Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 9:30

When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out the window.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Cosmetics;   Decision;   Elijah;   Homicide;   Jehu;   Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Naboth;   Painting;   Usurpation;   Wife;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Elijah;   Jezebel;   Painting;   Queens;   Windows;   Women;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Eye, the;   Head;   Houses;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eye;   House;   Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Dress;   Jehu;   Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Palestine;   Phoenicia;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Head, Headship;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Eye;   Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Paint;   Tires;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Eyes, Painting of;   Jehoram;   Jezebel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ahab;   Antimony;   Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Cosmetics;   Elijah;   Hair;   Jezebel;   Window;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Elijah;   Eye;   Face;   Government;   Hair;   House;   Jehu;   Jezebel;   Keren-Happuch;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hosea ;   Jehu ;   Jezebel ;   Jezreel ;   Painting;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jehu;   Lattice;   Ramothgilead;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Eye;   Eyes;   Hair;   Jezreel;   Obsolete or obscure words in the english av bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eye;   Hair;   House;   Jez'ebel;   Jez're-El;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Eye;   Jehu;   Painting the Face;   Windows;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Eyelid;   Hair;   House;   Jehu;   Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Naboth;   Paint;   Tire;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

She painted her face, and tired her head - She endeavored to improve the appearance of her complexion by paint, and the general effect of her countenance by a tiara or turban head-dress. Jonathan, the Chaldee Targumist, so often quoted, translates this עינהא בצדידא וכחלת vechachalath bitsdida eynaha : "She stained her eyes with stibium or antimony." This is a custom in Astatic countries to the present day. From a late traveler in Persia, I borrow the following account: -

"The Persians differ as much from us in their notions of beauty as they do in those of taste. A large soft, and languishing black eye, with them constitutes the perfection of beauty. It is chiefly on this account that the women use the powder of antimony, which, although it adds to the vivacity of the eye, throws a kind of voluptuous languor over it, which makes it appear, (if I may use the expression), dissolving in bliss. The Persian women have a curious custom of making their eye-brows meet; and if this charm be denied them, they paint the forehead with a kind of preparation made for that purpose." E. S. Waring's Tour to Sheeraz, 4th., 1807, page 62.

This casts light enough on Jezebel's painting, etc., and shows sufficiently with what design she did it, to conquer and disarm Jehu, and induce him to take her for wife, as Jarchi supposes. This staining of the eye with stibium and painting was a universal custom, not only in Asiatic countries, but also in all those that bordered on them, or had connections with them. The Prophet Ezekiel mentions the painting of the eyes, Ezekiel 23:40.

That the Romans painted their eyes we have the most positive evidence. Pliny says, Tanta est decoris affectatio, ut tinguantur oculi quoque. Hist. Nat. lib. xi., cap. 37. "Such is their affection of ornament, that they paint their eyes also." That this painting was with stibium or antimony, is plain from these words of St. Cyprian, De Opere et Eleemosynis, Inunge aculos tuos non stibio diaboli, sed collyrio Christi, "Anoint your eyes, not with the devil's antimony, but with the eye-salve of Christ." Juvenal is plain on the same subject. Men as well as women in Rome practiced it: -

Ille supercilium madida fuligine tactum

Obliqua producit acu pingitque trementes

Attollens oculos.

Sat. ii., ver. 93.

"With sooty moisture one his eye-brows dyes,

And with a bodkin paints his trembling eyes."

The manner in which the women in Barbary do it Dr. Russel particularly describes: -

"Upon the principle of strengthening the sight, as well as an ornament, it is become a general practice among the women to black the middle of their eye-lids by applying a powder called ismed. Their method of doing it is by a cylindrical piece of silver, steel, or ivory, about two inches long, made very smooth, and about the size of a common probe. This they wet with water, in order that the powder may stick to it, and applying the middle part horizontally to the eye, they shut the eye-lids upon it, and so drawing it through between them, it blacks the inside, leaving a narrow black rim all round the edge. This is sometimes practiced by the men, but is then regarded as foppish." Russel's Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, page 102. See Parkhurst, sub voc. פך

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Painted her face - literally, “put her eyes in antimony “ - i. e., dyed the upper and under eyelids, a common practice in the East, even at the present day. The effect is at once to increase the apparent size of the eye, and to give it unnatural brilliancy. Representations of eyes thus embellished occur on the Assyrian sculptures, and the practice existed among the Jews (marginal reference; and Jeremiah 4:30).

Tired her head - Dressed (attired) her head, and no doubt put on her royal robes, that she might die as became a queen, in true royal array.

A window - Rather, “the window.” The gate-tower had probably, as many of those in the Assyrian sculptures, one window only.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-9.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE DEATH OF JEZEBEL

"And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her eyes, and attired her head, and looked out of the window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Is it peace, thou Zimri, thy master's murderer? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? Who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down; and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trod her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink; and he said, See now to this cursed woman, and bury her; for she is a king's daughter. And they went to bury her; but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came back, and told him. And he said, This is the word of Jehovah, which he spake by Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall the dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the body of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel, so they shall not say, This is Jezebel."

