And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
Verse 1. - And it came to pass after these things [These words are omitted in the Vat. LXX., which, as before remarked, transposes chs. 20. and 21. See introductory note, ch. 20.], that Naboth ["Fruit," "produce" (Gesen). Wordsworth sees in him a type of Christ, cast out of the vineyard (Matthew 21:39) and slain] the Jezreelite [The Alex. LXX. here, and throughout the chapter, reads ὁ Ἰσρα. ηλίτης. Josephus (Ant. 8:13. 8) says that Naboth was of illustrious family] had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel [See note on 1 Kings 18:46], hard by the palace [LXX. threshing-floor. Stanley (Dict. Bib. vol. 2. p. 454), arguing from this word, would reject the Hebrew text of this narrative, which places both the vineyard and the plot of ground (2 Kings 9:25, 26) in Jezreel, and would locate the vineyard on the hill of Samaria, in the "void place" of 1 Kings 22:10] of Ahab king of Samaria. [It is clear from these last words that Jezreel had not replaced Samaria as the capital. It was a "palace" only that Ahab had there. No doubt the beauty of the situation had led to its purchase or erection. As Jezreel is only twenty-five miles distant from Samaria, it is obvious that it might be readily visited by the court.]
And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
Verse 2. - And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard [The prediction of Samuel (1 Samuel 8:14) is being realized], that I may have it for a garden of herbs [as in Deuteronomy 11:10; Romans 15:17], because it is near unto [Heb. beside] my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it: or [Heb. omits or], if it seem good to thee [Heb. if good in thine eyes], I will give thee the worth of it in money. [Heb. I will give to thee silver the price of it. See note on 1 Kings 20:39. Whatever Ahab's moral weakness, he was certainly a prince of some enterprize. 1 Kings 22:39 speaks of the "cities "which he built. And the palace of Jezreel would seem to have been erected by him. This vineyard was to be one of his improvements.]
And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
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.]
And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
Verse 4. - And Ahab came into his house [At Samaria, as we gather from vers. 18, 14, 16, etc.] heavy and displeased [Heb. sullen and angry; same words as in 1 Kings 20:43. Ewald thinks that we have here a clear reference to that passage] because of the word which Naboth the Jezreellte had spoken to him: for [Heb. and] he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed [Rawlinson understands this to mean the couch on which the Orientals recline at meals. And מִטָּה is used with this meaning in Esther 1:6 Ezekiel 23:41, and elsewhere. But "his bed" seems rather to point to his private chamber; see on ver. 5], and turned away his face [The Vulgate adds ad parietem. Cf. 2 Kings 20:2; from which place it may have been unconsciously introduced here], and would eat no bread. [Keil contends that" this childish mode of giving expression to his displeasure shows very clearly that Ahab was a man sold under sin (ver. 20), who only wanted the requisite energy to display the wickedness of his heart in vigorous action;" but whether this is a just inference from these words may well be questioned. It rather shows that so little did he meditate evil that he accepted the refusal of Naboth as conclusive, and gave way to childish grief.
But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
Verse 5. - But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad [same word as in ver. 4], that thou eatest no bread? [It would seem that the queen missed him from the banqueting hall - he can hardly, therefore, have lain down on one of the divans or couches therein - and went to his bedroom to inquire the reason.]
And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
Verse 6. - And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him; Give me thy vineyard for money [Heb. silver]; or else, if it please [Heb. delight] thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered [Heb. said], I will not give thee my vineyard. [Ahab does not mention the reason which Naboth assigned for his refusal. But Naboth's reasons were nothing to him, and he had hardly given them a second thought.]
