Naboth’s Vineyard

As I said before, I’ll be focusing on verse/chapters that apply to Elijah specifically. Chapter 20 does not. However, I do recommend it. Having learned the characters and social/political tensions, it’s quite good. A man gets eaten by a lion because he refuses to hit one of the sons of the prophet. Turns out there were a lot of other prophets besides Elijah and Elisha walking around.

The story with Elijah picks up in chapter 21:17. Here is what happened previous to Elijah coming into the chapter.

Naboth’s Vineyard

This guy, Naboth has a vineyard. Right next door to Ahab’s palace. Very nice vineyard. One day, King Ahab stops by and says to Naboth that he wants his vineyard. Naboth says, “No way! This is an inheritance from my father.” King Ahab replies, “Come on man, name your price.” Naboth tells him that there is no price, it’s not for sale. Ahab becomes super distraught and goes to his house, lies down and refuses to eat or get up. Queen Jezebel comes in and asks what in the world he is doing. Ahab explains the situation. Jezebel says to get up and stop acting like a baby and that she’ll take care of it. She has Naboth put on trial, gathers false witnesses to testify that Naboth was blaspheming god and has him taken out of the city and stone to death. Enter Elijah.

Elijah’s Curse

I wonder where Elijah is? The word of the Lord comes to him, telling him to give Ahab a visit for what he just did.  Was Elijah just wandering in the desert? Why did he leave the story for 1.5 chapters? Does anyone know what happened? Probably training Elisha in the ways of the Force. Sorry I put a Star Wars reference in the middle of the story.

Anyway, he arrives at king Ahab’s palace. What ensues is quite the show down. Elijah says to Ahab that in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick her blood. Ahab replies, “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” Elijah replies, “I have found thee…” Pause! He says more but wouldn’t it be so cool if they took lightsabers out and fought. This confrontation is right up there in coolness with Darth Maul vs. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jin. Back to focusing!

Elijah says, “I have found thee because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold I will bring evil upon thee and will take away thy posterity and will cut off him that passeth against the wall and him that is shut up and left in Israel. And I will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha, the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger and made Israel to sin…”

He’s pretty angry. He even says it! Elijah is having Ahab’s posterity cut off, his house made desolate, pretty much nothing good is coming his way because of his wickedness. Before I continue with this battle, I want to find out who Jeroboam, Nebat, Baasha and Ahijah are.

Jeroboam

Son of Nebat. This all comes from the bible dictionary. He was the first king of divided Israel. Member of the tribe Ephraim. He was the one in fact who led the revolt against the tribe of Judah and the house of David. Unfortunately shortly after becoming king, he set up idol worship in Dan and Bethel

The outline of the altar of sacrifice at Dan

Sacrificial altar at Dan

with two calves (supposedly representing Jehovah). He made priest of me who were not from the tribe of Aaron and also began the worship of wooden images.

Baasha

Son of Ahijah. Says he was king of Israel, at war with Asa, smote the house of Jeroboam. that’s not enough for me. I’m going to follow up on the entry with Asa. The bible dictionary says, was the third king of Judah. He had a good heart all his days. He made an alliance with Benhadad of Syria to “check” Baasha of Israel.

Putting what I have so far in order.  Jeroboam was the first king of Israel. That’s because he was the one who led the revolt that resulted in the division of the tribes. Baasha was the third king of Israel. During his reign, Asa (from Judah) reigned. Good so far?

Ahijah

He was a Shilonite who prophesied to Jeroboam of the rending of the kingdom of Israel. In Jeroboam’s entry, it says that it is thought that Ahijah supported the revolt since he prophesied about it. He also prophesied of the Lord’s judgement upon Jeroboam because of his wickedness in setting up idol worship. Was Baasha his son then, or is that referring to another Ahijah? Shilonite I assume is person from Shiloh? If that is the case, Shiloh is forming a triangle with Bethel and Jericho close to the Judah-Northern Israel border. All three cities are in the territory of Ephraim.

 How Shiloh forms a triangle with Bethel and Jericho on the border that splits the northern and southern kingdoms.

Ahab’s Wickedness

Back to the story. Elijah is talking to Ahab and Jezebel. He says she will be eaten by dogs as well, outside the walls of Jezreel. The next two verses, 21:25-26, tell a little better how Ahab was. In summary, I refer you to the scripture because I don’t want to quote the entire thing, there was none like Ahab who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord.

Ahab isn’t a good guy. But I keep wondering how much is him and how much is it his wife? The scripture even says, his wife stirred up the wickedness. I think it’s obvious he’s a hodoh bodoh (ugly stupid in malay). I feel like his wife, Jezebel, is the one pulling all his strings. He’s merely the one being acted upon. I think maybe he is capable to do things, I mean he isn’t a robot. But to what extent that capacity for him to act for himself, without the influence of his wife, I want to say is limited. I have nothing to back that up save the instance he refused to get off the bed after a citizen refused to give him his vineyard.

