Navot's Vineyard and Achav's Punishment


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Who's to Blame?

The judicial farce set up by Izevel to frame and execute Navot is one of the starkest examples of abuse of power described in Tanakh. Melakhim I 21 shares how Achav coveted and attempted to buy Navot's vineyard but was met with refusal.  When the sullen king returned home, at a loss of how to achieve his desire, his wife took matters into her own hands, orchestrating a mock trial in which Navot was accused of blaspheming both God and king, leading to his death and the acquisition of his land.  Hashem then rebuked Achav, "Have you murdered and also inherited!" promising both personal punishment and an end to his dynasty. 

Though the crime was undoubtedly a heinous one, and deserving of severe retribution, the reader wonders why the punishment is aimed at Achav rather than his wife.  After all, it was Izevel who plotted the murder, while Achav apparently played no role at all in the proceedings.  Why, then, was he also punished so severely?

The Failed Transaction:Two Accounts

The interaction between Navot and Achav is recounted twice in the chapter, once by the narrator, and once by Achav as he relays the matter to Izevel. There are several differences between the accounts:

How are these differences to be understood?  Are they insignificant changes, made almost subconsciously, as often happens when retelling a story, or did Achav intentionally omit and reorder certain details? If the latter, what was Achav's goal in so doing?

Prophet and King: The Punishment

Eliyahu's rebuke of Achav at the end of the chapter raises several additional questions: