And Ahab spoke unto Naboth, saying, Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you the worth of it in money.
Read Chapter 21
Ambrose of Milan
Let us hear, then, what [Ahab] says: “Give to me,” he cries. What other is the cry of one in want? What other is the cry of one asking public alms, if not “Give to me”? That is, “Give to me,” because I am in need, “give to me,” because I cannot find any other means of sustenance; “give to me,” because there is not to me bread for food, money for drink, price for nourishment, substance for raiment; “give to me,” because the Lord has given to you from which you should bestow; he has not given to me. “Give to me,” because, unless you give, I cannot have; “give to me,” because it is written, “Give alms.” How abject these words, how mean! For they have not the disposition of humility but the fire of covetousness. But in this very degradation, what effrontery! “Give me,” he says, “your vineyard.” He confesses it is another’s, so that he asks what is not due him. - "On Naboth 2.7" ...
“Give me your vineyard,” he says, “so that I may have it for a vegetable garden.” This, then, was his whole madness; this was his whole passion: that a space should be obtained for paltry herbs. Not so much therefore do you yourself desire to possess, as it were, something useful, but you wish to exclude others. You have a greater concern about the possessions of the poor than about your own gains. You think it a wrong to you if a poor person has anything that is considered worthy of a rich person’s ownership. You believe it your loss, whatever is another’s. Why do the injuries done to nature delight you? For all has the world been created, which you few rich people are trying to keep for yourselves. For not merely the possession of the earth but the very sky, the air and the sea are claimed for the use of the rich few. - "On Naboth 3.11" ...
Herbs. The taste of eastern nations is very different from ours. The Syrians delight in seeing gardens filled with melons, onions, and they cannot conceive what pleasure we can find in rambling round our long walks for the sake of exercise.
Money. Hence we perceive that, notwithstanding the despotic power of the kings of Israel, they did not imagine that they had a right to take their subjects' lands, 1 Kings viii. 14. (Calmet)
Naboth's conduct is therefore here applauded; and St. Ambrose (Off. iii. 9.) styles him a martyr, (Worthington) and a great saint. (Tirinus)
Maluit periculum cum hone state, quam utilitatem cum opprobrio. ...