Last time we saw how Elijah demonstrated who the true God of Israel is by calling on him to start a fire. And not any old fire! Fire on some dead meat, placed on a pile of wood and stones, drenched with water! Everything was consumed when God answered Elijah’s prayer and then it rained……
By now Elijah had an apprentice prophet. His name was Elisha. Confusing isn’t it? Elijah’s role as a prophet to a nation as disobedient as Israel, with kings that were often evil, was a hard, lonely one. Elijah used to get very depressed and at times, lonely. So God chose Elisha to be his successor but sent him to Elijah learn from him before that time came. So Elisha was Elijah’s companion as well.
Sometime later there was an incident known as “Naboth’s vineyard’. The vineyard was near to King Ahab’s palace and he wanted it for a vegetable garden. King Ahab said to Naboth, who owned the vineyard, “Let me have it and I will give you a better vineyard or, if you like, I will pay you whatever it is worth.” But Naboth didn’t want to sell it. It had been in his family for generations.
Well King Ahab really didn’t like it when he couldn’t get what he wanted. Really didn’t like it! He sulked and wouldn’t eat! His wife, Jezebel wasn’t too happy that her husband’s request had been turned down either. “You are the king! I will get you that vineyard.” And she did. She paid two scoundrels to lie. They said that Naboth has cursed the king and God. This was a crime punishable by death. Naboth was taken outside of the city walls and stoned to death! and of course the vineyard went to King Ahab. He got what he wanted. Jezebel saw to that!
God told Elijah to go and talk to King Ahab. Elijah did, and found Ahab inspecting his newly acquired vineyard.
Elijah told King Ahab how deeply unhappy God was with what he had done and what he was doing. In God’s sight he and his wife were evil and would die for what they had done.
King Ahab wept and fasted (didn’t eat) and put on rough clothes to show he was sorry and for the time being, God forgave them. But they did eventually come to a sticky end!
King Ahab was killed in battle and Jezebel was thrown from a tower and her blood spattered the walls and the horses who trampled all over her!
Gruesome stuff isn’t it?