1 Kings 21:11
And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) And the men of his city . . . did.—The pains taken in the invention of this foul plot, and the ready acquiescence of the rulers of the city in carrying it out, are characteristic of the baser forms of organised Eastern despotism—not venturing to take life by simple violence without some cause apparently shown, and yet always able to poison the springs of justice, and do murder under form of law. In Israel, where the king was held to be but a vicegerent of God, subject, in theory, under the old constitution or “manner of the kingdom” (1Samuel 10:25), to the supreme law, the need of clothing crime with legal form would be especially felt.

1 Kings 21:11. The men of his city did as Jezebel had sent to them — Which is not at all strange, considering that they had for a long time cast off the fear of God; prostituted their consciences and religion to please their king; and sold themselves to all manner of wickedness; so that they could not now make a safe and honourable retreat. Besides, they durst not disobey Jezebel’s command, by whom they knew the king was wholly governed, and who could easily have taken away their lives, in the same manner, if they had refused to kill Naboth: and it is not unlikely that she sent private messengers to tell them, by word of mouth, what she expected from them, and how she would reward them; as well as public letters to authorize what they did. Princes never want instruments to execute their pleasure; but it is strange that, in this case, there should be none among the judges and great men that abhorred such villany: it argues the great corruption of their manners by idolatry.21:5-16 When, instead of a help meet, a man has an agent for Satan, in the form of an artful, unprincipled, yet beloved wife, fatal effects may be expected. Never were more wicked orders given by any prince, than those Jezebel sent to the rulers of Jezreel. Naboth must be murdered under colour of religion. There is no wickedness so vile, so horrid, but religion has sometimes been made a cover for it. Also, it must be done under colour of justice, and with the formalities of legal process. Let us, from this sad story, be amazed at the wickedness of the wicked, and the power of Satan in the children of disobedience. Let us commit the keeping of our lives and comforts to God, for innocence will not always be our security; and let us rejoice in the knowledge that all will be set to rights in the great day.The ready submission of the elders and nobles implies a deep moral degradation among the Israelites, the fruit of their lapse into idolatry. 9. Proclaim a fast, &c.—Those obsequious and unprincipled magistrates did according to orders. Pretending that a heavy guilt lay on one, or some unknown party, who was charged with blaspheming God and the king and that Ahab was threatening vengeance on the whole city unless the culprit were discovered and punished, they assembled the people to observe a solemn fast. Fasts were commanded on extraordinary occasions affecting the public interests of the state (2Ch 20:3; Ezr 8:21; Joe 1:14; 2:15; Jon 3:5). The wicked authorities of Jezreel, by proclaiming the fast, wished to give an external appearance of justice to their proceedings and convey an impression among the people that Naboth's crime amounted to treason against the king's life.

set Naboth on high—During a trial the panel, or accused person, was placed on a high seat, in the presence of all the court; but as the guilty person was supposed to be unknown, the setting of Naboth on high among the people must have been owing to his being among the distinguished men of the place.

The elders and the nobles did as Jezebel had sent unto them; which is not at all strange in them who had for a long time cast off the fear and sense of God, and prostituted their consciences and religion to please their king, and sold themselves to all manner of wickedness, and could not now make a safe and honourable retreat, and durst not disobey Jezebel’s command, by whom they knew the king was wholly governed, and who could easily have taken away their lives in the same manner, if they had refused to kill Naboth. And the men of the city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them,.... That Jezebel should contrive so execrable a scheme, and that there should be such sons of Belial among the common people to swear to such falsehoods, need not seem strange; but that the elders and nobles of the city, the chief magistrates thereof, should be so sadly and universally depraved as to execute such a piece of villany, is really surprising. Idolatry, when it prevails, takes away all sense of humanity and justice:

and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them; they punctually, exactly, obeyed the orders in them, as follows.

And the {e} men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them.

(e) Thus the worldlings contrary to God's commandment, who does not consent to the shedding of innocent blood, would rather obey the wicked commandments of princes than the just laws.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. who were the inhabitants] R.V. who dwelt. The word is the same as in 1 Kings 21:8.Verse 11. - And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them [Their ready compliance shows not merely the "deep moral degradation of the Israelites" at that period, but also the terror which the name of Jezebel inspired], and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. [That she did not hesitate to put her infamous command into writing shows the character of the woman.] When Jezebel learned the cause of Ahab's ill-humour, she said to him, "Thou, dost thou now exercise royal authority over Israel." אתּה is placed first for the sake of emphasis, and the sentence is to be taken as an ironical question, as it has been by the lxx. "I (if thou hast not courage enough to act) will procure thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
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