And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
Verse 7. - And Jezebel his wife said unto him. Dost thou now govern [Heb. make; LXX: ποιεῖς [βασιλέα] the kingdom of Israel? [There is no question expressed in the Hebrew which stands, "Thou now makest the kingdom over Israel." The commentators generally, however, understand the words - as the LXX. and the A.V. - as an ironical question, "Art thou ruler in aught but name?" though some take it as an imperative: "Do thou now exert authority over the kingdom of Israel," And on the whole, this latter interpretation appears to be preferable. "Do thou now play the king. Make thy power felt. Give me the requisite authority. I will," etc.] Arise, and eat bread [or food], and let thine heart be merry [Heb. good; same words 1 Samuel 25:36]: I [This word is emphatic. "If thou wilt do thy part, I will do mine."] will give thee [no need to buy it] the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
Verse 8. - So she wrote letters [Heb. writings] in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal [The use of the seal, for the purpose of authentication, is of great antiquity. Some of the Egyptian signets are more than 4,000 years old. Their use in the age of the patriarchs is attested by Genesis 38:15 and Genesis 41:42; their importance is proved by the text, by Esther 3:10; Esther 8:2, 8, 10 (cf. "Herod," 3:128); Daniel 6:17; Jeremiah 32:10, 54; Haggai 2:23, etc. Whether this seal - which does not necessarily prove that those who used it could not write - was impressed upon the writings themselves according to the modern practice of the East, or upon a piece of clay (Job 38:14), which was then attached to the letter by strings, we have no means of knowing. The use of Ahab's seal affords a strong presumption that he was privy to her designs (Bahr), but of this we cannot be absolutely certain], and sent the letters unto the elders [see Deuteronomy 16:18] and to the nobles [same word Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 4:13; Ecclesiastes 10:17] that were in his city, dwelling [or inhabitants, as in ver. 11] with Naboth.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
Verse 9. - And she wrote in the letters, saying Proclaim a fast [The object of this ordinance was to give the impression that the city was labouring under, or threatened with, a curse, because of some undiscovered sin (2 Samuel 21:1; Joshua 9:11; Deuteronomy 21:9), which must be removed or averted by public humiliation. Cf. Joel 1:14; Joel 2:12; 1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Chronicles 20:3)], and set Naboth on high among the people. [Heb. at the head of the people. Keil, al. interpret, bring him into the court of justice, as defendant before all the people." And certainly הושִׁיבוּ here, and in the next verse - where it is used of the witnesses (cf. ver. 13) - means, make to sit; which looks as if judicial procedure were intended. But "at the head of the people "rather suggests that in the public assembly, which marked the fast (Joel 2:15), Naboth was assigned the most distinguished place. The reason for this is obvious, viz., to give a colour of impartiality to the proceedings. As Grotius, Ne odio damnasse crederentur, quem ipsi honoraverunt. It would also accord with the popular idea of retributive justice that Naboth should be denounced in the very hour of his triumph and exaltation. Josephus, however, says that it was because of his high birth that this position was assigned him.]
And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.
Verse 10. - And set two men [according to the previsions of the law (Deuteronomy 17:6, 7; Deuteronomy 19:5; Numbers 35:30). "Even Jezebel bears witness to the Pentateuch" (Wordsworth). Josephus speaks of three witnesses], sons of Belial [i.e., worthless men. This use of the word "son" (cf. Psalm 89:22, "son of wickedness"), which is one of the commonest idioms of the East, throws some light on the expression "sons of the prophets" (see 1 Kings 20:35, note; cf. Deuteronomy 13:13; Matthew 26:60)], before him [confronting him], to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme [Heb. bless; cf. Job 1:5, 11; Job 2:5; LXX. εὐλόγησε. The Lexicographers are not agreed as to how this word, the primary meaning of which is to kneel, hence to pray, to bless, came to signify curse or blaspheme. According to some, it is an euphemism, the idea of cursing God being altogether too horrible for the Jew to express in words; whilst others derive this signification from the fact that a curse is really a prayer addressed to God; and others, again, account for it by the consideration that a person who bids farewell to another sometimes does so in the sense of dismissing and cursing him. Anyhow, it is noticeable that the word "blessing" is sometimes used with a similar meaning amongst ourselves] God and the king [God and the representative of God in Israel are here coupled together, as in Exodus 22:28. To curse the king was practically to curse Him whose vicegerent he was (cf. Matthew 23:18-22). Hence such cursing is called blasphemy and was punishable with death (Deuteronomy 13:11; Deuteronomy 17:5; 2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Samuel 19:21; and see on 1 Kings 2:43, 44)]. And then carry him out [i.e., out of the city (cf. Leviticus 24:14; Acts 7:58; Luke 4:29; Hebrews 13:12). "Locus lapidationis erat extra urbem, omnes enim civitates muris cinctae paritatem habent ad castra Israelis" (Babyl. Sanh.)], and stone him [the legal punishment for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16)], that he may die. [The terrible power accorded to "two or three witnesses," of denouncing a man to death, accounts for the prominence given to the sin of bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16; Exodus 23:1; Deuteronomy 19:16). It found a mention in the Decalogue.]
