Virtual Kollage: Significant points in the story of Naboth's vineyard

Posted by / Tuesday, 16 February 2016 / No comments

Significant points in the story of Naboth's vineyard

1. The event occurred at a time when Israel had a peculiar land tenure system. It was believed that all lands belonged to God. Anybody who held land did so, on behalf of God for the dead, the living and the generation yet to be born. In short, land was a family property and must be held within the family and not sold.

2. There was nothing Ahab could do about the situation except to go home sad. In Israel, the king was a steward of God and therefore expected to govern according to the laws of God. Under the covenant law, the king of Israel was not an absolute king so Ahab could not do anything to Naboth.

3. Jezebel was a Phoenician. By her action, she was introducing oriental despotism into the political culture of Israel. In the orients, where she came from, the king was an absolute Monarch. He could do anything he wanted. That was why she could write a letter in the name of the king instructing that Naboth be killed.

4. In Israel, a fast was proclaimed during a national crisis or emergency, especially when a serious crime was committed.

5. The crime Naboth was accused of was punishable by death. He was accused of cursing the king and God, two grievous sins. It must be noted that at least two witnesses were required for the crime to have been proven.

6. The story must not be taken as an isolated episode. It should rather be seen as a reflection of the social injustice that had taken over Israel during the reign of Ahab.

7. The role of a prophet was manifold. Elijah acted as the spokesman of God and at the same time the defender of the rights of defenseless citizens. That was why Elijah the Prophet could condemn the king directly in the face without any fear of repercussions.

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