Read Janet Howe Gaines’s full article about Jezebel in the Bible and later depictions as it appeared in Bible Review
For more than two thousand years, Jezebel has been saddled with a reputation as the bad girl of the Bible, the wickedest of women. This ancient queen has been denounced as a murderer, prostitute and enemy of God, and her name has been adopted for lingerie lines and World War II missiles alike. But just how depraved was Jezebel?
In recent years, scholars have tried to reclaim the shadowy female figures whose tales are often only partially told in the Bible. Rehabilitating Jezebel’s stained reputation is an arduous task, however, for she is a difficult woman to like. She is not a heroic fighter like Deborah, a devoted sister like Miriam or a cherished wife like Ruth. Jezebel cannot even be compared with the Bible’s other bad girls—Potiphar’s wife and Delilah—for no good comes from Jezebel’s deeds. These other women may be bad, but Jezebel is the worst.1
Yet there is more to this complex ruler than the standard interpretation would allow. To attain a more positive assessment of Jezebel’s troubled reign and a deeper understanding of her role, we must evaluate the motives of the Biblical authors who condemn the queen. Furthermore, we must reread the narrative from the queen’s vantage point. As we piece together the world in which Jezebel lived, a fuller picture of this fascinating woman begins to emerge. The story is not a pretty one, and some—perhaps most—readers will remain disturbed by Jezebel’s actions. But her character might not be as dark as we are accustomed to thinking. Her evilness is not always as obvious, undisputed and unrivaled as the Biblical writer wants it to appear.
The story of Jezebel, the Phoenician wife of King Ahab of Israel, is recounted in several brief passages scattered throughout the Books of Kings. Scholars generally identify 1 and 2 Kings as part of the Deuteronomistic History, attributed either to a single author or to a group of authors and editors collectively known as the Deuteronomist. One of the main purposes of the entire Deuteronomistic History, which includes the seven books from Deuteronomy through 2 Kings, is to explain Israel’s fate in terms of its apostasy. As the Israelites settle into the Promised Land, establish a monarchy and separate into a northern and a southern kingdom after the reign of Solomon, God’s chosen people continually go astray. They sin against Yahweh in many ways, the worst of which is by worshiping alien deities. The first commandments from Sinai demand monotheism, but the people are attracted to foreign gods and goddesses. When Jezebel enters the scene in the ninth century B.C.E., she provides a perfect opportunity for the Bible writer to teach a moral lesson about the evil outcomes of idolatry, for she is a foreign idol worshiper who seems to be the power behind her husband. From the Deuteronomist’s viewpoint, Jezebel embodies everything that must be eliminated from Israel so that the purity of the cult of Yahweh will not be further contaminated.
As the Books of Kings recount, the princess Jezebel is brought to the northern kingdom of Israel to wed the newly crowned King Ahab, son of Omri (1 Kings 16:31). Her father is Ethbaal of Tyre, king of the Phoenicians, a group of Semites whose ancestors were Canaanites. Phoenicia consisted of a loose confederation of city-states, including the sophisticated maritime trade centers of Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean coast. The Bible writer’s antagonism stems primarily from Jezebel’s religion. The Phoenicians worshiped a swarm of gods and goddesses, chief among them Baal, the general term for “lord” given to the head fertility and agricultural god of the Canaanites. As king of Phoenicia, it is likely that Ethbaal was also a high priest or had other important religious duties. According to the first-century C.E. historian Josephus, who drew on a Greek translation of the now-lost Annals of Tyre, Ethbaal served as a priest of Astarte, the primary Phoenician goddess. Jezebel, as the king’s daughter, may have served as a priestess as she was growing up. In any case, she was certainly raised to honor the deities of her native land.
When Jezebel comes to Israel, she brings her foreign gods and goddesses—especially Baal and his consort Asherah (Canaanite Astarte, often translated in the Bible as “sacred post”)—with her. This seems to have an immediate effect on her new husband, for just as soon as the queen is introduced, we are told that Ahab builds a sanctuary for Baal in the very heart of Israel, within his capital city of Samaria: “He took as wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Phoenicians, and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar to Baal in the temple of Baal which he built in Samaria. Ahab also made a ‘sacred post’”a (1 Kings 16:31–33).2
Jezebel does not accept Ahab’s God, Yahweh. Rather, she leads Ahab to tolerate Baal. This is why she is vilified by the Deuteronomist, whose goal is to stamp out polytheism. She represents a view of womanhood that is the opposite of the one extolled in characters such as Ruth the Moabite, who is also a foreigner. Ruth surrenders her identity and submerges herself in Israelite ways; she adopts the religious and social norms of the Israelites and is universally praised for her conversion to God. Jezebel steadfastly remains true to her own beliefs.
Jezebel’s marriage to Ahab was a political alliance. The union provided both peoples with military protection from powerful enemies as well as valuable trade routes: Israel gained access to the Phoenician ports; Phoenicia gained passage through Israel’s central hill country to Transjordan and especially to the King’s Highway, the heavily traveled inland route connecting the Gulf of Aqaba in the south with Damascus in the north. But although the marriage is sound foreign policy, it is intolerable to the Deuteronomist because of Jezebel’s idol worship.
The Bible does not comment on what the young Jezebel thinks about marrying Ahab and moving to Israel. Her feelings are of no interest to the Deuteronomist, nor are they germane to the story’s didactic purpose.
To learn more about Biblical women with slighted traditions, take a look at the Bible History Daily feature Scandalous Women in the Bible, which includes articles on Mary Magdalene and Lilith.
We are not told whether Ethbaal consults his daughter, if she departs Phoenicia with trepidation or enthusiasm, or what she expects from her role as ruler. Like other highborn daughters of her time, Jezebel is probably a pawn, packed off to the highest bidder.
Israel’s topography, customs and religion would certainly be very different from those of Jezebel’s native land. Instead of the lushness of the moist seacoast, she would find Israel to be an arid, desert nation.
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Furthermore, the Torah shows the Israelites to be an ethnocentric, xenophobic people. In Biblical narratives, foreigners are sometimes unwelcome, and prejudice against intermarriage is seen since the day Abraham sought a woman from his own people to marry his son Isaac (Genesis 24:4). In contrast to the familiar gods and goddesses that Jezebel is accustomed to petitioning, Israel is home to a state religion featuring a lone, masculine deity. Perhaps Jezebel optimistically believes that she can encourage religious tolerance and give legitimacy to the worship habits of those Baalites who already reside in Israel. Perhaps Jezebel sees herself as an ambassador who could help unite the two lands and bring about cultural pluralism, regional peace and economic prosperity.
What spurs Jezebel to action is unknown and unknowable, but the motives of the Deuteronomist come through plainly in the text. Jezebel is a bold and impious interloper who has to be stopped. From her own point of view, however, she is no apostate. She remains loyal to her religious upbringing and is determined to maintain her cultural identity.
According to the Deuteronomist, however, Jezebel’s desire is not merely confined to achieving ethnic or religious parity. She also seems driven to eliminate Israel’s faithful servants of God. Evidence of Jezebel’s cruel desire to wipe out Yahweh worship in Israel is reported in 1 Kings 18:4, at the Bible’s second mention of her name: “Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord.”
The threat of Jezebel is so great that later in the same chapter, the mythic prophet Elijah summons the acolytes of Jezebel to a tournament on Mt. Carmel to determine which deity is supreme: God or Baal.
Whichever deity is capable of setting a sacrificial bull on fire will be the winner, the one true God. It is only then that we learn just how many followers of Jezebel’s gods and goddesses are near her at court. Elijah challenges them: “Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, together with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19). Whether the grand total of 850 is a symbolic or literal number, it is impressive.
Yet their superior numbers can do nothing to ensure victory; nor can petitions to their god. The prophets of Baal “performed a hopping dance about the altar” and “kept raving” (1 Kings 18:26, 29) all day long in a vain attempt to rouse Baal. They even gash themselves with knives and whoop it up in a heightened emotional state, hoping to incite Baal to unleash a great fire. But Baal does not respond to the ecstatic ranting of Jezebel’s prophets. At the end of the day, it is Elijah’s single plea to God that is answered.
Learn about the excavations at Jezreel in “Jezreel Expedition 2016: You Don’t Have to Be an Archaeologist to Dig the Bible” and “Jezreel Expedition Sheds New Light on Ahab and Jezebel’s City.”
Standing alone before Jezebel’s host of visionaries, Elijah cries out: “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel! Let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your bidding. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God; for You have turned their hearts backward” (1 Kings 18:36–37). At once, “fire from the Lord descended and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones and the earth;…When they saw this, all the people flung themselves on their faces and cried out: ‘The Lord alone is God, the Lord alone is God!’” (1 Kings 18:38–39). Elijah’s solitary entreaty to Yahweh serves as a foil to the hours of appeals made by Baal’s followers.
Jezebel herself is absent during this all-male event. Nevertheless, her presence is felt and the Deuteronomist’s message is clear. Jezebel’s deities and the huge number of prophets loyal to her are powerless against the omnipotent Yahweh, who is proven by the tournament to be ruler of all the forces of nature.
Ironically, at the conclusion of the Carmel episode, Elijah proves capable of the same murderous inclinations that have previously characterized Jezebel, though it is only she that the Deuteronomist criticizes. After winning the Carmel contest, Elijah immediately orders the assembly to capture all of Jezebel’s prophets. Elijah emphatically declares: “Seize the prophets of Baal, let not a single one of them get away” (1 Kings 18:40). Elijah leads his 450 prisoners to the Wadi Kishon, where he slaughters them (1 Kings 18:40). Though they will never meet in person, Elijah and Jezebel are engaged in a hard-fought struggle for religious supremacy. Here Elijah reveals that he and Jezebel possess a similar religious fervor, though their loyalties differ greatly. They are also equally determined to eliminate one another’s followers, even if it means murdering them. The difference is that the Deuteronomist decries Jezebel’s killing of God’s servants (at 1 Kings 18:4) but now sanctions Elijah’s decision to massacre hundreds of Jezebel’s prophets. Indeed, once Elijah kills Jezebel’s prophets, God rewards him by sending a much-needed rain, ending a three-year drought in Israel. There is a definite double standard here. Murder seems to be accepted, even venerated, as long as it is done in the name of the right deity.
After Elijah’s triumph on Mt. Carmel, King Ahab returns home to give his queen the news that Baal is defeated, Yahweh is the undisputed master of the universe and Jezebel’s prophets are dead. Jezebel sends Elijah a menacing message, threatening to slaughter him just as he has slaughtered her prophets: “Thus and more may the gods do if by this time tomorrow I have not made you like one of them” (1 Kings 19:2). The Septuagint, a third- to second-century B.C.E. Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, prefaces Jezebel’s threat with an additional insult to the prophet. Here Jezebel establishes herself as Elijah’s equal: “If you are Elijah, so I am Jezebel” (1 Kings 19:2b).3 In both versions the queen’s meaning is unmistakable: Elijah should fear for his life.
These are the first words the Deuteronomist records from Jezebel, and they are filled with venom. Unlike the many voiceless Biblical wives and concubines whose muteness reminds us of the powerlessness of women in ancient Israel, Jezebel has a tongue. While her verbal acuity shows that she is more daring, clever and independent than most women of her time, her withering words also demonstrate her sinfulness. Jezebel transforms the precious instrument of language into an evil device to blaspheme God and defy the prophet.
So frightened is Elijah by Jezebel’s threatening words that he flees to Mt. Horeb (Sinai). Despite what he has witnessed on Carmel, Elijah seems to falter in his faith that the Almighty will protect him. As a literary device, Elijah’s sojourn at Horeb gives the Deuteronomist an opportunity to imply parallels between the careers of Moses and Elijah, thus reinforcing Elijah’s exalted reputation. Nevertheless, the timing of Elijah’s flight south makes him look suspiciously like he is afraid of a mere woman.
Jezebel indeed shows herself as a person to be feared in the next episode. The story of Naboth, an Israelite who owns a plot of land adjacent to the royal palace in Jezreel, provides an excellent occasion for the Deuteronomist to propose that Jezebel is not only the foe of Israel’s God, but an enemy of the government.
In 1 Kings 21:2, Ahab requests that Naboth give him his vineyard: “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it as a vegetable garden, since it is right next to my palace.” Ahab promises to pay Naboth for the land or to provide him with an even better vineyard. But at 1 Kings 21:3, Naboth refuses to sell or trade: “The Lord forbid that I should give up to you what I have inherited from my fathers!” The king whines and refuses to eat after Naboth’s rebuff: “Ahab went home dispirited and sullen because of the answer that Naboth the Jezreelite had given him…He lay down on his bed and turned away his face, and he would not eat” (1 Kings 21:4). Apparently perturbed by her husband’s political impotence and sulking demeanor, Jezebel steps in, proudly asserting: “Now is the time to show yourself king over Israel. Rise and eat something, and be cheerful; I will get the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you” (1 Kings 21:7).
Naboth is fully within his rights to hold onto his family plot. Israelite law and custom dictate that his family should maintain their land (nachalah) in perpetuity (Numbers 27:5–11). As a Torah-bound king of Israel, Ahab should understand Naboth’s legitimate desire to keep his inheritance. Jezebel, on the other hand, hails from Phoenicia, where a monarch’s whim is often tantamount to law.4 Having been raised in a land of absolute autocrats, where few dared to question a ruler’s wish or decree, Jezebel might naturally feel annoyance and frustration at Naboth’s resistance to his sovereign’s proposal. In this context, Jezebel’s reaction becomes more understandable, though perhaps no more admirable, for she behaves according to her upbringing and expectations regarding royal prerogative.
Without Ahab’s direct knowledge, Jezebel writes letters to her townsmen, enlisting them in an elaborate ruse to frame the innocent Naboth. To ensure their compliance, she signs Ahab’s name and stamps the letters with the king’s seal. Jezebel encourages the townsmen to publicly (and falsely) accuse Naboth of blaspheming God and king. “Then take him out and stone him to death,” she commands (1 Kings 21:10). So Naboth is murdered, and the vineyard automatically escheats to the throne, as is customary when a person is found guilty of a serious crime. If Naboth has relatives, they are now in no position to protest the passing of their family land to Ahab.
Yet the details of Jezebel’s underhanded plot against Naboth do not always ring true. The Bible maintains that “the elders and nobles who lived in [Naboth’s] town…did as Jezebel had instructed them” (1 Kings 21:11). If the trickster queen is able to enlist the support of so many people, none of whom betrays her, to kill a man whom they have probably known all their lives and whom they realize is innocent, then she has astonishing power.
The fantastical tale of Naboth’s death—in which something could go wrong at any moment but somehow does not—stretches the reader’s credulity. If Jezebel were as hateful as the Deuteronomist claims, surely at least one nobleman in Jezreel would have refused to assist in the nefarious scheme. Surely one individual would have had the courage to expose the detestable deed and become the Deuteronomist’s hero by spoiling the plan.5
Perhaps the Biblical compiler is using Jezebel as a scapegoat for his outrage at her influence over the king, meaning that she herself is being framed in the tale. Traditionally thought to be a narrative about how innocent Naboth is falsely accused, the story could instead be an exaggeration of fact, fabricated to demonstrate the Deuteronomist’s continued wrath against Jezebel.
As a result of this incident, Elijah reappears on the scene. First Yahweh tells Elijah how Ahab will die: “The word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Go down and confront King Ahab of Israel who [resides] in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down there to take possession of it. Say to him, “Thus said the Lord: Would you murder and take possession? Thus said the Lord: In the very place where the dogs lapped up Naboth’s blood, the dogs will lap up your blood too”’” (1 Kings 21:17–19). But when Elijah confronts Ahab, the prophet predicts instead how the queen will die: “The dogs shall devour Jezebel in the field of Jezreel” (1 Kings 21:23).c Poetic justice, as the Deuteronomist sees it, demands that Jezebel end up as dog food. Ashamed of what has happened and fearful of the future, Ahab humbles himself by assuming outward signs of mourning, fasting and donning sackcloth. Prayer accompanies fasting, whether the Bible explicitly says so or not, so we may assume that Ahab raises his penitential voice to a forgiving Yahweh. For once, Jezebel does not speak; her lack of repentance is implicit in her silence.
When Jezebel’s name is mentioned again, the Bible writer makes his most alarming accusation against her. Ahab has died, as has the couple’s eldest son, who followed his father to the throne. Their second son, Joram, rules. But even though Israel has a sitting monarch, a servant of the prophet Elisha crowns Jehu, Joram’s military commander, king of Israel and commissions Jehu to eradicate the House of Ahab: “I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. You shall strike down the House of Ahab your master; thus will I avenge on Jezebel the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of the other servants of the Lord” (2 Kings 9:6–7).
King Joram and General Jehu meet on the battlefield. Unaware that he is about to be usurped by his military commander, Joram calls out: “Is all well, Jehu?” Jehu responds: “How can all be well as long as your mother Jezebel carries on her countless harlotries and sorceries?” (2 Kings 9:22). Jehu then shoots an arrow through Joram’s heart and, in a moment of stinging irony, orders the body to be dumped on Naboth’s land.
From these words alone—uttered by the man who is about to kill Jezebel’s son—stems Jezebel’s long-standing reputation as a witch and a whore. The Bible occasionally connects harlotry and idol worship, as in Hosea 1:3, where the prophet is told to marry a “wife of whoredom,” who symbolically represents the people who “stray from following the Lord” (Hosea 1:3). Lusting after false “lords” can be seen as either adulterous or idolatrous. Yet throughout the millennia, Jezebel’s harlotry has not been identified as mere dolatry. Rather, she has been considered the slut of Samaria, the lecherous wife of a pouting potentate. The 1938 film Jezebel, starring Bette Davis as the destructive temptress who leads a man to his death, is evidence that this ancient judgment against Jezebel has been transmitted to this century. Nevertheless, the Bible never offers evidence that Jezebel is unfaithful to her husband while he is alive or loose in her morals after his death. In fact, she is always shown to be a loyal and helpful spouse, though her brand of assistance is deplored by the Deuteronomist. Jehu’s charge of harlotry is unsubstantiated, but it has stuck anyway and her reputation has been egregiously damaged by the allegation.
When Jezebel herself finally appears again in the pages of the Bible, it is for her death scene. Jehu, with the blood of Joram still on his hands, races his chariot into Jezreel to continue the insurrection by assassinating Jezebel. Ironically, this is her finest hour, though the Deuteronomist intends the queen to appear haughty and imperious to the end. Realizing that Jehu is on his way to kill her, Jezebel does not disguise herself and flee the city, as a more cowardly person might do. Instead, she calmly prepares for his arrival by performing three acts: “She painted her eyes with kohl and dressed her hair, and she looked out of the window” (2 Kings 9:30). The traditional interpretation is that Jezebel primps and coquettishly looks out the window in an effort to seduce Jehu, that she wishes to win his favor and become part of his harem in order to save her own life, such treachery indicating Jezebel’s dastardly betrayal of deceased family members. According to this reading, Jezebel sheds familial loyalty as easily as a snake sheds its skin in an attempt to ensure her continued pleasure and safety at court.
Applying eye makeup (kohl) and brushing one’s hair are often connected to flirting in Hebraic thinking. Isaiah 3:16, Jeremiah 4:30, Ezekiel 23:40 and Proverbs 6:24–26 provide examples of women who bat their painted eyes to lure innocent men into adulterous beds. Black kohl is widely incorporated in Bible passages as a symbol of feminine deception and trickery, and its use to paint the area above and below the eyelids is generally considered part of a woman’s arsenal of artifice. In Jezebel’s case, however, the cosmetic is more than just an attempt to accentuate the eyes. Jezebel is donning the female version of armor as she prepares to do battle. She is a woman warrior, waging war in the only way a woman can. Whatever fear she may have of Jehu is camouflaged by her war paint.
Her grooming continues as she dresses her hair, symbol of a woman’s seductive power. When she dies, she wants to look her queenly best. She is in control here, choosing the manner in which her attacker will last see and remember her.
The third action Jezebel takes before Jehu arrives is to sit at her upper window. The Deuteronomist may be deliberately conjuring up images to associate Jezebel with other disfavored women. For example, contained within Deborah’s victory ode is the story of the unfortunate mother of the enemy general Sisera. Waiting at home, Sisera’s unnamed mother looks out the window for her son to return: “Through the window peered Sisera’s mother, behind the lattice she whined” (Judges 5:28). Her ladies-in-waiting express the hope that Sisera is detained because he is raping Israelite women and collecting booty (Judges 5:29–30). In truth, Sisera is already dead, his skull shattered by Jael and her tent peg (Judges 5:24–27). King David’s wife Michal also looks through her window, watching her husband dance around the Ark of the Covenant as it is triumphantly brought into Jerusalem, “and she despised him for it” (2 Samuel 6:16). Michal does not understand the people’s euphoria over the arrival of the Ark in David’s new capital; she can only feel anger that her husband is dancing about like one of the “riffraff” (2 Samuel 6:20). Generations later, Jezebel also appears at her window, conjuring up images of Sisera’s mother and Michal, two unpopular Biblical women.
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The image of the woman at the window also suggests fertility goddesses, abominations to the Deuteronomist and well known to the general public in ancient Israel. Ivory plaques, dating to the Iron Age and depicting a woman peering through a window, have been discovered in Khorsabad, Nimrud and Samaria, Jezebel’s second home.6 The connection between idol worship, goddesses and the woman seated at the window would not have been lost on the Deuteronomist’s audience.
Sitting at her window, Jezebel is seemingly rendered powerless while the active patriarchal world functions beyond her reach.7 But a more sympathetic reading of the situation suggests that Jezebel has determined the superior angle from which she will be viewed by Jehu, thus giving the queen mastery of the situation.