REGARDING JEZEBEL

Like the apostle John who looked upon the Great Whore of Revelation 17:6 (KJV), I wonder with great admiration at this evil woman, who in spite of her wickedness was a woman of great strength and achievement in the eyes of men (though, not in the eyes of the Lord). She was not only a king's daughter, she was the wife of a king (Ahab), and the mother of one king (Joram), the grandmother of another king (Ahaziah), and the mother-in-law of another (Joram of Judah).

She manifested a great zeal for her pagan religion, and if the kings of God's people had been half as zealous to promote the true religion as she was to promote hers, she would not have been successful in the great corruption that she brought upon God's people.

It is to the great shame of the kings of Judah and Israel that their conduct was not such as could have been any encouragement to Jezebel to forsake Baal and cling to the true God.

She retained her queenly character up until the day of her death, and she died in the full regalia of her office, with her customary decorations such as the painted face and attired head (she probably wore her crown). She referred to Jehu as a regicide, another Zimri, reminding him that Zimri himself paid the penalty of his deeds.

It is a great pity that a woman of such gifts never learned the worship of the true God and that she died in the hopeless paganism in which she had been reared. One may well wonder, how many associates of Christians find their behavior such a deterrent that they, like Jezebel, continue in darkness, rather than turn to the Light that lighteth every man coming into the world.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it,.... And of what he had done to Joram:

and she painted her face; or put "stibium" on her eyes; a sort of paint, to make them look beautiful perhaps the same with powder of lead ore, the Moors now use to tinge their eyebrows with, and make them look black, which they reckon graceful; see Gill on Ezekiel 23:40, this custom now obtains among the white Indians, who, to heighten the lustre of their complexion, and render their eyes more languishing, put a little black about themF14Agreement of Customs between East Indians and Jews, art. 15. p. 65. :

and tired her head; dressed her head in the most elegant manner; not with a view to tempt Jehu, which she could not expect, being an aged woman; but for grandeur and majesty, and in the pride and haughtiness of her spirit, which she retained to the last, and resolved to keep up and show in her extremity and calamity:

and looked out at a window; in a bravado, as fearless of Jehu, and to dash him out of countenance if she could; or she might hope, by such a graceful and majestic appearance she made, that he would be moved to spare her life; though this does not so well agree with what follows as the former.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard [of it]; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and l looked out at a window.

(l) Being of a harsh and cruel nature, she would still retain her royal state and dignity.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jezebel painted her face — literally, “her eyes,” according to a custom universal in the East among women, of staining the eyelids with a black powder made of pulverized antimony, or lead ore mixed with oil, and applied with a small brush on the border, so that by this dark ligament on the edge, the largeness as well as the luster of the eye itself was thought to be increased. Her object was, by her royal attire, not to captivate, but to overawe Jehu.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-9.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 9:30 And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard [of it]; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.

Ver. 30. And she painted her face.] Heb., She put her eyes in painting, (a) פיד, φυκος, fucus. This she did ad conciliandum regiam maiestatem, to show herself to Jehu in majesty and royal brightness; for she was extremely proud and arrogant to her very last, and now she would show what a brave spirit she had in this her desperate condition: (b) and that if she must die, she would die in her gaiety. Peter Martyr here compareth the Pope of Rome to Jezebel in sundry particulars. And besides Pope Joan, an arrant whore, Pope Sylvester and others of them, great magicians; we read of Pope Paulus Venetus, that, Jezebel-like, he painted himself, desired to seem a woman, and was called the goddess Cybele. It was, therefore, a witty answer of a certain painter, who, when he was asked by a cardinal why he coloured the visages of Peter and Paul so red, tartly he replied, I paint them so, as blushing at the lives of their successors. (c)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 9:30. She painted her face Rendered in the margin, put her eyes in painting: the word פוךֶ puk, rendered painting, signifies a mineral substance, stybium or stimmi, otherwise called plumbago, or black-lead, a kind of ochre of very fine and loose parts. The word occurs again, Jeremiah 4:30 and both there as well as here, it is mentioned as somewhat with which women coloured their eyes. At this day the women in many parts of the east, tinge their eyes with black to heighten their beauty. The ingenious writer of the "Agreement of the customs between the East Indians and Jews," well illustrates this matter. "Ezekiel," says he, "describing the idolatry of Jerusalem, under the figure of a lewd woman, accuses her of rubbing her eye-lids with black-lead when her lovers came to wait upon her." Ezekiel 23:40. This is what we find also that Jezebel did. She painted her eye lids or her eyes, with black-lead, and put ornaments upon her head. If we may judge of this practice by our fashions, it was not very fit to render women more enticing, yet the custom is still in use among the Indian women that are white, who, to heighten the lustre of their complexion, and render their eyes more languishing, paint them round with black-lead, which serves almost the same purpose as the patches used by some European ladies. See Tavernier's Travels into Persia, Russel's Natural History of Aleppo, and Shaw's Travels. The last cited author observes, that the practice above-mentioned was used as well by the Greeks and Romans as by the eastern nations; and to this Juvenal plainly refers, Sat. 2:

Ille supercilium madida fuligine tinctum, Obliqua producit acu, pingitque trementes Attollens oculos.

