Naboth must have been shocked and baffled as the charges of blasphemy and treason rang in his ears. He must have felt jostled and panicked as he was grabbed and thrown outside the city of Jezreel. Surely he was filled with the acutest sense of injustice replaced only by the undeserved pangs of pain as his own brethren stoned him with stones (1 Ki. 21:12-14). He had been set up by wicked King Ahab (though Jezebel was really the “brains” behind the operation). When Ahab took possession of “his” ill-gotten vineyard taken only by the brutal plot that claimed innocent Naboth, did Ahab ever think about the murdered man (cf. 1 Ki. 21:19) as he puttered around his vegetable garden? Could even Ahab have thought that it was worth it? Whatever Israel’s king felt, Elijah the Tishbite, God’s mighty prophet, is sent into “the vineyard of Naboth” (1 Ki. 21:18; interestingly, God still saw dead Naboth as the rightful owner) and foretells of the bloody, ignominious end of Ahab’s house. Though God showed remarkable mercy in not ending Ahab’s dynasty in the wake of the wicked king’s humble plea (1 Ki. 21:28), the decree was only delayed. Ahab died in his chariot, a casualty of a circumstance God used to execute His judgment (1 Ki. 22:34-38).
Some time later, though now Ahab’s second son to reign currently sat on Israel’s throne and Elijah had been replaced by Elisha, the judgment on Ahab’s house transpired. Jehu “conspired against Joram” (2 Ki. 9:14), encouraged by one of the sons of the prophets (2 Ki. 9:7-10). Jehu meets Joram at an interesting site: “the property of Naboth the Jezreelite” (2 Ki. 9:21). God says He repaid Ahab on Naboth’s plot (2 Ki. 9:26). What a powerful lesson and warning from God! It is a message that says not only that you reap what you sow, but that there is sometimes irony in this sort of reaping. Another example is Haman in the book of Esther.
Let us consider this lesson first taught on Naboth’s land. Does the gossiper, intent on spreading rumors and divulging details about another, ever become the victim of his own methods? Does the hypercritic and unjust judge ever fall into a sin problem, only to find himself treated as he has treated others? What about the greedy or the unethical, who climb the corporate ladder by stepping all over whoever is above him on it? Does he ever meet the same, ironic end? There will be some Naboths, men and women who are unfairly and unjustly treated despite their innocence. Yet, there will also be some Ahabs, too, men and women meted out the same kind of end they inflicted on someone else. If you have to identify with anyone in this biblical account, let it be Naboth and not Ahab.