And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them.
Verse 11. - And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them [Their ready compliance shows not merely the "deep moral degradation of the Israelites" at that period, but also the terror which the name of Jezebel inspired], and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. [That she did not hesitate to put her infamous command into writing shows the character of the woman.]
They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people.
Verse 12. - They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people.
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.
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.]
Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.
Verse 14. - Then they sent to Jezebel [clearly she was not at Jezreel], saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead. [Stanley observes that it is significant that this announcement was made to her and not to Ahab. It appears from ver. 19 that the corpses both of Naboth and his children were left to be devoured of dogs.]
And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
Verse 15. - And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession [or inherit, succeed to; same word Genesis 21:10; Deuteronomy 2:24; Jeremiah 49:1. The possessions of a person executed for treason were ipso facto forfeited to the crown. There was no law prescribing this, but it followed the principles of the Mosaic code. Just as the goods of the idolater were devoted as cherem to the Lord (Deuteronomy 13:16), so those of the traitor reverted to the king. So Keil] of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give to thee for money [there is a proud malicious triumph in these words. "He refused, simple fool, to sell it. Now thou canst have it for nothing. I have discovered a better plan than buying it"]: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
Verse 16. - And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab arose up [According to the LXX., his first act was to rend his clothes and put on sackcloth. Afterwards "he rose up," etc.] to go down [The "Great Plain, on the margin of which Jezreel stands, is at a much lower level than Samaria, which is in the mountain district of Ephraim"] to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. ["Behind him - probably in the back part of his chariot - ride his two pages, Jehu and Bidkar (2 Kings 9:26)," Stanley. But the expression "riding in pairs after Ahab" (A.V. "rode together after") does not make it certain that they were in the same chariot. Indeed, they may have been on horseback. This was apparently (2 Kings 9:26) on the day after the murder.]
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
Verse 17 - And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying [As in 1 Kings 17:1, 8; 1 Kings 18:1],
Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
Verse 18. - Arise, go down [Bahr hence concludes that Elijah was at this time in a mountain district. But wherever he might be, this word would probably be used of journey to the plain of Esdraelon] to meet ["The word used 1 Samuel 17:48 of David going out to meet Goliath (Stanley). But the same word is used (1 Samuel 18:6) of the women going out to meet Saul, and indeed it is the usual word for all meetings. We cannot hence infer, consequently, that Elijah went forth as if to encounter a foe] Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria [i.e., whose seat is in Samaria; who rules there. There is no need to understand the word of the territory of Samaria]: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. [The words imply that Elijah found Ahab - strode into his presence - in the vineyard; not that he was there already when the royal chariot entered it (Stanley).]
And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
Verse 19. - And thou shalt speak unto him;. saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed [הֲרָצַחְתָּ, a rare and expressive word. We might render, slaughtered], and also [this word suggests that Jezebel's programme, which he had accepted, was fast being accomplished. But in the very hour of its completion it should be interrupted] taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord [For the repetition, see on 1 Kings 20:13, 14], In the place where dogs [LXX. αἱ ῦες καὶ οἱ κύνες] licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood [according to the lex talionis, as in 1 Kings 20:42], even thine. [Heb. even thou. The LXX. adds, "And the harlots shall bathe in thy blood." For the construction see Gesen., Gram. § 119. 3; and cf. Genesis 27:34; Proverbs 23:15; Psalm 9:7. Thenius contends that there is a contradiction between this ver. and 1 Kings 22:38 (together with 2 Kings 9:25) which is absolutely insuperable. But as Bahr observes, "How thoughtless our author must have been if in two consecutive chapters - i.e., on the same leaf, as it were - he had inadvertently inserted direct contradictions." And the following considerations will show that the discrepancy is only apparent.
