Selfishness of Ahab, Jezebel example of how not to be

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

Self-centeredness combined with wickedness and scheming is a terrible thing. Think of the schemes that have been the result of self centeredness.

Take this example. The incident involved one woman in the checkout line at a grocery store with a basket piled high with food. A woman with only a bottle of catsup walked up behind her and gently ask her if she might go ahead since she had children waiting in the car.

The woman with the catsup was shocked when the woman in front turned and answered her request coldly: “Certainly not. I was here first!”

Her answer made the woman with the catsup furious so she took her bottle and hit the woman in front over the head with it. Broken glass hit the floor while catsup gushed out everywhere. Then the woman with the big basket full of groceries whirled around and socked the woman behind her. A brawl ensued. The police were called, both were arrested and booked in jail. All because they each wanted their way.

There was a Biblical character with much the same attitude, but it involved land, not catsup. His name was Ahab, King of Israel. 1 Kings mentions the type man Ahab was: “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.” What a legacy! (1 Kings 16:30)

Ahab was married to Jezebel and the two were terrible. They dealt misery everywhere with their conniving. One such incident was with Naboth, a commoner and good man with property close to Ahab’s palace. Ahab made up his mind he wanted that property and nothing would top him. He asked Naboth to buy it or exchange it for some other property.

Naboth refused because the property had been in the family for years. So Ahab sulked. He went to bed and refused to eat. He pouted. Jezebel came in the bedroom and saw Ahab in bed, face next to the wall, sulking. She asked him: “Why are you so upset? Why won’t you eat?”

Ahab’s pitiful reply was “Because I want Naboth’s vineyard and he won’t sell it to me!”

Jezebel asked, “Is this how you act as king of Israel? Get up and cheer up! I will take charge!”

Jezebel’s devious mind started scheming. She devised a plan to set Naboth up as a slanderer against God. She told the leaders to proclaim a day of feasting and Naboth was to be at the most prominent place in the feast. Then two impostors would accuse him of cursing God. The scheme went off as planned. Naboth was accused, taken outside the city and stoned to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel that the mission was accomplished.

As soon as she heard the news, Jezebel told Ahab to get up out of bed, get his clothes on and take possession of Naboth’s property.

Did they get away with it? Elijah the Prophet was sent by God to meet Ahab. Elijah’s warning to Ahab was “You have sold yourself to do evil in eyes of the Lord. God says He will bring disaster on you!” And disaster did come to both Ahab and Jezebel.

Their story is summed up by this scripture: “There was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel.” 1 Kings 21:25

The ladies in the store may not have been as mean but they had one thing in common with King Ahab: their movies were selfish and their actions were wrong. Let’s hope we learn from all these characters how not to be!