// JEZEBEL \\
Jezebel and her husband king Ahab.
Where did Jezebel
come from not
from Israel but from Sidonians another people who worshiped another god they
didnít know the God of Israel. Is family background important it sure is
I Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as
Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and
served Baal and worshiped him. (NKJ)
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What were some of the things Jezebel did?
Killed many of Gods prophets.
IKing 18:1 And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, "Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth."
2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria.
3 And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly.
4 For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.) (NKJ) Drop down to verse seventeen
17 Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?"
18 And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and you have followed the Baals.
19 "Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table."
20 So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.
21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.
22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23 "Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.
24 "Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God." So all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken."
26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they had made.
27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened."
28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.
29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed.
33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, "Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood."
34 Then he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time; and he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time.
35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.
37 "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again."
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!"
40 And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!" So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there. (NKJ)
IKing 19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword.
2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."
3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. (NKJ)
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Jezebel sets up Naboth and has him killed
IKing 21:5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, "Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?"
6 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 pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'"
7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, "You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
8 And she wrote letters in Ahab's name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth.
9 She wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people;
10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, "You have blasphemed God and the king." Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.
11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.
12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people.
13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!" Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.
14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned and is dead."
15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that 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 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. (NKJ)
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What is the end of Jezebel?
IKing 21:23 "And concerning Jezebel the LORD also spoke, saying, 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.' (NKJ)
II Ki 9:10 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.'" And he opened the door and fled. (NKJ)
II Ki 9:30 Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window.
31 Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, "Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?"
32 And he looked up at the window, and said, "Who is on my side? Who?" So two or three eunuchs looked out at him.
33 Then he said, "Throw her down." So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot.
34 And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, "Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king's daughter."
35 So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.
36 Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, "This is the word of the LORD, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel;
37 'and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, "Here lies Jezebel." (NKJ)
Unger's - JEHU JE'HU (je'hu; Gesenius, "Jehovah is He"). A king of Israel
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JEZEBEL - Nelsons
[JEZ uh bel] (meaning unknown)-- the name of two women in the Bible:
1. The wife of Ahab, king of Israel, and mother of Ahaziah, Jehoram, and Athaliah <1 Kin. 16:31>. Jezebel was a tyrant who corrupted her husband, as well as the nation, by promoting pagan worship.
She was reared in Sidon, a commercial city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, known for its idolatry and vice. When she married Ahab and moved to Jezreel, a city that served Jehovah, she decided to turn it into a city that worshiped BAAL, a Phoenician god.
The wicked, idolatrous queen soon became the power behind the throne. Obedient to her wishes Ahab erected a sanctuary for Baal and supported hundreds of pagan prophets <1 Kin. 18:19>.
When the prophets of Jehovah opposed Jezebel, she had them "massacred" <1 Kin. 18:4,13>. After Elijah defeated her prophets on Mount Carmel, she swore revenge. She was such a fearsome figure that the great prophet was afraid and "ran for his life" <1 Kin. 19:3>.
After her husband Ahab was killed in battle, Jezebel reigned for 10 years through her sons Ahaziah and Joram (or Jehoram). These sons were killed by Jehu, who also disposed of Jezebel by having her thrown from the palace window. In fulfillment of the prediction of the prophet Elijah, Jezebel was trampled by the horses and eaten by the dogs <1 Kin. 21:19>. Only Jezebel's skull, feet, and the palms of her hands were left to bury when the dogs were finished <2 Kin. 9:30-37>. One truth which emerges from Jezebel's life is that God always balances the scales of justice. Wickedness may prevail for a season, but His righteousness will eventually triumph over the forces of evil.
2. A prophetess of Thyatira who enticed the Christians in that church "to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols" <Rev. 2:20>. John probably called this woman "Jezebel" because of her similarity to Ahab's idolatrous and wicked queen.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
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JEZEBEL - Unger's
JEZ'EBEL (jez'e-bel; perhaps "noncohabited, un-husbanded"). The daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and Sidon, and queen with Ahab. Her father had formerly been a priest of Astarte, but had violently dispossessed his brother Phelles of the throne. The first mention of Jezebel in Scripture is her marriage with Ahab <1 Kin. 16:31>, about 871 B.C.
