First Kings 21 Commentary
Ahab’s record in wrong-doing was unmatched. It was only surpassed by Jezebel’s wickedness. This chapter gives us details of the murder of Naboth.
It is clear that Naboth’s murder was engineered by Jezebel. How Jezebel’s crimes became Ahab’s crimes is very interesting. In today’s justice systems, Ahab would be absolved of wrongdoing. The Law of God is however very different. Those with the power to stop evil must do so because the LORD will call them to account. Ahab is called out for crimes committed in his name and right under his nose.
Like Jeroboam and Baasha, Ahab’s family would be wiped out. This is not news. It is actually expected. However, we are shocked by the LORD’s compassions when Ahab puts up a repentance show. It appears there is something more powerful than justice.
In a human court, when the Judge reads out a sentence against an offender, the document is always labeled F.Y.I – meaning, For Your Information only. But with the LORD, it appears just about every sentence is tagged for action by the offender. Ahab’s humility before the LORD can only delay the sentence. He has lived under multiple warning letters. Even this current death sentence comes against the background of yet another death sentence in the case of Ben-Hadad.
No wonder a perplexed human author remarked as follows: There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel. “
The LORD’s reaction in the closing verses of the chapter gives us an impression of heaven scanning through humanity for repentance. If any repentance, even a bit of it, heaven responds. Just like the murder of Naboth has Ahab’s name written on it, every genuine repentance is a credit on one’s life. A man doesn’t have to wait for heaven before they begin to enjoy the fruit of genuine repentance. Genuine repentance softens the LORD’s heart and that means more life for humanity.
We can look back at this chapter and see gross abuse of power and authority. Indeed many sins are committed this way. We do well to remember that we too are in some position of power and authority over someone. Look carefully and you will see a string of sins committed as a consequence of your position. Think of a government worker whose social media activities keep her away from her duties. This kind of negligence at the Hospital may cause fatalities. What about the people that the LORD has commanded us to look after? Are we causing pain and suffering instead of being a blessing?
Jezebel could have easily ordered the killing of Naboth without involving the elders. This is a cheap decoy. There is some sinful reasoning in a man who thinks they are innocent as long as human records are clean. They easily forget that there is another record in heaven whose contents cannot be altered. It is this record that has judged Ahab here. It is this same record that will judge humanity on Judgment Day.
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