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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!

  1. Ahab

    1. Read 1 Kings 16:28-30. What kind of guy was King Ahab?

    2. Read 1 Kings 16:25-26. Omri was the father of Ahab. Are you seeing a pattern here? (Each generation gets worse!)

    3. 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!)

      1. 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?

        1. 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.)

        2. 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.)

      2. 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 authority.)

    4. 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!)

  2. Naboth's Vineyard

    1. 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.)

      1. Why does Naboth turn it down? (This land has been in the family for a long time.)

        1. 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 offer.)

      2. 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.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 21:4. What is the level of Ahab's emotional maturity?

      1. How does this kind of maturity affect a marriage?

    3. 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 totally unreasonable.)

      1. 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 solve?)

    4. 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?

      1. 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))

      2. Would she likely also know that it was improper for Naboth to sell his land to Ahab? (Yes.)

    5. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    6. 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.)

    7. 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 sons.)

      1. Does God always intervene to protect the righteous from the evil here on earth?

    8. 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.)

      1. To what degree are we responsible for the sins of our spouse?

        1. Does your answer turn on the level of authority you have over your spouse?

    9. 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 descendants.)

      1. Given what Ahab and Jezebel did, do you want your God to execute judgment on them?

    10. 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.)

  3. Judgment

    1. 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.)

    2. 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 life?

    3. 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 eyes?"

      1. 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.)

    4. Read 2 Kings 9:34-37. Has justice been done?

    5. 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.

  4. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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