King Ahab had a palace in Jezreel, and near the palace was a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth.
One day Ahab said to Naboth, "Since your vineyard is so convenient to the palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it."
But Naboth replied, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors."
So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth's answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat!
"What in the world is the matter?" his wife, Jezebel, asked him. "What has made you so upset that you are not eating?"
"I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or to trade it, and he refused!" Ahab told her.
"Are you the king of Israel or not?" Jezebel asked. "Get up and eat and don't worry about it. I'll get you Naboth's vineyard!"
So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the city where Naboth lived.
In her letters she commanded: "Call the citizens together for fasting and prayer and give Naboth a place of honor.
Find two scoundrels a who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death."
So the elders and other leaders followed the instructions Jezebel had written in the letters.
They called for a fast and put Naboth at a prominent place before the people.
Then two scoundrels accused him before all the people of cursing God and the king. So he was dragged outside the city and stoned to death.
The city officials then sent word to Jezebel, "Naboth has been stoned to death."
When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, "You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn't sell you? Well, you can have it now! He's dead!"
So Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard to claim it.
But the LORD said to Elijah, who was from Tishbe,
"Go down to meet King Ahab, who rules in Samaria. He will be at Naboth's vineyard in Jezreel, taking possession of it.
Give him this message: 'This is what the LORD says: Isn't killing Naboth bad enough? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood outside the city just as they licked the blood of Naboth!'"
"So my enemy has found me!" Ahab exclaimed to Elijah. "Yes," Elijah answered, "I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD's sight.
The LORD is going to bring disaster to you and sweep you away. He will not let a single one of your male descendants, slave or free alike, survive in Israel!
He is going to destroy your family as he did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah, for you have made him very angry and have led all of Israel into sin.
The LORD has also told me that the dogs of Jezreel will eat the body of your wife, Jezebel, at the city wall.
The members of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures."
No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the LORD's sight as did Ahab, for his wife, Jezebel, influenced him.
He was especially guilty because he worshiped idols just as the Amorites had done -- the people whom the LORD had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.
When Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothing, dressed in sackcloth, and fasted. He even slept in sackcloth and went about in deep mourning.
Then another message from the LORD came to Elijah, who was from Tishbe:
"Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy all his descendants."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)