Prof. Joseph Fleishman, Bar-Ilan University
Beit Mikra - Volume 60 (2015), No. 1, The Bialik Institute
|The Bialik Institute|
In the brief exposition of the story concerning Naboth’s vineyard, King Ahab of Samaria asks Naboth the Jezreelite to give him his vineyard in return for a better one elsewhere or for financial remuneration. In their tense meeting, Naboth refuses adamantly, stating “…The Lord forbid that I should give up to you what I have inherited from my fathers” (I Kings 21:3)! This response reflects consideration of two important principles: a) the king’s proposal negates Naboth’s belief in current land heritage laws; b) it also strikes at family law and ancestors worship.
Although no overt threat is mentioned in the biblical passages, the proposal cannot be regarded as merely an innocent request. King Ahab’s image must be viewed in light of his deliberate disregard for land heritage laws and family law.