Ahab is sitting around in his palace in Jezreel and he looks out and sees his neighbor’s vineyard and he wants it.
Ahab: Hey, I’d like to buy your vineyard and turn it into a garden. I’ll even give you a better plot of land or cash, whichever you’d prefer.
Naboth: Eh, I don’t need no money. This is mah land and mah father’s land before me and his father’s land before him, and his father’s-
Ahab: This is going to go on a while, isn’t it?
So Ahab has a sad because he can’t get what he wants, so he pouts and whines and finally his wife notices that he’s being a big baby and tells him she’ll take care of it.
So she forges some letters in his name and sets Naboth up to be accused of blasphemy falsely, and the people take him outside the city and throw big rocks at him until he’s dead, because the omnipotent God apparently needs our help to kill someone who says naughty things about Him. But Naboth was innocent, so God was angry.
And Jezebel tells Ahab to go and take Naboth’s land now since he’s dead.
Elijah: So you killed a guy and stole his land? Seriously? After the whole fire from heaven bit I pulled? The rains coming back? None of that impressed you? God’s seriously pissed at you, man. The king can’t go about murdering people for land. For women? Yeah, maybe God will kill your baby instead, but not for land. God’s going to replace you with someone else and dogs are going to eat your wife.
But Ahab has a major sad and puts on sackcloth and fasts, and God says, “Okay, okay, I won’t kill your entire family now. I’ll wait until you die and your son takes over.”
So Jehoshaphat, king of Judah and follower of Yahweh, is apparently besties with Ahab. So he goes up to visit Ahab and Ahab’s like: “That city over there? That’s ours and we’re not doing anything to get it back from the king of Aram.”
So apparently Ben-hadad either reneged on his promise to turn over all the cities he took back to Israel or there’s been some unrecorded wars between them in the interim, but Jehoshaphat says, “Yeah, man, we’re BFFs, can you just ask the Lord first if we should go?”
“Sure,” Ahab says, “I’ve got lots of prophets on the payroll. What do you guys say?”
Prophets: “Totally boss, God’s totally got your back on this war.”
Jehoshaphat: Don’t you have any real prophets around that aren’t on your payroll?
Ahab: Well, there’s Micaiah, but I don’t like him because he’s always telling me bad things. But I guess we can ask him too.
So they send a messenger to Micaiah and meanwhile one of the paid prophets, Zedekiah puts on some metal horns and tells Ahab he’s going to gore the king of Aram.
Micaiah shows up and Ahab asks him to see what God has to say about attacking the Arameans.
Micaiah: Oh, dude, you should totally do that. Just go out there and fight those Arameans and jump into the path of a few arrows while you’re at it. You’re totally going to win.
Ahab: Tell me the truth.
Micaiah: You’re going to lose and you’re going to die.
Ahab: Phpppt. See? I told you he always tells me bad things.
Micaiah: I saw God sitting on his throne, and He said, “Hey, which one of you angels can go and make Ahab go up and attack Aram so he can die?” And one angel stood up and said, “Yeah, I’ll do it. I’ll go and lie to the prophets and make them all think that You’re the one telling him to go. Ahab will totally buy it.” And God said, “Yeah, I’m cool with that. You go lie.”
Ahab throws Micaiah in jail until he returns and heads out to battle with Jehoshaphat.
Ahab: Hey, uh… bro… just a thought here, but why don’t I dress like a common soldier to hide, but you… you totally put on your shiny armor and wear your crown and your best fighting robes.
Jehoshaphat: Why would I do that?
“No reason, really,” Ahab said as he painted a red target on Jehoshaphat’s back.
Now Ben-hadad has told everyone, don’t worry about the common soldiers, kill Ahab. So when everyone sees Jehoshaphat, they assume he’s Ahab, and Jehoshaphat is forced to retreat. But Ahab’s scheme doesn’t work. Some random archer fires off an arrow and hits him and Ahab slowly bleeds out and dies in his chariot. Israel is forced to retreat to Samaria, where they wash his blood off the chariot and the dogs lick it up. And Ahaziah takes the throne in Samaria. And I bet you’ll never, ever guess what he did… that’s right, he did evil in the sight of the Lord! My goodness, you are good.
Well, now that we’ve already been introduced to Jehoshaphat, we should know that he takes the throne in Judah when his dad Asa died and he reigned for 25 years and was a good follower of Yahweh, but he left those high places up where people continued to worship Yahweh wrong.
And he didn’t do much, I guess. He built a fleet that sank. And he didn’t want to work with Ahaziah, probably because his dad Ahab turned Jeho there into a human target. And then he died and Jehoram his son takes his place.
And with that, it’s the end of 1 Kings and we’re in for another book of this. I hope it gets more interesting soon. I’m starting to miss the straight-up batshit crazy of Leviticus.