Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”
But Naboth replied, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”
So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.
His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?”
He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ”
Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 1 Kings 21:1-7
I have wondered about this passage occasionally. Why didn’t Ahab just take the vineyard? As king, he could have done it and no one would have questioned it. At the very least, he could have thrown a reasonable amount of money at Naboth, then taken the land. Instead he asked for it and Naboth refused to hand it over. Then Ahab went home and poured out his woes to Jezebel at her insistence. It’s no surprise that she took charge of the situation. To the unethical, conniving Jezebel, it wasn’t a problem.
A number of years ago, I heard a journalist refer to a President like this: “good man, wrong job.” In other words, the man is good.but the job doesn’t fit the man. That’s seems to be what’s happening here. A little later in the passage, God praises Ahab for humbling himself before the Lord. Ahab clearly seems out of place as King. On the other hand, Jezebel seems out of place too but for different reasons. They say that the best leaders are those who don’t seek the position. They’re reluctant to assume power and responsibility, mainly because they know that power can corrupt quickly.
Pray for the leaders of your nation. Pray, that they, like Ahab, will humble themselves before the Lord. Pray also that the Lord will burden you to pray regularly for that person.