Positioned at the balcony window, the queen does not remain silent as the usurper Jehu arrives into town. She taunts him by calling him Zimri, the name of the unscrupulous predecessor of Omri, Jezebel’s father-in-law. Zimri ruled Israel for only seven days after murdering the king (Elah) and usurping the throne. “Is all well, Zimri, murderer of your master?” Jezebel asks Jehu (2 Kings 9:31). Jezebel knows that all is not well, and her sarcastic, sharp-tongued insult of Jehu disproves any interpretation that she has dressed in her finest to seduce him. She has contempt for Jehu. Unlike many Biblical wives, who remain silent, Jezebel has a distinct voice, and she is unafraid to articulate her view of Jehu as a renegade and regicide.
To demonstrate his authority, Jehu orders Jezebel’s eunuchs to throw her out of the window: “They threw her down; and her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled her. Then [Jehu] went inside and ate and drank” (2 Kings 9:33–34). In this highly symbolic political action, the once mighty Jezebel is shoved out of her high station to the ground below. Her ejection from the window represents an eternal demotion from her proper place as one of the Bible’s most influential women.
Jezebel’s body is left in the street as Jehu celebrates his victory. Later, perhaps because the new monarch does not wish to begin his reign with such a disrespectful act against a woman, or perhaps because he realizes the danger in setting a precedent for ill treatment of a dead ruler’s remains, Jehu orders Jezebel’s burial: “Attend to that cursed woman and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter” (2 Kings 9:34). Jezebel is not to be remembered as a queen or even as the wife of a king. She is only the daughter of a foreign despot. This is intended as another blow by the Deuteronomist, an attempt to marginalize a formidable woman. When the king’s men come to bury Jezebel, it is too late: “All they found of her were the skull, the feet, and the hands” (2 Kings 9:35). Jehu’s men inform the king that Elijah’s prophecies have been fulfilled: “It is just as the Lord spoke through His servant Elijah the Tishbite: The dogs shall devour the flesh of Jezebel in the field of Jezreel; and the carcass of Jezebel shall be like dung on the ground, in the field of Jezreel, so that none will be able to say: ‘This was Jezebel’” (2 Kings 9:36–37).
While the Biblical storyteller wants the final images of Jezebel to memorialize her as a brazen hussy, a sympathetic interpretation of her behavior has more credibility. When all a person has left in life is the way she faces her death, her final actions speak volumes about her character. Jezebel departs this earth every inch a queen. Now an aging grandmother, it is highly unlikely that she has libidinous designs on Jehu or even entertains the notion of becoming the young king’s paramour. As the daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother of kings, Jezebel would understand court politics well enough to realize that Jehu has far more to gain by killing her than by keeping her alive. Alive, the dowager queen could always serve as a rallying point for anyone unhappy with Jehu’s reign. The queen harbors no illusions about her chances of surviving Jehu’s bloody coup d’état.
How bad was Jezebel? The Deuteronomist uses every possible argument to make the case against her. When Ahab dies, the Deuteronomist is determined to show that “there never was anyone like Ahab, who committed himself to doing what was displeasing to the Lord, at the instigation of his wife Jezebel” (1 Kings 21:25). It is interesting that Ahab is not held responsible for his own actions.8 He goes astray because of a wicked woman. Someone has to bear the writer’s vituperation concerning Israel’s apostasy, and Jezebel is chosen for the job.
Every Biblical word condemns her: Jezebel is an outspoken woman in a time when females have little status and few rights; a foreigner in a xenophobic land; an idol worshiper in a place with a Yahweh-based, state-sponsored religion; a murderer and meddler in political affairs in a nation of strong patriarchs; a traitor in a country where no ruler is above the law; and a whore in the territory where the Ten Commandments originate.
Yet there is much to admire in this ancient queen. In a kinder analysis, Jezebel emerges as a fiery and determined person, with an intensity matched only by Elijah’s. She is true to her native religion and customs. She is even more loyal to her husband. Throughout her reign, she boldly exercises what power she has. And in the end, having lived her life on her own terms, Jezebel faces certain death with dignity.
“How Bad Was Jezebel?” by Janet Howe Gaines originally appeared in Bible Review, October 2000. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in June 2010.
Janet Howe Gaines is a specialist in the Bible as literature in the Department of English at the University of New Mexico. She recently published Music in the Old Bones: Jezebel Through the Ages (Southern Illinois Univ. Press).
a. Asherah is the Biblical name for Astarte, a Canaanite fertility goddess and consort of Baal. The term asherah, which appears at least 50 times in the Hebrew Bible (it is often translated as “sacred post”), is used to refer to three manifestations of this goddess: an image (probably a figurine) of the goddess (eg., 2 Kings 21:7); a tree (Deuteronomy 16:21); and a tree trunk, or sacred post (Deuteronomy 7:5, 12:3). See Ruth Hestrin, “Understanding Asherah—Exploring Semitic Iconography,” BAR, September/October 1991.
b. In the Septuagint, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings are all included in Kings, which therefore has four books, 1–4 Kings.
c. A similar statement is made by the unnamed prophet who anoints Jehu king of Israel in 2 Kings 9:10.
1. For a fuller treatment of Jezebel, see Janet Howe Gaines, Music in the Old Bones: Jezebel Through the Ages (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1999).
2. All references to the Bible, unless otherwise noted, are to Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).
3. The translation of the Greek text is my own. According to Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton (The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, 3rd ed. [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1990], p. 478), the translation of the entire line is “And Jezabel sent to Eliu, and said, If thou art Eliu and I am Jezabel, God do so to me, and more also, if I do not make thy life by this time tomorrow as the life of one of them.”
4. For a discussion of Phoenician customs, see George Rawlinson, History of Phoenicia (London: Longmans, 1889).
5. As corroborating evidence, see the story of David’s plot to kill Uriah the Hittite in 2 Samuel 11:14–17. Like Jezebel, David writes letters that contain details of his scheme. David intends to enlist help from the entire regiment as confederates who are to “draw back from” Uriah, but Joab makes a shrewd and subtle change in the plan so that it is less likely to be discovered.
6. Eleanor Ferris Beach, “The Samaria Ivories, Marzeah, and Biblical Text,” Biblical Archaeologist 56:2 (1993), pp. 94–104.
7. For an excellent, detailed discussion of Biblical imagery concerning women seated at windows, see Nehama Aschkenasy, Woman at the Window (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1998).
8. For a reassessment of Ahab’s character based on the archaeological remains of his building projects and extrabiblical texts, see Ephraim Stern, “The Many Masters of Dor, Part 2: How Bad Was Ahab?” BAR, March/April 1993.
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“Jezebel cannot even be compared with the Bible’s other bad girls—Potiphar’s wife and Delilah—for no good comes from Jezebel’s deeds. These other women may be bad, but Jezebel is the worst.” How about Herodias, the wife of Antipas & mother of Salome? Pretty sure that Herodias is comparable to Jezebel.
Not a biblical review of the Jezebel according to the Bible, an apparent liberal teacher that is thinking according to this world and falsely making out that this is a Bible study concerning Jezebel. Not even close.
just another antisemitic to the core article intended to “wash out the land” under Judaism. we have more than enough of “cultural pluralism and economic prosperity” without idolatry. as for the “regional peace”, please, contact our “regional neighbors”. those smart and more tolerant among them are making progress in accepting us and our traditions. thank you very much.
[…] altar to Baal in the temple of Baal which he built in Samaria. Ahab also made a ‘sacred post’”a (1 Kings […]
[…] YouTube Biblical archeology society […]
I was very misled to think under the name of this website that this would have been a “biblical point of view”… I had to literally stop reading this article as it became very apparent that you are a Jezebel sympathizer, first making a case to think that maybe she just wanted to be “loyal to her religion or possibly make all religions tolerated”, …seriously sounds just as bad as supporting Hitler and his evil massacre… Jezebel was evil, she started plotting and scheming to murder all Yahweh prophets to ensure her husbands authority and power (if she got away w/it prob would then massacre Israelites next)…she moved to an area and married a man that worshiped God, she could have either converted or continued quietly to worship Baal (it in itself an evil firm of religion) but she had no intention to keep peace among the new land that she now lived in, she was pure evil and God will punish sin and wipe out who ever he deems evil… he is God all powerful all present. Imagine if he didn’t, what would the world look like now? (You need to read the last few chapters of Job) and the book of Revelation). You would have certainly not had the freedom to write this article. It sounds like you are not a “true believer” making all of these excuses for the most evil woman in biblical history and the fact that you write for a biblical archaeology website, being a Christian should be a prerequisite. You will find that out soon enough and I do truly pray you are finally on the right side when that day of reckoning comes because it comes for all people the Lord has given life to. Sorry I do regret reading this. Will find a more biblical point of view.
I agree with you. You won’t find much reverence for the word of God even in bible schools and among theologians nowadays.
I was very misled to think under the name of this website that this would have been a “biblical point of view”… I had to literally stop reading this article as it became very apparent that you are a Jezebel sympathizer, first making a case to think that maybe she just wanted to be “loyal to her religion or possibly make all religions tolerated”, …seriously sounds just as bad as supporting Hitler and his evil massacre… Jezebel was evil, she started plotting and scheming to murder all Yahweh prophets to ensure her husbands authority and power (if she got away w/it prob would then massacre Israelites next)…she moved to an area and married a man that worshiped God, she could have either converted or continued quietly to worship Baal like normal, sane non-murderous people do …no she had no intention to keep peace , among the new land that had she now calls home, she was pure evil and God will punish sin and wipe out who ever he deems evil… he is God all powerful all present. Imagine if he didn’t, what would the world look like now? (You need to read the last few chapters of Job) and the book of Revelation). You would have certainly not had the freedom to write this article. It sounds like you are not a “true believer” making all of these excuses for the most evil woman in biblical history and the fact that you write for a biblical archaeology website, being a Christian should be a prerequisite. You will find that out soon enough and I do truly pray you are finally on the right side when that day of reckoning comes because it comes for all people the Lord has given life to. Sorry I do regret reading this. Will find a more biblical point of view.
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The article is well-written and yet flawed with JDEP iconography, which, like evolutionary terms, most scholars ignore. The author doesn’t tell us more than we already know. Jezebel deserves her infamy. She is a missile of heterodoxy aimed at the heart of YHWH’s kingdom. Her goal is unmistaken: She intends to pervert YHWH’s goal, killing the prophets and inserting prophets that promote fertility cults. Although she may not be a whore herself, she typifies the woman of the world, not unlike our present day, that wants to beat down orthodoxy and elevate heterodoxy. The Bible calls this adultery (and her an adulteress) because she took the pure Word and defiled it. The imagery and metaphor of the Bible affirms this. Anyone who considers her a role model fits in with the present culture–and should accept the same title as whore or whoremonger, whichever is preferred.
good assessment. Why is the JEPD still so popular among some academics when for years the growing evidence doesn’t support it?
My sentiments Exactly!
Couldn’t have said it better myself! “POINT ON”!
My sentiments Exactly!
Well it is real fact that Jesus was gay. Go figure.
It’s safe and important to say to any Christian (or other reader) reading this article or the other materials on this website, that this website and organisation are not necessarily a Christian website or organisation that represent Christian views or speak for Christians, regardless of the word “Biblical” attached to their organisation’s name; they are simply what the title of their organisation and website communicate–a Biblical “Archaelogy” Society. Their “About” page clearly states: “The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit, nondenominational, *educational organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about archaeology in the Bible lands*.” Their views and opinions don’t necessarily reflect true Christianity or true and pure Christian beliefs sourced from the Bible; this article being a very significant example.
Merely viewing and leaving the Bible at naturalistic and academic standpoints often produces Biblically erudite Pharisees and scribes (scholars) who lack revelation knowledge and spiritual understanding, cannot “accept the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14), and often challenge the true Voice and message of God. Jesus, who was both God in flesh and filled with the Holy Spirit, according to the Bible, often chided the foremost Bible scholars of His day, telling them that they erred because they didn’t know the scriptures (which they studied for a living) nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29), and that in spite of their Biblical knowledge, they didn’t know or truly understand the God of the Bible (John 8:54-55). Also, after having shared some deep spiritual scriptural truths with a Pharisee, Nicodemus by name, Jesus asked Him, “Are you a teacher of the Jews and you don’t know these things?” (John 3:10).
Apostle Paul, who converted to Christianity after being a prominent Pharisee within the Jewish religion, as a result of Jesus appearing to him from Heaven, communicated and confessed that although he knew so much of the Bible as a scholar, he didn’t understand it and was grossly ignorant until he became a Christian who was filled with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 1:13-17; 1 Timothy 1:12-14).
Jesus, in the New Testament, makes a clear, reprimanding, disapproving and significant reference to the spirit, character and mind of Jezebel and her ways (Revelation 2:20-23).
For sound Christian teachings, I kindly recommend studying the teachings of Rev. Dr. Chris Oyakhilome (President & Founder, Christ Embassy aka Believer’s Loveworld), and the author of the number one daily devotional in the world, Rhapsody of Realities, read by close to 1 billion people every year, including world leaders such as Prince Charles and current and former presidents of the world.
I cannot express how much I appreciate that this article is written with impartiality to the Christian faith. As I search for answers myself, I cannot stand the biased accounts and views written as actual fact when what I question is the basis of what everyone just takes at face value. Recently I’ve been questioning specifically why women are not as important or equal as men in culture and especially in religion when “all are created equal.” Thank you for pointing out the double standards and showing Jezebel as the protagonist of her own story!
Jezebel just became my new favorite woman of the Bible!
this is supposed to be a archeological web site. not a forum to discuss women’s issues. the author analyses the story from a 21st century perspective of men and women issues. hannah, this story is about a wicked woman. every wicked woman has some reason for being wicked. but are you now going to tell your daughter or granddaughter that. jezebel is your new role model? women has always had a raw deal but don’t change the story just because of it. when we look at history through an activist lens, history will not be history but fantasy. the author did not have any archeological proof to any of her assertions. just modern day psycho-bable. nothing to do with history or archeology. biblical archeology should be ashamed to post a story like this on a archeology web site. are your serious about archeology? please stick to science and don’t cater to the christian right or progressive left. they are not interested in science or knowledge. im a christian and i want truth, not propaganda, even christian propaganda. just present science as best you can. for the progressive the bible is a myth so why try to cater to them. for the right wing christian, the snake actually talked. and the earth is only 10,000 yrs old. both sides will only want evidence that confirms their agenda.
It’s my understanding Yahweh’s penalty for practicing or promoting idolatry in Israel was /is death regardless to who you were or where you were from. It wasn’t personal and He showed who was real at Carmel. Stubborn, beautiful and clueless are not a good mixture.
Jezebel’s character is no worse than any other human male or female on earth then or now. Her husband knew he was responsible for maintaining the cultural and moral laws of Israel and didn’t. She wanted to drive so she got the citation and they both split the fine.
Was it Yahwe’s penalty though? Or was it the penalty of the people like Elijah and Jehu, who happened to vanquish Ahab and Jezebel and their entire family in a civil war?
@Furienna Yes, it was YHWH’s penalty/verdict/judgment. 2 Kings 9:6-10: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. 8For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free. 9So I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. 10The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.’”
It was God (YHWH who instructed this to be done and who judged Ahab, Jezabel and their family.
From reading all of your comments on this thread, it seems you think you hold higher moral views than YHWH (God), Elijah, Elisha and all the Biblically literate Christians on this post who have sound and very reasonable contributions. You challenge their comments and statements, with an evident ignorance concerning the story of Elijah, Ahab, Jezabel and many other relevant stories and statements in the Bible. This article is based on a series of stories *from the Bible and a *significant character from the Bible. The Christians who have read the Bible and this story have a decent amount of knowledge and understanding of the subject and have every right to challenge this presentation of opinions about a significant subject in the Bible that’s publically available to read and make commentary on, and that’s very misleading, especially to the Biblically illiterate, but you’re here arguing with them although you clearly lack knowledge of the real story as a result of not reading the full story as well as the Bible for yourself.
If you haven’t read the Bible then it’s quite ignorant, moreso, arrogant, for you to be arguing about what it really says and what really happened within its stories. If you had read the story for yourself and have studied the Bible for yourself, you wouldn’t make a lot of the arguments you’re making on Biblically literate people’s posts and comments.
What i got so far is basically and i agree on it that people have the right to believe whatever they want. you can say the other is wrong or not doesnt change the fact that everybody has a mind of his own and can do whatever he/she likes. agreed thats perfectly fine. but as written in the bible the pharoah got a warning, even signs to demonstrate gods power (plagues, then the pharoah still doesnt listen then he kills the firstborn son like the pharaoh did to gods people (isreal. then he finally lets israel go. and then he still decides to go after them. like what he stupid??? i wish i got such revelations, i”d be happy…. Havent gotten one so far but i asked and if the bible is true then god will show himself so me too. So until then if god hasnt show himself to you, and you dont believe in him (yet), i suspect he doesnt and won”t blame you for doing so. and otherwise the bible simply isnt as true as it demonstrates god to be. Hopefully someone wil read this and it will be helpfull to them.
There is no double standard here…the bible clearly says that God has given us all a choice, a free will…recall the Egyptian soldiers who pursued the people of God after witnessing several miracles and judgments of God that even Pharoah experienced in his own household…(frogs, locusts, lice, water turned to blood, etc) God allowed the waves to drown THEM correct? Yet God didn’t unrighteously wipe out the entire nation of Egypt, it lives on today, i visited there a few years ago, The nation the people, and many historic sites have been beautifully preserved…the people who drowned were those who obeyed pharoah’s orders to pursue Israel after Pharoah agreed to let them go! Those soldiers just saw the hand of God in the form of several plagues including the death of their firstborn…did it make sense to go after those people who God clearly demonstrated he wanted free? Moses and the Israelites didnt lift a finger in that story, God allowed nature to perform extermination of enemies who wanted to enslave and persecute his people despite seeing and EXPERiENCING amazing judgments of God in previous consecutive weeks prior. God is patient, willing that NONE perish, but to those who lift their hand or mouth against Him or his true people make no mistake: He will rise up and see to it that they are first fully confronted with the truth, and if they persist THEY seal THEIR OWN fate…it might come by divine means or at the hands of others, but make no mistake at all: it is the result if their OWN choice to fight the truth or refuse to even consider the truth that has been clearly presented to them. Any true hearted seeker of biblical truth who studies the bible will see that. people who want to persist in ignorance so they can live by their own terms instead of God’s will see God as unfair and even evil. They are see him that way because they are blinded by their OWN choice to. If they would like to see him as he is they can ask him to show them and he will! the bible clearly shows us that. Jesus said that those who truly want to know the truth, will! And the truth will set them free. The basic truth the bible presents is that there is ONE true God, and He has rules and regs but also mercy and love, He doesnt call himself God the most Severe, He calls himself Hod the Mosterciful, and he lets us decide whether to love and trust him or to believe the lies of the advesary (as in the garden—the snake told Eve basically that God cant be trusted and is withholding knowledge & truth and that if she eats the forbidden fruit, (decides to do what he has clearly said not to) that she will get off scott free and live forever & will be as wise as God is….it was a LIE! That lie still confronts all humanity. a closing thought…because i know it’s bound to come up sooner or later…so why did God allow the first born son of Egypt to be struck dead? Who killed the first born of Egypt years before? didnt phoaroah order the midwives to kill the firstborn sons of Israel many years prior? Remember that part of the story? by the time this plague was announced by Moses, didnt Pharoah already have enough sense to understand that God meant whatever he said? That when he pronounced judgments of lice and frigs and flies, didnt the previous judgments already come to pass? Yes! In Pharoah’s home and all of Egypt! God instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let My son go, that he may worship Me, yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your firstborn son” (Exod 4:22-23). God called the nation of Israel his “son”…God gave Pharoah the example that God viewed Israel as his son..and clearly said that BECAUSE pharoah refused to let Israel (God’s son) go to worship God, God would slay pharoah’s son..,,AFTER Pharoah ALREADY witnessed and experienced severe judgments in his own household and the entire nation of Egypt suffered the judgments as well…do you think Pharoah was stupid? could he not have fallen on his hands and knees and begged God NOT to kill the firstborn, and rushed out and tell his nation to let Israel go immediately? He coukd have escorted Israel out of there immediately and should have if he had any sense! When he begged Moses for the plagues to stop God stopped them right? But after they stopped Pharoah went back to his stubborn ways and attitudes toward God and God’s people. So WHO made the choice? God or Pharoah? And who suffered? The entire nation of Egypt, not just Pharoah. Pharoah had just witnessed his entire nation suffering several plagues that Israel had been spared, and He was clearly WARNED beforehand! if he couldnt let go of his stubborness gor himself he coukd have at least had compasdion for his own nation to not drag them into judgement with him….God was determining to free his people from a people who was hell bent on keeping them as slaves and persecuted! and was doing whatever it took. despite losing his firstborn son AFTER being clearly warned, and seeing that his entire nation suffered the same loss, Pharoah still gave the command to pursue Israel in the wilderness after he let them go, and did so fully knowing that he was dealing with a powerful God who was willing to demonstrate who he was with signs and wonders judgments and even death to intervene for his people Israel. Couldnt Pharoah have made better choices at that point? If you are faced with such a God why would you continue to be stubborn and persecute his people? God has given us a choice, and also warnings…but more imporantly He has offered mercy, patience, and forgiveness…why would people persist in stubbornly refusing him, choosing instead to hold on to beliefs and behaviors that are contrary? It doesnt make sense. God judgements that result in death (like Jezebel, like Egypt, and other biblical enemies) do not come lightly…he is patient, merciful, and demonstrates clearly who he is and WHO are his, (Elijah’s miracles, Jesus’s miracles, the apostles of Jesus) and if after repeated interventions like those demonstrations, if people are stupid enough to persist in serving false religions and persecuting or threatening his true validated people, demise and death at that point is clearly a result of their own choice after being given time and opportunity to reconsider and repent.
It seems after reading this article, that the owners of this publication series are presenting this as biblical arechology and literature yet seem to be insulting the faith, the God, and the bible. If that is the agenda why falsely present yourself as biblical. Mick Jagger called his song “sympathy for the devil” and didnt hide his agenda behind a false biblical front. I have to give him more respect than this publication which after reading this article i certainly would not sign up and pay for because it seems insulting to the bible in my opinion.