Introduces Idolatry. The first effect of her influence was the immediate establishment of the Phoenician worship on a grand scale at the court of Ahab. At her table were supported no less than 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Astarte <1 Kin. 16:31-32; 18:19>, whereas the prophets of Jehovah were slain by her orders <18:13; 2 Kin. 9:7>.
Opposes Elijah. When at last the people, at the instigation of Elijah (which see), rose against her ministers and slaughtered them at the foot of Carmel, and when Ahab was terrified into submission, she alone retained her presence of mind; and when she received, in the palace of Jezreel, the tidings that her religion was all but destroyed, she vowed to take the life of the prophet <1 Kin. 19:1-2>.
Secures the Death of Naboth. When Jezebel found her husband cast down by his disappointment at being thwarted by Naboth (which see), she took the matter into her own hands. She wrote a warrant in Ahab's name, which was to secure the death of Naboth. To her, and not Ahab, was sent the announcement that the royal wishes were accomplished, and she bade her husband go and take the vacant property <1 Kin. 21:1-16>. On her, accordingly, fell the prophet's curse, as well as on her husband (v. 23).
Influence. Her policy was so triumphant that there were at last but seven thousand people who had not bowed the knee to Baal or kissed the hand of his image. Through her daughter Athaliah, queen of Judah, the same policy prevailed for a time in that kingdom. Jezebel survived Ahab fourteen years and maintained considerable ascendency over her son Jehoram.
Death. When Jehu entered Jezreel, Jezebel was in the palace, which stood by the gate of the city, overlooking the approach from the E. She determined to face the destroyer of her family, whom she saw rapidly advancing in his chariot. She painted her eyelids in the Eastern fashion with antimony, so as to give a darker border to the eyes and make them look larger and brighter, possibly in order to induce Jehu, after the manner of Eastern usurpers, to take her, the widow of his predecessor, for his wife, but more probably as the last act of regal splendor. She adorned her head, and, looking down upon him from the high latticed window in the tower, she met him by an allusion to a former act of treason in the history of her adopted country. Jehu looked up from his chariot. Two or three officials of the royal harem showed their faces at the windows and, at his command, threw her down from the chamber. She fell in front of Jehu's chariot. When, afterward, he wished to show respect to her corpse as that of "a king's daughter," nothing was found of her but "the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands," thus fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah <2 Kin. 9:30-37>, about 841 B.C.
Character. Jezebel was a woman in whom were united the sternest and fiercest qualities inherent in the Phoenician people. The wild license of her life and the magical fascination of her arts and of her character were known throughout the nation (2 Kings 9:22). Long afterward her name lived as the byword for all that was detestable. In <Rev. 2:20> she is used as a type of those who encourage immorality and false teaching, in the same way that she engulfed Israel in idolatry.
bibliography: N. Avigad, Israel Exploration Journal 14 (1964): 274-76; F. I. Andersen, Journal of Biblical Literature 85 (1966): 46-57.
(from New Unger's Bible Dictionary)
(originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois.
