(NIV1984) 1 Kings 21:5-7 – “His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’
“He answered, ‘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.'”
Now, Jezebel doesn’t seem so bad in verse 5. She’s interested in why her husband is pouting and not eating. This interest isn’t bad. In fact, a wife helping her husband reach a goal can – generally is? – a good thing. But not if the goal is bad. And (SPOILER ALERT) not by killing people and lying to them. To be honest, she reminds me of Lady Macbeth, only without the insanity thing (and this coming from someone who hasn’t read Macbeth, so take this with a grain of salt) (END SPOILERS).
Point of interest – for Ahab, it’s all about the vineyard. Naboth didn’t even call it that, he called it “the inheritance of my fathers” (NIV1984, 1 Kings 21:3,4) – the comment which made him “sullen and angry” in the first place (NIV1984, 1 Kings 21:4)! But Ahab flashes by that in this explanation. It doesn’t matter to him that it’s Naboth’s inheritance. He just wants the vineyard. He just wants what he wants.
However, I do want to point out that Ahab does stop at a certain point. He makes his argument, and even though he pouts and refuses to eat when he doesn’t get what he wants (kind of like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum might), he doesn’t immediately jump to, “Let’s kill Naboth!”
(SPOILER ALERT) Of course, that doesn’t stop him from letting Jezebel do it, but that’s another thing (END SPOILERS).
Jezebel obviously has a very different idea of how kings should act. People – subjects – don’t say no to kings, and when they do, they suffer the consequences. In a lot of societies, this would be acceptable. But it’s not acceptable to God. This is not the way His kings, not the way His leaders should act.
I see some of these behaviors in myself, especially with the possibility of riding planes. I have acted very much like Ahab, waiting for someone else to figure out a way for me to get what I wanted. And I acted like Jezebel – I haven’t killed people, obviously, because then I would most likely be in jail, but I have yelled and shouted. But God gave me a way out and reconciled. Still, I shouldn’t act that way.
I guess I learn a lot about myself looking at Ahab and Jezebel – both how I should and how I shouldn’t act. It’s very…enlightening.