A Pouty King and a Scheming Queen

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), June 12

images“Jezebel his wife said, ‘You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite” (1 Kings 21:7).

Have you ever wanted something so badly that your obsession led to a loss of appetite? Ahab makes himself sick over his neighbor’s property. Naboth’s property is just a symptom of a deeper problem. The previous chapter has closed with the prophet’s rebuking Ahab for his disobedience in not killing Ben-Hadad. Sullen and angry, Ahab returns to Samaria, where he stews over this rebuke. At this point in his life he covets his neighbor’s property. Nothing will cheer him but having Naboth’s vineyard.

Sullen and angry men either blow up or pout. Women married to men who blow up tend to withdraw, while women married to pouting men scheme and rescue. Ahab is a pouter, and Jezebel is a schemer.
Enter Jezebel: “I’ll get you the vineyard.”

What can we learn from this scheming woman?

  • Schemers take matters in their own hands, “I’ll give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite” (21:7).
  • Schemers disregard the convictions and legal rights of others. Naboth’s refusal to cede his property is based on property rights developed in the Book of the Law (Lev. 25:23; Num. 36:7).
  • Schemers misuse authority. “She wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal” (1 Kings 21:8).
  • Schemers falsely accuse innocent people as a cover for their covetousness, “Seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, ‘You have blasphemed God and the king’” (21:10).
  • Schemers use religion as a front for taking advantage over others, “Proclaim a fast . . . . ‘You have blasphemed God’” (21:9-10).
  • Schemers treat their victims harshly, “Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die” (21:10).
  • Schemers intimidate others into cooperating with their plans, “So the men of the city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them” (21:11).

People who take matters in their own hands hurt others. They never experience what God will do on behalf of those wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4); they experience His judgment instead. This story serves as a clear warning to all women who scheme; Jezebel gets her way and obtains the vineyard for Ahab, but incurs the judgment of a Holy God.

Questions for today’s chronological reading (1 Kings 20:23-22:9; 2 Chronicles 18:1-8):
What had God intended for Ben-Hadad?
What is Ahab’s legacy (21:25-26)? What was Jezebel’s influence on him?
How does God promise vindication for Naboth? Does his vindication come immediately?
Ask the Lord to make you aware of scheming in your own life.