There are no insults involved against anybody here. But you have to understand that everybody can’t share your faith. And it’s a valid viewpoint to look at the Bible as the work of men rather than as the work of God.
I agree, Victoria. We’re living in a world where most people hold their opinions as facts irrespective of the facts. A world that’s evidently grossly immoral but tries to parade itself as being holier and more morally sound than the God of the Bible; a world that challenges its Maker over ethics and morality whilst being so morally depraved and crooked. A world of individuals who are full of very dirty and corrupt secrets that the Bible says will be revealed by Jesus Christ at His coming, but loves to give an outward show of morality; a world that’s even so deep in corruption and uncleanness before God’s eyes, such that they don’t recognise that they are deep in a world of sins that they don’t fully understand and are in need of salvation from a God so high in thought, standards, ideals and intellect. You know a society needs major help when it begins to argue and compete with God over morals and ethics; a God who had to temporarily and eternally judge mankind for his sins, and instead of peverting justice by “sweeping” sins under the carpet, chose to fulfill all the demands of a perfect spiritual system and order of justice that He established and is bound by-by becoming a qualified man, striping Himself of His glory and power as God, in order to fairly and properly pay the penalty for man’s sins. As much as people want to deny God and His truth, He and it won’t go away. As He has established and repeated severally: “As I live, every knee will bow before me, and every tongue confess (give account of itself)”. They laughed at, mocked at and argued with Noah until that dreadful season of Judgment came. God was patient enough to wait and give them opportunities, but they still didn’t listen, they argued and denied anything would happen until it happened. As Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man.”
Interesting article and insights, although it is an undisputed fact that Elijah was a TRUE prophet of the God of Israel who has proven himself to be the one & only TRUE God, so while this is an interesting article, it reeks a little more like sympathy for the devil. Jezebel’s death was prophecized by a true prophet of God, who Jesus says is willing that “none should perish” but that ALL come to him in repentance. Revelation says that God gave Jezebel (& gives her type) time (opportunities) to repent but they are apparently hell-bent on persecuting the people & prophets of God and doing things “their way” instead of God’s, devising crafty schemes & plots to get what they want but cant have even through coveting, persecution, false slander, murder…” When it comes down to the basic story of the bible it is “one true God” and His true servants versus false gods, false servants and even those who think they are God’s (pharisees of Jesus day) who persecute the true servants of God…so in light of that, Jezebel As you stated is honoring the gods she was raised with, but when she was faced with PROOF such as the showdown Elijah had with her prophets, she still refused to repent or even consider that what she was raised with could be a lie, and she chose to fight the truth & wanted to kill the true prophet rather than embrace the truth, so you see that her own actions led to her own demise. she made a vow to kill Elijah and It may seem like Jehu did her in under the hand of God, but the truth is in vowing to kill Elijah, a true prophet of the true God, she sealed her own fate…She was living in the nation rich with history of a living true God that PROVED himself, by parting seas and making walls of Jericho fall miracuously, He delivered an enslaved people from Egypt with signs and wonders that the entire world in their time heard about even without internet and television, or radio, and He delivered them commandments to serve ONLY him yet she brought her beliefs her god and her prophets there to live and flaunt them against Yahweh & his people and the truth of their history. The bible says the ancient enemies in the time of Moses’ and Joshua’s conquests at the command of God were said to have heard of the God of Israel and feared him…so The God of Israel got himself quite a reputation, the harlot Rahab during that time had enough sense to realize that and protect the Israeli spies instead of persecute & kill them. She was wise & brazen enough to make a deal with them to spare her and her family! Now there is a canannite woman who was raised under a false religion and customs who heard about the exploits of the God of Israel and chose to respect Him & His people and she would be a heroine to admire and understand who demonstrates the right response to Yahweh and His people, such a stark contrast to Jezebel who continues in the opposite direction despite being confronted with the truth.
Okay, so you want to accuse Jezebel of being too stubborn to see “the truth”. But it seems like she wasn’t present at the showdown, so what proof did she have of anything? Even if other people told her that they had seen that Jahve had beaten Baal, she was right to be suspicious. Try to think about the situation from this perspective: if someone had told you that they saw Baal send a prophet fire from Heaven, would you have believed them? Absolutely not. So why do you expect Jezebel to change her religion based on what she must have thought only was the ramblings of madmen?
Furthermore, it is really judgemental to talk about “true” and “false” gods.
@Furienna For a person to defend and present the woman Jezebel as right and a victim of some sort shows how morally corrupted and deluded society has become. You defend her so much and communicate that she was simply following her religion. She was a foreign queen, whom the king Ahab, a rebel against YHWH’s Law, married (even against the Law; Jews weren’t allowed to marry from other countries), she brought *many of her own gods and her own priests/prophets into a nation she wasn’t native to, seeking to overthrow that nation’s religion and system of worship which had been established long before she cever came onto the scene; she even went as far as ordering the death of the majority of the prophets of YHWH (who were the main spokepersons for YHWH). Her motives were very clear: she wanted to overthrow Israel’s system of worship and replace it with hers and she was willing to and did murder people for it; she specifically targeted the religious leaders of that system of worship and killed them; to clearly silence the voices of YHWH’s and Israel’s chosen and approved system of worship. You’re either too naive to see such an obvious corruption and hunger for political power and control in her, or are just too caught up and intoxicated by your corrupted modern feminist ideology that Jezebel also clearly imbibed; or it’s a gross mixture of both because there’s no way any truly moral person (as you’re trying to so strongly portray yourself to be with your Biblically illiterate arguments and statements) would act like Jezabel was a victim or that she was misunderstood. If she believed in her own gods by herself as she was brought up to, didn’t kill most of YHWH’s prophets and didn’t bring her own religion’s priests/prophets to replace them and the whole nation’s system of worship, then this discussion would have never existed, but that’s exactly what she did.
That you’ve naively and stubbornly refused to accept facts and read the Bible and the stories that are the subject matter for yourself, which is very clear from your comments, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to.
@Furienna You also make the statement that: “…if someone had told you that they saw Baal send a prophet fire from Heaven, would you have believed them? Absolutely not….” Once again, your Biblical and historical illiteracy betray you. You are communicating like these things were taking place in the modern world where people aren’t as religious as they used to be back then. The majority of the world at that time believed in God or “the gods”; they believed in the supernatural or miraculous far more than they do today; that’s even why Jezebel had so many priests of Baal working for her. These weren’t priests who merely “spoke” about Baal, they were priests who practiced sorcery, witchcraft, magic and communicated with spirits; the equivilent of what psychics, clairvoyants and other spiritual practioners do even today (all of which YHWH in His Law condemned and didn’t permit to be done in His nation). So the answer is a very big YES to your question about believing if fire came from Heaven (the sky). Ahab, Jezabel’s husband was there witnessing the event, as well as a great number of other nationals and locals. And because Elijah was the only prophet of YHWH standing against the priests of Jezabel because she had killed all the others of YHWH’s prophets for religious and political control, Jezabel sought to kill Elijah also because he had destroyed all of her priests just as YHWH and His Law commanded to be done against all so-called prophets who influenced the nation of Israel to worship other gods.
@Furienna You should read and study the Bible and see the details in the stories for yourself instead of just going by what you read in this article or from the comments; it’s clear that you haven’t read it or understood it because your responses are grossly ignorant to the content and context of the subject matter. And since the Bible is a whole book, it must be studied completely in context and contextual analysis, as well as comprehensive textual analysis and principles must be applied, not just for you to jump on a subject without understanding what was really happening and airing your opinions as if those who do have the comprehensive textual and contextual analysis are speaking of things they don’t understand. They do understand much more than you think and much more than you do because they read the Bible and have read it. But if you don’t know or understand the Bible then you don’t have a good understanding of why they are making the statements they are making.
And it’s high time manipulative anti-Christians stop thinking that the “it is really judgemental to…” card will continue to work on Christians to try to silence us about any and every matter. When Jesus said “Don’t judge…” The Greek word used there for “judge” refers to condemning people. Whilst other places tell us to prove, judge and examine all things (have God’s views, verdicts and opinions about them), ESPECIALLY MATTERS OF FALSE GODS, FALSE RELIGIONS AND FALSE PROPHETS AND TEACHERS (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, 1 John 4:1-5. 1 Corinthians 2:15).
There’s nothing humble and praiseworthy about being naive and letting evil, manipulative and deceptive people get away with their bad and negative acts and works whilst we watch our detiriorate and become increasily wicked, whilst coweringly saying, “Oh, but Jesus said not to judge; and they are telling us not to judge…” Jesus and other places in the Bible tell us to follow and imitate Jesus. Jesus stood and spoke against the wickedness and corruption of power-wielding individuals and institutions, as well as members of the general communities. He even stated in one place that the words that He spoke and taught will judge the world on judgment day (John 12:48); and those are the words He sent all Christians to make known to the world; and He told us that those who believe and receive the words will be saved and safe, but those who don’t believe will be and are damned already. We love and care for people, but we are not having out mouths stopped and silenced by the childishness and rebellion of people who want to manipulate us with “victim” cards and want to regulate our speech and our message–just as Jezebel tried to do in ancient times. People fail to understand that “Jezebel” is a spiritual system operating in the earth as a spirit to persecute and tried to regulate the people of God (YHWH) and the whole world, and to teach and seduce them into ways, practices and lifestyles that are contrary to God’s. Jezebel is mentioned in the Old Testament, and mentioned in the New Testament by Jesus, many centuries after the death of the woman Jezebel and He describes the characteristics of the spiritual system of Jezebel, which is the mother of the corrupt versions of feminism, idolatry and all religions and addictions that are contrary to the God of the Bible and His truth.
Very interesting subject, thanks for posting.
Interesting article, though by suggesting that we see the “Biblical storytellers” had an agenda then you really have to understand who the biblical storyteller really is. Whatever attitudes were represented in writings in the bible towards this Jezebel, it is that very attitude of God (yes there is a God). Whatever is written and how it’s written is the revelation of what the Creator really thinks on the subject, meaning, it is completely perfect.
The Bible when seen correctly, is a representation of God. This is not just some book of history written by man, but by God.
If you miss the point that the Word of God (the bible) is God (John 1:1), you miss the whole bible and it is of no effect.
Email me back or respond if you wish to say anything. Thanks!
I thought it was an interesting idea to look at her in such a way. I feel that she was evil. I agree from her perspective she may not have seen herself as evil. I also doubt Hitler saw himself as evil ,but that doesn’t anything he did less horrific. My biggest argument in this paper is that just because we stand up for what we think is right, doesn’t actually make it right or worthy of our actions. This is because we lack a Godly perspective to see what is actually right and wrong in this world. Still a good paper I thought, ideas like these are important because they challenge us to look at the story again. Analyzing it with a new perspective allowing us to gain even more from the word of God.
I believe that your comparison between Jezebel and Hitler is awefully interesting, but for a different reason than what you may think: They have only been seen as evil by people after their deaths because… they lost a war. Because if Germany had managed to win the WWII, it would have been much harder for us to judge the Nazis for their actions. There has been some welcome criticism in later years, where it has been shown that the victors were hardly any better than the Nazis: The US treated any Asian-American as a dangerous criminal, not to mention the dropping of nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities. And plenty of German women were raped by Soviet soldiers. But it took us several decades to get even that far, because it has always been true that the victor will write the history of any conflict.
Which brings me back to Jezebel. Sure, we can sit here in 2018 AD and feel that she did some horrible things. But what gives us the right to condemn a woman, who had been raised in an old culture with a very different mindset from ours? And furthermore, Elijah and Jehu were just as bad as Jezebel. As a matter of fact, I believe that Jehu had much more blood on his hands than Jezebel ever had. But we’re still supposed to see her as the villain and them as the heros. Why? Because (1) Jehu managed to beat Jezebel in a war and was king for 28 years, so he could make sure that all the propaganda made him look good for millennia, and (2) the Books of Kings were written by someone, who believed that Jezebel’s faith was objectively wrong, and Elijah’s and Jehu’s faith was objectively right. It is just as simple as that.
It is very much about time that we started to look at these people with less bias, even if that will be hard for anybody who sees the Bible as the holy Word of God. We’re looking at a conflict, where everybody was guilty of what we would see as horrible crimes. As a matter of fact, Jezebel might even be less guilty than Elijah and Jehu. Because it’s clear that the narrator wanted to see her as an evil shrew, so he could very much have exaggerated and even lied to portray her negatively. And on the other hand, he is very open with that Elijah and Jehu had hundred of people murdered. But that is okay, since God is supposedly on their side anyway.
If Janet Gaines were ever to come to Jesus, she would rush to DELETE everything she has said.
Reading the authors comments, I can’t help but recall, “…the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” 2 Cor 4:4
Over the years I’ve seen plenty of unbelievers trying to discredit the Bible, and fail miserably because:
“That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Mk 4:12
But I’ll pray for her to be saved, especially when we are so close to God’s coming judgement on America for her vast sins.
Check out Jonathan Cahn on youtube for some AMAZING parallels between
-Israel (during the time of Ahab) and America
-Ahab and Bill Clinton
-Jezebel and Hillary Clinton
-Jehu and President Trump
(A teaser: Jezebel was a ‘sure thing’ for taking the throne of Israel, until a ‘Warrior’ (Jehu) who is not even a politician, competes with her for the throne, upsets the status quo with his wild, unconventional ways, and defeats her.)
Jezebel dies in the end from being thrown out of a window, trampled by horses, and eaten by dogs. I’m not saying that will happen to Hillary, but if it does, you heard it here first.
Ok- Proverbs tells us not to argue with fools- so let’s abandon this heathen site…
Let’s find a Bible commentary where the author loves the Word of God.
The comments of the readers are far better than the authors…
“Fools”? “Heathen”? Those are some really harsh words to throw towards people, just because you happen to not agree with them. Please try to think outside your own little box for a while instead. Then you will see that everybody doesn’t have to share your faith. And you will see that the Bible is not necessarily “the Word of God”, but a scripture written by several different mortal men with prejudices from their different eras.
A specialist in the Bible as literature? May God give you wisdom and faith, something that this narrative is obviously lacking.
I guess that to you, your faith is the only wisdom and and only your faith is valid. But that is not true. If you open your eyes a bit, you will see that what’s “right” and “wrong” is not the same thing to everybody.
I am a little perturbed bias this commentary is written. It has some good information but I couldn’t finish. Was there some feminist agenda that guided this writing? I wholeheartedly disagree that the women of Israel had no voice, because there are many examples that God uses women in powerful ways
Well, women were mostly second class citizens everywhere until the 20th century. So that is the mindset, that we must deal with while we’re reading the Bible. And I don’t believe that it’s wrong to point that not. Neither is having a feminist agenda necessarily such a bad thing. Yes, it is true that some of the women in the Bible are characters in their own right: Eve and Sarah and Rebecca and Leah and Rachel are just five examples, and that is only from Genesis alone. But it seems like they average on only one or at most two per generation. And no matter what, the men are mostly still in charge of the family and the nation at large.
But even so, the problem with Jezebel is not only that she’s a woman during this time period. Because if she had been an Israelite from the beginning, or even a sweet convert to proto-Judaism, like Ruth, then the narrator would have mostly been on her side. But unfortunately, Jezebel happened to be a foreigner and devoted to her own religion. So automatically, she has to be demonized forever. And the fact that she has an influence over Ahab is also treated as a terrible thing, which is double standards as well, because as soon as any woman in the Bible, who belongs to the “right” faith, is an influence on her husband, this is normally treated as good or at least understandable by the narrative.
Awe, yes Tameika you have discernment for this feminist agenda, a religion all its own.
I don’t understand. Why would Ahab have to teach her for her not to attempt something so foolish. She went into another country and waged a war of religion.
Sorry, but it’s common sense for this to be a bad idea. The author is overtly defending Jezebel to a fault. This lost me as a reader, because there is a clear bias.
I understand there is a bias with the Bible as well, but the author didn’t choose the middle ground. They picked the other side.
It was still an interesting read though.
What might look foolish today wasn’t necessarily seen as such back in her time. All of these people lived in the Irone Age, when there was hardly any concept at all of religious freedom. Jezebel then probably did what she thought that her gods wanted her to do, just as Elijah and Jehu (one of these days, I have to write a post here about his atrocities) did what God supposedly wanted them to do. But yeah, she is the villain here since she’a foreigner and devoted to the “wrong” religion.
And I’m not even too sure anymore that it was Jezebel, who was the instigator in this war of religions. But she would lose it in the end, so it became easy for the winners to make her look bad to future generations.
I have to thank you though for admitting that there is a bias in the Bible. But that is also why an article in Jezebel’s favor is a welcome change, even if there might be a bias there too.
Jezebel was possessed/influenced by a demonic spirit or dark force of evil. And… There is nothing bias about The Bible. It is God’s word. There is nothing but Truth in The Bible.
Hello, Ross! I really hope that you will read this, because I couldn’t reply to you in any other way than making a new comment. Just like you, I would have loved a e-mail notification system. But it seems like that it doesn’t work that way here on this site. Too bad… Well, let’s start with answering your questions to me.
The “you” in my reply is to be seen as a collective “you” to all the commenters, who will defend Elijah and condemn Jezebel despite the double standards of this. It never was my intention to target you personally, so I’m sorry if you have taken it that way.
As for Elijah only having Baal’s prophets killed in retaliation… Yeah, that could have been a valid intepretation. Except for that the Bible doesn’t say why Jezebel had Jahve’s prophets killed. We are lead to believe that she did it because she simply was evil, but I feel that some details are missing about what happened. Like I said in an earlier comment, I believe that she could have had two reasons for doing what she did: Either she actually believed that her gods wanted her to do it, or some of Jahve’s prophets had attacked Baal’s prophets. Elijah’s glee about his massacre makes the last possibility very plausible. But even though these are just my personal theories, and I can absolutely be all wrong about this (the Bible is silent about what Jezebel’s true motives were, so I can’t say anything for certain), I guess that we can agree that we don’t really know what happened. So I can’t really condemn a person from the 9th century BC, who was never even allowed to give us her side of the story.
What would have the best course of action in this situation? Like I have said in earlier replies, King Ahab should have at least tried to make Elijah and Jezebel make a truce. They would’ve been bound by law to let each other’s religions be. Of course, you can argue that this is just me looking back at it from a 21rst century mindset. Religious freedom was not a thing back then. And it would probably have been futile anyway, especially as neither Elijah nor Jezebel would have accepted such an agreement. They would have just kept fighting to the last drop either way. But that is still what I think should have been done at that point, no matter how unrealistic it may sound.
As for the quote about “foreign idolatry”, that was only my way of expressing how Elijah looked at Jezebel’s religion. But it was only my words for how I have come to interpret his views.
And again, I don’t believe that they knew that much about each other’s religions. Elijah saw Jezebel’s religion as evil and wanted to just squash it out of Israel. Jezebel would have been puzzled by Elijah’s religion, because she would have been used to something very different. And it has seldom helped that two religious groups are neighbors. They have still often not understood each other at all.
Well written, thoughtful article. Refreshing and very interesting to see critical thinking (rather than blind acceptance) applied to ancient biblical stories. I’ll be looking for more of your work.
And thank you leaving a positive comment about the article. 🙂
The authors perspective is too much in defense of Jezebel trying to exonerate a woman, who in the end result, was destructive to a people and culture based on the one true and living God, not just a man made fictional character called a god. She minimizes Elijah while elevating Jezebel in order to erase the recording of a woman who was destructive to a country, its culture, it’s religion, and it’s purpose for existing. Regardless of the writer of Deuteronomies intent to illustrate the evils of idolatry and consequences for the same, It doesn’t change Jezebels performance or legacy. She was marrying into Israel, as a political arrangement, she should have acclimated to that society as she is coming into that country, and not attempt to change and corrupt that society. There is nothing redeemable about her character and yes, there can be bad and evil women. We don’t need to always try and smooth things over so women don’t look bad. There are evil and bad men throughout scripture there can be evil and bad women throughout the same.
Jezebel was no more destructive to the country than Elijah was. They both had people of the rival religion killed, so it makes no sense to call one of them “good” and the other one “evil”. Both of them should be equally condemned or equally forgiven. And we don’t really even know why Jezebel had Jahve’s prophets killed. The traditional view is of course that she simply did it because she was that evil. But I say that she probably was afraid that her gods would punish her, if she didn’t have them killed. That, or she might have punished them because they were attacking Baal’s prophets. Because we have a good portrayal from Elijah of how a Jahve’s prophet treated Baal’s prophets: they killed them too, with glee. As soon as they got a chance to do so.
Ahab taught Jezebel nothing about how things worked in Israel, and he also let her do what she pleased. So alas, she would have had no reason to feel that she had to learn anything about her new country. Sure, we can feel that we should have anyway. But who are we to judge somebody, who lived back in 9th century BC? And we have to also remember that the Biblical narrative is fully against Jezebel, so it would not give us any positive things to say about her. Unfortunately, it seems like the Bible is our only source about her. So she hasn’t had the best legacy, no. But I have opened my eyes to her story during the last year or so. And I truly believe that there are two sides to this story.
As people of a modern world, we tend to look at justice from a modern point of view. What we call injustice, was based on the the decision of the All mighty God. Although we think of God’s justice as harsh, it is just. The claim that Jezebel may not have know about the God of Israel doesn’t make sense. The fact that she was married to Ahab, a King of Israel, leads me to believe that she knew about the God of the bible, or (Torah) for it was not just a religion, it was and still is a lifestyle. People have asked the question for centuries; “How do we know that God is God?” I give you the same answer He gave to Isaiah. Isaiah 46:8-13. 8 Remember this, and show yourselves men: bring it again to mind O you transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of ole: for I am God and there is none else. I am God and there is none like me. 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying. My counsel that shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executes my counsel from a far country: yes I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass: I have purposed it, I will also do it. 12 Harken unto me, you stout hearted, that are far from righteousness.
