“The story of Naboth is old in time but daily in practice,” said Ambrose of Milan. “Who of the wealthy does not strive to drive off the poor person from his little acre and turn out the needy from the boundaries of his ancestral field?”
Our world was and is ruled by those who control militaries and cartels, banks and corporations—the heirs of King Ahab’s insatiable desire and unrestrained power.
"Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful,” Jezebel said to Ahab. “I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” Using letters with forged signatures, she commanded leaders to dispatch thugs to murder Naboth. Meanwhile Ahab feasted. He trusted Jezebel to give him his heart’s desire. Jezebel killed without having to see her victim, and Ahab benefited without knowing about the plot.
A while back I spent a good chunk of a week at a denominational pastors' retreat in the Alberta foothills just north of Calgary. One of the things we did during our worship times each day was spend some time “dwelling in the Word.” The specific text we focused on each session was Luke 7:36-50, the story where Jesus is anointed by a “sinful woman” at the home of Simon the Pharisee. It’s a scandalous story—a woman of ill repute showing up a bunch of religious elites, crashing their party with her sensuous, inappropriate display of penitence, love, and devotion.