Story Seven

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
KING Ā́ HĂB'S home was at Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, the capital of the kingdom. But he had also a palace at Jĕź re-el, which overlooked the great plain of Ĕs-dra-ḗ lon. And beside Ā́ hăb’s palace at Jĕź re-el was a vineyard, belonging to a man named Nā́ bŏth. Ā́ hăb wished to own this vineyard, and he said to Nā́ bŏth, "Let me have your vineyard, which is near my house. I would like to make of it a garden for vegetables. I will give you a better vineyard in place of it, or I will pay you the worth of it in money.”
But Nā́ bŏth answered the king, "This vineyard has belonged to my father's family for many generations, and I am not willing to give it up or to leave it.”
Ā́ hăb was very angry when he heard this. He came into his house, and refused to eat; but lay down on his bed, and turned his face to the wall. His wife Jĕź e-bĕl came to him, and said, "Why are you so sad? What is troubling you?”
And Ā́ hăb answered her, "I asked Nā́ bŏth to sell me his vineyard, or to let me give him another vineyard for it, and he would not." Then Jĕź e-bĕl said to him, "Do you indeed rule over the kingdom of Ĭś̝ ra-el? Rise up, and eat your dinner, and enjoy yourself. I will give you the vineyard of Ná bŏth." Then Queen Jĕź e-bĕl sat down, and wrote a letter in Ā́ hăb's name, and sealed it with the king's seal. And in the letter she wrote, "Let the word be given out that a meeting of the men of Jĕź re-el is to be held, and set Nā́ bŏth up before all the people. Have ready two men, no matter how worthless and wicked they may be, who will swear that they heard Nā́ bŏth speak words of cursing against God and against the king. Then take Nā́ bŏth out, and stone him with stones until he is dead.” Such was the fear of Queen Jĕź e-bĕl among all the people, that they did as she gave command. They held a meeting, and set Nā́ bŏth up in presence of the people; then they brought in two men, who told lies, declaring that they had heard Nā́ bŏth speak words of cursing against God and against the king; and then they dragged Nā́ bŏth out of the city, and stoned him, and killed him. Afterward they sent word to Queen Jĕź e-bĕl that Nā́ bŏth was dead, and Jĕź e-bĕl said to Ā́ hăb, "Now you can go and take as your own the vineyard of Nā́ bŏth in Jĕź re-el; for Nā́ bŏth is no longer living; he is dead.”
Then Ā́ hăb rode in his chariot from Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. to Jĕź́ re-el, and with him were two of his captain’s, one named Jḗ hu, and another named Bĭd́ kär. Just as they were riding in the vineyard that had been Nā́ bŏth's, suddenly É̇-lī́ jah, the prophet, with his mantle of skin, stood before them. Ā́ hăb was startled as he saw Ē̇-lī́ jah, and he called out, "Have you found me, O my enemy?”
"I have found you," answered Ē̇-lī́ jah, "because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Nā́ bŏth, shall dogs lick up your own blood. I will bring evil upon you, and will sweep you away; and I will cut off every man-child from Ā́ hăb; and I will make your family like the family of Jĕr-o-bṓ am, who made Ĭś̝ ra-el to sin. And because your wife, Jĕź e-bĕl, has stirred you up to sin, she shall die, and the wild dogs of the city shall eat the body of Jĕź e-bĕl by the wall of Jĕź re-el.”
When Ā́ hăb heard these words of Ē̇-lī́ jah he saw how wickedly he had acted, and he felt sorrow for his sin. He put on sackcloth, and fasted, and sought for mercy. And the word of the Lord came to Ē̇-lí̄ jah, saying, "Do you see how Ā́ hăb has humbled himself before me, and shows sorrow for his sin? Because of this, I will not bring the evil in his lifetime, but after he is dead, I will bring it upon his children.”