Sometime later this happened: There was a man named Naboth from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel close to King Ahab's palace in Samaria. Ahab went to Naboth and said, “Give me your vineyard so I can turn it into a vegetable garden, because it's close to my palace. In return I'll give you a better vineyard, or if you want I'll pay you for it in cash.”
But Naboth replied, “The Lord curse me if I should give you my forefathers' inheritance.”*
Ahab went home sulking and infuriated because Naboth from Jezreel had said, “I will not give you my forefathers' inheritance.” He went to bed, wouldn't look at anyone, and refused to eat.
His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so upset about? That you don't want to eat?”
Ahab replied, “It's because I talked with Naboth from Jezreel and I asked him, ‘Give me your vineyard for cash, or if you want, I'll give you another vineyard instead.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ”
“Aren't you the king of Israel?” his wife Jezebel replied. “Get up, have something to eat, and cheer up. I'll get you the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel.”
So she wrote some letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal. She sent the letters to the elders and leaders in the town where Naboth lived. In the letters she wrote to tell them, “Announce a religious fast, and give Naboth a seat of honor. 10 But seat two bad men opposite him and have them accuse him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king!’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”
11 So the elders and leaders who lived in Naboth's town did as Jezebel had said in the letters she had written and sent to them. 12 They announced a religious fast, and gave Naboth a seat of honor. 13 Two bad men came and sat opposite him, and accused him in front of the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the town and stoned him to death.
14 Then they sent a message to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned. He's dead.”
15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and he was dead, Jezebel told Ahab, “Get up, go and claim ownership of the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel, which he refused to sell you, for Naboth is no longer alive, but dead.”
16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went to claim ownership of Naboth's vineyard.
17 Then the Lord sent a message to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 Go and meet Ahab, king of Israel, in Samaria. He is right now in Naboth's vineyard, where he has gone to claim ownership of it. 19 Tell him: This is what the Lord says: Have you murdered a man and robbed him? Then tell him: This is what the Lord says: In the very spot where dogs licked up Naboth's blood, dogs will lick up your own blood.”
20 So have you come to find me, my enemy?” Ahab asked Elijah. “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the Lord sight,” Elijah replied.
21 He says, “Watch out! I'm going to bring disaster on you and destroy your descendants. I will kill from every male of Ahab's line, both slave and free, in the whole of Israel. 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah, because you have angered me and made Israel sin. 23 And as far as Jezebel is concerned, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ 24 Those of Ahab's family who die in the town will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the countryside will be eaten by birds.”
25 (No one else was so bad as Ahab, who sold himself to do what is evil in the Lord's sight, because his wife Jezebel encouraged him. 26 He did the most despicable things, worshiping idols like the Amorites the Lord had driven out before Israel.)
27 As soon as Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and fasted. He even went to bed in sackcloth, and walked around repentantly.
28 Then the Lord sent a message to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster during his lifetime, but I will bring down disaster on his family in the lifetime of his son.”
* 21:3 According to Levitical law, inheritance was to be kept according to the original tribal allocations. See Numbers 36:7-9. 21:10 “Bad men”: literally, “sons of wickedness.” 21:27 “Repentantly”: literally, “gently.”