Jezebel Conspires To Seize Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21)

Scripture Text:

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1 Kings 21

1. What’s the weirdest, oldest, ugliest garment you own? When do you wear it? Who nags you about it?

2. Has anyone ever thrown a surprise party for you? What lies did they have to tell to get you there unawares?

3. Why does Ahab want the vineyard (verses 1 – 3)? As king, why doesn’t he just confiscate it (see Deuteronomy 17:18 – 20)?

4. Why does Naboth refuse his king this request (see Leviticus 25:23 – 28; Numbers 36:7)? Would you have refused the king?

5. What does Ahab’s reaction reveal about him (verse 4)? What other examples of pouting have you seen in Ahab? What tends to cheer him up?

6. What does Jezebel’s solution reveal about her and her relationship with her husband (verses 8 – 10)? Is she an effective king’s wife? A woman to be respected? Feared? Married?

7. What kind of governors are the elders? How seriously do they view capital punishment (verses 11 – 13)? Is it fair to try a capital crime on the testimony of two witnesses (see Leviticus 24:13 – 16)? Without cross-examination? No lawyers?

8. What does Jezebel’s scheme reveal about courts and justice? If the courts are so corrupt, isn’t Naboth foolish to think he could keep the vineyard? Naive?

9. How can Ahab simply take a dead man’s land? What might he be thinking?

10. Who cuts short Ahab’s sense of conquest again (verses 17 – 22)? What is the point of comparing Ahab’s fate to that of Jeroboam (see 1 Kings 14:10; 15:28 – 30) or Baasha (1 Kings 16:3, 4, 11 – 13)?

11. What is the surprise ending of this episode (verse 27)? What impression are you building of Ahab’s mental state?

  • manic-depressive
  • paranoid schizophrenic
  • a chameleon
  • genuinely torn between loyalties
  • easily pushed around

12. How is Ahab’s fate like (and unlike) David’s (verses 28 and 29; 2 Samuel 12:1 – 4)?

13. In what subtle ways, does your life resemble either Ahab or Jezebel?

  • I love things
  • I use people
  • I throw my weight around
  • I defame someone’s character
  • I exploit or oppress others (even subtly)

14. Question #13 may have been a difficult question for some of you to answer. Cite an example of your answer from your past. How can you avoid such an attitude and/or behavior in the future?

15. How does God forgive sinners today? Does He postpone judgment one generation (as in the case of Ahab)?

16. Do you trust the judicial system in your country? Have you ever felt abused as was Naboth? How did you respond?

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A Prophet Condemns Ahab (1 Kings 20:35 – 43)

Scripture Text:

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1 Kings 20:35 – 43

1. For what reason were you last found standing by a road?

2. Where do you go to sulk?

3. Why does this prophet want to be wounded (verses 38 – 40)? What word from the Lord is he acting out? Does that make it okay to fake a wound or tell a tall tale?

4. Why such punishment for the well-meaning soul in verse 36? What story does this echo (see 1 Kings 13:20 – 24)?

5. Likewise, is Ahab’s verdict just (verse 40)? Is Ahab like the man whom the prophet portrays (verse 41)?

6. What must Ahab think of these prophets and their God?

7. Would you wound a friend if he or she asked? Why?

8. This king sulks under self-condemnation. When are you moody? How do you deal with it? What role does God play in your moods?

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Ahab Defeats Ben-Hadad (1 Kings 20:13 – 34)

Scripture Text:

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1 Kings 20:13 – 34

1. Did you ever move in search of a better-paying job or to pursue a romantic interest? Did the strategy work?

2. What change of heart has come over you in recent years, a change which forced you to eat your earlier words or change your opinion?

3. How vast is “vast” (verse 13; see chapter 20:1)? How could Ahab help but see it?

4. Why do kings want to hear from God about wars but not about righteousness (verses 14, 15)? What make Ahab nervous about the prophet’s advice?

5. If you were a young commander, what would you suspect Ahab was up to? Would you volunteer?

6. What’s the sense in Ben-Hadad’s instructions (verse 18)? What would have been a better plan? What does this battle tell you about the Aramean army?

7. The second time around, why does Ben-Hadad go to fight Israel at Aphek rather than Samaria (verses 23 – 26)? What are the odds in the second battle (verse 27)?

8. What do you suppose happens for six days at the camp at Aphek? What would you do during that time?

9. Why does God favor Ahab in this (verse 28)? How accurate was Ben-Hadad’s theology?

10. What message doe the sackcloth and ropes convey (verses 31 and 32)?

11. What does Ahab let Ben-Hadad live (verses 33 and 34)? Is this. . .

  • a great military idea?
  • a genius-level political idea?
  • a dumb mistake?

12. Are you facing any situation now where the odds are heavily stacked against you? Where does the “opposing army” look strongest to you? Does your faith shape your approach to the problem? How?

13. Why do people limit God to “the hills” today, unable to see Him as sovereign? Do you have a stunted view of God? How did you get it? What’s to be done?

14. If a drunken bully like Ben-Hadad is given a break, what hope does that give you? What Ben-Hadad character do you know whom you could give a break to, even if, or especially if he doesn’t deserve one?

15. If you’ve recently won a victory, should you be getting ready for round two, as did King Ahab? What battles do you anticipate having to win more than once?

16. Have you ever felt close to God but in a heap of trouble? Ever felt far from God and things were going great? What’s the relationship between feeling close to God and having favorable conditions?

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