Ahab [Ā'hăb]—father’s brother.
1. The son of Omri, and his successor as the seventh king of Israel (1 Kings 16:28-33).
Ahab was an able and energetic warrior. His victories over the Syrians pushed the borders of his kingdom to the border of Damascus. Great renown became his, also great wealth indicated by the ivory palace he built for himself (1 Kings 21:1; 22:39). Success, however, made him greedy for still more. Not since Solomon’s time had a king been so victorious as Ahab, and what was a little matter like Naboth’s vineyard to one who had grasped so much? With his wealth, Ahab bought all he wanted. One tenant, however, could not be bought out. Sentiment, affection and tender memories were more to Naboth than all the king’s money.
Ahab could not say “All is mine” until the vineyard on his estate was his. First of all, there was no flaw in Ahab’s advances. A fair price and richer land were offered Naboth. The sin came after Naboth’s refusal to sell, because of a thousand sacred ties. Ahab sinned in not entering into a poorer man’s feelings. Naboth was not obstinate. His vineyard was a sacred heritage, a precious tradition. If we are to be Christlike we must be considerate of others.
Ahab’s next fault was that of making an awful grievance of his disappointment. He acted like a spoiled child and in a sulky fit told of failure to secure the vineyard to Jezebel, his strong-minded wife. Ahab and Jezebel are the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth of this inspired story. Ahab played into his wife’s hands, and those hands were eager to shed blood.
Points for possible expansion are:
I. Ahab established idolatry. He was a dangerous innovator and a patron of foreign gods (1 Kings 16:31-33; 21:26).
II. He was a weak-minded man, lacking moral fiber and righteousness (1 Kings 21:4).
III. He was the tool of his cruel, avaricious wife (1 Kings 21:7, 25).
2. The name of the false prophet who was in Babylon during the exile, and was roasted in the fire by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 29:21-23).