The Amorites

Who are the Amorites? I feel like I have written about them before but I can’t remember where. It’s times like these when I wish I had a giant index to all my notebooks. I searched for them but was unable to find them. Anyway, Amorites from the BD. People aren’t entirely sure about the use of this in scripture. It is thought that it denotes a fair-skinned, blue-eyed race, (as learned from Egyptian monuments) that inhabited Palestine before semitic tribes like the Israelites. Ammonites and Edomites made their appearance there. The Amorites included the Hivites. Honestly, this would be something really cool to stay and find out! Fair skinned and blue eyed? All on Egyptian monuments? If they are from Palestine and they influenced Egypt, they must have had quite a bit of influence. With this mystic feeling about the Amorites, read verse 26 again. If Ahab is following idols and doing it like the Amorites, the Amorites must have been quite a bad people. It says that the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. I’ll copy the exact phrase because my paraphrase was garbage.

“…Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.”

I guess the word I was wanting to focus on it “before” Before as in a time speaking manner? Before God cast out the children of Israel, he cast out the Amorites? If so, what “cast out” is being referred to? Where did they go. So many questions and not a lot of answers. This is very important question! A lot of people have blond hair and blue eyes! Did they emigrate/ be cast out from Palestine to Scandinavia? It says they inhabited the land before semitic tribes. Semitic tribes have been there for a very long time. I think what this is saying is that they were around before Israel (Jacob) and his sons. So Isaac and/or Abraham’s time? Earlier than that? I can’t say because I don’t have the info. The entry mentions the Hivites as a subset of the Amorites. Let’s see if anything can be gleaned.

Not much. They were a Canaanite race. Does this mean they were dark skinned? it says that a colony settled in Gibeon (see map  10, north of Jerusalem. It’s also the place Joshua made the sun stand still.)

img_0086

Looking towards Gibeon from Nabi Samwil

The Hivites tricked Joshua into a treaty. The main body of them (Amorites and Hivites) were in Northern Palestine. Extrapolating characteristics of Hivites to Amorites, they would be tricky, good at using stratagems to fight battles. Where did the people go? One thing I have been noticing in looking through the bible dictionary is that a lot of times, the entries I need are short or non-existent. And if I want to actually find more information about the individuals or peoples, I have to through a roundabout way. Maybe a kingdom they fought or a person they killed. If those types of entries aren’t in the bible dictionary, I may have to find a scripture that mentions what I’m looking for. Here with Amorites being bad idol worshippers is case and point. I would never have known they did that if I had just read the entry. It is important to look at as many sources as you can to assess the complete nature of something (at the time of this writing I only had access to the standard works).

Update: We actually talked about the Amorites when I was at the Jerusalem center on one of our first field trips. This was in relation to their battle with the Israelites, led by Joshua. The same battle that the sun stood still. I’ll copy in my journal entry.

 “The reason the Amorites were destroyed near Nabi Samwil was because they were ripe for destruction. Abraham was told that his posterity would be in Egypt and slaves to them until the time that the Amorites were ready. This means that God was WORKING WITH THEM (the Amorites). He was trying to get them to receive further light and truth. However, they didn’t accept it so God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt via Moses and into the Holy Land for the Israelites to inherit the promised land. It’s a wonderful example of how God loves all of his children and works with them all to accept him and worship him.”

Nabi Samwil means, “the prophet Samuel” and is traditionally held to be the place of his death. However, it is unlikely since the scriptures state a different spot (Ramah, which is further north).

I don’t think the Lord trying to help the Amorites receive greater light and knowledge in any way undermines the covenant nature of the house of Israel. We are all God’s children and he desires all of our salvation. I think it’s a similar situation in which God raised up the Assyrians and Babylonians to vex Israel at different times (due to their wickedness). But instead of Israel being vexed, it’s the Amorites. Thoughts on this?

Ahab’s Reaction to the Curse

Back to the story. Ahab hears all this stuff from Elijah (about being cursed) and he breaks his clothes, puts on sackcloth, fasts and humbles himself. The Lord tells Elijah that because he humbled himself, he won’t bring evil in his days, but in the days of his sons. If I had been Elijah, I would have been little like Jonah. Burn the city anyway! They are all evil even though he repented. But you can’t be like that. Call people to repentance but don’t get angry when they actually listen. Yes it was probably strange for Elijah to hear from the Lord that he wasn’t going to kill the man who had tried to kill him. Elijah is a good guy.

Next installment we’ll cover the death of Ahab and on.

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One thought on “Naboth’s Vineyard

  1. Pingback: How a Box of Oil Caused the Downfall of Ahab’s Dynasty | Towards a Greater Light

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