Ahab had been severely wounded. “The battle raged all that day, and the king remained propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and as evening arrived he died. Just as the sun was setting, the cry ran through his troops: ‘We’re done for! Run for your lives!’” (I Kings 22:36, NLT).
Against God’s warning, Ahab, king of Israel, went into battle alongside Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to fight the Arameans. Precisely as the prophet Micaiah had warned, Ahab was killed and the combined troops of Israel and Judah soundly defeated.
“So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, and dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed, just as the Lord had promised” (I Kings 22:37).
“Just as the Lord had promised.” What’s this talking about? Let’s look at a little background to find the answer.
In First Kings 20 we read about the time when Ben-hadad, king of Aram, attacked Israel and the Lord gave the Israelites victory. Afterwards, Ahab foolishly made a new treaty with Ben-hadad and set him free in exchange for the peaceful return of some of the towns Ben-hadad’s father had previously taken from Israel – see First Kings 20:34.
This angered the Lord and He sent an unnamed prophet to confront Ahab: “The prophet said to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘Because you have spared the man I said must be destroyed, now you must die in his place, and your people will die instead of his people’’” (I Kings 20:42).
What was Ahab’s reaction to this news? He “went home to Samaria angry and sullen” (I Kings 20:43b). Just as we saw when Micaiah didn’t go along with the other prophets promising him victory, Ahab sulked like a two-year-old. Maturity was definitely not his strong point.
Fast forward to First Kings 21 and we see Ahab at it once again. He’d approached a man named Naboth, wanting to buy his vineyard to make himself a vegetable garden. Naboth declined to sell, stating, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors” (I Kings 21:3). Naboth’s land was family land and he had no intention of parting with it.
Ahab’s reaction? By now, I’m sure you know it: He “went home angry and sullen” (I Kings 21:4a).
The chapter goes on to detail how Ahab’s rotten-to-the-core wife, Jezebel, cooked up a scheme to get rid of Naboth. She had two liars testify falsely that he had cursed God and the king, for which Naboth was taken outside the city gates and stoned to death. Ahab, thrilled at his wife’s ingenuity, promptly took Naboth’s vineyard land as his own.
However, God wasn’t going to let him get away with it. “The Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be at Naboth’s vineyard in Jezreel, claiming it for himself. Give him this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!’” (I Kings 21:17-19).
And that’s precisely what happened. When Ahab’s “chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, …dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed, just as the Lord had promised.”
Never mistake God’s patience for inaction. “I am the Lord that exercise mercy, and judgment, and justice in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24b, Douay-Rheims Bible).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates