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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: Ahab and Jezebel: Abuse of Authority *
Introduction: Some things are hard to gauge. When I was dating I
wanted to marry a girl who had religious beliefs and a religious zeal
that was like mine. I remember one young lady I dated who was "on
fire" for God. Her Sabbaths were a whirl of religious activities,
from attending church, to attending other meetings to visiting
nursing homes in the afternoon. I seemed to be her only "secular"
activity! The level of fire in my religious life was not set that
high - and that worried me. This week we study a couple who have the
opposite temperature problem. He is cold when it comes to a
relationship with God and she is ice. Let's dive in and find out
more about who not to marry!
- Read 1 Kings 16:28-30. What kind of guy was King Ahab?
- Read 1 Kings 16:25-26. Omri was the father of Ahab. Are
you seeing a pattern here? (Each generation gets worse!)
- Read 1 Kings 16:31-32. Our lessons this quarter are about
marriage. What does the Bible suggest about King Ahab's
marriage to Jezebel? (This marriage is listed among his
most memorable sins!)
- I always thought that you had good marriage choices
and bad marriage choices. Wise and foolish marriage
decisions. Is it possible that a marriage decision
could also be a sinful choice?
- If so, how would you know in advance? What does
our text suggest is the sin problem with this
marriage? (With Jezebel came the practice of the
worship of Baal.)
- Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. Is it sin to ignore
this Biblical advice? (At a minimum, this is
advice to keep us from sin. The marriage of King
Ahab to Jezebel led to the worship of Baal -
which clearly was sin. Marrying an unbeliever is
going to take your affections from God and
redirect them in another path.)
- Why do Christians marry unbelievers? (In Ahab's
situation, I doubt it was love - although it might
have been physical attraction in part. The Bible
Knowledge commentary informs us that one of the great
"accomplishments" of King Omri's life was his
military alliance with the Phoenicians (Sidonians)
which was sealed by the marriage of Ahab to Jezebel
(daughter of the Sidonian King). This marriage
brought with it increased earthly power and
- Read 1 Kings 18:4 & 1 Kings 21:25. Was Jezebel simply
someone who did not believe in the true God? (No. She was
an activist against God!)
- Naboth's Vineyard
- Read 1 Kings 21:1-3. Is the King making a reasonable
offer? (Absolutely. A king might be tempted to take it
from you - especially this king.)
- Why does Naboth turn it down? (This land has been in
the family for a long time.)
- Is Naboth crazy? Why turn down the deal for
sentimental reasons? (His reasons are not
sentimental. According to Numbers 36:7, God
required them to keep the land they inherited.
Thus, Naboth most likely considered it a
religious obligation that he refuse the king's
- Was Ahab a gardener? Why would he care about how
close his vegetable garden was unless he was tending
it? (Apparently, this was King Ahab's summer house.
Perhaps he enjoyed gardening. Perhaps he just wanted
to easily supervise the workers.)
- Read 1 Kings 21:4. What is the level of Ahab's emotional
- How does this kind of maturity affect a marriage?
- Read 1 Kings 21:5-7. Does Ahab tell his wife the truth?
(Not the whole truth. He omits the reason why Naboth's
refusal is reasonable. Otherwise, the refusal seems
- Leave the rest of what you know about Jezebel out of
your mind. How is she acting as a wife now? (She is
doing exactly what every spouse should do. First,
she is not yelling at Ahab for acting like a little
boy. Instead, she is sympathetic, but at the same
time reminding him of his position of authority. It
seems to be a gentle rebuke (although some experts in
Hebrew might disagree). Second, she says "I'll take
care of your problem." Wouldn't it be nice if our
spouses always resolved those problems we cannot
- Read 1 Kings 21:8-10. What does this reveal to us about
Jezebel - other than she has a clear plan of action for
cheering up her spouse?
- Consider that she is a worshiper of Baal. How much
does she know about Ahab's religion? (She knows the
law requires at least two witnesses (Deuteronomy
19:15)to establish a fact, she knew you could not
blaspheme God or curse the ruler ( Exodus 22:28) and
she knew that worshiping false gods was punishable by
stoning. ( Deuteronomy 13:6-10))
- Would she likely also know that it was improper for
Naboth to sell his land to Ahab? (Yes.)
- Read 1 Kings 21:11-14. In this context, consider again
Naboth's refusal to sell Ahab his land for religious
reasons. What kind of man was Naboth? What kind of people
ruled his town? (The rulers were either very corrupt and
evil, or they were frightened of Queen Jezebel. Naboth was
a remarkable man of principle.)
- Read 2 Kings 9:26. What evil element is left out of
our story in 1 Kings 21? (That this evil plot
required the death of Naboth's sons as well.)
- Read 1 Kings 21:15-16. What does this story tell us about
the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel and their relationship?
(It tells us that Jezebel was strong-willed and evil.
However, she did act to please her husband (or at least to
preserve his authority as king over his subjects). It
also tells us that Ahab was immature, weak-willed, and
manipulated by his wife.)
- Knowing what you do, should Naboth have traded or sold his
land to King Ahab? (I would vote, "yes." The regulations
on land were not a moral issue. They were practical rules
to allow a family to support itself by the land through
succeeding generations. Here, the practical goal of God's
regulation is thwarted by the death of Naboth and his
- Does God always intervene to protect the righteous
from the evil here on earth?
- Read 1 Kings 21:17-19. What level of guilt does Ahab have
for the actions of his wife? (This shows that Ahab knew
what she was doing.)
- To what degree are we responsible for the sins of our
- Does your answer turn on the level of authority
you have over your spouse?
- Read 1 Kings 21:20-24. If you do evil, will God find and
punish you? (There is a false teaching that God never acts
like a judge to execute judgment. This teaching says that
because God is love He cannot execute judgment. That
teaching has a very difficult time surviving a story like
this. Notice the parallel between the crime and the
punishment. God promises to cut off Ahab and his
descendants just as Jezebel has cut off Naboth and his
- Given what Ahab and Jezebel did, do you want your God
to execute judgment on them?
- Read 1 Kings 21:27-29. What picture does this paint of our
God? (He is a judge, but what He wants is for us to
repent! His desire is to save even the most wicked, not
to destroy them.)
- Read 2 Kings 9:6-10. Jehu was a commander of the army who
had now been anointed the new King of Israel! What do you
think about the prophet? (For background read 2 Kings 9:1-3.)
- Jehu starts on his task by heading towards the palace of
Ahab's son, Joram. Read 2 Kings 9:20. Is there a
connection between the way you drive and your success in
- Joram comes out to meet Jehu and Jehu kills him. Jehu had
heard the prophecy spoken to Ahab, so he orders that Joram
be tossed on Naboth's land. Jehu then continues on to the
palace. Read 2 Kings 9:30-31. Why did Jezebel "paint her
- Would Jehu be enticed? Was this foolish vanity of an
older woman? (Read 2 Kings 9:32-33. Jehu is not
enticed. Notice they loyalty of Jezebel's household!
They waste no time throwing her out the window.)
- Read 2 Kings 9:34-37. Has justice been done?
- Friend, make the right choices when it comes to God and
your spouse. These choices will have consequences here and
they certainly will have consequences eternally.
- Next week: Hosea and Gomer: Forgiving the Unfaithful.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.