The Scriptures Introduce Jezebel
We first learn of Jezebel in 1 Kings 16:31, she was the wife of King Ahab and daughter of King Ethbaal (King of Sidonians). Jezebel, like her father, was a worshiper of Baal. Through Jezebel, King Ahab would also serve Baal. In 1 Kings 18:4-19, we learn that Jezebel was killing God’s Prophets. Eventually the Prophet Elijah confronts Ahab for making trouble for Israel, abandoning the Lord’s commands, following Baal. Through events organized by the Prophet Elijah, the Lord kills prophets of Baal and Ahserah. 1 Kings 19, King Ahab tells Jezebel what happened, blaming Elijah for killing her prophets and Jezebel threatens Elijah’s life.
By the time we get through 1 Kings 19 and 20, Ben-Hadid has attacked twice, and overcome the outlying regions. A prophet tells Ahab that he would defeat Ben-Hadid twice in order to turn Ahab back to God, to prove that God is greater than Baal. Ahab was to kill Ben-Hadid. But instead makes a treaty with him, which is seen as disobedience to God. The prophet tells Ahab the penalty for this is life for life. Ahab is described as depressed by this.
In 1 Kings 21, Jezebel returns to the conversation. King Ahab makes an offer to buy land from Naboth. Naboth turns down the offer, and basically King Ahab pouts over it. He goes to bed, refuses to eat. Jezebel calls Ahab out on his behavior not being very kingly, and in essence tells him to pull himself together and assures him that she will get the land. To do so, Jezebel sets up an innocent Naboth who is accused of speaking against God and King and he is stoned to death. Jezebel sends King Ahab out to take the land, now that the owner is dead. Elijah meets the King and informs him of the penalty for this action: which includes disaster upon Ahab, death of his descendants (sons) and no males from Israel available to him (for his daughters), and that Jezebel will be eaten by dogs.
Surprisingly, Ahab humbles himself before the Lord and he himself is spared (although the consequences will still fall upon his descendants). We fast forward to 2 Kings 9, where the Lord has anointed Jehu as King. Jehu kills Joram (son of Ahab and Jezebel), and then Jezebel. All of which align with the consequences Elijah told King Ahab would fall upon him.
We again hear of Jezebel in the New Testament, Revelation 2:20-21. It is believed that this is a woman who is not actually named Jezebel but referred to as such because her characteristics are reminiscent of Jezebel.
So, what do we know based on the scriptures?
- Ahab was already not just doing evil in the sight of the Lord, but he was seen as the worst. He was already corrupt.
- Ahab marries Jezebel, who is a Baal worshiper, daughter of Sidonian King.
- Jezebel had a strong personality, dominating wife, forceful character, manipulating, vengeful, and unrepentant.
- Jezebel was murdering God’s Prophets, threatened Elijah’s life.
- Jezebel’s influence extended over her children.
- Jezebel was a schemer, proud, and vain.
- In the New Testament parallel description in Revelation 2:20-21, this Jezebel calls herself a prophet, misleads people, non-repentant, not without penalty.
Tomorrow, we are going to compare Deborah and Jezebel. This weekend, we’ll explore why Jezebel is used as an example against women in leadership.