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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(Heb. Naboth', נָבוֹת frts, according to Gesenius, but pre-eminence according to Furst; Sept. Ναβούθ, v.r. Ναβουθαί, Ναβοθα; Josephus, Νάβουθος ', Ant. 8:13,7), an Israelite of the town of Jezreel in the time of Ahab, king of Israel. B.C. cir. 897. " He was the owner of a small portion of ground (2 Kings 9:25-26) that lay on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel. He had also a vineyard, of which the situation is not quite certain. According to the Hebrew text (1 Kings 21:1) it was in Jezreel, but the Sept. renders the whole clause differently, omitting the words 'which was in Jezreel,' and reading instead of 'the palace,' 'the threshing-floor of Ahab, king of Samaria.' This points to the view, certainly most consistent with the subsequent narrative, that Nabotl's vineyard was on the hill of Samaria, close to the 'threshing-floor' (the word translated in A.V. 'void place') which undoubtedlv existed there, hard by the gate of the city (1 Kings 24). The royal palace of Ahab was close upon the city wall at Jezreel. According to both texts, it immediately adjoined the vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-2, Heb.; 1 Kings 21:2, Sept.; 2 Kings 9:30; 2 Kings 9:36), and it thus became an object of desire to the king, who offered an equivalent in money, or another vineyard, in exchange for this. Naboth, in the independent spirit of a Jewish landholder (comp. 2 Samuel 24; 1 Kings 16), refused. Perhaps the turn of his expression implies that his objection was mingled with a religious scruple at forwarding the acquisitions of a half- heathen king: 'Jehovah forbid it to me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.' Ahab was cowed by this reply; but the proud spirit of his wife, Jezebel, was roused. She and hlee husband were apparently in the city of Samaria (1 Kings 21:18). She took the matter into her own hanlds, and sent a warrant in Ahab's name, sealed with Ahai's seal, to the elders and nobles of Jezreel, suggesting the mode of qestroving the man who had insilted the royal power. A solemn fast was proclaimed, as on the. announcement of some great calamity. Naboth was 'set on high' in, the public place of Samaria (the Heb. word which is rendered, here only, '(on high,' is more accurately 'at the head of,' or 'in the chiefest place among' [1 Samuel 9:22].
The passage is obscured by our ignorance of the nature of the ceremonial in which Naboth was made to take part; but, in default of this knowledge, we may accept the explanation of Josephus, that an assembly [ἐκκλησία ] was convened, at the head of which Naboth, in virtue of his position, was placed, in order that the charge of blasphemy and the subsequent catastrophe might be more telling); two men of worthless character accused him of having 'cursed God and the king.' He and his children (2 Kings 9:26), who else might have succeeded to his father's inheritance, were dragged out of the city and despatched the same night. The place of execution there, as at Hebron (2 Samuel 3), was by the large tank, or reservoir, which still remains on the slope of the hill of Samaria, immediately outside the walls. The usual punishment for blasphemy was enforced (Leviticus 24:16; Numbers 15:30). Naboth and his sons were stoned; their mangled remains were devoured by the dogs (and swine, Sept.) that prowled under the walls; and the blood from their wounds ran down into the waters of the tank below, which was the common bathing-place of the prostitutes of the city (comp. 1 Kings 21:19; 1 Kings 22:38, Sept.). Josephus (Ant. 8:15, 6) makes the execution to have been at Jezreel, where he also places the washing of Ahab's chariot." This figurative is remarkable as the only mention in the Scriptures of a woman as able to write, and some have inferred, but needlessly, that the letters mentioned in 1 Kings 21:8 muist have been written by an amanuensis.
The state of female education in the East has probably always, as now been such that not one woman in ten thousand could write at all. Coquerel (in the Biographie Sacrae) thinks that the reason why the children of Naboth perished with him being perhaps put to death by the creatures of Jezebel — was that otherwise the crime would have been useless, as the children would still have been entitled to the father's heritage. But we know not that Naboth had any sons; and if he had sons, and they had been taken off, the estate might still have had an heir. It is not unlikely that a custom like that of escheat in modern times obtained in Israel, giving to the crown the property of persons put to death for treason or blasphemy. On Naboth's death, accordingly, Ahab obtained possession of his inheritance. The perpetration of this crime brought upon Ahab and Jezebel the severest maledictions, which shortly after were carried into effect. The only tribunal to which he remained accountable pronounced his doom through a prophet. "This was the final step in Ahab's course of wickedness, and as he was in the act of taking possession, Elijah met him and announced the awful doom which awaited him and his queen and children. A kind of repentance on the part of the king led to another announcement of a certain modification of the retribution, which was not to come during Ahab's lifetime. But in that very plot of ground, and apparently quite close to the city, his son, king Jehoram, was met by Jehu, who mortally wounded him with an arrow.
The king sank dead in his chariot, and Jehu bade his attendant captain take up the body and cast it into the portion of the field of Naboth. As he was doing so he was reminded by Jehu that they both had been riding behind Ahab at the time when the Lord laid this burden upon him, 'Surely I have seen yesterday (אֶמֶשׁ, yesternight) the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, saith the Lord; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the Lord' (2 Kings 9:21-26). This passage seems to imply two circumstances which are not mentioned in the earlier history: that Naboth's sons were put to death as well as himself, and that Ahab took possession the very day after the juldicital mulrdler." The English version renders the words true: "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine" (1 Kings 21:19). But the fulfilment is recorded as taking place in the pool of Samaria (22:38), "And they washed out the chariot in the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood." Kimchi explains this by saving that the water of this pool ran to Jezreel; but Schwarz (Palest. page 165) identifies Jezreel with Seram, sixteen miles from Sebaste, where the pool stood, and on a higher level. Accordingly, he insists that the rendering "on the spot" is wrong, and that בִּמִּקוֹם should be rendered " in place of," i.e., "in punishnent for" (comp. Hosea 2:1). See Kitto. Daily Bible Illustr. ad loc. (See AHAB); (See ELIJAH); (See JEZEBEL); (See JEZREEL).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Naboth'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/n/naboth.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.