay a talent of silver (as a punishment). The rest may be easily imagined, namely the request to be saved from this punishment. Ahab answered (1 Kings 20:40), משׁפּטך כּן, "thus thy sentence, thou hast decided," i.e., thou hast pronounced thine own sentence, and must endure the punishment stated.
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