God says that you can know that He is God because He will tell you what’s going to happen in the future so that when it happens, you will know that He is God because he will make it happen. “Prophecy” proves the Word of God.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
This passage means – there is no other. This choice is made today by you and me. God shares His fame with no other god(false). He was at your beginning and He will be at your end. The choice is still yours.
But how is it fair to put one faith before all others? You have to realize that no faith is right for everybody.
Furienna there is but one creator to worship all else is “man made” falsehoods, icons, Baals. Only He is righteous, not you or I. Self righteousness is the exact stumbling block presented here. There is no other. Your trying to make room for a false program you want to support, your making up a program(s) that simply wont float no matter how hard you want your ship to sail. He created us, knew us before time began and knows our future. We have no say when He delivered us into this world, date, time and place, we will have no say the day we are taken out. Sovereignty, plain and simple, His Sovereignty.
I believe that at the end of the day it’s all about what truth an individual stands under. Because my God is/was for her execution and the execution of her prophets, I am in total agreement with His judgment. He created her, she caused havoc, so her and her followers destruction was/is just. “Matthew 6:10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” even our own governments punish individuals according to a their crimes…some criminals receive the death penalty….is God not more just than our Earthly judicial systems?
I found some interesting and beneficial observations in the article as well as points of disagreement. (That’s why we must have discussions). Our conclusion will be heavily influenced by our starting point. I would start with accepting Psalm 9:9 “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” My starting point would be that the Bible is the absolute standard by which all things must be judged. There is a great difference in murder and execution for evil. Romans 1 and other passages show the evil of idolatry. Those who served idols instead of the Creator were worthy of death. This is not grace or love, it is justice. When one does not accept the grace of God, then justice is the only alternative. Jezebel received justice.
But here is the thing: we don’t all have the same faith. And that is the truth today, and it was the truth back when Jezebel lived. So you can’t put the Bible (or indeed, any scripture) as an absolute standard for everybody. Jezebel had no knowledge about the Israelite faith and its laws, so how exactly could she have understood it? And likewise, Elijah had no knowledge about her religion or any understanding for it. As a matter of fact, both of them refused to budge even an inch in their stubbornness. So they would condemn each other without mercy, when they could just have let each other be. King Ahab should have told them to make a truce and let both religions exist, but he was too weak to do the right thing.
Love this, thanks for the great, well-researched read!
Queen Jezebel is the worst enemy against God people,I have ever read about she was facecally first but now she spiritually because her legacy is now living in people dess days.
Again, you’re judging her only from the Bible’s entirely negative view on her. But I don’t believe that the Bible is fair towards Jezebel. After all, there was nothing more abominable to all the men, who wrote down the Bible, than a strong woman from a different culture, who refused to adapt to the faith and laws of Israel. And because that is what Jezebel was, and because her side would eventually lose the war, people became free to smear her reputation and portray her as some evil monster. Not because of what she did (because you might have noticed that Elijah was just as cruel against his opponents), but because of her having the “wrong” religion.
Well now … taking this article at its intended (implicit?) value, I’m reminded of a horse; a tall horse, a tall, substantial horse. A tall, substantial horse with a saddle. Now if there is a point of balance to that saddle, then there is imbalance as well. Reasonably, if you sit too far right, you upset that balance and – off you go – all the way to the feet of this substantial horse. Conversely, if you sit too far left – the same fate befalls you – if only from a different perspective. Thus, I reason, for the sake of discussion, if the Deuteronomists sat too far right, Ms. Gaines, with no less zeal to balance patriarchy with feminism, positioned herself too far left. The end result? A sermon only the choir could condone.
Or, put it in a different perspective: how bad is Janet Howe Gaines’ article? It is “unknown and unknowable.” But it’s pretty bad.
Along with the many weaknesses already pointed out in this article, another, and I think preeminent one, is this: the story was far less about Jezebel and her strength (though she was a fine example of how a woman can conquer kings and kingdoms) and more about Ahab and his weakness; but mostly it was about the known, knowable and unstoppable plan of the God of the Deuteronomists. Had Ahab, like the kings before him, simply obeyed his God, Ms. Gaines would have no Jezebel to leverage.
Wow… So we got three commenters in a row, who refuses to look outside their own prejudices of who Jezebel was. But I guess that this is what 2800 years of mud-slinging will do to you, when you have lost a battle of religions and you’re unable to give people your side of the story. I have to yet again applaud ms Gaines for trying to remedy this. But it seems like even now in 2018, many people in the world still aren’t ready to widen their horizons about Jezebel.
And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the poster, who has the nerve to call Ms Gaines’s anyalysis “a biased account”. Jeesh… It is the Bible, that has a biased account about Jezebel. Nobody has claimed that Jezebel was an innocent angel, who never did anything wrong to another human being. But neither was she the completely evil monster, that so many people still believe that she was. And when you realize that Elijah was just as bad as she was, it is hard to condemn her and root for him.
No surprises here. One Jezebel trying (unsuccessfully) to defend another. But this is typical. Modern women will come up with any twisted convoluted excuses they can to justify or excuse their indefensible wicked behavior, or to avoid any responsibility or accountability for it. They invariably will either deny the behavior is bad, or they will blame someone else for it. In the workplace or in their personal lives, the blame for anything that goes wrong within their sphere of control and responsibility will be blamed on someone else, and that someone else will nearly always be a man.
Fully agree with the comment above. Ms. Gaines article is so skewed with feminist claptrap in defense of Jezebel (and, at the same time, critical of all males, including the Duteronimist and the male God of the Jews) that it is not worth the read. She seems to portray Jezebel as some innocent who was simply trying to help the Jews with her alternative (and equal in might) Baal to Yahweh. Ms. Gaines, are there still worshippers of Baal around today that give you the right to put him on equal footing with the Christian Lord of Lords? And to accuse Elijah of “running away in fear of a mere woman’ when she already was known to command her guards to kill prophets she disagreed with? Absurd. I am knowledgeable of much of the Bible but was not of Jezebel, so I did a web search. It is a shame that such a biased account as yours, twisting the truth, is even left posted on the internet. I suggest readers search for other, more honest and less biased, accounts of her life.
Typical academia. Completely intellectual with an obvious agenda, divorced from real life. The Bible is not literature. It is unremarkable as literature except for Isaiah. It is not Frodo Baggins on his way to Mordor.
You believe first then you understand.
The truth is there are good guys and bad guys. There are those who would save humanity and those who would destroy it. Look at what Jezebel’s lovely daughter did to her own grandchildren.
So do your own test. Pray to Baal and see what happens.
This article is as horrifying as it’s scary. The article sums up the meaning of perversion! Taking something clearly marked for a purpose and twisting it for some other sinister purpose. The Bible is God’s message to man. Though written by men, it is divinely inspired. When a person feels they can be logical about the Bible and go as far as painting the message in the Bible to suit a clearly opposite narrative, at that point, such a person is functioning in a full capacity as Satan – The adversary of God and anything godly! Talk about feminism and civil rights all you like. God never changes and if you hate Him for it, go create your own world! The bottom line is: Jezebel and all her praise singers would eventually face the wrath of our God!
“Ironically, at the conclusion of the Carmel episode, Elijah proves capable of the same murderous inclinations that have previously characterized Jezebel, though it is only she that the Deuteronomist criticizes.”
“There is a definite double standard here. Murder seems to be accepted, even venerated, as long as it is done in the name of the right deity.”
The quotes above are just terrible statements. I think part of the problem here is that that you seem to believe that both the God of Israel and the pagan deities of Baal and Ashtoreth have the same standing. They do not. The practices brought forth to the land of Israel with the introduction of these Phoenician deities were an abomination to the Lord, God of Israel. The practices as performed by their priests and temple prostitutes included lewd dances, “sacred” orgies and even went as far as to include self mutilation (slashes) and the sacrificing of children.
Given these horrid practices, it seems shocking for anyone to thus make the following statement:
“Perhaps Jezebel optimistically believes that she can encourage religious tolerance and give legitimacy to the worship habits of those Baalites who already reside in Israel. Perhaps Jezebel sees herself as an ambassador who could help unite the two lands and bring about cultural pluralism, regional peace and economic prosperity.”
It seems that one has to fool themselves to believe that Jezebel was some kind of champion for civil liberties. Nonsense really. I mean lets also remember that Jezebel sought to stamp out every remnant of the Lord’s worship and to kill every prophet of God unless they compromised their convictions and turned into “yes” men for Ahab.
Also, here is another example of the dirty broken lense through which you seem to look at this biblical narrative:
“Perhaps the Biblical compiler is using Jezebel as a scapegoat for his outrage at her influence over the king, meaning that she herself is being framed in the tale. Traditionally thought to be a narrative about how innocent Naboth is falsely accused, the story could instead be an exaggeration of fact, fabricated to demonstrate the Deuteronomist’s continued wrath against Jezebel.”
The problem here is that this is telling of how you see Biblical narrative- not as the inspired Word but rather, as of the same value of any other book, where the human author is simply trying to present his/her story, including all of their prejudices, ignorance, manipulation etc. Except, from the text, it is clear that such is not the case here. For example why would the Deuteronomist belittle the prophet of God Elijah by portraying him as a fearful, cowardly man that flees for his life when threaten by Jezebel? After all, he has just valiantly faced, defeated and put to death hundreds of her priests and priestesses.
Clearly, this is tainted by a feminist agenda/perspective rather than objective study. Shameful, really.
Well, it is only proper in 2018 to look at the Bible in a more objective way. That is, we should treat it as we treat every other work from that the ancient cultures. Even if you believe that the Bible is a holy scripture, many other people won’t agree with you. Some will even refer to the Buble as “just a book of fairytales”. Which I don’t agree with at all, because that is just signs of an anti-religious bias. But neither do I agree with the belief that you can never ever question the Bible, or that we have to always admire its “heroes” or condemn its “villains”. And if you can only see things from your own perspective, well, then you’re the one with an obvious agenda, who can’t do an objective study.
It is true though that Jezebel was no advocate for religious tolerance, judging by how she had Jahve’s prophets killed. But on the other hand, it is clear Elijah was in no way better than her. For he too had many of his religious opponents killed, as soon as he got the chance to do so. And still, the narrative of the Bible wants us to only condemn one of them, while we should admire the other, to the point that Jezebel meets a gruesome death and didn’t even get a funeral, while Elijah is allowed to enter Heaven without even having to die first! Why? Because one had the “wrong” faith, and the other had the “right one”. It is no more complicated than that, if you ask the person who wrote these stories down back in the day. But I can’t agree with it, even if you can. Both should have been condemned equally for their transgressions.
Vast percentage of women in the present generation have taken the path of Jezebel by the way of facial make-up, deception and seduction.
” But her character might not be as dark as we are accustomed to thinking. Her evilness is not always as obvious, undisputed and unrivaled as the Biblical writer wants it to appear.” Are you freaking kidding me? Unbelievably blind statement.
I’m sorry but isn’t it a common practice especially in the Western world to sacrifice children by dumping them in child care or with a nanny as parents chase the almighty dollar? Of course the underprivileged often have no other choice, but how do well-to-do parents sleep at night when they prefer to work countless hours (to buy a fancier house, car, clothes, toys, etc) instead of spending more time and attention on their sons and daughters? Doesn’t it seem hypocritical? Perhaps such infants and young children are not being physically burned to death, yet I would argue differently for the sake of their soul.
I have been personaly talked to by God…and been visited by The Blessed Mother Mary….I Am a messanger of Our One True God…yet i understand you Furienna…when Jusus Christ..our Lord and Savior….(NOT JAHOVA/witness…IS A CULT)came into our world..he taught Love!!!…all the old ways were Abolished..Jezebel can truly be seen as a child and woman of her upbringing…the Human race..is and has always been Cruel..Jesus died for our sins…his own people crucified him…Jesus was a Sacrifice…A Child Of Our God..the only way the Truth will be revealed…is when We die Ouselves..Jezebel truly loved her man…and her beliefs were true to her Own Heart…the bible says..no man shall take away the beliefs of what feels true in their heart…True…there is One true God…but how was she to know? We All Fall Short of God…we are All Sinners…JESUS TAUGHT US TO LOVE AND FORGIVE…AMEN
Thank you! Yes, even if she did some things, which sound terrible by modern standards, Jezebel has to be seen as a product of her upbringing. Judging her from our 21rst century mindset is not fair. (And if you want to judge her from a 21rst century mindset, Elijah has to be judged too for his massacre of the Baal prophets.) And furthermore, it’s obvious that our only sources about her life are harshly biased against her. So I want to think that there’s more to Jezebel than the traditional view, that she only was a 100 % evil tyrant.
You know Furienna, that’s why these cultures you admire so much died out! Pagans and baby killers! Just like the Aztec and Maya! Get real will ya! Jezebel was evil just like many who have chosen to men and women! You just don’t like it cuz it’s a women, give me a break?
Lest we should forget, documentary and archaeological evidence strongly associates the worship of Ba’al with child sacrifice.
We could argue the bias of the writers in 1 kings or we can go by our modern less bias opinion. We have no problem with a queen with a voice but Ahab was weak since he allowed her to kill. We would not look at her highly since she followed a religion that required human sacrifice. Indo Europeans from groups like the alt right would use this to make a cause against not her but all such non indo europeans.
i still dont get why the writer would support Jezebel. In any culture their are norms and values to be taken heed of. and as Christians the first law says You shall not have any gods besides Jehovah, that is in the old testament the new testament Jesus said you shall love your GOD Yahweh with all your your heart. So Jezebel and no right to come and pollute Gods people she should have repented and turned from her wicked ways and let Gods people worship their God. Who in their right minds would see any good in in sacrificial and molestation of infants and sexual immorality with animals. Thats demonic.
What you have to understand is that Jezebel wasn’t an Israelite, and there was no such thing as Christianity until some 800 years after she lived. So she couldn’t have had any knowledge about Yahweh, and Jesus had yet to be born for several centuries. So why do you expect her to follow your norms and values and your faith?
I appreciate the realistic and sympathetic look at this woman. She is easily demonized by people who have been taught to hate her, instead of realizing that all religion is hearsay to outsiders. Jezebel was unfairly demonized by the propagandist Deuteronomistic source to push the centralization of the cult, like many people in the related books. Elijah committed many atrocities, yet people blindly accept that what he did was correct. Moral blinders are dangerous, even when reading your holy book.
The author sounds like Jezebel herself trying to rationalize and justify fighting against YHVH as if it acceptable.
What you have to understand is that Jezebel came from Ancient Phoenicia, where a different culture with a different religion was the norm. And she probably had no knowledge about YHVH or the laws of Israel, when she became the queen of her new country. Ahab should of course have made sure that she got lessons in these important matters, but he was too weak to demand this to happen. And this weakness was the start of a long process, where his whole family was killed off. And the fact that his family was killed off, including Jezebel and all their sons, gave all their opponents a chance to start a smear campaign against them, and to condemn Jezebel in particular.
But when you consider that Elijah had five hundred men killed in one single day, just because they worshipped the “wrong” god, it is hard for me to see him as the flawless hero, who had the moral advantage over Jezebel. It is much easier for me to see this as a power struggle between two people, who both did awful things in the name of their two different religions. And it was about time that somebody stopped to see this story in black and white, so we could start seeing it in shades of grey instead.
Wow, very troubling. I think the author failed to explain the standards of good and evil by which she is judges Jezebel’s actions. If the standards of good is God, then of course she was extremely vile. In contrast, Elijah was doing God’s bidding, as expressed in her own quoting of 1 Kings 18:36–37.
“…. I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your bidding… O Lord, are God; for You have turned their hearts backward”
What is happening to Christian academia that one would publish something so baseless and opinionated (It’s interesting, but very misleading and useless in interpreting the scriptures). It’s like trying to defend Hitler. I’m sure there were good things about him to right about, that doesn’t mean his actions were good even though one may try to argue his intents were.
When measuring morality one must first choose the right measuring standard. Obviously the author of this article disregard the biblical author’s measuring standard as the correct one, implying that her’s is equal or better. That’s dangerous.
I find your synopsis troubling. My religion is not a cult. If you intimately knew the one true God, you would understand the relationship Christians and devout Jews have with Him. The individuals who wrote the Bible did not write their own words, 2nd Timothy 3:16. so as far as I am concerned your piece is of no value to me. The bottom line is this, Jewish people and Christians are to worship no other deity but God. Any other worship is a sin.
Hmmm… More attention to Baal worship should be noted…especially if you’re comparing the moral turpitude of Jezehell and Elijah. I’m not sure if Janet has researched Baal worship. It’s important to understand what Baal is, and that Baal is a demon. Worship involves human baby, sacrifices at the alter of Baal, sex and molestation of infants and children, performed wild orgies with humans and animals. These Canaanites were among those who had mixed DNA of fallen angels. They are an abomination.
This is a “scholarly article “?
This is poorly formed opinion that lacks maturity and actual research. Seriously, If this was written by a 17 yo, there may be more room for grace. But a grown woman?
Another “feminist” infiltrating the young impressionable minds of Christian women. Please Furienna, research, actually research Baal worship, do not just Wikipedia it. Then read the article again.
Revelation 2:20 But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols. [I Kings 16:31; II Kings 9:22, 30.]2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she has no desire to repent of her immorality [symbolic of idolatry] and refuses to do so.Take note: I will throw her on a bed [of anguish], and those who commit adultery with her [her paramours] I will bring down to pressing distress and severe affliction, unless they turn away their minds from conduct [such as] hers and repent of their doings. Take note: I will throw her on a bed [of anguish], and those who commit adultery with her [her paramours] I will bring down to pressing distress and severe affliction, unless they turn away their minds from conduct [such as] hers and repent of their doings. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not explored and known the depths of Satan, as they say–I tell you that I do not lay upon you any other [fresh] burden:
Only hold fast to what you have until I come.
Good luck with that judgement
Thanks Janet for giving us more insight on the character of Jezebel becouse yes she died then but her spiritial sons and doughters live up to today and they are the Enamies of the God of isreal and the cross of christ,so where as u balanced it we have seen the deception that she carries and she must be stoped if christianity is to survive. But in all this we thank God who grants the victory he did it then and he will do it again.. thanks
Typical op ed…when will scholars teach instead of stealing and manipulating the minds of our young people.
I’m sorry, but I sense you have to look beyond your own faith and opinions and see that different people have different beliefs, and that yours is not superior to others.
When are you going to do a piece on the injustice of the writers toward Satan?
It needs little explanation when someone interprets literature under the guise of “specialist in the Bible as literature” (whatever that means) and when someone interprets it as the Word of God why the interpretations are as different as night and day. This is a defense of Phoenician religion and a condemnation of the Hebrew religion.
Here, the Hebrew writers of the narrative are all punk men conspiring, exaggerating, and manipulating things. But the Phoenicians, and Jezebel, they’re just telling the truth because well we all know how the Bible guys are. Can’t be trusted.
This article is more manipulative and misandric than the author accuses the writers of the Bible to be misogynistic and manipulative. How boring.
This article is so biased. I like the modern approach but we don’t need all this hateful name calling of the men in the bible it just strays the reader from your modern approach to this story. If I made a list of all the negative words you have used in this article the men would win 10-1 that seems strange….. no?
“She is even more loyal to her husband. Throughout her reign, she boldly exercises what power she has. And in the end, having lived her life on her own terms, Jezebel faces certain death with dignity.”
Written like a true feminist giving glory to the WICKED! Read revelations about jezebel.
The last reference to Jezebel in the Bible is actually Revelation 2:20. This shows she actively taught the Israelites to live immoral lives.
Actually, no. The reference to Jezebel in “Revelations” isn’t about the real woman that she was. But it was rather a hateful charicature of her, based on several other centuries of prejudices and mud-slinging. And as for her “teaching the Israelites to live immoral lives”, you have to remember that different cultures will have different values. And it’s now clear to me that Jezebel did what she thought was right from her Ancient Phoenician point of view, just as much as Elijah did what he thought was right from his proto-Jewish point of view.
What “hatred of males”? Yes, Janet Howe Gaines has criticized the male bias towards women like Jezebel among the men who wrote the Bible. But that is not the same thing as “hatred of males”. Neither do I see any hatred of God. She has looked at this story from a more modern and less black and white perspective, where Jezebel isn’t 100 % evil and Elijah isn’t 100 % perfect. But I guess that thinking outside 2000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition is too much for some people…
Trying to manipulate the Holy Word of God to reflect modern feminist hatred of males, and in this author’s writings, God, is despicable and yet not surprising.
What is the point of postulating motive onto an author, especially when you do not know that much about the author?
This is a tactic that, unfortunately, is overused today regardless of subject matter. By simply saying “he probably said this because…” or “because he was religious/male/nationalistic/prejudice we have reinterpret the plain meaning of the text,” we are attempting to just make anything mean what we want it to.
This makes me sad. In fact, it is fairly oppressive of you toward the author, to assume that there was ill intent in his documentation and not an accurate depiction of what transpired. Do you take into account the countless men in the bible who are also painted in the same negative light? Or the other kings of Israel that are shown to be just as bad as Jezebel?
Frame this in light of the rest of the text (all the old testament), and I think you do not see a biased portrayal of this person, but a fair retelling of the life of someone who was against God.
It is obvious you are reading this from the perspective of one who does not believe in the existence of God, but you should not diminish the perspective from which the author is writing by devaluating his belief.
And you are reading this from the perspective one, who believes that the Bible is always right. And who says that your perspective is more correct than anyone else’s?
It is true that there are many men in the Bible, who are without doubt portrayed as evil. But except for the pharaohs of “Exodus” and Haman of “Esther”, few of them are as hated in Judeo-Christian tradition as Jezebel is. So yes, I believe that the writers of “Kings” had a bias against her because she was a woman. Or to be more correct, they had a bias against Jezebel because she was a foreign woman, who had the nerve to want to be her husband’s co-ruler, despite the fact that she stayed true to her foreign religion.
And as for Jezebel being “against God”, she was yet again raised into a totally different faith than yours. And I don’t see how it’s fair to judge a person from Ancient Phoenicia from the perspective of a 21rst century Christian.
