A winegrower and a covetous king had a famous face-off in the Old Testament; new analysis of an ancient winery in Israel suggests it could have been the ill-fated Naboth’s vineyard
They never got quite the press David and Goliath did, but the clash between Naboth and Ahab in the Bible’s Book of Kings packs a little extra resonance for the wine-faithful. In this tale, the little guy with the Lord on his side is the winegrower Naboth, owner of a modest vineyard outside of the town of Jezreel in the Kingdom of Israel. King Ahab tries to acquire it, only to be rebuffed; as he sulks, his wife, Jezebel, takes matters into her own hands, framing the vintner for blasphemy and having him stoned to death. Ahab gets his vineyard, but then God hears about what happened ….
Fast-forward three millennia: In 2012, a team of archaeologists led by Profs. Jennie Ebeling at the University of Evansville in Indiana and Norma Franklin of the University of Haifa decided to survey a site outside the ruins of Jezreel. An excavation the following year revealed a treading floor and two vats: a winery. Recent analysis of the excavation and others in the region suggest it may have fit the time and place where Naboth made his last stand.