(1) The sentence here pronounced against Ahab was, on his repentance, stayed in its execution. God said distinctly, "I will not bring the evil in his days," and as distinctly added that He would "bring the evil in his son's days, upon his house" (ver. 29). And
(2) with the prophecy, as thus modified, the facts exactly record. The body of Jehoram was "cast into the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite" (2 Kings l.c.). And if it be objected
(3) that our historian sees in the death of Ahab in Samaria (ch. 20. l.c.) a fulfilment of this prophecy, the answer is that that death was a partial fulfilment of Elijah's words. The repentance of Ahab, having secured him immunity from this sentence, his subsequent folly and sin (cf. 1 Kings 22:27) nevertheless brought down upon him a judgment of God strikingly similar, as we might expect it would be, to that originally denounced against him, which was now reserved for his son. In ether words, the prophecy was fulfilled to the letter in the person of his son, but it had a secondary fulfilment in its spirit on himself].
And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
Verse 20. - And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me [Not merely, "Hast thou found me out? hast thou surprised me in the very act?" though this meaning is not to be excluded, but also, "Has thy vengeance overtaken me?" מָאָצ is used in this sense 1 Samuel 23:17; Isaiah 10:10; Psalm 21:9. Ahab is so conscience stricken by the sudden apparition of Elijah, whom in all probability he had not seen or heard of since "the day of Carmel," and by his appearance on the scene at the very moment when he was entering on the fruit of his misdoing," in the very blossom of his sin," that he feels that judgment is already begun], O mine enemy? [No doubt the thought was present in Ahab's mind that Elijah had ever been opposed to him and thwarting him, but he does not dream (Von Gerlach, in Bahr) of justifying himself by ascribing Elijah's intervention to personal hatred towards himself. The sequel shows that he was thoroughly conscious of wrong-doing.] And he answered, I have found thee: because [not because I am thine enemy, but because] thou has sold thyself [or sellest thyself, i.e., surrenderest thyself wholly. The idea is clearly derived from the institutions of slavery, according to which the bondservant was wholly at his master's disposal and was bound to accomplish his will. Whether "the practice of men selling themselves into slavery" (Rawlinson) existed in that age may perhaps be doubted. We have the same thought in 2 Kings 17:17, and Romans 7:14] to work evil in the sight of the Lord. [We can readily gather from these words why the doom was denounced against Ahab, who had but a secondary share in the crime, rather than against Jezebel, its real perpetrator. It was because Ahab was the representative of God, God's minister of justice, etc. If he had not himself devised the death of Naboth; if he had, which is possible, remained in ignorance of the means by which Jezebel proposed to procure him the vineyard, he had nevertheless readily and gladly acquiesced in her infamous crime after its accomplishment, and was then reaping its fruits. And because he was the king, the judge, who, instead of punishing the evil doer, sanctioned and approved the deed, and who crowned a reign of idolatries and abominations with this shameful murder, the prophetic sentence is directed primarily against him.]
Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
Verse 21. - Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity [Heb. exterminate after thee. See note on 1 Kings 14:10. Ahab knew well the meaning of these words. He had before him the examples of Baasha and Zimri], and will cut off from Ahab [Heb. to Ahab] him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel [see on 1 Kings 14:10].
And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
Verse 22. - And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat [cf. 1 Kings 15:29], and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah [1 Kings 16:3, 11], for - [אֶל used in the sense of עַל, as elsewhere] the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger [1 Kings 14:9; 1 Kings 16:7, etc.], and made Israel to sin.