Too much incorporated opinion to what end? I don’t mind educated opinions to help connect the facts, but this one is bending to derail the facts altogether that the opinion is pushing the story south already, into the realm of lobbying.
What facts do you feel are derailed?
You are mistaken, Furienna. Among all the “gods”, only Jesus proved He could make good on His promise to His followers of life after death by his raising of a number of dead people, then his raising of Lazarus, and finally, His own rising from the dead after being horribly beaten and crucified. Not only did He die in our place, He died because of His great love for us, and paid our debt of sin so that we may join Him in eternal fellowship with God. No other god or religious leader has been able to both claim and DO what Jesus did. And Jesus didn’t just do this on His own whim, He fulfilled centuries of prior prophecy as He accomplished it, proving the love and faithfulness of God the Father to redeem the relationship with humankind that was lost. The God of the Bible is the only God who actively loves and seeks out a relationship with us; all other so-called gods apparently need to be appeased, and care nothing for their worshippers. It’s not about “acting” superior, but recognizing the God who is superior.
Firstly, there are myths from other religions about demigods being able to raise other people from the dead (Asclepius in Greek mythology) or about gods returning from the dead (Adonis in Greek mythology and Balder in Norse mythology). So that is not unique for Jesus and Christianity. And as for the rest of your post, that is how you see things from your point of view. But it doesn’t have to be the right point of view for everybody else.
“And as for the rest of your post, that is how you see things from your point of view. But it doesn’t have to be the right point of view for everybody else.”
If these words apply to the views of others, then they certainly apply to yours also. You are attempting to police, moderate and correct the points of views of others because you think there’s something wrong with their points of view that you, in your opinion, believe need correction. But it seems you want everyone to accept that your point of view is the right one to go with, whilst telling others that it doesn’t have to be the right point of view for everybody–that’s your point of view about their point of view. The policing and moderating you are doing on other people’s comments seem to apply to them only and not to you. And God knows why you think you are the one to dictate to others that they must accept other people’s points of view; isn’t that your point of view? That it’s right to think that way in your point of view doesn’t mean it has to be right for everybody else.
Very interesting article. Everyone that believes in a, “religion”, thinks their religion is the only true one. Was that way in the past, still that way today. If I don’t change my beliefs and worship your god, you will kill me. More people have died in the name of god than for any other reason.
Well, I’m a bit more optimistic about humanity than you. But yes, this huge conflict between Elijah and Jezebel seems to prove your point. They were both so sure that their faith was the only right one, so much that they both were willing to murder their opponents. How I would have wished that Ahab had been strong enough to just tell them to respect that different religions exist and let each other be. But he was too weak to do so, so things got out of hand.
The Bible is superior to all other religions. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” The Bible is not simply a book written by men long ago. It is “God breathed”. It is holy. Written through men by the Holy God. It requires the help of the Holy Spirit who helps us understand it. Reading it as a scholar without the help of the Holy Spirit will not reveal all that God intended for the reader to understand. That’s why as believers we can see the author’s fallible arguments that may seem logical to her as a scholar but without the work of the Holy Spirit it is missing a deep level of understanding only God can provide.
Janet this is all based on your opinion, please get to know the true God before you go twisting the bible with your unimportant opinions, thanks have a blessed day
As far as Jezebel’s harlotries are concerned, I have never thought it referred to physical harlotry. God often accused His people of harlotry – of turning their backs on Him and worshiping other gods. Though she may have been completely faithful to Ahab physically speaking, she, by her Baal worship, was a harlot in God’s eyes and she led Ahab and many others astray in the same manner.
I’m sorry, but I sense that you have to look beyond your own faith and see that different people have different beliefs. And no faith can be superior or inferior to another.
Nothing in the writings below suggests that the commenters don’t “see” that different people have different beliefs. In fact, they acknowledge that. The majority of Christians “see” that other people have different beliefs. We are not naive to disregard things that stare us in the face every single day.
And I suppose that your statement that “no faith can be superior or inferior to another” is supposed to be accepted as absolute truth simply because YOU said so. That’s your opinion. Perhaps if you said that you “think” no faith can be superior or inferior to another it’d be more appropriate, but you seem to think you’re the one to police the Christians on this post and tell them that no faith can be superior or inferior to another. That’s your opinion, not a fact. So before you tell other people that they need to see that different people have different beliefs, I think that you need to consider your own adivce. What makes you think that you are the one to decide and dictate whether no faith can or cannot be superior or inferior to the other? You say that with such apparent arrogance. Have you conducted a full, in-depth study and comparison of all the faiths in the world and their fallacies and infallacies to come to an honest, well-backed and provable conclusion that no faith can be superior or inferior to another? That sounds like a rather arrogant comment from someone who is judging others of being close-minded. The Bible clear states that the faith of Jesus Christ, which has been given to the Christians superior and the others inferior. Christians hold the Bible to be the very inspired Word of God for many solid and reasonable reasons but you’re less than 100 years old in this old world and are trying to dictate to Christians that no faith is superior or inferior.
I think you also need to consider and accept that different people have different beliefs to yours and look beyond your own faith (beliefs and opinions) because you’re trying to police and supress others’ expressions of their beliefs and seem to be quite angry at their expressions.
And you must think that your faith (beliefs and opinions) are superior to those expressed by others here because you are arguing with them, policing them and trying to prove them wrong for thinking (believing) what and the way they do. You are opposing them because you think your opinions and beliefs are superior to theirs, and theirs inferior.
The Bible clearly states that the Christian faith is superior to the world and all the contrary things to the God of the Bible that it represents: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).
Saying no faith can be superior or inferior to another is your opinion, not a statement of absolute truth. You communicated it as though it’s true just because YOU said it. I think you need to consider that-that’s your belief and opinion instead of trying to push that opinion you hold as a truth that you seem to be dictating that the Christians on this post must believe although their God has told them that the Christian faith is superior to all the others and that they are false.
And none of the writings below have implied that the writers haven’t “seen” that different people have different beliefs. In fact, they acknowledge that. It seems you’re not taking your own advice because you’re apparently intolerant at the fact that they hold different beliefs to the author of this article which have further influenced your own; and you’re seeming angry and hostile with them for holding different views and opinions to yours and to the authors. As much as you agree with the author of this article and communicate that the author of the story of Elijah, Ahab and Jezabel was biased against Jezabel, we also are not naive to the fact that you have your own biases against the Bible and Christians which are clearly evidenced in your writings; biases that reflect a variety of ideas held by various groups and parties in society–that are biased against Christians and the Bible, that make you react and communicate the way you do. You have your own biases but are accusing others of being biased, and are also calling others out for double standards. This is the type of hypocrisy that many who feign moral high grounds over others in society often exude and are fragranced with.
I believe that we grow up in a world not understanding that the war of the supernatural is among us. The Bible says we entertain angels unawares…Paul does not specify what kind of angels those are. Remember Revelation 2:21,22 Jezebel was given space to repent. It doesn’t matter who she was married to or what her upbringing was. God says He is looking for a people who will say to all, “Babylon is fallen”. Yes there are many people stuck in Babylonian cults that truly believe that what they are doing is indeed correct, but we must not forget that those who are blessed with eternal life/eternal restoration will keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus to endure not having their way, but to make THE WAY plain to others that they will have the opportunity to see His overwhelming love for mankind.
To practice killing….willing killing, (because God never desired us to kill) is disobedience to His will and His say. Obedience is the requirement. To disobey is to practice the art of witchcraft, which God clearly states will keep people out of the kingdom of heaven Revelation 21:8. Follow what He says. We need not die. Death is reserved for the fallen angels with whom Jezebel was ultimately worshiping. Her and her people. There was something different about Ruth. Perhaps she was easily swayed by the God of Naomi. But the reason why she was in that position in the first place is because Naomi did not teach her boys the necessity of living a godly lifestyle, for her name is translated as pleasant and her children, because of her pleasntry came out sick and died as a result. So we, as Christians are just as accountable for not teaching one another prophecy and the 3 Angel’s messages of the Bible found in Recelation 14:6-11. She converts because she meets the man who was able to take on EVERYTHING SHE COULD NOT TAKE HERSELF!
Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Sin is a super natural thing which needs to be handled by a super natural God. There is none other that shall stand on our behalf but Jesus (Revelation 12:7-9), who surely did not look over her condition. But coveting is an issue. If someone saw a family heirloom of yours and made it up in their mind that they were going to offer you money for it, but you said no because it was precious to you, nor was it personally yours to just give away. And they got upset and plotted to kill you to get it and succeeded, shall we excuse them because they served demons their whole life? God forbid. And indeed He does. Because contentment is a practicum in the book of faith. What we have, what we earn and own is given to us by God to use to be a blessing unto others for the kingdom’s sake.
That was all she knew, indeed. But God is the One who seeks and saves the lost. So the soon coming day that John 5:28,29 are fulfilled when she rises during that second resurrection she shall rise up and He shall say she is guilty of promoting covetuousness, murder, adultery against the God of the seventh day Sabbath, which breaks all the first four commandments. James 2:10, whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. Jezebel shall be judged with God’s equity and Truth. Doesn’t matter how she grew up.
If I were to write a piece this long, I would make sure that I had knowledge wisdom and understanding first. The word of God is not something you can pick up and interpret anyway you want. Sounds like you need Jesus in your life. The word of God is Holy and true and you or anyone else will never change it. If you ask God to forgive you of your sins and forsake them. If you truly mean it. If you confess with your lips that Jesus Christ is Lord. If you ask him into your life, you to can be saved. Then if God is willing you will began to understand that this is not a cult because your mind and understanding will be opened to the truth. Then you could spend your time wisely and write things that honor God and do not take away from the Truth… God Bless…
Wow. All we have to do is look at the book of Revelations in the Holy Bible. Can it be a Coincidence that Everything in this book has either already happened, is happening today and heading for the end? Are people really that blind? Very scary indeed.
Very politically correct article about a wicked woman. Seems the author does not view the Bible as the Word of God, and her interpretation of those events in the history of Jezebel falls in quite nicely with that view.
Dear Ethel… Nobody today will deny that Jezebel was wrong to kill Jahve’s prophets and execute Naboth. Those things were considered horrible already by the men, who wrote down the stories about here into the Bible. But if you had read this article properlyh, you could have learned to see her as more than just a murderous monster.
Like so many other posters in this comment section, you ignore that Jezebel had another religion than you. For her, there was no one and only god. But she would have believed in many different gods and goddesses. And furthermore, she grew up in an ancient culture with a hugely different set of values than ours. She wanted her subjects to honor her gods and obey their king. So if they didn’t do that, she had to punish them. And no matter how harsh it might seem today, it was a natural reaction from a princess from Ancient Phoenicia.
Like so many other people, you skip over the fact that Elijah also had 450 people killed. Which makes you wonder exactly why he is supposed the hero, while Jezebel is supposed to be the villain. Unless you believe that God actually wants some people to die, just because they happen to belong to the “wrong” religion. And I don’t believe that God is that unfair, even if the Old Testament makes it seem that way some times. So if you stopped seeing Elijah as a lily-white hero and Jezebel as a jet-black villain, you would see that they both are more complex than that. They both have shades of gray, which have mostly been ignored for the last 2500 years.
And furthermore, the writers of the Bible were against Jezebel from the start. This was an ambitious woman from a different culture, who refused to convert to Judaism and be subservient to her husband. And that would have been absolutely frightening to these men. And it was also a huge blow against Jezebel, that Jehu managed to destroy her whole dynasty. So there would be no one left to tell her side of the story.
I got annoyed with this blog post. I can’t bear to finish it. It seems like the writer is taking sides with the wicked Jezebel and justified her folly. Why was Jezebel as this writer said ‘vilified’? She deserved it! She was idolatrous, a murderer, perverted and more! Why is this writer cared so much about that evil woman’s feelings! Rather than understanding that it is more important to obey and worship the only true GOD! Jezebel had had her chances to get to know the real GOD, the righteous and Holy One. But no she didn’t care! Because the lusts of her heart was much more important to her. It seems that this writers’ partiality stems from what’s really in her/his own heart. That’s he/she could identify with the willful Jezebel. Yes us humans are all born to sin. But if we would only be obedient to God we will curb those sinful tendencies. This writer has feminist and humanist view rather than a godly view.
Dear JJ… Jezebel grew up in a culture, where there was nothing wrong with a queen doing what she did. Ahab should have known better though and explained to her what was right and wrong in Israel, that it was important that she learned that they had a different religion and different laws than her native Phoenicia. But he didn’t, so there was nobody to stop her.
And in Jezebel’s mind, there was no choice to be made. Neither would she have felt that she belonged to some “Kingdom of Darkness”. She wanted her subjects to honor her gods and obey their king, which would have been a very reasonable mindset for a queen back then. The problem was that she never learned to accept the culture of Israel, the country that she was supposed to reign over. So there was a huge backlash against her, until she finally was murdered by some of her opponents.
And I’m sad to see that you didn’t mention Elijah’s prosecution of Baal’s prophets. That is clearly supposed to be seen as an act of badassery, if you ask the writers of the Bible. But how is he any better than Jezebel in that regard? He too gladly had his religious opponents killed, and I don’t see why God would be happy about that. Right? So I have to say that both Elijah and Jezebel had shades of grey, which has been overlooked in 2500 years of Judeo-Christian tradition. So it was about time that someone pointed out, that he wasn’t a lily-white hero and she wasn’t a jet-black villain. They are both more complicated than that.
I have to thank you though for being more open-minded about this than many other posters in this comment section.
This was a well written article and very interesting. I would like to share some input though to the truth behind what you’ve written. There many great observations based on facts, and you have sensitively questioned the audine to think for themselves which is great..
But right before I started reading the article, the Holy Spirit showed me a picture of a snake upon this article and the word “deception”. I continued to read to just see what was written. There were some fascinating historical and cultural contexts which I really appreciated.. I felt the deception did come more from the sentiment you had towards jezebel and the spirit in which she was operating from. Yes she is human, but she chose, by her own free will, to live a life based on her allegiance to the Kingdom of Darkness and not the Kingdom of God. Just like Adam and Eve.. Who we obey, we give over our authorities.. and we give our allegiance to them, which makes us an instrument to whom we give our allegiance too.
I loved the cultural context with the make up and other symbolism. It was interesting.
I bless you and your journey with Holy Spirit as you grow to walk in supernatural revelation and discernment into the things of the Spiritual world. I bless you to grow in wisdom in understanding the relationship humans have with the spiritual realm. Bless you
This is Jezebel!!! love you all!!
This is a very scholarly post! Now I see Jezebel from a different perspective and viewpoint. I’m also a Literature major.
Dear Fresh… Yet again, it has become necessary for me to ask a fundamentalist Christian to think outside their box for a while. You refuse to learn anything about Jezebel’s culture, just because it happens to be foreign to you. But if you don’t want to learn anything about the Phoenician culture, you will never understand Jezebel. Did she do some things, which sound terrible to us? Of course, but I now believe that she didn’t do them just for the evils of it (which is how it has been portrayed in the Judeo-Christian tradition). But she did what alas would have been natural for any Phoenician royal of that era in the same situations. And when you consider that Elijah (who is meant to be the hero of the story) had 450 people killed in one single day, you have to wonder why Jezebel is supposed to be the villain here. Furthermore, you have to accept that Christianity isn’t the right religion for everybody. It might work for you, but you have no right to force it upon anybody else.
@Furienna I do not see any attempt on Fresh 66’s part to “force Christianity” upon anybody else, making that accusation false. In fact, he/she communicated that “in their opinion” they understand that the writer has “ignorance of a born again experience of the living God” and that she (the writer) cannot be blamed for it. So there’s no “forcing Christianity” upon anyone there. It appears that, to you, a Christian expressing their thoughts, views and opinions on the article is “forcing Christianity” upon everybody else, whilst you feel like you have the ultimate obligation to police everyone’s comments here and tell them whether their opinions are right or wrong; it seems you are the one trying to force your beliefs and opinions on everybody else here by militantly addressing and attacking every view that is contrary to yours. It seems you feel that everyone has to hold your views and opinions and you can’t let them express their opinions and views without bringing some accusation of close-mindedness or other accusation to them. It seems you feel that, in your view, every commenter and comment needs your approval. It’s very hypocritical and a sad spectacle.
Insightful article but lost in feminism. The narrative and opinions are in my opinion very PC and lefty liberalised. The scourge of western culture. To try and romanticise Jezebels wickedness in a culture that is extremely far removed from modern culture displays a lack of understanding of the text and Holy Spirit revelation. One cannot blame the writer who is in ignorance of a born again experience of the living God. His son Jesus is coming back and all things will be according to His will as told by the prophets.
Dear Irene.. You seem to be yet another religious person, who refuses to think outside the box when it comes to Jezebel. The truth is though that the men who wrote the Bible were biased against her from the start, and they did what they could to throw her name further and further down in the dirt. But if you try to see the events from her perspective, she will soon come across as a much more sympathetic person.
Jezebel grew up as the princess of a Phoenican city state, within a very different culture than that of Israel. Her husband, King Ahab, should have made sure that she got lessons in the culture of her new country. But he was a weak man, who prefered to let his much stronger wife take control and do what she wanted. So she would never understand that enforcing her Phoenician culture on Israel was the wrong way to go, because nobody but her husband the king had any right to tell her to stop.
So then, Jezebel was told that the people of Israel only had one god. And that would simply not have made any sense to a person, who had grown up in a different culture with a polytheistic religion. Instead, she felt a duty to honor her Phoenician gods and worship then. Because she believed that if she didn’t, all kinds of misfortunes would fall upon the country. Going so far that she persecuted the prophets of Jahve would of course give her a bad reputation within the Judeo-Christian tradition, and it sounds terrible even from a modern secular point of view. But then you realize that Elijah, who is normally seen as the hero of the story, starts a similar prosecution against Baal’s prophets, so 450 people were killed in one single day. So why is Jezebel supposed to be the villain? Religious freedom was simply not a concept at the time, not from either side. And both sides were just as cruel when they got a chance to be cruel…
Naboth was an innocent victim, yes. But he probably wasn’t a victim of an evil woman murdering him just for the evils, but of the unfortunate clash between two different cultures. Ahab knew that Naboth had the law of Israel on his side, so he could only let him be and sulk over not getting that vineyard. But to Jezebel, this made no sense. Because in her culture, the king was above the law. He had the right to demand what he wanted when he wanted it from his subjects. So to her, Naboth’s refusal to sell his vineyard to his king was treason. And a traitor deserved nothing but death. Of course, Ahab should have told her to leave Naboth alone. But yet again, he was a weak king and let his queen handle it as she saw fit. So as terrible as Naboth’s fate sounded to the men who wrote the Bible, and as terrible as it still sounds to modern people, I now believe that Jezebel didn’t do it just for the evils, but she acted like any monarch of the time would have acted if they suspected treason.
Nothing in this article changed my mind about Jezebel. She was a murderer of the prophets of the Lord.
She cold bloodily had Naboth killed for her petulant husband.
She, like the wives of king Soloman, had a devastating impact on the character of their husbands.
Both had married for political gain.
It is right for her name to associated with the personification of evil.
There’s certainly a great deal to learn about this subject.
I really like all the points you’ve made.
Dear Dinger… If you read my previous comments, you will see that I have already discussed Jezebel’s problem with adjusting to the Israelite culture. But I guess that I have to repeat the key points. Firstly, we have to put much of the blame on King Ahab. He seems to have been a weak husband, who did not care about giving his wife lessons about the religion and the laws of Israel. For years, he was completely happy with letting her do what she pleased. And that included watching her bring her phoenician culture, with its religion and its laws, to his country. Nobody except for her husband was in any position to stop Jezebel and tell her to not do what she did, and he just didn’t care until it was too late.
And we should not forget that the Bible was very biased against Jezebel from the start to the end. She was after all an ambitious woman from a different culture, whio refused to convert to Judaism. And the fact that she and her whole family was defeated made it easy for her opponents to start a smear campaign against her. So even though I’m not saying that the prosecution of Jahve’s prophets and the execution of Nabot didn’t happen, it is very much possible that centuries of mudslinging painted her as a worse person than what she really was. And no matter what you feel about it, I have to say that Janet Howe Gaines makes a good case for that Jezebel, while not being an innocent angel, could be a greatly misunderstood figure.
The author’s attempts to “dress up” the strengths of Jezebel in equalising and justifying her slaughter of the Israeli prophets as no different from Elijah’s slaughter of her idolatrous Baal followers, is typical of the modern-day ephemeral and shallow understanding of the timeless moral principles of integrity, fealty, fidelity and loyalty.
Janet Howe Gaines completely overlooks and dismisses the fact that Jezebel is NOT the queen of Phoenicia (today’s Lebanon), the land of her father, from whence she came, but has instead married the King of another nation, a kingdom with a different culture, a different religion, a different allegiance and a theist system. The King’s religion and religious laws are ALSO the law of the land, are the people’s rule of law.
So … to so obtusely deny all of that, to repudiate its significance, to completely dismiss it and worse, to argue justification for Jezebels treason is beyond the pale and inexcusably ignorant. Jezebel’s actions were unmitigated treason, disloyal to the King and his court, disloyal to the people, undermining of the rule of law, seditious and subversive.
Sure, in another circumstance, Jezebel has the right to her foreign and considered evil beliefs, customs and religious adherences, all considered heresies by the Hebrew traditions, but she is not at liberty to do so as a subject of the King of Israel, not as the Queen of the people of Israel, not as a role model and ruler fit to enforce, inherit, pass on and invoke the rule of law, namely their God’s law as they believe it, as her King and country demands it – the Covenant of Moses’ Law contracted on Mt. Sinai with their God – The law of the Ten Commandments..
So we see, as usual, non-experts, setting themselves up as “experts” to push the hateful, ignorant and biased narrow and dangerous harping and carping of the feminist view, of the secularist view, of the anti-Christian view, masquerading as “scholars”. I will kick this ignorant Janet-whats-her-name off my perch any day every way, all day. She is a propagandist of the worst kind – pretending that she is not one.
