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When Jehu recounts the Naboth incident he seems to insinuate that Naboth died with his sons.

2 Kings 9:25-26 NASB

25 Then Jehu said to Bidkar his officer, “Take him up and cast him into the [z]property of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for I remember when [aa]you and I were riding together after Ahab his father, that the Lord laid this oracle against him: 26 ‘Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will repay you in this [ab]property,’ says the Lord. Now then, take and cast him into the [ac]property, according to the word of the Lord.”

But the earlier narrative did not hint any death of his sons

1 Kings 21:15 NASB

15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

Trying to reconcile the above narratives.

Did Jezebel also destroy the sons of Naboth?

  • Since eventually the outcome was that Ahab didn't pay for Navot's vineyard and got it as a "gift" from his wife without asking how Navot died and didn't offer to pay anything to his decendes - he did killed them (even if it's just a metaphor). – A. Meshu Jul 31 '18 at 18:46
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Yes. I'd be surprised that Jezebel didn't kill Naboth's sons after killing Naboth. It truly matches her unrepentant and vile personality.

Back to the question, 1 Kings 21:15 explicitly mentions that only Naboth was stoned so thus, it can be feasibly deduced that the execution of Naboth's sons occurred afterwards. Jezebel may be depraved but she was extremely resourceful and intelligent. Her Phoenician background, which she fanatically holds dearly, testifies this.

Many Bible commentators like Emil G. Hirsch assume that Naboth's sons were killed so they wouldn't assert their claim of inheritance to the vineyard, but I think the answer is much simpler yet more sinister.

Remember that Jezebel never explicitly told how Naboth died in 1 Kings 21:15. Ahab, thus, would assume that Naboth died due to an accident or some unknown illness he contracted (Samaria was in a volatile state, at risk of famine and enemy invasions) and hence took possession of his vineyard with no second thoughts.

We must also remember that, as dastardly evil Ahab could be, he was never comfortable with arbitrary executions and unjust seizure of people's property (Ben-Hadad threatening to take away his wealth and wives in the earlier chapter of Kings seems to bring this in mind). His genuine repentance after Elijah relays to him the truth and his culpability in facilitating this crime seems to reflect this aspect of Ahab's personality.

Hence, it seems extremely plausible that the murder of Ahab's sons was carried out to cover up the truth behind Naboth's execution, at least for Ahab. Naboth's trial and execution was public. The elders and nobles knew. Everyone was there, most possibly, including his family too. But unlike the others, Naboth's sons knew better about who their God-fearing father really was. Thus, they could make a complaint to their next-door neighbour king. And you know how this would go...

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