In 1 Kings, the storyteller sets the scene simply. Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. We have already been told a lot. We know that Naboth calls this beautiful valley home, that its name defines him and that he is Naboth the Jezreelite. In contrast, Ahab and his palace entourage are only here for the season from the colder Samaria hill country to the south.
Notice the calculated insult in Ahab’s offer to Naboth to buy the vineyard. Ahab wishes to possess the glory of this vineyard, tended by generations of family, and use it for what? A vegetable garden!
His proposal actually contains three insults. First, why does this boorish winter tourist want Naboth’s place? “Because it is near my house!” Second, he contemptuously offers the owner “a better vineyard.” Third, he says Naboth should name his price (for Ahab everything has a price).