It continues to amaze me how we impugn motives onto the Creator of the Universe, i.e., we make God in OUR image. We haven’t changed much over the centuries–we still think we are the center of the universe.
I found this a very interesting article on a different way to read how Jezebel is presented in the bible. Being a Buddhist, I hadn’t actually known the full details of who Jezebel was and what she did. I had only heard that she was the ‘wicked woman’ and this article provided me with an interesting/eye opening read into the double standards in the bible. Found the article fascinating and well worth my time.
Okay, I’m back to add one more comment: Previous posters have condemned Jezebel for not understanding that she was in Israel, so she couldn’t follow her Phoenician culture and expect it to work. And that is actually a fair point, and that is probably also what lead to her undoing. But you have to remember that her husband, King Ahab, seems to have been a weak man, who was under the thumb of his much more formidable queen. He would never have bothered with giving Jezebel the proper lessons in Israelite culture and religion, but he just let her get her way all the time instead. The sad thing is that their short-comings (Ahab’s weakness as a king and husband and Jezebel’s refusal to learn that she wasn’t in Phoenicia anymore) would lead to their whole dynasty being killed off. And yes, there is probably much more to their story than the very biased view, that we got from the Bible., where she in particular in portraited as 100 % evil.
I thought this article was brilliant. It puts the story of Jezebel into real perspective and is thoroughly researched and supported. It brings out several points which are often glossed over in her story. Interesting read that I would recommend.
And I can only shake my head at all the religious people in the comments, who refuse to think outside their little box when it comes to Jezebel. Janet Howe Gaines never tried to “justify” the execution of Nabot, despite what one poster claimed. But she only reminded us that Jezebel didn’t do it just to be evil, like it has been portraited in the Biblical tradition. And I’m shocked that people in the 21rst Century can defend Elijah’s condemning 450 people to death, just because they happened to have worshipped the “wrong” god. Even if there were things going on in the cults of Baal and Astarte, which sound terrible to us today, that will not change that Elijah did the same thing to his opponents, that Jezebel had done to hers.
Lovely article! I have recently started to wonder if there wasn’t more to Jezebel than the Bible’s one-sided view, that she only was a completely evil murderer. And after I went through three pages of Google results, this gem finally came up!
She might have done many things, which were bad not only to the men, who wrote down these stories, but which are bad even now to modern readers. But when you think about it, there is nothing to suggest that Jezebel was worse than any of her comtemporaries. But yes, when you think about that she was a non-Israelite woman, who refused to give up her polytheistic faith for proto-Judaism, the men who wrote down the Bible were bound to condemn her in retrospect. It is very telling too how when Jezebel prosecutes Jahve’s prophets, it is treated like a terrible thing. But when it’s Elijah doing the same thing to Baal’s prophets, it is treated as an act of badassery! Yeah, that is what I call double standards galore…
And I just love how you even made the execution of Nabot more understandable, as a case of two different cultures clashing rather than Jezebel just doing it for the evil of it.
@Furienna Your statements sound quite naive. What’s worse is when someone chooses to be naive in spite of the facts evidently present before them. Anyone who honestly reads the story of Jezabel can see the type of woman she was. You know an apple tree by its fruits; the same applies for an orange tree or any other fruit tree. The fruits always tell you what type of tree this is; the evidence is in the fruits produced by the tree. The actions that Jezabel’s mind produced clearly communicate what type of person she was and why she is the archetype of an evil and immoral woman. Religion was a very predominant aspect of society in those days and she hunted down YHWH’s prophets to murder them so that Israel’s religion wouldn’t have a voice; she was a foreigner in the land, who refused to honour the customs of the land and sought to disregard the laws, traditions and people of the land and committed homicide to accomplish her political and religious ambitions, although she wasn’t the rightful ruler of the country but forced her way into power. Any sensible person can read and study from Jezabel’s story that she was a manipulative, power-hungry, and power-drunk person who had no boundaries or respect for people, so much so that she was willing to and did kill them if they didn’t serve her purpose. It’s clear that you don’t see it, but for someone to try to defend and justify Jezabel’s behaviour and act like she “wasn’t that bad” is clear delusion, willful naivety and an expression of the corruption and moral bankruptcy of their own mind. Elijah, by instruction of YHWH and YHWH’s Law, killed Jezabel’s prophets/priests AFTER SHE HAD KILLED YHWH’s PROPHETS. So, yes, he was a hero for sentencing Jezabel and her team of crooks to death AFTER SHE UNJUSTLY KILLED THE PROPHETS OF YHWH–not only was he being obedient to God (YHWH), he was also patriotic in his acts, stopping foreigners (Jezabel and her prophets) from colonising and deculturising Israel (his country).
Among the many things Jezabel’s priest/prophets were, they were also her advisers and consultants (study history); some of her acts were inspired by those priests. If she was a good person, she would have refused to go with the corrupt and evil advice they gave to her, but she sat there and agreed with them and so the gain she’d receive from such evil. She clearly had anger issues and threw tantrums if someone didn’t agree with her or did something she didn’t like–a prevalent immature characteristic among many unreasonable modern feminists of today. And to try to excuse what she did to Naboth further shows the corruption of someone’s mind. She used her political power to bully and drive a man out of his land; she connived against him because he had good reason to decline the king’s offer for his land. You are really trying to excuse and justify that? A government taking legal and forceful action against a citizen all because a king (politician) was lusting after the land and his manipulative wife, who wanted to be feared so badly, went ahead and destroyed the man for not selling his land. Your moral reasoning is found greatly lacking and in question; although you are trying to police everyone else’s beliefs and expressions on this forum. You may feel that we are subjected to your opinions and attempts at criticism and judgments but we are not. We are in agreement with God (YHWH) and His Word, not what someone on the internet, with a range of contradictions and double standards tries to dictate to us, to tell us whether it’s right or wrong, or judgmental to think or communicate this or that way.
And I’m shocked that a person in the 21rst Century can try to make light of abuse of political power and corruption just because he/she has a bias against Christians, the Bible, and the Biblical narrative of historical, present and future events. You are attempting to compel others to consider the views of others (not that they are compelled to do what you dictate) whilst you are not communicating your own understanding and respect for their views and are openly against Christian beliefs and views as can be seen in the tone of your communications and the language thereof.
This is well written and interesting. You make a good point that there is nothing to back up the sexual immorality claim. You explain easily The Deuteronomist’s viewpoint as well as Jezebel’s. I like how u explained why J painted her eyes and sat in the window, because I hv been wondering about that. Seeing another’s point of view aids in compassion. It is good to be able to see good in others. Do not lament comments from black-&-white thinkers. You are a talentented thoughtful writer and the world needs you.
My sister and I, we were just talking about Jezebel negative and positive characteristics which were fully discussed in this post. We were not making a hero of her, but was saying that her strong loyalty to her belief and to her husband could be admirable. We as children and believers in God should be just as passionate. Of course we don’t commit murder, but we should live our lives and witness our God so that others will convert. It seems that is what Jezebel was working on. She was WRONG, but as the saying goes, “she stuck to her guns”. We need to hold on to the “sword of truth” and not be compromisers.
Also remember this spirit is a mastery of deception she lies an steals while looking like an innocent bystander.
I believe you almost tried to make this witch look innocent, or that she was framed the reason the elders went along with it was because it was sealed with King Ahab’s seal that’s why it wasn’t stop who is going to defy the king get put to death. It was the spirit of fear that entered into Elijah. We fight not against flesh in blood. She is principality. It also talks about her in the book of revelations. I was reading your information and I’ve had dealings with this spirit in so many ways. So for you to say anything positive about this spirit when MY FATHER has already condemned this spirit you are connected to her and I ask that you would denounce this spirit ask the Heavenly that if you have any spirits of Baal, spiritual prostitution idolatry to cleanse you Jezebel is the spirit that has invaded the church. You know nothing about spiritual warfare. Please read Hebrew chapter 5:12-14
There is a good lesson in the dangers of a state religion. Modern Israel should take heed.
Wouldn’t Jezebel’s greatest victory ever, be to ensure that her death defied Elijah’s prophecy of her end. She killed herself so that the dogs could get to her. This made God the real God.
It must also be noted that God do not depend on mankind to assume the character of any biblical figure. He told of Elijah’s termination of Jezebel’s false prophets, and soon after that of the same Elijah’s fear for his life and lack of faith. This a God in whom I could put my trust.
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This piece is written by an unbeliever. God does operate on sentiment. From God Almighty point of view, Jezebel was a wicked woman with no courage to leave idolatry and worship the true God. I plead with writer to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior. That is when the biblical stories will properly put in right ‘ SPIRITUAL’ perspective.
Remember: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Furthermore: “…there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”
Finally: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (2 Tim 3:16, Job 32:8, 1 Cor 2:14)
– The Holy Bible rightfully exalts many outstanding women (Jezy is not one of them). Also, it does not promote feminism nor glorify man; but God. Without God’s help, any secular or religious scholar trying to glean nuggets of gold from its sacred text is undertaking an exercise in futility. I’ve read it before and after being Saved (Born Again) and I know. …One must know God through the Lord Jesus as they are led by His Holy Spirit. God reveals Biblical truths to His own adopted children.
” Murder seems to be accepted, even venerated, as long as it is done in the name of the right deity.” sys the Author!Really? Eliminating by killing an Enemy,here Bal’s priests by St.Elijah is not a murder like executing a criminal to a state law in orde to protect innocent victims- that the teaching of Catechism (of the Church, RC) though individuals even Popes can have their private opinions.
To remind: in A.D.1625 there was a UN (then Paris University) law requiering Capital Punishment who professors who did not know and teach St.Aristotle;imagine at that time….alchemy, witches, wizzards, sects,Nostradamuses while a plain folk did not have any education except one of the aboves preachers (today’s New Age). St.Aristotle already in 4th cent.B.C (Before Christ) perfectly destroyed arguments both of agnostics and skeptics once for ever. Our Rev. Author plays fool trying to justify Evils character, Jezebel. Sorry, Mrs.Author learn a little more and do not play a politically correct agnostic: now we finally know the truth (truth is always absolute or not at all- St.aritotle 20th cent.logical math) and the one true God and one true religion; therefore it is only NOW the right time to revenge the blood of Socrates, Jesus of Nazareth, other philospher and prophets slaughtered by Tyrans like Jesebel; I’ve met personally at University(US nun,Ottawa), a courts (judges in Warsaw)- wicked devilish women!
I came to this site to read the story of Jezebel thinking there was some new archaeological find that would show this wicked woman in the light she should be shown in. Instead I read garbage about this woman dying with honor and how good she was, absolutely absurd. On top of this you turn around and compare the prophets of God with this murderous, wicked woman, it is enough to make me want to stone you. Clearly you do not know the God of the bible, or what He represents.
You have the audacity to compare worshipers of God to “cult worshiping” in essence, satanic. You are nothing more than another agnostic trying to win favor with the world by changing the meaning of the word of God to suit you, by doing so maybe you can convince true believers out there that the prophets of God were just as bad as Jezebel. Good luck with that.
God doesn’t change, neither does his word, from Jezebel’s day to this day, He was serious when He said “thou shalt have no other Gods before me, He still remains a jealous God today.” But praise be to Jesus Christ, we are living in a period of devine Grace.
If you received your just reward for this piece of garbage, You would burn in hell for this article, and I do not say this lightly. Anyone who would write such an article as this justifying what Jezebel did and trying to put her in a position of honor spits in the face of God. Jezebel was a whore, murder, theif and liar. You neglected to mention she was given an opportunity to repent of her sins and she refused. As one writer states, it is the “spirit” of Jezebel the bible speaks about.
This article is garbage and I will never read anything else by you. As a matter of fact I will not renew my subscription when it runs out.
It is possible to take a Bible character and turn her/his character upside down by pointing out the positives, e.g..Simon Peter, Martha, etc BUT Jezebel (perhaps conditioned by her childhood) was pure anti-Yahweh and evil.
It distressed me to read the author’s many attempts to demean the “Deuteronomist”/
This is truly God’s word written by or at His direction. It was not merely literature penned by a so called Deuteronomist, but God’s word.
The author missed the Bible message, which she needs to take to her heart.
Lyall Phillips, South Australia
You left something out when you were talking about Jezebel. You said it was based on the men who wrote about her but that is only half true. HASHEM told those men WHAT to write about Jezebel. It was not their impression of her it was HASHEM’S knowledge of her that condemned her to her place in history and her refusing to accept HIM as God. That was what made her the most wicked woman of the Bible
Missing fm the article is what the worship of Ba’al and Asherah entail.
Human sacrifice. Ba’al was especially fond of infants. We know this fm the tophet the Romans found when they finished Carthage, a Phoenician outpost that worshiped Ba’al and his consort.
Sexual conduct w/whatever is at the high place/pole, to include animals.
There is a really good reason that Jezebel (Jezebaal) was condemned for bringing this kind of worship into Israel.
As a woman I highly resent attempts to read backwards into Scriptures the current feminist agenda. Let past societies be what they are. Learn fm their mistakes and fm their successes. Stop blindly championing “strong” women just because they are women.
Author’s biblical insight has some opinions and should be noted as such. The summary is so far out of line with the story: Jezebel is not and admirable person! She can be recognized with some bellicose traits that lead her to destruction.
In modern age of degeneracy , marxism , feminism , is it any surprise to see warnings in ancient texts be interpreted as “OK” or “not that bad actually” material ?
The author has the wrong, Jezebel-like values. Loyalty to Yahweh is good. Religious pluralism and idolatry is bad.
I will never again come to or read anything from biblical archaeology.com. To allow this garbage to be released to the public exposes the fact that this organization at the very least allows the God of the Bile and the people of the Bible to be undermined and devalued, and at worst to put other “gods” on par with and or potentially above the God (YHWH) of the Bible. There is none like YHWH and all other gods / beliefs / and people groups will bow there knee to the King of kings and the Lord of lords – “Besides Him there is no other”! Finally I want to answer this authors question – “How bad was Jezebel?” – Bad enough to be put to death and burn forever in the lake of fire. It is not Gods will for anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance, but that is the very thing arrogant Jezebel refused to do! The only sin that causes a person never to repent is pride. YHWH through Elijah proved beyond the shadow of a doubt who the One and Only True God is but in her arrogance and desire to manipulate and control the people and world around her she received judgement and wrath instead of God’s forgiveness and grace. I pray in Yashua’s name that the same fate doesn’t befall the author of this article – Janet Howe Gaines! “Unless you repent you to will perish”
can i download it on my phone, otherwise thanks for showing us the trueth.
An excellent article and well worth reading. Thank you.
Thank God for the comments. The author of this piece is truly a Jezebel and I am sure she is quite proud of being equally deceptive. She is a woman who attempts to recreate Judaism and Christianity in her own image. We live in such dark times and with so many Jezebels in our midst. Nothing comes of it except the murder of babies by self serving Jezebels who worship impotent deities or none at all. May God have mercy on her soul and may he have mercy on the souls of those that are beguiled by her ramblings.
The author of this article is not accepting the Biblical narrative of how dangerous Jezebel is. Her archetype is the source of much suffering in the world. It goes beyond her gender. Gender has little to do with it. Jezebel is the core “creature” inside. A man or a woman can be like Jezebel. It just so happens the narrative makes her a woman. No need to defend her from a feminist point of view as this author does with many “what if’s” that make her seem heroic and maligned. Jezebel was evil to the core. and one of the most dangerous and rebellious characters in the entire Bible.
When Jehu rode past Jezebel, he did not talk to her because he knew how deceptive she is. He gave her no power to manipulate him. Instead he talked to her eunuchs, and they threw her over the tower walls. The dogs ate her until very little was left of her.
That is how you deal with Jezebel. Give her no foothold. Give her no place. Do not emulate or admire her. There are other long suffering, heroic women of the bible to admire. Jezebel was not long suffering. She imparted suffering. She was not maligned. She maligned others. She took and murdered and had no empathy for anyone but herself.
well, very interesting, especially the ‘comments’… it was good to know i wasn’t the only one disappointed in the strident women’s lib type view of a really despicable woman.. Athaliah her grand daughter (or perhaps her daughter) killed all the ‘seed royal’ babies and children of the king so that SHE could be queen.. her mother’s daughter for sure… glad many of you pointed out the horror of killing babies and children to ‘honor’ a stone god… Thank y’all for posting…
I wonder if the author might be able to write without projecting her own ideology and bias into the piece. Men bad and women oppressed. It would have been nice to read what can be learned about Jezebel without the feminist flavor added to it. This is a history website not an opinion forum. Good information, but bad authorship. Stick to the facts please. If you can’t then blogging might be a better outlet.
Da Izabela nije poražena od Ilije, svjetska istorija bi bila drugačija, tako što ju je ubio, moralizam Jehove sada svijet ima zadovoljstvo. Upravo je civilizacija ugrožena tim moralom Jehove.
Contrary to common belief, 10, 000 years ago, in Afrika women ruled with their Goddess, priestess, business women, warriors and heritage was passed down from mother to daughter; oh yes, men stayed home and took care of children and if they wanted anything they had to ask the female for it.
Them came the Indo-Europeans, the Ayrans as they were called, with their
with their state of the art war tools, horses, chariots, metal shields and spears, etc and violently overthought the matriarchal system and replaced it with their male or patriarchal system. A system of European male domination which is in place to this present day.
The entire Mediterranean basin, Canaan [present day Jerusalem/Palestine, Babylon, present day Iraq, Sumer present day North Iran, and Kemet present day AfriKa was transformed and women were dehumanized. These Indo-Europeans tore down all signs of female worship and declared inasmuch as they were light skinned and victorious, they were, are you ready for this, “the chosen” people.
Therefore, Indo-European forced upon the people that women were less than and scandalized such women as jezebel, Lilith, Mary Magdalene and others. We must step back and re-read these ancient and sometime mythological stories of females. Jezebel like so many other females could very well be fine women who remembered the power of females and stood there ground as a child of the CREATOR.
We in modern time must see the CREATOR spirit as just that, a divine SPIRIT of the universe and view all people are people of worth and value, none greater than the other; none to rule the other, but people who are to live and respect one another.
Let us not be taken in by ‘chosen people’ as all of us are chosen!
Hmm. Unfortunately history and archeology do not bear the entirety of this viewpoint out as expressed in this article though I’d agree with some points of it, like her being handed off like a parcel in a political marriage, or her having developed some significant degree of power . Even in more recent history hundreds of germans supporter Hitler. Like in jezebel’s time, there WAS resistance, but one resisted carefully and covertly if one didn’t want to be killed. Jezebel’s relationship with Ahab sounds like she covertly despised him, which would be understandable if she was handed to him as a political prize; she may have further fueled such feelings by virtue of finding that her perverse ways weren’t acceptable to her husband or his people. She clearly had no problem manipulating him to her own ends. By doing something odious in his name, she would further have widended the breach between him and the Israelite people, perhaps as an attempt to completely eradicate any loyalty he had to Yaweh, and loyalty to his people by driving a wedge between both God and man. Whether Ahab realized it or not, the moment he took possession of Naboth’s vineyard, in the sight of all Israel he was putting his signet ring to her deeds and was willing to benefit from the death of an innocent countryman. Jezebel is not that stupid; she can’t have been ignorant of that fact. She was cunning and shrewd in her manoevering. Another example of a shrewd manipulator in scripture can be found in the person of Jonadab, who by pretending to be supportive of the young man Amnon’s interests, actually set up an innocent young virgin to be violently raped, robbed of her virginity and devasted, and also the king’s son to be guilty of rape and incest and wind up dead. Jonadab was also a friend spelled enemy.
The cult of Baal involved some pretty gross things including orgies. Young women were expected to serve baal by sacrificing their virginity on a statue with a huge stone phallus, something that for a young girl would likely be an abusive experience, as being raised in that cult, she wouldn’t have had a choice to say no. As with any situation in which perversion runs rampant, it is not outside the realm of possiblity that jezebel had experienced other abuses perhaps rape or molestation or even incest by the time she was of marriageable age. Esp since Ethbaal her father was a priest of baal. Take away all the outward props of pagan religion and you have a young woman sacrificed by her father to perversion and then likely to a marriage to a complete stranger. It is understandable that she would have by then, developed alot of contempt, bitterness, hatred, control issues, inability to trust. She would quite possibly have arrived at adulthood and queendom with a heart full of pain hardened over by hatred and firm resolve. She came by it through no initial fault of her own but that didn’t preclude her from deciding to become like the system that did her harm in order to maintain power and thus, at least in her mind, avoid ever being vulnerable or harmed again. And becoming a queen would have provided her the seeming power to do just that.
By the time Jehu had killed her, she had murdered many innocent people, and mainstreamed perversion into the land. She was perpetuating the evil done to her.As even the staunchest raidcal feminists will assert, as well as many others of varying stances, abuse is no excuse. Despite her earlier upbringing, she was without excuse; she would have by this time, been aware of actual evidence that the God of Israel was a real God who could be trusted and not just a pagan statue, esp with the prophet regularly interacting with Ahab and telling him God’s words and seeing them come to pass, as well as the other supernatual happenings. She would have known about Naaman the syrian’s healing. This man was one of Israel’s enemies and yet God showed him mercy and healed him. Jezebel would have had this information. There is nothing in scripture that supports the idea that the contest between baal and Yahweh was an all male event. The presence of temple prostitutes would have been likely, as well as women in the group refered to in ” all the people fell down and worshipped saying the Lord He is God” I don’t agree that women had no voice at all. I get that jewish males had a wrong view of women as inferior beings. Its interesting to note that Jesus did not interact with women according to this view and neither did God His Father. Where did Tamar get her voice from when she confronted her rapist over his sin and cried out for justice? From the law of God that would have protected her as innocent, for one thing, had her father king david responded properly; his recent moral failure with Bathsheba likely robbed him of the moral authority to confront the sin of his son. There were a number of examples of wise women whose words were heeded by men, women who were hailed as heros, and women of God who had similar standing as the male pirests like Deborah and Anna the prophetess, so I don’t entirely buy the women had no voice and were totally oppressed package. The Proverbs 31 woman considered a field and bought it. Those are acts of agency. Note that it DOESN”T say ” she asked her husband for permission first”. So no i don’t agree with much of the thrust of this article.
