We read of the contrasts of integrity and godly character in this chapter. Naboth owned property that he had inherited from his father, which happened to be next to the palace and Ahab who desired Naboth’s land for a “vegetable garden”. For Ahab to even suggest purchasing the property from Naboth illustrates his disregard for the Law, which forbid property inheritance to be sold.
Ahab returned to the palace, demonstrating a full measure of self-pity that Jezebel quickly acted upon. Never was there such a diabolical spouse as she, leading her husband further away from the Lord with every opportunity. Forging Ahab’s name, she connives a plot whereby Naboth’s life would be taken, along with his entire family; thereby leaving no heirs to assume ownership of the property taken by Jezebel’s plot. Not only had she forged Ahab’s name to a false document, she presented a scenario by which two liars would make false accusations against righteous Naboth; which would ultimately result in his death.
The plot accomplished the intended purpose, with apparently no investigation whatsoever. It seemed that no one really knew what had taken place behind the scenes; except the Lord, who revealed it to His prophet Elijah. The prophet of the Lord confronted Ahab and let him know the consequences of his sinister ploy, by association, to obtain the property and take ownership of the property.
Ahab did respond with apparent repentance; which prompted the withholding of all the judgment of the Lord on the king. We do read in 2 Kings 9 the literal fulfillment of the prophetic word concerning Ahab’s house. Dogs did in fact licked the blood and ate of those who died in the city and those who died in the field were eaten by fowl.
We read Ahab’s epitaph “there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his stirred him up.” Spouses can be sources of encouragement or discouragement, to live righteously or unrighteously. Jezebel discouraged Ahab to live righteously for the Lord or to lead Israel righteously. She was an idolater who lived as she had falsely accused Naboth.
Reviewing this chapter we observe that Naboth’s integrity stood the test of intense temptation. The world says “everyone has their price”; which ought not to be the case with the saints of God. Our price has already been paid, we are not our own; we’ve been bought with a price, we belong to the Lord. Our integrity will sustain and carry us through, even though it may cost us our lives. Selling out is not worth it. Maintaining it brings eternal dividends.
A subtle lesson we glean from the life of Elijah is when we come near the close of ministry, there are still issues we may be called upon to address. Recall Elijah had just anointed Elisha to take his place, yet that did not absolve him of responsibilities that were connected to issues that surfaced during his ministry tenure. Integrity deals with those issues as well, not just those that arise during our ministry.
Integrity deals with stuff; easy and difficult.