1 Kings 21

Listen to 1 Kings 21

Naboth's Vineyard

1 Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in 1Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
2 And after this Ahab said to Naboth, 2"Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money."
3 But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid 3that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers."
4 And Ahab 4went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.
5 But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, "Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?"
6 And he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'"
7 And Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
8 5So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to 6the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city.
9 And she wrote in the letters, "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people.
10 And set two 7worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, 8'You have cursed[a] God and the king.' Then take him out and stone him to death."
11 And the men of his city, 9the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them,
12 10they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people.
13 And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth cursed God and the king." So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones.
14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned; he is dead."
15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead."
16 And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

The Lord Condemns Ahab

17 11Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
18 "Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in 12Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession.
19 And you shall say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, "Have you killed and also taken possession?"' And you shall say to him, 'Thus says the LORD: 13"In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood."'"
20 Ahab said to Elijah, 14"Have you found me, O my enemy?" He answered, "I have found you, because 15you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD.
21 Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and 16will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel.
22 And I will make your house like 17the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like 18the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you 19have made Israel to sin.
23 And of Jezebel the LORD also said, 20'The dogs shall eat Jezebel within 21the walls of Jezreel.'
24 22Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat."

Ahab's Repentance

25 (23There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.
26 He acted very abominably in going after 24idols, as 25the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the people of Israel.)
27 And when Ahab heard those words, he 26tore his clothes and 27put sackcloth on his flesh and 28fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly.
28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
29 "Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; 29but in his son's days I will bring the disaster upon his house."

1 Kings 21 Commentary

Chapter 21

Ahab covets Naboth's vineyard. (1-4) Naboth murdered by Jezebel. (5-16) Elijah denounces judgments against Ahab. (17-29)

Verses 1-4 Naboth, perhaps, had been pleased that he had a vineyard situated so near the palace, but the situation proved fatal to him; many a man's possessions have been his snare, and his neighbourhood to greatness, of bad consequence. Discontent is a sin that is its own punishment, and makes men torment themselves. It is a sin that is its own parent; it arises not from the condition, but from the mind: as we find Paul contented in a prison, so Ahab was discontented in a palace. He had all the delights of Canaan, that pleasant land, at command; the wealth of a kingdom, the pleasures of a court, and the honours and powers of a throne; yet all avails him nothing without Naboth's vineyard. Wrong desires expose men to continual vexations, and those that are disposed to fret, however well off, may always find something or other to fret at.

Verses 5-16 When, instead of a help meet, a man has an agent for Satan, in the form of an artful, unprincipled, yet beloved wife, fatal effects may be expected. Never were more wicked orders given by any prince, than those Jezebel sent to the rulers of Jezreel. Naboth must be murdered under colour of religion. There is no wickedness so vile, so horrid, but religion has sometimes been made a cover for it. Also, it must be done under colour of justice, and with the formalities of legal process. Let us, from this sad story, be amazed at the wickedness of the wicked, and the power of Satan in the children of disobedience. Let us commit the keeping of our lives and comforts to God, for innocence will not always be our security; and let us rejoice in the knowledge that all will be set to rights in the great day.

Verses 17-29 Blessed Paul complains that he was sold under sin, Ro. 7:14 , as a poor captive against his will; but Ahab was willing, he sold himself to sin; of choice, and as his own act and deed, he loved the dominion of sin. Jezebel his wife stirred him up to do wickedly. Ahab is reproved, and his sin set before his eyes, by Elijah. That man's condition is very miserable, who has made the word of God his enemy; and very desperate, who reckons the ministers of that word his enemies, because they tell him the truth. Ahab put on the garb and guise of a penitent, yet his heart was unhumbled and unchanged. Ahab's repentance was only what might be seen of men; it was outward only. Let this encourage all that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe the holy gospel, that if a pretending partial penitent shall go to his house reprieved, doubtless, a sincere believing penitent shall go to his house justified.

Cross References 29

  • 1. 1 Kings 18:45, 46
  • 2. [1 Samuel 8:14]
  • 3. Leviticus 25:23; Numbers 36:7; Ezekiel 46:18
  • 4. 1 Kings 20:43
  • 5. [Esther 3:12]
  • 6. 1 Kings 20:7; Ruth 4:2
  • 7. See Deuteronomy 13:13
  • 8. Exodus 22:28; Leviticus 24:16; [Acts 6:11; Acts 23:5]
  • 9. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 10. [Isaiah 58:4]
  • 11. [Psalms 9:12]
  • 12. 1 Kings 16:24
  • 13. 1 Kings 22:38; 2 Kings 9:26
  • 14. [1 Kings 18:17]
  • 15. ver. 25; 2 Kings 17:17; Romans 7:14
  • 16. 2 Kings 9:8; [1 Kings 14:10]
  • 17. 1 Kings 15:29
  • 18. 1 Kings 16:3, 11
  • 19. 1 Kings 14:16
  • 20. 2 Kings 9:36
  • 21. [2 Samuel 20:15]
  • 22. [1 Kings 14:11; 1 Kings 16:4]
  • 23. See 1 Kings 16:30-33
  • 24. [1 Kings 15:12; 2 Kings 17:12; 2 Kings 21:11]
  • 25. Genesis 15:16
  • 26. 2 Kings 6:30
  • 27. See 2 Samuel 3:31
  • 28. 2 Samuel 12:16
  • 29. 2 Kings 9:25

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew blessed; also verse 13

Chapter Summary


In this chapter we have an account of Ahab's design to have Naboth's vineyard, for which he offered him another, or the value of that, but Naboth refusing to part with it, Ahab fell sick, 1Ki 21:1-4, the reason of which being found out by Jezebel, she devised means to get Naboth put to death under the colour of justice for blasphemy, 1Ki 21:5-14, and then bid Ahab go and take possession of the vineyard, where he was met by Elijah, who denounced the judgments of God upon him, and Jezebel, and all his family, for his injustice, 1Ki 21:15-26, but he humbling himself, the evil threatened was deferred to the days of his son, 1Ki 21:27-29.

1 Kings 21 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.