This article is highly anachronistic, intellectually dishonest, and forced. It is amazing to me that such an article could even be published given its obvious bias. As I read this article I gleaned that the author’s view of the Israelites is that they are the true criminals in the narrative as she writes: “the Torah shows the Israelites to be an ethnocentric, xenophobic people.” I find this amusing because in the Torah there are more injunctions about not oppressing foreigners than there are for keeping the Sabbath. Just to mention a few: Exodus 22:20, 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34, (there are many more).
The author asserts that the fact that Jezebel is true to her pagan beliefs makes her a heroine but that the Israelites, as represented by Elijah, being true to their beliefs are criminals (because they don’t want to be pluralistic). I almost feel like the author could have written the following in her conclusion: “If only the Israelites had developed a pluralistic, democratic society like today’s United States or United Kingdom, Jezebel would be seen in her true light – as a woman fiercely defending her culture and independence trying to bring political and social harmony to a xenophobic and ethnocentric cult.”
The author’s argument that the political intrigue alluded to in the murder of Naboth as “stretching credulity” only suggests that she is ignorant of global political history. For what it is worth I would recommend she read William L. Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” to understand how even the most far-fetched political intrigue can actually happen. There is a quite a bit of it in the history of Nazi Germany and I doubt that political intrigue of that variety first came into existence in the 20th century.
I also find that for all of the author’s veiled disdain for the Israelites and their allegedly “xenophobic and ethnocentric” culture that she cannot even acknowledge that Ahab’s depression over not securing Naboth’s land results from his inability to be above the law. That’s right, even an Israelite King is not above Divine Law. I would imagine that any progressive individual, such as the author would seem to be, would laud the fact that the king does not act as a tyrant in this regard. Yet the author does not do so and instead shows how Jezebel’s culture, an autocratic culture of tyranny and despotic kings, explains her behavior in setting up the political intrigue. I admit that the author does note that it is not admirable behavior but she also, in her effort to explain Jezebel’s behavior, more or less justifies it. She also minimizes the severity of the crime by simply writing that it is “not admirable” rather than criminal. Jezebel was after all “annoyed” by Naboth who was defying her despotic authority which, being from Phoenicia, she has the right to exercise despite the fact that she is not in Phoenicia but in the Kingdom of Israel which does not allow for rulers to behave this way (at least by Law). The conclusion one might erroneously draw from this line of thinking is that it is only not admirable to murder people that annoy us not really criminal.
The author accuses Elijah of murder despite the fact that, and this is pointed out by John Locke in his “A Letter Concerning Toleration”, idol worship in Israel is tantamount to treason against the state and treason against the state is often punished, among many nations, with the death penalty. So Elijah is turned into a murderer because he is following Israelite Law which expressly prohibits polytheism, warrants the death penalty and is therefore considered treason against the state. So I guess the Israelites should have allowed themselves to become completely compromised by Phoenician culture and openly allow treason to be committed in their State? I can only infer that the author believes that all sensible nations should allow this since Elijah is presented as having committed murder when he kills the prophets of Ba’al as an agent of the Sovereign of the State (the supreme sovereign is God not Ahab).
I agree with the author that the text suggests that Jezebel was not unfaithful to her husband. I believe that Jehu’s comment to Joram about Jezebel’s harlotry was meant to demean Joram and the house of Omri/Ahab in general. Alternatively, as the author notes, harlotry could be a semantic term for her idolatrous behavior.
The truth is I could go on about the holes in this article but I must ask this: Why does the author suggest (albeit indirectly) that the Israelites are murdering criminals for having and being faithful to their own culture and religion? Why are they not allowed the right to determine their own lives according to their own values in their own Kingdom? Why must they tolerate treason against their God and country in their own kingdom? Why is Jezebel, an individual who did not respect Israelite values/law, culture or religion, considered a heroine for undermining Israelite culture and religion within the Kingdom of Israel? Ultimately, what is the author’s motivation in attempting to “Rehabilitat[e] Jezebel’s stained reputation”?
In Short: Jezebel’s reputation is stained because she did objectively horrible things within the Kingdom of Israel and to the Israelites not because she was a woman nor because she was a foreigner and not because of “Deuteronomistic” propaganda as the author suggests.
It is clear the author is identifying with Jezebel and feels the need to justify Jezebel’s recorded actions. It is unfortunate that this author hasn’t dealt with the hurts and pains in her own life and because of unforgiveness, is confused about what is good and evil. In the end, thus is not an innocent and new perspective on Jezebel. It is just an attemp to make herself feel accepted and a tool for one fallen angel. just sad.
The first thing and main reason not mentioned for her evil is Baal worship included “child sacrifice’. So because she stuck to here Il traditions its honorable? Yea how convenient to omit that from your devils propaganda book liberal witch.
Whoever wrote this article has never lived in a polytheistic world and clearly thinks from a western trained mind. One cannot project and hence interpret a woman’s action who lived 30 centuries ago based on a a western trained mindset of a modern day woman and to do that would leave us, the reader, thinking we have all the answers but all the while leaving us blinded to the world they lived in and the thought processes that drove them in that day and age.
Thank you, Karen. I could not say it better!
The practice of polytheism is whoredom in worship which belongs only to the One True God. This is why Jezebel is called a whore – had nothing to do with her marriage to Ahab.
I have not read this entire Luciferian Raging Polemic justifying/and,or celebrating a woman whom AllMighty Jehovah labeled as “Wicked and Idolater/Idol Worshipper. By making Jezebel seem like some kind of “Ancient B.C. Feminist Heroine Queen, Of The Blood Royale”. Yes, it’s true that the Old Testament Bible doesn’t give her a 21st or even 20th century pulp non-fiction biography to properly/improperly flesh her out, for human salacious tastes. But make no mistake, God is not picking on Women or oppressing them with a Patriarchal Cult Fanatical Religion bent on maintaining abusive tactics and chauvism against God’s beautiful creation, Woman/Women. God gives shout outs to the believers and calls out the dis-believers. And he recounts the stories of the believers sins, failures and shortcomings with equal vigor with those opposed to God and belief. Those who start out as God’s anointed or believers and then fall away or reject God, are a cautionary tale(ex. Saul, Judas etc.etc.), just as those who are totally opposed or never had a clue about the concept of worship of the true living God Jehovah, who become the most ardent and firm believers(the criminal crucified with Christ/Saul on the Damascus road accepting, then being re-made Paul). Jehovah and Jesus are not picking on people but trying to save them. Jezebel was wicked not because she was a free spirited women of power in a time of total male supremacy. She was labeled wicked because she was anti-Lord God Jehovah. Thereby being Luciferian and in direct oppositiion and rebellion. She sets the template to be also anti-“The Living Word Of God”. Thereby leading directly to the path of apostasy and Anti-Christ. She was so entrenched in her own power and ruthlessness that God gave her an unforgettable end(understatement of this week at least). She was cast down from her palace balcony by an Eunuch. Which for an ancient queen is humiliating enough. But she was also consumed by dogs that left only her hands and feet. They symbolized the hands that fashioned evil and the feet that ran towards it. To spin doctor Jezebel in a reprobate worldly way is a lie from the pit of Hell which is what these false depictions of true evil will lead your eternal soul too if you are an unrepentant sinner. May you all come to the truth and light. May you be Jehovah, Yeshua, Jesus Blessed!
This article is neither biblical nor archeological. Why is it given a platform here BAR? Shame.
Why Does God Allow the Strong to Oppress the Weak?
The Bible records some troubling instances of oppression of the weak by the strong. The case of Naboth comes to mind. Ahab, a king of Israel in the tenth century B.C.E., allowed his wife, Jezebel, to have Naboth and his sons killed so that the king could take the man’s vineyard. (1 Kings 21:1-16; 2 Kings 9:26) Why did God allow such a gross abuse of power?
If Jezebel feared that ownership of the vineyard would pass to Naboth’s heirs, she may have felt driven to arrange for the murder of Naboth’s sons. For a discussion of why God allows such acts of oppression, see the article “Our Readers Ask”
Clearly the “author (if we can even call her that)” is a Jezebel herself. 1. Jezebel killed all of Yahwehs Prophets, but one, Elijah. He was instructed by Yahweh to “retaliate (eye for an eye),” and to kill the prophets of Baal (Lord God).
2. Clearly the writer of this pagan BS, is unaware that she calls “Yahweh by the name of Baal (Lord God) throughout her writing,” so it’s clear to see why she would condone wickedness.
3. Jezebel “usurped Ahabs authority” by eradicating his kingdom of Yahwehs Prophets, so he wouldnt receive Divine Instruction, in “putting her away.” Even as the story goes, Elijahs prophecy against Jezebel is brought to pass, and “she is eaten by dogs.” A fitting end for a murderous pagan woman.
4. Even Yahshua the Messiah in Revelation to John, declares that Jezebel and her pagan offspring will be slaughtered at the end of days (her pagan offspring are those trying to justify her sins).
[…] How Bad Was Jezebel? […]
[…] Download :Jezebel in the bible – biblical archaeology society […]
Una.peticion ¿podrian por favor hacer traduccion al español. Por la atencion que esto les merezcs .Gracias.
the scupture says that there is nothing new under the sun,Jezebel symbolize ROMAN CATHOLIC.
Hannibal, who crossed the Alps, was a great nephew of Jezebal. They also worshiped Molech who demanded babies be burned to death as a sacrifice. They have recently discovered a huge number of baby and young children’s bones in Carthidge. Sacrifices to Molech, no doubt. She was really not a nice lady, she certainly worshiped Molech, in addition to Baal and others. Many of which had terrible ways to be worshipped, including “Holy” Prostitution, practiced by priestesses, such as she was. This was common at the time for idol worshippers. This was understood and did not need even be mentioned in biblical times, for it was common knowledge. How bad was she? Very bad!
[…] the core, it is the spirit of Jezebel the bible speaks about, and it manifests in many different arena’s and customs throughout the […]
I would suggest the author read Colette’s comment which is 100 percent correct. The little babies were sacrificed and that is what your red eggs stand for at easter. God hates things that kill children. This religion and the related one that Israel adopted where they burnt their children were abominations to God the true one. The murder of the prophets of Baal and her own death are judgments for the murders and the stopping of them recruiting more people into that religion. You also need to look at the long term plan of God for rescuing his people from sin. Jezebel would definately have had sex with many at the orgies at the temple, so she would be classed as a whore by Elijah’s standards, and those who held to the laws of the true God.
Please study the pagan religions, not from the current fluffy bunny neo pagan perspective.
You have no understanding because you are not drawn to God yet. I pray that someday you will be.
[…] Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, who reigned in Israel during the time of Elijah. Ahab and Jezebel were devout worshippers of Baal and Asherah, and led all of Israel into idolatry. Jezebel hated and massacred all of the Lord’s prophets, except for Elijah and 100 prophets of the Lord that were hid in caves by Obadiah, the palace governor (1 Kin. 18:4). […]
[…] Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, who reigned in Israel during the time of Elijah. Ahab and Jezebel were devout worshippers of Baal and Asherah, and led all of Israel into idolatry. Jezebel hated and massacred all of the Lord’s prophets, except for Elijah and 100 prophets of the Lord that were hid in caves by Obadiah, the palace governor (1 Kin. 18:4). […]
[…] Even in today’s socitey women are not seen as powerful as men; however, Jezebel seemed to have more power than anyone at the time. She is able to turn Ahab away from Yahweh and is determined to wipe out Yahweh’s followers. “In fact, the threat of Jezebel is so great, the prophet Elijah summons the acolytes of Jezebel to a tournament on Mt. Carmel to determine which deity is supreme: God or Baal” (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org) […]
“This is why she is vilified by the Deuteronomist, whose goal is to stamp out polytheism.” Ummmm no. completely wrong. She was not “vilified”, she was a very evil woman and the “Deuteronomist” was writing down what God inspired him to write. This ignorant statement is so so early in your piece that It is obvious to anyone reading it that you do not understand God’s holy word due to the fact that you do not “know him. You have an agenda.It is to attempt to discredit God’s word and to anyone who is born again, your fruits betray you for who and what you are.
I disagree with the vision of this author concerning Jezebel. It has an anti Semitic under tone and a modern womens liberation tone. The worship of Baal involved orgies in the temples to celebrate fertility. When the women became pregnant from the temple orgies they felt blessed by the gods. Then they sacrificed those children to Baal. So if you want to see her as a women’s Hero go ahead. There is more to History than this Author realizes and should really go back to school or stop writing personal slants on History. Archaeology should be respected.
[…] stop here! You can learn a whole lot more about the complex and misunderstood Jezebel from Biblical Archaeology and the Jewish Women’s Archive. Have your own story about name-calling? Slut-shaming? Being […]
Great piece of literature covers all facets and dimensions of biblical writing.
Incredible! You know how liars always want to make it seem worst than what it really is to justify their criminal act? Well, that’s what this story seems like to me. You may rebuke my statement, if it makes you feel pious but that story’s got to show me more than that!
You could certainly see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.
I need that jezebal bible and books to enable me go deep in bible history.this devilish woman is in the church today.i love ur teaching
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Grace and Peace to all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who gave His life provisionally for us because He is Love. Provisionally because His life is effectual only to those who accept it by faith and allow His life of victory to live in them, showing forth works of righteousness. Being born again from above that on condition of our faithfulness we may have all our sins forgiven and be accepted in His eternal heavenly kingdom.
I do believe that Jezebel represents the false church that will bring persecution upon the true church, but in the end she will be destroyed prior to the second coming of Christ.
Elijah on the other hand represents the true church fearlessly sounding the warn.ings of God to worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water
May God bless us all and keep us in the love of Jesus.
Great and inspiring article Janet. It is time to read the Bible from what I call the “Phoenician Perspective”. I have some bad news for my brothern Catholics who honor Elijah Al Nabi – Prophet with his sword dripping blood in many of the Levant Churches!
‘Baal (/ˈbeɪl/ BAYL; sometimes spelled Bael, Baël (French), Baell) is in 17th Century goetic occult writings one of the seven princes of Hell. ( “YZBL” Jezebel’s name may have meant, “Where is the Prince?”, which was the cry of Baal’s subjects.”)
The name is drawn from the Canaanite deity Baal mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the primary god of the Phoenicians.’
if it was as simplistic as to denounce her name and discourage her native beliefs her influence may not have been so permitted and subjected as much as claimed. If persecution and a treacherous death were her unfit outcome and plots against her why the need to allow her to accomplish so much and for so long, her schemes had they not been rising from since her early marriage to late years as a “grandmother” ? why not murder her or scheme against her from initial blaspheme, unlike her schemes she was allocated much more tolerance than deserved. And yet till the end it wasn’t dignity but pomposity. And in note to the comparison of other women in the bible, (such as Miriam and Ruth) I doubt in there speechlessness, it was out of weak submission but rather an acquiring of wisdom and in knowing when to speak.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion
Not everything is accurate in historical texts but rather most requires reading between the lines. The tone is apparent in this article but it corrodes the purpose of objective truths and instead exposes a persuasive mood. Seems to be some contradictions in this article as much as there is being issued of biblical texts.
Jezebel shows her cosmetically masked face in the window that all may witness her innocence and with sympathy revile her persecutor. Yet her innocence is contrived to deceive those that she would have power over, just as this same Jezebel spirit deceives this researcher .
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This text was written by a literature specialist, not by an archaeologist. So, the major problem in my humble opinion was the editor of BAR have accepted it as a important article for the review. Would be perfectly fitted in feminist review.
The author is skeptical of the betrayal of Naboth, because “If Jezebel were as hateful as the Deuteronomist claims, surely at least one nobleman in Jezreel would have refused to assist in the nefarious scheme.”
Not at all… perhaps they viewed Jezebel with the same benign tolerance as the author: courageous, loyal to her husband, just living by the morality she had learned at home with the gentle Sidonians.
Or alternately, they were filled with the same awe-struck admiration for ruthless power as the author: “a person to be feared” rather than challenged. (It seems Ms. Gaines can’t decide which side of Jezebel she believes in.)
Having clicked to this article under the naive impression that there was “archeological news” on Jezebel, I am disappointed to find only speculation colored by today’s moral relativity, and a not-so-subtle promotion of militaristic feminism. The only real archeological item, Jezebel’s seal, was used as a blunt instrument to further bash the Biblical account with more “may have been” guesswork.
BAR, shame on you – this was neither “Biblical” nor “Archeological”.
I love Jezebel, she is a woman of good upbringing that she never abandon her home traditional believed, she defend what she feel is right. women of Africa, Nigeria and Tarok should learn from her good virtue not the way the Deuteronomy put it.
It’s interesting to see the dichotomy of the comments on the board. From my perspective though, to try to put Jezebel in a favorable light, you’re asking for a fight. My main issue besides the author’s odd need to put Jezebel in a favorable light (Why, I must ask? Are women inherently good? Or you just thought Ahab got off lightly?), is that by fixating on the depiction of Jezebel as a whore, that she misses the real moral behind Jezebel’s death. It’s not that ‘whores deserve to die’, it’s that pride comes before a fall. Your witness to her dying with dignity is wholly offensive and short-sighted. We all know that the Bible teaches eternal damnation, but if that is not reason enough to see that Jezebel was in the wrong in her defiance, it’s how her own servants betrayed their thoughts of her. The eunuchs, her loyal slaves, through her out the window, not any particular men of Jehu’s, even though Jehu himself was quite capable. The Bible teaches to treat one’s servants with dignity and for servants to love their masters, but even in the royals own house she was hated. If Jezebel’s wickedness isn’t attested by lack of loyalty, then what could? I’m sorry, but by beginning the article with ‘What if Jezebel isn’t wicked?’, asking us to ‘see her in a positive light’ and then concluding that she ‘died with dignity’ all you’ve done is commit the logical fallacy of “begging the question”.
In Jezebel’s treatment of Naboth, we are given another view of this woman’s wicked character, a character that was extremely selfish, unscrupulous, arrogant, cruel. When Ahab began to sulk and pout because Naboth refused to sell him his hereditary vineyard, this unscrupulous woman shamelessly overstepped her husband’s headship and arrogantly declared: “I myself shall give you the vineyard of Naboth.” (1Ki 21:1-7) With that she wrote letters, signed and sealed in the name of Ahab, ordering the older men and nobles of Naboth’s hometown to arrange for good-for-nothing fellows falsely to accuse Naboth of cursing God and the king and then to take Naboth out and stone him to death. In this way Naboth was put to death by a perversion of justice. Ahab then seized the vineyard and prepared to turn it into a vegetable garden.—1Ki 21:8-16.
Ahab allowed his pagan wife Jezebel to lead him into Baal worship, to build a temple for Baal, and to erect a sacred pole in honor of Asherah. (1Ki 16:30-33) Before long there were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the sacred pole, all being fed from Jezebel’s royal table. (1Ki 18:19) True prophets of Jehovah were slain by the sword, and only the action of Ahab’s house manager Obadiah, a man of faith, preserved the lives of 100 of them by hiding them in caves, where they subsisted on bread and water.—1Ki 18:3, 4, 13; 19:10.
By this article, I can only presume that the only character flaw you see in Lady Macbeth is a guilty conscience. Nobody disputes that Jezebel was a powerful woman, brutally and autocratically advancing her ambitions through her husband, or that she was zealous in the faith of her childhood. It goes completely against the text with no justification to suppose that she held religious plurality and tolerance as ideals; the massacre of Hebrew prophets and suppression of the native religion seem perfectly in line with her character, even as interpreted here. Similarly, the incident with the vineyard of Naboth does not stretch credulity nearly as much as you assert; show trials are clearly possible to orchestrate in autocratic states.
It is amusing how the current age believes that mankind is truly enlightened, to the point of thinking today’s cultural values have any benefit when interpreting ancient text. Just as there are those that venerate fictional characters such as Dracula, the blood sucking muderer who was cursed by the church, it is illuminating that someone would give kudos to Queen Jezebel. Understanding that the author handles the Bible as literature, it is a bit surprising that the moral of the story is missed. In short, The Lord our God is a Jealous God, explains the idea that Israel belongs to Yahweh, and after patiently waiting for his people to obey Him, sends His prophet so His Will can be made manifest. Pagan, idol worshiping nations had no business in the position of royalty to begin with, so in this regard, Jezebel’s one redeeming characteristic might be found: she probably did not ask to be married off to begin with. As violent and horrendous the end was for her and her prophets, it showed how Yahweh felt about Baal worship.
The author sounds as if she is theophobic.
I think the author of this article is prejudiced in that her agenda is clear: revive Jezebel in the best possible light. The author seems to gloss over the central fact of the account. She leads the King of Israel to unfaithfulness and injustice. How does she do this? One has to appreciate the depravity of the Phoenician
religion, which is very similar to the Canaanite one. The worst features are “sacred” prostitution and child sacrifice.
Jezebel would appeal to many modern myths of the “uberchick” the woman who “takes control”, “is a survivor”, “does what she has to”, commands the modern weak wimp of a man. She probably could have kicked Elijah’s ass like Laura Croft.
Wow! I do not want to be you on Judgment Day!
Your woman’s liberation eisegesis of Scripture is deplorable. Calling evil good?
What next, Goliath was really a nice guy who just had a bad childhood?
Biblical Archeology? This isn’t archeology, and it certainly isn’t biblical!
It seems as if the writer of this article is trying to excuse Jezebel by offering up speculation and supposition that just doesn’t make much sense. The author speculates that perhaps Jezebel “optimistically believes that she can encourage religious tolerance and give legitimacy to the worship habits of those Baalites who already reside in Israel. Perhaps Jezebel sees herself as an ambassador who could help unite the two lands and bring about cultural pluralism, regional peace and economic prosperity,” but Jezebel having the prophets of God killed belies such fanciful speculation.