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JEZEBEL - International Standard Bible Encylopaedia
(jez'-e-bel) 'izebhel, "unexalted," "unhusbanded" (?);Iezabel; see Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament; <1 Kin 16:31; 18:4,13,19; 19:1-2; 21:5> ff; <2 Kin 9:7> ff. 30 ff; <Rev 2:20>): Daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, i.e. Phoenicians, and queen of Ahab, king of Northern Israel. Ahab (circa 874-853 BC) carried out a policy, which his father had perhaps started, of making alliances with other states. The alliance with the Phoenicians was cemented by his marriage with Jezebel, and he subsequently gave his daughter Athaliah in marriage to Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. His own union with Jezebel is regarded as a sin in <1 Kin 16:31>, where the Massoretic Text is difficult, being generally understood as a question. The Septuagint translations: "and it was not enough that he should walk in the sins of Jeroboam ben Nebat, he also took to wife Jezebel," etc. The Hebrew can be pointed to mean, "And it was the lightest thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam ben Nebat, he also took to wife Jezebel, and went and served Baal and worshipped him," i.e. all the other sins were light as compared with the marriage with Jezebel and the serving of Baal (compare <Micah 6:16>). Is this a justifiable view to take of the marriage? One answer would be that Ahab made a wise alliance; that Baal-worship was not non-Hebrew, that Ahab named his children not alter Baal but after Yahweh (compare Ahaziah, Jehoram, Athaliah), and that he consulted the prophets of Yahweh (compare <1 Kin 22:6>); further, that he only did what Solomon had done on a much larger scale; it may be added too that Ahab was in favor of religious toleration, and that Elijah and not the king is the persecutor. What then can be said for the unfavorable Verdict of the Hebrew historians? That verdict is based on the results and effects of the marriage, on the life and character of Jezebel, and in that life two main incidents demand attention.
1. Persecution of Yahweh's Prophets: This is not described; it is only referred to in <1 Kin 18:4>, "when Jezebel cut off the prophets of Yahweh"; and this shows the history of the time to be incompletely related. In <1 Kin 18:19> we are further told that "450 prophets of Baal ate at her table" (commentators regard the reference to "400 prophets of the Asherah" as an addition). In <1 Kin 19:1> Ahab tells Jezebel of the slaughter of the prophets of Baal by Elijah, and then Jezebel <19:2> sends a messenger to Elijah to threaten his life. This leads to the prophet's flight, an object which Jezebel had in view, perhaps, for she would hardly dare to murder Elijah himself. <2 Kin 9:7> regards the massacre of Ahab's family as a punishment for the persecution of the prophets by Jezebel
2. Jezebel's Plot Against Naboth <1 Kin 21>: Ahab expresses a desire to possess the vineyard neighboring upon his palace in Jezreel, owned by Naboth, who refuses to part with the family inheritance though offered either its money value or a better vineyard in exchange. Ahab is depressed at this, and Jezebel, upon finding the cause of his melancholy feelings, asks him sarcastically if he is not king, suggesting that as king his wishes should be immediately granted by his subjects. She thereupon plots to secure him Naboth's vineyard. Jezebel sends letters sealed in Ahab's name to the elders of Naboth's township, and bids them arrange a public fast and make Naboth "sit at the head of the people" (Revised Version margin), a phrase taken by some to mean that he is to be arraigned, while it is explained by others as meaning that Naboth is to be given the chief place. Two witnesses-- a sufficient number for that purpose-- are to be brought to accuse Naboth of blasphemy and treason. This is done, and Naboth is found guilty, and stoned to death. The property is confiscated, and falls to the king (verses 1-16). Elijah hears of this, and is sent to threaten Ahab with Divine vengeance; dogs shall lick his dead body (verse 19). But in verses 20-23 this prophecy is made, not concerning Ahab but against Jezebel, and verse 25 attributes the sins of Ahab to her influence over him.
The prophecy is fulfilled in <2 Kin 9:30-37>. Ahaziah and Jehoram had succeeded their father Ahab; the one reigned for 2 years <1 Kin 22:51>, the other 12 years <2 Kin 3:1>. Jehu heads a revolt against the house of Ahab, and one day comes to Jezreel. Jezebel had "painted her eyes, and attired her head," and sees Jehu coming. She greets him sarcastically as his master's murderer. according to Massoretic Text, Jehu asks, "Who is on my side? who?" But the text is emended by Klostermann, following Septuagint in the main, "Who art thou that thou shouldest find fault with me?" i.e. thou art but a murderess thyself. She is then thrown down and the horses tread upon her (reading "they trod" for "he trod" in verse 33). When search is afterward made for her remains, they are found terribly mutilated. Thus was the prophecy fulfilled. (Some commentaries hold that Naboth's vineyard and Ahab's garden were in Samaria, and Naboth a Jezreelite. The words, "which was in Jezreel," of <1 Kin 21:1> are wanting in Septuagint, which has "And Naboth had a vineyard by the threshing-floor of Ahab king of Samaria." But compare <1 Kin 18:45; 21:23; 2 Kin 8:29; 9:10,15> ff. 30 ff.) See AHAB; JEHU.
