NABOTH (T1in), fruit, produce; Sept. Nago Oat), an inhabitant of Jezreel, who was the pos sessor of a patrimonial vineyard adjoining the garden of the palace which the kings of Israel had there. King Ahab had conceived a desire to add this vineyard to his ground, to make of it a garden of herbs,' but found that Naboth could not, on any consideration, be induced to alienate a property which he had derived from his fathers. This gave the king so much concern, thathe took to his bed and refused his food ; but when his wife, the notorious Jezebel, understood the cause of his trouble, she bade him be of good cheer, for she would procure him the vineyard. Some time after Naboth was, at a public feast, accused of blasphemy, by an order from her under the royal seal, and, being condemned through the testimony of false wit nesses, was stoned to death, according to the law, outside the town (Lev. xxiv. 16; Num. xv. 3o). Coquerel (in the Biographic Sctcree) thinks that the children of Naboth perished with him, being perhaps put to death by the creatures of Jezebel ; and his reason is, that otherwise the crime would have been useless as the children would still have been entitled to the father's heritage. But we know not that Naboth had any sons ; and if he had sons, and they had been taken off, the estate might not have wanted an heir. It therefore rather
seems that a usage had crept in for the property of persons convicted of treason (and blasphemy was treason in Israel) to be entreated to the crown. There are other indications of this usage. If it did not exist, the estate of Naboth could not have lapsed to the crown, even if his children had shared his fate ; and if it did exist, it was not necessary that the children should be slain to secure the estate to the king.
When Ahab heard of the death of Naboth and he must have known how that death had been accomplished, or he would not have supposed himself a gainer by the event—he hastened to take possession. But he was speedily taught that this horrid crime had not passed without notice by the all-seeing God, and would not remain unpunished by his justice. The only tribunal to which he remained accountable, pronounced his doom through the prophet Elijah, who met him on the spot, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine' (I Kings xxi.)—J. K.