Sunday, August 15, 2010

1 Kings, Chapter 21

Ahab's neighbour Naboth has a vinyard. Ahab wants it, but Naboth refuses to trade or sell it, because he inherited it and he's a twit. Anyway, rather than seize his land like any good Israelite, Ahab goes home and gets into bed and refuses to eat. What is he, a 16 year old girl? Jezebel comes in and asks him what's wrong. Jezebel promises to get the vinyard.

The first thing she does is write a letter to the elders of Naboth's tribe commanding them to have a fast and put him in a prominent place. Then two other men are to accuse him of blasphemy and stone him to death. They do as they're told and Naboth is summarily stoned to death. What an extraordinarily complicated and gruesome way to get hold of a vinyard. Has no one ever heard of expropriation?

Ahab goes to view his new vinyard and Elijah shows up like the little black raincloud he is to tell him he's going to be punished for killing Naboth, even though Jezebel set the whole thing up. He issues a bunch of threats about killing off his entire male line and taking his property and blah blah blah because every king hears this at some point in his reign and it just illustrates the adage of 'shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.' Jezebel is going to be eaten by dogs.

We are told that Ahab is the worst person ever, an insult that loses some of its strength when it's the fifth king in a row to earn the title, who worships false idols. When Ahab hears that he really is the worst, worse than every other contestant, he cries and puts on a sackcloth and prays. God sees it and softens his stance, deciding to only punish his children instead of him.

No comments:

Post a Comment