But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed[a] God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.” I Kings 21:5-14 ESV
You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice. Exodus 23:1-2 ESV
Lady was a sweet Cocker Spaniel who had a home with Jim Dear and Darling. Everything was wonderful for Lady until one day Jim Dear and Darling had a baby, and Aunt Sarah came to visit and brought two Siamese cats with her. These cats make a mess in the house, shredding curtains with their claws and trying to get at the bird and the fish and even trying to steal milk from the baby. Lady tried to stop them from doing these things, but the cats made it look like Lady was the one who had made the mess, and they even made it look like Lady had attacked them and tried to hurt them. Aunt Sarah put a muzzle on Lady, and Lady ran away from her home. It wasn’t a happy place for her anymore.
What the Siamese cats did to Lady is called a frame-up. Frame-ups are taking innocent people and making them look guilty of doing something bad so that they are punished. People might be framed for someone else’s crime, or they might be framed just because someone hates them and wants to get them into trouble. Jezebel arranged a frame-up for Naboth. She got some false witnesses to say that Naboth had cursed God and the king, and then the people stoned him to death. She did this so that her husband, King Ahab, could get his hands on Naboth’s vineyard when Naboth had refused to sell it to him. Jezebel thought that since her husband was king he could have anything he wanted, and it wouldn’t matter if she used a cruel or wicked method to meet that goal.
God warns his people that lying about others, especially in order to get them into trouble, is a terrible sin. This kind of lying is called “bearing false witness.” Lies cause all kinds of trouble and hurt, break up friendships, and ruin good thoughts. When Jesus lived in our world, people told lies about him. They said that he had claimed to be a king who was going to start a rebellion against the Roman emperor. This was a total lie, but it scared his Roman judge, Pontius Pilate, and Pilate had Jesus put to death. Jesus was willing to go to death, because he loved us and wanted to pay for our sins, even our sins of lying. Jesus forgives our sins every day and sends us his Holy Spirit to help us speak words that are loving and true.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to tell the truth and use my words to help and build people up. Amen.
Lady and the Tramp Dirs. Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske. Walt Disney Productions, 1955. Film