Shackled by Greed


King Ahab of Israel coveted Naboth’s Vineyard. Naboth refused to trade or sell his family’s inheritance. The angry king went to bed sulking and refused to eat. Jezebel, Ahab’s Queen, learned about her husband’s tantrum and told him to get up and eat and behave like the king of Israel. She urged the king to cheer up and promised to deliver the Vineyard to him (I Kings 21). Jezebel lived by deception and would feel quite at home in much of the politicking in our time. If we cannot find fault, then we create it. When we reject “the law of the Lord Almighty,” then we can “call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20, 25). Without the Ninth Commandment, lying becomes a synch (Exodus 20:16). And without the Tenth Commandment, exploitation and confiscation becomes a way of life (Exodus 20:17).

Jezebel gave specific orders, in the king’s name, as to how to smear honest and just Naboth and dispose of him quickly. “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

Jezebel’s orders were carried out with precision. Naboth was not allowed to defend himself because he could have disclosed the truth about the Baal worshippers. Ahab and Jezebel had replaced Yahweh with Baal. The truth could not become transparent. The death of Naboth was welcome news to Ahab and he quickly took possession of his coveted vineyard. He barely entered the vineyard, when Elijah was right behind him with a message from Yahweh. We have this ensuing account. “Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’ ‘I have found you,’ he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to the devil in the eyes of the Lord.’ ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel – slave or free.'” Regarding Jezebel, Elijah told her that dogs would devour her outside the wall of the vineyard she had acquired by the shedding of Naboth’s blood. Ahab was killed in a battle, his family name was obliterated, and dogs licked up his blood (I Kings 22:38). Jezebel was thrown out of her window, trampled by horses and dogs did what dogs do (II Kings 9:30-37).

It is not a story we want to hear or dwell on. Nevertheless, it is an example of what the folly of greed does to people. Ahab’s folly was a tragic incident that has been and still is being repeated endlessly. It destroys the very fabric upon which mankind must exist. We have seen what havoc a handful of greedy people have created in the financial world. We have unions and welfare recipients bankrupt companies, cities, states and nations. This nation has also enslaved humans for economic reasons and fought a bloody Civil War. Wars have been fought and blood has been shed to keep greedy people in power. I too was under the greedy illusion that America had things for the taking. Then, I learned that America had things because her people were creative and industrious. With bruised hands, sweated faces and human sacrifices, they earned their freedom and shared it with the world. Instead of being grateful, the greedy world wants more when there is no more.

In the light of what has transpired and is continuing to take place in many places in the world, I am of the opinion that we are confusing greed with freedom. We are led to believe that when we fight in wars abroad, this nation at home shall remain safe. That is no longer the case. Our army is not facing another army, but men and women that fight for their right to believe in their religion and system. Muslims regard us as being meddlers in their faith. Our reward for their liberation will result in them trampling on us without mercy. We shall be rejected for the good we intend to do and not for the kind of evil Ahab and Jezebel did. We are perceived as a greedy nation that seeks to exploit the resources of other nations. In reality, we are depleting our own resources by helping them. They too are greedy but more cost effective. Like Ahab, it is the war that shall destroy this nation. We are in the midst of a folly and do not see it because we too are shackled by greed.