And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
Verse 23. - And of Jezebel [Heb. to Jezebel. LXX. τῇ Ἰεζάβελ. But we cannot be sure that she also received a message of doom Elijah, as לְ: like אֶל after verbs of from speaking sometimes has the meaning of, concerning. Cf. Genesis 20:13; Psalm 3:3; Judges 9:54; 2 Kings 19:32. Moreover if the denunciation had been direct, it would have run, "The dogs shall eat thee," etc. See also ver. 27] also spake the Lord [Probably at the same time. Certainly by the same prophet (2 Kings 9:36). Elijah's words to Ahab appear to he only partially recorded (ib., ver. 26)], saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel [see on 1 Kings 14:11] by the wall [חֵל. same word as חַיל, is used of the strength and defences of a town, sc. its fortifications, and especially of the ditch or moat before them. Cf. 2 Samuel 20:15. The LXX. render by προτείχισμα or περίτειχος, the Vulgate by antemurale. "There is always in Oriental towns a space outside the walls which lies uncultivated and which is naturally used for the deposit of refuse of every kind. Here the dogs prowl, and the kites and vultures find many a feast" (Rawlinson). In 2 Samuel 21:12 we find the bodies of Saul and Jonathan impaled in the open space (A.V. "street") of Bethshean. This heap of refuse - for such the place soon be-comes - is called in the Arabian Nights "the mounds" (Stanley)] of Jezreel. [Retribution should overtake her near the scene of her latest crime (2 Kings 9:36). By this the just judgment of God would be made the more conspicuous.
Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
Verse 24. - Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat. [See on 1 Kings 14:11; 16:4. Stanley, forgetting that the phrase is almost a formula, thinks that "the large vultures which in Eastern climes are always wheeling aloft under the clear blue sky doubtless suggested the expression to the prophet." "The horizon was darkened with the visions of vultures glutting on the carcases of the dead, and the packs of savage dogs feeding on their remains, or lapping up their blood."]
But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
Verse 25. - But [Heb. Only] there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord [as in ver. 20], whom Jezebel his wife stirred up [or as Marg., incited, instigated and urged to sin. Cf. Deuteronomy 13:7 Hebrews 1 Job 36:18].
And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
Verse 26. - And he did very abominably in following idols [Heb. to go after the idols. For the last word see on 1 Kings 15:12], according to an things as did the Amorites. [Heb. the Amorite - the word is always singular - here put as a nomen generale for the seven nations of Canaan. Cf. Genesis 15:16; 2 Kings 21:11; Ezekiel 16:8; Amos 2:9, 10. Strictly the term Amorite, i.e., Highlander, is in contrast with Canaanite, i.e., dwellers in the lowlands; see Numbers 13:29; Joshua 5:1. But the word is used interchangeably with Canaanite (cf. Deuteronomy 1:44 with Numbers 14:45, and Judges 1:10 with Genesis 13:8), Hittites (Judges 1:10 with Genesis 23:2, 3, 10), Hivites (Genesis 48:22 with Genesis 34:2), and Jebusites (Joshua 10:5, 6, with Joshua 17:63, etc.) The ethnical and geographical ideas of the Jews were never very precise. The idolatries of the seven nations had lingered, as we might expect, amongst the Zidonians, whence they were reintroduced into the kingdom of Samaria - one fruit of disobedience to the command of Deuteronomy 7:1-5, etc.], whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel [Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 3:8, 8,etc.]
And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
Verse 27. - And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those [Heb. these] words [vers. 21-24, and others not recorded], that he rent his clothes [cf. 2 Samuel 13:19; Job 1:20; Job 2:12; Jeremiah 36:24, etc.], and put sackcloth upon his flesh [1 Kings 20:31; 2 Kings 6:30; Joel 1:8; 2 Samuel 21:10, Heb.], and fasted, and lay [i.e., slept] in sackcloth, and went softly. [All these were signs of contrition and humiliation (ver. 29). The "going softly" - Josephus says he went barefoot - is especially characteristic of the subdued and chastened mind.]
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
Verse 28. - And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, [It is not clear that this mitigation of the sentence was announced to Ahab],
Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
Verse 29. - Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? [The repentance, if it was not profound, or enduring, was nevertheless, while it lasted, sincere. The Searcher of hearts saw in it a genuine self-abasement. And "He will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax;" Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20.] Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil [There is a manifest reference to ver. 21, where the same words are used] in his days; but in his son's days [There is no injustice here - no threat of punishment against the innocent instead of the guilty - as might at first sight appear. For in the first place, God knew well what the son would be, and in the second place, if the son had departed from his father's sins he would have been spared (Ezekiel 18:14 sqq.); the sentence would have been revoked. Judgment was deferred to give the house of Ahab another chance. When Ahab lapsed into sin, he suffered in his own person: when his sons persisted in sin, excision befell the family] will I bring the evil [ver. 19] upon his house [ver. 22],