3. Jezebel's Character: The character of Jezebel is seen revived in that of her daughter, Athaliah of Judah <2 Kin 11>; there is no doubt that Jezebel was a powerful personality. She brought the worship of the Phoenician Baal and Astarte with her into Hebrew life, and indirectly introduced it into Judah as well as into the Northern Kingdom. In judging her connection with this propagation, we should bear in mind that she is not a queen of the 20th century; she must be judged in company with other queens famous in history. Her religious attitude and zeal might profitably be compared with that of Mary, queen of Scots. It must also be remembered that the introduction of any religious change is often resented when it comes from a foreign queen, and is apt to be misunderstood, e.g. the attitude of Greece to the proposal of Queen Olga have an authorized edition of the Bible in modern Greek.
On the other hand, although much may be said that would be favorable to Jezebel from the religious standpoint, the balance is heavy against her when we remember her successful plot against Naboth. It is not perhaps blameworthy in her that she upheld the religion of her native land, although the natural thing would have been to follow that of her adopted land (compare <Ruth 1:16> f). The superiority of Yahweh-worship was not as clear then as it is to us today. It may also be held that Baal-worship was not unknown in Hebrew life (compare <Judg 6:25> f), that Baal of Canaan had become incorporated with Yahweh of Sinai, and that there were pagan elements in the worship of the latter. But against all this it must be clear that the Baal whom Jezebel attempted to introduce was the Phoenician Baal, pure and simple; he was another god, or rather in him was presented an idea of God very different from Yahweh. And further, "in Phoenicia, where wealth and luxury had been enjoyed on a scale unknown to either Israel or the Canaanites of the interior, there was a refinement, if one may so speak, and at the same time a prodigality of vicious indulgences, connected with the worship of Baal and Astarte to which Israel had hitherto been a stranger ..... It was like a cancer eating into the vitals or a head and heart sickness resulting in total decay <Isa 1:6>. In Israel, moral deterioration meant political as well as spiritual death. The weal of the nation lay in fidelity to Yahweh alone, and in His pure worship" (HPM, section symbol 213).
The verdict of the Hebrew historian is thus substantiated. Jezebel is an example-- an extreme one no doubt-- of the bad influence of a highly developed civilization forcing itself with all its sins upon a community less highly civilized, but possessed of nobler moral and religious conceptions. She has parallels both in family and in national life. For a parallel to Elijah's attitude toward Jezebel compare the words of Carlyle about Knox in On Heroes and Hero-Worship, IV, especially the section, "We blame Knox for his intolerance," etc.
In <Rev 2:20>, we read of Iezabel, "the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess"; not "thy wife" (i.e. the wife of the bishop) the Revised Version margin, but as Moffat (Expositor's Greek Testament) aptly renders, "that Jezebel of a woman alleging herself a prophetess." Some members of the church at Thyatira "under the sway of an influential woman refused to separate from the local guilds where moral interests, though not ostensibly defied, were often seriously compromised ..... Her lax principles or tendencies made for a connection with foreign and compromising associations which evidently exerted a dangerous influence upon some weaker Christians in the city." Her followers "prided themselves upon their enlightened liberalism (verse 24)." Moffat rejects both the view of Schurer (Theol. Abhandlungen, 39 f), that she is to be identified with the Chaldaean Sibyl at Thyatira, and also that of Selwyn making her the wife of the local asiarch. "It was not the cults but the trade guilds that formed the problem at Thyatira." See also Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, section symbol 73, note 7; AHAB; BAAL; ELIJAH.
DAVID FRANCIS ROBERTS
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database
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