The Review and Herald


January 8, 1914

The Fall of the House of Ahab


The evil influence that from the first Jezebel had exercised over Ahab continued during the later years of his life, and bore fruit in deeds of shame and violence such as have seldom been equaled in sacred history. “There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 1

Naturally of a covetous disposition, Ahab, strengthened and sustained in wrongdoing by Jezebel, had followed the dictates of his evil heart until he was fully controlled by the spirit of selfishness. He could not brook any refusal of his wishes; he felt that the things he desired should by right be his. RH January 8, 1914, par. 2

Hard by the palace of the king was a vineyard belonging to Naboth, a Jezreelite. Ahab set his heart on possessing this vineyard, and he proposed to buy it or else to give in exchange for it another piece of land. “Give me thy vineyard,” he said to Naboth, “that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 3

Naboth valued his vineyard highly because it had belonged to his fathers, and he refused to part with it. “The Lord forbid it me,” he said to Ahab, “that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.” According to the Levitical code, no land could be transferred permanently by sale or exchange; every one of the children of Israel must “keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 4

Naboth's refusal made the selfish monarch ill. “Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him.... And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 5

Jezebel soon learned the particulars, and indignant that any one should refuse the request of the king, she assured Ahab that he need no longer be sad. “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel?” she said. “Arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 6

The king cared not by what means his wife accomplished the desired object, and Jezebel immediately proceeded to carry out her wicked purpose. She wrote letters in the name of the king, sealed them with his signet, and sent them to the elders and nobles of the city where Naboth dwelt, saying, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: and set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 7

The command was obeyed. “The men of his city, even the elders and the nobles ... did as Jezebel had ... written in the letters which she had sent unto them.” Then Jezebel went to the king, and bade him arise and take the vineyard. And Ahab, heedless of consequences, blindly followed her counsel, and went down to take possession of the coveted property. RH January 8, 1914, par. 8

The king was not allowed to enjoy unrebuked that which he had gained by fraud and bloodshed. “The word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?” And the Lord further instructed Elijah to pronounce upon Ahab a terrible judgment for his wicked course. RH January 8, 1914, par. 9

The prophet hastened to carry out the divine command. The guilty ruler, meeting the stern messenger of Jehovah face to face in the vineyard that had belonged to Naboth, gave voice to his startled fear in the word, “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” RH January 8, 1914, par. 10

Fearlessly the messenger of the Lord replied, “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.” No mercy was to be shown: the house of Ahab was to be utterly destroyed, “like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah,” the Lord declared through his servant, “for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin. RH January 8, 1914, par. 11

“And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 12

When the king heard this fearful message, “he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. RH January 8, 1914, par. 13

“And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.” RH January 8, 1914, par. 14

Less than three years later, King Ahab met his death at the hands of the Syrians, and Ahaziah, his son, became his successor. RH January 8, 1914, par. 15

(To be continued.)