Jezebel, Wicked Witch in the North


Bible Reference: 2 Kings chapter 9.

Heart of the Story: This blog entry describes the outcome of Queen Jezebel.

Back Story:  Baal and Asherah were Jezebel’s gods in Sidon. As queen of Israel, Jezebel continued to worship them. Unfortunately, Jezebel taught her son to worship Phoenician idols. Neither of the sons (Azariah and Joram) of Ahab and Jezebel repented of idol worship and turn to worship of the true God of Israel.

After Ahab was killed in battle against the king of Syria, his eldest son (Azariah) became king. He reigned over Israel two years and died subsequent to a fall (2 Kings 1:1-17). Because Azariah had no sons, his brother Joram succeeded him as king. Jorem reigned 11-12 years. While King Joram recovered from a battle wound in Jezreel, a prophet sent from Elisha crowned the military commander Jehu king of Israel. Shortly afterward Jehu confronted King Joram who asked if Jehu came in peace.

Jehu’s answer was, “How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound” (2 Kings 9:22 NIV)? Then, Jehu killed King Joram. King Joram’s un-buried body was dumped in Naboth’s vineyard.

Story Line: Jezebel was alone. Her husband was dead and her sons were dead. Jezebel knew that Jehu was coming to kill her. Jezebel was determined to die as a queen; she neither cringed nor fled. Instead she put on eye makeup and arranged her hair; she sat at a window waiting for Jehu. When Jehu entered the palace gate, Jezebel asked, “Have you come in peace, you Zimri, you murderer of your master?” (2 Kings 9:30-33 NIV). To the end of her life Jezebel was decisive and in no way a victim. Calling Jehu “Zimri” was an insult and reminded Jehu and anyone listening that 45 years earlier the military general Zimri assassinated King Elah of Israel and was declared king. Unfortunately, Zimri’s reign only lasted seven days then he was killed. Jezebel implied that Jehu’s reign would be short-lived. Further, Jezebel called Jehu a murdered because he killed her son and legitimate king,

Despite Jezebel’s words, her eunuchs threw her from the palace window when Jehu directed them to do so (2 Kings 9:32-37). Jezebel’s body was trampled by horses; then dogs fought to eat her body.  All that was left to bury was her skull, feet, and hand.

Pondering Relationships:  During the years Azariah and Jorem were king of Israel, Jezebel had the powerful position of Queen Mother. She was feared and possibly revered; but she was not loved by her attendants. The military as evidenced by Jehu,  a military commander who became king, opposed Jezebel.

Jehu accused Jezebel of witchcraft, a grave sin under the Mosaic Law. No other Bible verses supported Jehu’s claim that Jezebel was a practicing witch. Whether she practiced witchcraft is not clear from the Bible. What is clear is that Jezebel was an idolater who remained loyal to the gods (Baal and Asherah) that she brought from Sidon. In the Bible, idolatry is often called prostitution and adultery because the people turn from God to other gods of the land. The Bible calls Jezebel a fornicator but perhaps that reference is related to her idol worship rather than to sexual disloyalty to her husband Ahab. The Bible provides no other evidence that Jezebel was sexually disloyal to Ahab.

Reflection: Whatsoever a man sows, he reaps. Although a woman, how does this verse apply to Queen Jezebel? How does it apply to your behavior?

Copyright November 7, 2016; Carolyn Adams Roth

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