Nor is there any basis for twisting the account of the murder of Naboth to make poor Jezebel the innocent victim of the mean old Deuteronomists.
While I realize that from a feminist perspective it may be tempting to try to paint women in a favorable light, the sad truth is that there have been, are now, and will continue to be some women who are every bit as evil and murderous as men. It’s not about gender, it’s about character.
I think Alice showed discernment …. there are other layers in the Bible that go beyond the obvious & it needs cultural & historical background to fully understand what took place. The fact remains … as Alice said … this persona is a ubiquitous evil spirit thats alive & well today. Never in my life would I feel remotely sympathetic to Jezebel.
I thought the article was excellent. It brought the Bigots and women haters out of the shadows to view their slanted religious and social views (in the name of GOD). Theology isn’t science, it is humans creating rules,redulations and gods that they want to worship. The many writers of the various bibles had an agenda when they told their tales. The stories are to control thinking, life styles, power and wealth and saving the souls of people afraid to die.. This has been going on forever and doesn’t appear to be letting up soon. In America there are over 5000 protestant denominations. This should tell the expert blogers on this site, who know the absolute truth, that someone who has a different opinion might not be wrong. In fact everyone may be wrong
There is absolutely nothing to be admired or praised about Jezebel…..not today, tomorrow or ever!!!
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Having read the article, it seems as if Ms Gaines wants to say that Jezebel was not fairly treated, she was misrepresented, hard done by and perhaps wasn’t that bad after all.
That clearly is not true as she had an innocent man murdered so she could steal his family’s land, and land that could not be sold as it was meant to be passed down in the family. She was not only cheating Naboth’s immediate family but future generations, so what she did was very bad.
We know for sure that she broke five of the ten commandments by worshipping other ‘gods’, covetousness, stealing, false witness and murder, so I don’t see how she could be called hard done by, at least certainly not in the sight of God.
Further condemnation for Jezebel is found in Proverbs 6:16-19: “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
Then there is just the small matter of standing against and threatening to murder God’s prophet – a threat which no doubt she was prepared to carry out.
So no, there is no case for saying Jezebel was hard done by, none at all.
I have read some of the comments and before I go back and read the rest of the article following the first few paragraphs already read, I would like to say that the Jezebel spirit is a spirit of witchcraft not confined solely to the feminine. It seems to me, some men – and women – seem to have problems with going on about Jezebel as a way of restricting women and putting them down (controlling!) being too quick to label women as being Jezebels (witches) for any and every reason. In fact the Jezebel spirit being spirits of witchcraft, and witchcraft being about control, men can be just as or more controlling than women and certainly can be witches (wizards) so that the Jezebel spirit can easily work through men, having nothing to do with being dressed up with jewellery and make-up and so on. That is a personification which serves a purpose but if not properly understood it can be misleading as it is only a part of the whole story. In the Bible there are at least as many male witches as there are female and believe that male witches (or wizards) outnumber females, just as the 450 followers of Baal would have been male witches. Those in the deliverance ministry say that the Jezebel spirit is neither male nor female, and while the Jezebel spirit has the well known image of the over-dressed and morally depraved Queen Jezebel in the Bible, in fact the Jezebel spirit in reality takes on many guises, both male and female, and can take on many different forms in the female as well as the male. I personally have perceived the Jezebel spirit in men more times than in women, and in men that most people would not identify with Jezebel at all. Probably the truth is that different people get attacked in various ways by different forms of the Jezebel spirit. The main thing I want to say is that we ought not to be deceived into thinking that the Jezebel spirit is only like its popular image, and does not only manifest in that way, in fact I would think it more often doesn’t manifest in an identifiable way at all, but hides itself by appearing in a non recognisable form. For example, perhaps it is even in the woman hater/witch hunter/burner himself? After all does someone who hunts and burns witches, have the spirit of God? Martin Luther could be an example as he although initially he stood up against the Catholic Jezebel spirit, he did subsequently become an anti-semite, writing that people ought to burn the houses of Jewish people, putting himself in the position of being – according to the Bible – cursed by God (whose promise was to bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them – such promise never having been rescinded). It has been said that it was Luther who paved the way for Nazism. (The evidence is clear in Martin Luther’s own writings.)
Pagan worship means human sacrifice is not necessarily true in my opinion, though there are some evidences could lead to that practice, We should consider this was the era where people were xenophobic to others who weren’t their kind, so the kind of prejudice was common.
Could you send this article to me about jezebel
The majority of comments on this article are vastly disappointing and rather sickening. What are we afraid of? Do we think God will not stand up to our questions? That we may uncover some God-shattering information through the process of asking questions our Sunday School teachers were afraid to answer? And why, in God’s name, are we so afraid of women?
Thank you, BA, for publishing this article, as Jamie said above!
What an interesting article! I greatly appreciate the perspective of this author and the questions raised in her look at Jezebel. Rather than letting Jezebel remain an unexamined “evil” fixture in the landscape of the OT, we’re invited to look into her history, context, and possible motivations. Bravo!
Kudos to Biblical Archaeology for publishing this perspective!
That should be-EXTREMELY interesting article! Darned autocorrect!
The comments are almost as fascinating as the article itself! I shake my head sadly at the general ignorance displayed in many of these comments, especially the ones written by men That said, I found this to be an adjustment interesting article about a fascinating and powerful woman.
I can’t help but wonder why some men are so incredibly frightened by women!
If you would investigate the practices of Baal and Ashteroth which Jezebel practiced, you would see that she was indeed immoral. Besides that, ignoring the obvious manifestation of the God of Israel. Beisdes the fact that Jezebel was systematically murdering all the prophets of God. God is no racist, He sent Elijah the prophet to another Sidonian woman, a widow. She was sustained and her son raised from the dead. God was patient and was delighted when Ahab finally humbled himself after going along with Jezebel’s murder of an innocent farmer. Was not this government oppression of a poor farmer considered as evil? Whether she was a believer in the God of Israel or not. This very act was enough to prove her evil.
[…] Biblical Archaeology: Theology gone wrong: How Bad Was Jezebel? […]
[…] The second argument is that the picture we have of Jezebel in scripture is incomplete. It only casts Jezebel in a negative light, while there are positive aspects to her character. An example of this kind of argument can be found here. […]
Excellent reading .
But you failed to mention that the chief Baal worship , required human sacrifice .
This was probably where the author was coming from .
And now , with this knowledge , would your thoughts on Jezebel be the same ?
The Phoenicians were widely known for “sending their children through the fire ” .Something Yahweh despised .
This is all historical fact . Baal worship was tantamount to Satanism .
Asking questions are actually fastidious thing if you are not understanding something completely,
however this paragraph offers pleasant understanding yet.
It seems you left out the part about how evil the worship of Baal could be. This is what the prophets of Israel were fighting: “One may question that those ancient enemies of Israel were as evil as the Bible claims that they were, but even a superficial glance at Canaanite religion alone ably demonstrates their iniquity. Base sex worship was prevalent, and religious prostitution even commanded; human sacrifice was common; and it was a frequent practice–in an effort to placate their gods–to kill young children and bury them in the foundations of a house or public building at the time of construction: Joshua 6:26 “In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn…” -Howard E. Vos, “An Introduction To Bible Archaeology” among several other sources that speak to this very thing.
I think we only need remember the Nazis or the rape of Nanking to recognize the harshness of this type of evil. In modern society, we certainly would kill 450 “prophets” of this sort of evil if our children were threatened with this type of horrible death. I really don’t think you can accuse the Biblical writers of bias if even a modicum of this sort of malice was going on in Jezebel’s religion.
Thhanks for sharing your thoughts on ahab and jezebel.
Scriptural Glass Plaque Peace…
[…] r of God.God was delivered from the womb of woman.Woman provided God with nouris […]…
WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for
ahab and jezebel
Hi this a message from jezebel cant believe your still talking about me after all these years thanks but i am shocked.
One hardly needs your commentary to the events its as if you believe thinking people not able to read between the lines. Your efforts to slant your own perceptions of the acct given is at best propagandist an truly mind numbing
[…] “http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/how-bad-wa…; was the most helpful at collecting multiple facts on the past of jezebel. […]
I pray that the Lord will find you. Until then, you will remain lost, proud, and a resilient word warrior. When the Lord calls you, you will humble yourself, seek His forgiveness, and direct your excellent command of the English language toward His purposes, and you will do so in loves than you will not even understand. May God bless you
I think the curse of Jezebel is back and has cursed us with feminism. Lots of women today seem to be just like Jezebel with a disdain for men and a lust for power and control over them. Women are masters of deception and they use the word “equality” when really they are seeking supremacy. Men are being deceived and disempowered and even emasculated by women these days. And the women even have a large gathering of eunuch males supporting them in their crusade. It seems that history does repeat itself after all. I wonder if Hillary Clinton will be made into dog food. One can only pray to the Lord almighty.
I find myself deeply saddened by the incredibly poor (though admittedly quite bitterly humorous) responses this article has received. Though I make no attempt to exhibit a knowledge of the Bible or of an religion, and though I shall profess that I had initial sympathies towards the author’s stance, I find that I must express gratitude to Ms. Gaines for writing this and disgust towards the larger portion of those leaving comments.
As I believe was intimated above, the simple fact that one would denounce what here has been written because it is against the Bible or against their former beliefs, is to demonstrate a clear and unutterable ignorance, an obvious missing of the point, of the entire spirit of the article. Ms. Gaines sought to determine the reasons for Jezebel’s depiction as such an evil women and did so by examining the lens through which the writers of the Bible saw history. To claim that that lens could not have been clouded is ridiculous. Any written work is necessarily biased; objectivity is humanly unattainable.
Perhaps what incites me to write this, more than the obvious misinterpretations of the article and blatant misunderstandings of what has been written (the both of which point to an incredibly unnerving conclusion about the state of education amongst the readers of articles such as these), is the unutterable incompetence of those who have chosen to write here. I would like to point out that it is typical custom to put spaces after periods, that apostrophes exist for a reason, that capitalization too exists, and that sentences that are began as questions are supposed to end with question marks (? in case you didn’t know what they looked like).
I’m writing this yes, because I’m picky, but also because I think that in order to have intellectual conversation (which, perhaps in the case of quite a few of the commentators is not the desire), a proper usage of the English language is prerequisite. You’d sound much more intelligent if you used proper grammar and perhaps then people would take you seriously. Instead, you’ve left us with an amalgam of jumbled words whose main intimation is that Ms. Gaines is wrong simply because she opposes the Bible (which in and of itself isn’t even necessarily correct). The failure of such a large proportion of those commenting here to recognize that our language has a certain, albeit quite flexible, formal structure, leaves me with serious qualms about the intellectual powers of the majority of the population (both global and national). The obvious reliance on blind faith in place of reasoned thinking does not seem to point in the most positive of directions in my opinion.
And when one claims that the fact that Science is a humble and unassuming art, that the fact that it is capable of changing and accepting other, new ideas, that because it is non static, it is of necessity not “true” and therefore should not be trusted, that therefore blind faith is to be more stable, is to demonstrate a fundamental ignorance to the purpose of Science. Science as an art does not seek to prove anything as true. As a matter of fact, that’s the essence of the scientific method; things may only be disproven, nothing may be true. That’s why Science labels things as Theories rather than Truths, as religions seem so fond of doing. But then, I guess, you would raise the question of why anyone would use Science for anything if it cannot provide truth. And I would then ask of you two things: what is “truth” and also if you would be willing to live with no technological development, with no medical advancement, with no modern comforts. I ask of you, expanding of the latter idea, if you believe that one would be able to deduce the General Theory of Relativity from the Bible alone or if you could create the Internet or even a simple computer with only the text from the ancient book. I believe that one would not. But perhaps that is because I am a Pagan and do not accept the Bible as absolute truth because I do not accept anything as absolute truth. But it that is the case, then it is a scenario I am willing to live with. I guess that I too shall be free.
I stopped reading when it became obvious that the writer was sympathizing with Jezebel, she was mentioned in the bible to have killed God’s people with her false prophets, that made her a murderer. So tell me please, what is the punishment for murder in those days.
I think you need to give your life to Christ.
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The author of this interpretation is clearly equating murder with war killings. So, if they are one in the same then the “Story” of Jezebel is one of War. She initiated and waged war against the people of Israel, more importantly, Gods people. All this is in an essay argument based on a persons scientific review of Holy and Undoubted truth. But remember science has habitually and continually proven itself wrong over and over and over and over and over………… and is always willing to changes its own truth only to satisfy the scholars of the day. Same is true for religion interpretation of any scripture. But divine intercession with the Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus, and God will speak to a human soul, with such grace and truth that it is undoubtedly real. No college professor, no church of any level and no Saint of Any Righteousness can teach or regard themselves as the teacher. A person must WILLINGLY yield their soul to Christ Jesus and desire to serve God out of Love for Him. God is divine and no one should question God. The Bible is real and living proof of God.
I pray for any soul who so chooses to deny the Father
it’s funny how pissed off the men are by this analysis.
The fact that there is no proof Jezebel was not a harlot, does not mean she wasn’t. Her behavior to prepare herself for Jehu’s arrival gives some proof that she was sudductive, especially having a weak husband. She did control and did whatever she wanted. Your reference of dying like a queen, hardly.
[…] look at it from a different angle, you can open the link in the middle of our Paul’s Signpost last Sunday. It sure did open my […]
Jezebel,Vashti,Candace were not woman because no part of their being was formed by or from man.They had knowledge that transcended time and space. They were named before the foundations of the earth was formed.While this is probably difficult for some to understand,it is simple to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.Woman is the mother of God.God was delivered from the womb of woman.Woman provided God with nourishment and raised God to adolesence.Woman anointed God.Woman ministered to God .Woman was first to see God,and it was woman who God visited before returning to the Father. This according to the word of God as recorded in the scriptures
[…] know. If you’re interested in the full story of how Jezebel has been misportrayed in the Bible, Janet Howe Gaines spells it all […]
Thanks Janet, I enjoyed reading your interpretation of Jezebel’s motivations. Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. Very interesting take on the story of Jezebel, glad I read it.
[…] How Bad Was Jezebel?: Courtesy of Bible History Daily, this article discusses the life and times of Queen Jezebel. This is a heavily academic piece, but it offers some great insights, along with photographs of related artifacts. […]
Janet, Are you the same Janet from Badin, NC? If so please send me your e-mail address.
In the March/April 2008 issue of BAR (pp. 32-37), Marjo Korpel writes in “Jezebel’s Royal Seal”, that out of thousands of seals found with Hebrew inscriptions, only 35 belong to women. This particular seal is very fancy and large and “it is filled with common Egyptian symbols that were often used in Phoenicia at this time.”
“The winged sphinx, winged sun disk and especially the falcon are well-known symbols of royalty in Egypt. The female Isis/Hathor crown on the winged sphinx (symbol for the king) suggests the owner to be female.”
“The double ‘uraeus’ (cobra) at the bottom is a typical symbol of queens with prominent roles in religion and politics from the 18th Egyptian dynasty onward.”
“In the Ugaritic Baal ritual, the queen represented Anat, who had to revive her husband Baal. Similarly the pharaoh at his death was identified with Osiris, at was Isis who had to restore him to life with the help of her sister Nephtys. These two goddesses were often represented as ‘Uraei.’ By including the two cobras, the ‘ankh’ symbol and the horned sundisk on her seal, Jezebel wanted to characterize herself as the revitalizing force behind the throne.”
“The seal attests to her aspiration for a divine status, and this may well have been what sparked the ire of the Biblical descriptions of her.”
I thought it was an excellent article. She’s contrasting the values of the editors of the Hebrew Bible with that of a modern person. The fact that the first responder here argues that killing someone because God says so is not murder reflects these gaps very well. Instead of jumping to conclusions because they’re comfortable seems a very easy thing to do, but doesn’t provide much insight, either. Neither does hurling claims of theological harlotry.
I second Gear’s comments above. This sub-standard analysis is a clear example of theological harlotry.
Although I believe in God, I am leery whenever anyone (Christian, Muslim, or any other religion) claims to know EXACTLY what “God says” about an issue, particularly when “God says” someone other than the speaker needs punishment.
The writer of the article is not denying the general wickedness of Queen Jezebel, but pointing out that the wickedness may have been EXAGGERATED by the Biblical author, and that WE have misunderstood the NATURE of that wickedness. Refusing to “repent” of one’s sins is exactly what one would expect of someone who views those sins as part of her religious duty to HER religion and her homeland; if she did not believe in Yahweh, why would she repent to Yahweh? Not that the secular sin of murder and theft would be OK with Baal, of course, but it is the kind of thing royal autocrats might do. Ironically, our own country’s First Amendment would prohibit BOTH Jezebel’s murder of the priests of Yahweh AND Elijah’s murder of the priests of Baal, but this was not the common practice of ANY nation at this time, including Jezebel’s homeland of Phoenicia. Most of us in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the majority of Muslims also, have evolved into a toleration, if not a total embrace, of religious pluralism, and believe that killing in the name of God is a sin. The difference is the way the SECULAR law is written, as seen by the fact that Christians HAVE fought religious wars in the PAST.
It is good for history that Elijah won that battle, although it was a temporary victory. We need to understand Biblical stories in light of the attitudes of THEIR time. I believe that Janet is doing just that, but is also comparing their attitudes with ours, to show the changes in three millennia.
One shouldn’t expect Janet to incorporate a proper spiritual perspective, as she presupposes the stories to be false to begin with, as she would also for the NT gospels, as therein Christ clearly refers to Elijah as a true historical character. Outside of this, her analysis is crippled by her inability to approach the text by more professional exegetical methods, as she judges the text as one might if it were written today.
Only in today’s America could one put this kind of twist on the story of Jezebel. The conclusions are absolutely ridiculous. You assume the writer is already prejudice, but have you considered that the facts presented are accurate and that you are the one with clouded ideas even before you write, because of your own misconceived ideas. Evil does not become independence, strength, and loyalty. Evil is just plain evil.
Interesting account and a great biblical history -for me it gives insight of Gods’ Greatness. I like this research work of Janet Howe Gaines tell about the unrepented Jezebel spirit and judgment –.Jezebel, the Phoenician wife of King Ahab of Israel,the princess Jezebel is brought to the northern kingdom of Israel to wed the newly crowned King Ahab, son of Omri. Her father is Ethbaal of Tyre, king of the Phoeniciansan internation bussioness center, a group of Semites whose ancestors were Canaanites a heathen generation, this was an intermarriage influenced and endangered the Gods people. finally the spirit made its grand entrance, still that demonic spirit works as it is mentioned in the book of Revelation2:20 All her children/followers will be killed by the Christ Jesus.
Jezebel was surely a good person in today’s standard. but not in Harmonie with god. remember not only Jezebel but our world today is a Enemy of God. The question is am I true to this world or to God?
More should be looked into the influence of the Raphaim, the Nephilim, and the “gods” spoken of by the Sumerians.
Your second guessing and reading between the lines and assuming is foolish and false scholarship. In fact your treatment of Gods word is shocking if not astonishing. You are clearly not a follower of the God of Israel who is the God of the Bible and the whole earth. Pretending some moral imbalance is sanctioned and present shows a lack of understanding of Biblical history and standards. It is becoming clear that BAR supports this kind of fake scholarship of wolves in sheeps clothing no different than the esteemed ” scholar” from North Carolina they are always propping up. The Lord will laugh all of you into derision who mock His word.
This clarification of the character of Jezebel is a minor, but significant, plot device in Isaac Asimov’s trilogy of an Earth-born detective solving crimes involving Spacers (aristocratic descendants of the first human space colonists), the first two novels (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun) written in the early 1950’s and the third (The Robots of Dawn) in the 1980’s. The hero of all three (and a remembered hero of their sequel, Empire and Robots, which takes place two centuries later) is a New York policeman named Elijah Baley, whose wife is named Jezebel but goes by the nickname Jessie. Elijah discusses for her and the reader the rivalry between these Biblical characters and the irony of their namesakes falling in love and raising a family (a son named Bentley). In this discussion, Elijah tells his wife that the Jezebel in the Bible was not “wicked” in the sexual sense, only a foreign queen whose religion was in conflict with that of the Biblical writers. So this has been known for many years to intelligent laymen as well as Bible scholars.
Defending women’s right is one thing. But defending a woman’s wickedness is appalling.
Always remember that history is written by the victor, and his view of those he defeated is only one side. What God intended in Jezebel’s sad life may, or may not, have been to be a defiant foil to the all-wise and bloody prophet. Not much of a lesson here, except to be — always the O.T. lesson for women — subservient. Like Jael. Ooops!
One should remember that God is ALMIGHTY.He is just and He judges according to the laws he has established.All his ways are good, and throughout the Bible he has always kept his promises.In the Garden of Eden, Satan put in the mind of man that God is a tyran and that we are his toys.But we should remember that God created man first of all to be above His angels.He could have decided otherwise, since we are His CREATION.Jezebel could have repented from her sins but she did not, and her decisions determined her judgement.I denote in this article the insinuation made by Satan that God is unjust, that He should have allowed Adam and Eve to eat from the prohibited tree, or that God’s judgement of Jezebel is unfair.Jezebel’s attitude facing her death picture rebellion. Even if she knows she lost the battle, she persists to reject God.Also, even if Satan knows he will lose the battle, and that God is the ALMIGHTY, he faces calmly his judgement and accepts it.I would encourage you readers to be careful in the manner you interpret God’s plans.He is JUST in everything.Those who says the contrary are being deceived by Satan, like Eve was.
Elijah was required by law to kill the false prophets and you make him sound like he is murdering people, but he is simply keeping the commandments of God which were put in place to keep the land and people clean. He was no murderer killing for his own gain or vengeance, but Loved God and His commandments.
Jezebel was indeed evil, but in modern time we’ve had people people that were ruling , such as the wives various dictators of Arab countries, Calcescu of Romania , German women guards and such, people havent changed much.