1 Kings 21:2-16
And Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house…
1. There is no more striking illustration of this proverb than that supplied in the sacred story of King Ahab and Naboth of Jezreel. It is a curse of undisciplined desire that it never has enough. It has been asked, "When is a man rich enough?" and it has been answered, "When he has a little more than he has." A little more just to make an even sum, to secure this profitable investment, to finish this building, to make a complete ring-fence around this property, to gratify this harmless fad or to please some friend's taste — just a little more, and I shall be content, and then I will rest and be thankful. But undisciplined desire never comes to the resting-place, because such desire always increases with every new accession.
2. Undisciplined desire is never reasonable. All considerations of fairness and justice, of right and wrong, of doing "to others what we would they should do to us," must give way to this masterful desire.
3. But a man with a great passion of desire seldom hesitates long to use any means, however unlawful, to gain his object. He either clears the path himself, or, is too weak and cowardly to work with his own hands, he finds some strong and unscrupulous instrument.
4. But when such a man as Ahab gains his heart's desire, is he satisfied with his possessions? Said Jezebel, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." Did he find the vineyard as large as it had appeared through the halo of his glowing hopes? Would it really make a satisfactory garden of herbs? Most of us have learned that there are two ways of looking through a telescope. One removes a near object far away, but it hides the blemishes; the other brings the object near, but it reveals all the blemishes. Possession exposes everything. And if the desire has been unreasonable and passionate, and especially if the conscience of the possessor is aroused to condemn the means used, there is left only a miserable sense of disappointment. When men use unlawful means to gain their desires, they must face all the consequences. In what beautiful contrast appears the testimony of St. Paul! "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content... In all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me."
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house; and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money."