Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
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.
And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
21:3 The Lord forbid - For God had expressly, and for divers weighty reasons forbidden the alienation of lands from the tribes and families to which they were allotted. 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, if once it came into the king's hand, neither he, nor his posterity, could ever recover it; and so he should both offend God, and wrong his posterity.
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.
But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
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.
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.
21:7 Dost thou govern - Art thou fit to be king, that hast not courage to use thy power.
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.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
21:9 A fast - To remove all suspicion of evil design in Ahab, and to beget a good opinion of him amongst his people, as if he were grown zealous for God's honour, and careful of his people's welfare, and therefore desirous to enquire into all those sins which provoked God against them. On high - On a scaffold, or high - place, where malefactors were usually placed, that they might be seen, and heard by all the people.
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.
21:10 Blaspheme God and the king - Indeed his blaspheming God would only be the forfeiture of his life, not his estate. Therefore he is charged with treason also, that his estate may be confiscated, and so Ahab have his vineyard.
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.
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.
21:13 Stoned him - And it seems his sons too, either with him or after him. For God afterward says, (2Kings 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.
Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.
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.
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.
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
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.
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.
21:19 Saying - Thou hast murdered an innocent man; and instead of repenting for it, hast added another piece of injustice and violence to it, and art going confidently and chearfully to reap the fruit of thy wickedness. Thy blood - The threatening was so directed at first; but afterwards, upon his humiliation, the punishment was transferred from him to his son, as is expressed, ver.29, yet upon Ahab's returning to sin, in the next chapter , he brings back the curse upon himself, and so it is no wonder if it be in some sort fulfilled in him also.
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.
21:20 Hast thou found - Dost thou pursue me from place to place? Wilt thou never let me rest? Art thou come after me hither with thy unwelcome messages? Thou art always disturbing, threatening, and opposing me. I have - The hand of God hath found and overtaken thee. Sold thyself - Thou hast wholly resigned up thyself to be the bondslave of the devil, as a man that sells himself to another is totally in his master's power. To work evil, and c. - Impudently and contemptuously. Those who give themselves up to sin will certainly be found out, sooner or later, to their unspeakable amazement.
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,
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.
And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
21:23 By the wall - Or, in the portion, as it is explained 2Kings 9:36.
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.
21:24 Him that dieth, and c. - Punishments after death are here most insisted on. And these, tho' lighting on the body only, yet undoubtedly were designed as figures of the soul's misery in an after state.
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.
21:25 Was none - None among all the kings of Israel which had been before him. Whom Jezebel - This is added to shew, that temptations to sin are no excuse to the sinner.
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.
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.
21:27 Softly - Slowly and silently, after the manner of mourners, or those who are under a great consternation.
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
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.
21:29 Humbleth himself - His humiliation was real, though not lasting, and accordingly pleasing to God. This discovers the great goodness of God, and his readiness to shew mercy. It teaches us to take notice of that which is good, even in the worst of men. It gives a reason why wicked persons often prosper: God rewards what little good is in them. And it encourages true penitents. If even Ahab goes to his house reprieved, doubtless they shall go to their houses justified.