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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 21

 

 

Verses 1-29

1 Kings 21:1-29. The Story of Naboth.—This is evidently not a part of the Elijah story of 1 Kings 17-19. There are certain differences of style; e.g. Ahab is described as "king of Samaria" (1); and Elijah does not, as in 1 Kings 17-19, occupy the central place. Nor does the story come in a very suitable place between 1 Kings 20 and 1 Kings 22, which have points in common. In the LXX it occurs before 1 Kings 20. It is probably, though not certainly, an independent narrative about Elijah. Ahab, as is usual. is not represented in the worst possible light; the great offender is Jezebel, who acts not as a Baal worshipper so much as a queen of Israel. Some critics (e.g. Burney) connect this passage with 2 Kings 9 f., the story of the destruction of the house of Omri by Jehu, where the mention of the "burden" laid on Ahab on that occasion demands the recital of thesecircumstances. Naboth refused to sell his vineyard because it was his ancestral property (1 Kings 21:3). The Priestly Code forbids the alienation of land, and probably reflects a strong prejudice in favour of not surrendering an inheritance (Leviticus 25:23, Numbers 36:7). Naboth was falsely accused of blasphemy and treason (1 Kings 21:10), cursing (lit. blessing, i.e. bidding farewell to or renouncing, but see Job 1:5*) God and the king. According to the LXX Ahab (1 Kings 21:16) was horrified at the crime, and put on sackcloth on hearing of Naboth's death, but nevertheless took possession of the vineyard (1 Kings 21:18 f.). Elijah did not foretell that the place of the destruction of Ahab's family would be on Naboth's land, but this is implied in 2 Kings 9:36. The incident may not be placed in its true historical position, and there is no hint that Jezebel or Ahab represented a false religion, and Elijah the true. Nevertheless the conduct of those concerned may shew how the Baal worship had corrupted the morals of the times. The elders of Jezreel came no better out of the transaction than Ahab or even Jezebel herself. It has been maintained that this crime more than idolatry caused the ruin of the house of Omri.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-kings-21.html. 1919.

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