Home arrow Bible Studies arrow Economic Justice Bible Study Questions arrow A RICH POWERFUL KING SSSTEALS A POOR MAN'S PROPERTY
Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 09 February 2012


A Bible Study on Economic Justice

By Jim Jordal


17 And the word of Jehovah came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who dwelleth in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to take possession of it. 19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, Hast thou killed and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. 20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself to do that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah. 21 Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will utterly sweep thee away and will cut off from Ahab every man-child, and him that is shut up and him that is left at large in Israel: 22 and I will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and hast made Israel to sin. 23 And of Jezebel also spake Jehovah, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the rampart of Jezreel. 24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the birds of the heavens eat. 25 (But there was none like unto Ahab, who did sell himself to do that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did, whom Jehovah cast out before the children of Israel.) 27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. 28 And the word of Jehovah came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.

I Kings 21:17-29 (ASV)


First Kings 21:1-16 details how powerful King Ahab of Israel coveted a small vineyard owned by a landholder named Naboth. Ahab desired the land for a vegetable garden since it was adjacent to palace grounds. He offered either to purchase or trade for the land, but Naboth, citing inheritance strictures, refused. Thus deflated, Ahab returned in desolation to his palace, where he sought solace from Queen Jezebel (Yes, that one). Jezebel, even more wicked than Ahab, contrived a treacherous plot to gain the vineyard by proclaiming a ritual fast for elders and nobles of the city, seating Naboth there in a place of honor, then hiring two nefarious characters to publicly accuse him of treason. As was customary for suspected traitors, Naboth was stoned to death, allowing Jezebel to present Ahab with the coveted




  1. After reading the Scripture above and the background account, what do you think were the motivations of King Ahab? Were his motivations the same as those of Queen Jezebel?
  2. What's the moral or ethical difference between what Ahab and Jezebel did and what occurs today as rich, powerful transnational corporations savage the poor and the earth itself in their craze for ever-increasing growth and profits? Give some examples of this.
  3. What counterpart in the political situation today does Jezebel's strategy to discredit Naboth have?
  4. Why does the modern church not complain more when behavior such as Ahab's occurs?
  5. What does this account teach concerning the role between church and state then? Today?
  6. What was the prophetic role back then? Do we have prophets today? If so, who?
  7. Does the present doctrine of separation of church and state in America preclude such action today.
  8. As a result of this sin, Jezebel was eaten by dogs. What happened to Ahab, and why?
  9. How do people today suffer because of the sins of their leaders? Give examples.

    1. It's unfortunate, but often rich, powerful people either create laws for their own benefit, or go around the law when it forbids what they wish to do.
    2. Scripture considers this type of behavior probably the leading cause of poverty and oppression.
    3. There is a prophetic role for the church today in advocating against injustice.
    4. Charity must be supplemented by advocacy and action if progress is to be made against injustice.


I Tim. 6:6-10, 17-19; Jer. 9:23-24; Amos 5:11-12