With jet-black pencils on his eye-brows dyes, And, gently touching, paints his trembling eyes.

See Parkhurst on the word פךֶ pak. Dr. Shaw further observes, that the general method of building, both in Barbary and the Levant, seems to have continued the same from the earliest ages down to this time, without the least alteration or improvement. Large doors, spacious chambers, marble pavements, cloistered courts, with fountains sometimes playing in the midst, are certainly conveniences very well adapted to the circumstances of these hotter climates. The jealousy likewise of these people is less apt to be alarmed, whilst, if we except a small latticed window or balcony which sometimes looks into the street, all the other windows open into their respective courts or quadrangles. It is during the celebration only of some public festival that these houses and their latticed windows or balconies are left open; for, this being a time of great liberty, revelling, and extravagance, each family is ambitious of adorning both the inside and outside of their houses with their richest furniture; while crowds of both sexes, dressed out in their best apparel, and laying aside all modesty and restraint, go in and out where they please. The account that we here have of Jezebel's dressing herself and looking out at a window for Jehu's public entrance into Jezreel, gives us a lively idea of an eastern lady at one of these public solemnities. See Trav. p. 227. 229.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-9.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Either hoping that by her majestic dress and carriage she might strike Jehu or his followers with such an awe, that they should not offer any injury to her person; or rather, because perceiving her case to be desperate, and that she could not live, was resolved to die with honour and gallantry.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-9.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

30.Painted her face — Better, set her eyes in paint. “The paint used by the Hebrew women was a powder producing a black colour; it was commonly prepared either from antimony, or from lead ore and zinc, which they mixed with water, and spread by means of a needle or probe of silver or ivory upon the borders of the eyelids, so that the white of the eye might appear still whiter by being surrounded with a black margin.” — Gesenius. “This,” says Kitto, “is considered to add greatly to the brilliancy and power of the eye, and to deepen the effect of the long black eyelashes of which the Easterns are excusably proud. The ancient Egyptians practised this long before the date of the present transaction. Figures of painted eyes appear in the monuments, and the implements used in the operation have been actually found in the tombs, with some of the composition remaining in the vessels.”

Tired her head — Adorned her head and hair with a queenly headdress.

Looked out at a window — Some have thought her object, in thus arraying her person in splendid attire, was to captivate Jehu by her charms, and lead him, after the manner of Eastern usurpers, to take her for his wife. But her scornful words to him in the next verse accord not with this thought. She rather looked out of the window, arrayed in royal attire, to bid defiance to her enemy.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-9.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 9:30. Jezebel heard of it, &c. — She had heard that Jehu had slain her son, and slain him for her murders, idolatries, and other crimes, and thrown his dead body into the portion of Naboth, according to the word of the Lord; and now she learned he was come to Jezreel, where she could not but dread falling herself next a sacrifice to his revenging sword. Here we see how she meets her fate. She painted her face — Rendered in the margin, put her eyes in painting. The word פוךְ, puch, translated painting, signifies a mineral substance, stibium, otherwise called plumbago, or black- lead, a kind of ochre of very fine and loose parts. The word occurs again, Jeremiah 4:30, and both there and here is mentioned as somewhat with which women coloured their eyes. It made them look black, and also larger, by dilating their eye-brows; both which circumstances were thought to give them additional beauty. At this day the women, in many parts of the East, tinge their eyes with black to heighten their beauty. And tired her head — That is, dressed and adorned it, as the word תישׂב, theteb, here used, signifies. These things she did, hoping that, by her majestic dress and demeanour, she should strike Jehu and his followers with such awe, that they would be intimidated, and thereby prevented from offering her any personal injury; or rather, because, perceiving her case to be desperate, and that she would not be suffered to live, she was resolved to die with honour and gallantry. And looked out at a window — She placed herself at a window at the entering of the gate of the king’s palace, to affront Jehu, and set him at defiance.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-9.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Stone, or antimony, to make the eyes look black and large. If (Calmet) Jezabel thought that she would thus command respect or love, (Abulensis) she was extremely imprudent and rash, in her present condition. Pride might suggest that she ought not to appear unadorned. (Calmet) (Tirinus) --- The women of the Eastern countries delight much in painting, (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 37., and xxxiii. 6.) and some men have not been ashamed to follow their example. (St. Cyprian) --- Sardanapalus had his eyes and his eye-lids painted. (Atheneus xii.) The Arabs, &c., think that this black colour protects the eyes against the sun-beams. (Valle ii. Ep. 17.) To express the affection of Jezabel, Hebrew has, "she placed her eyes in antimony," (fuc, or puc, whence the Latin fucus is visibly derived) as if she plunged them in it. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

heard of it: i.e. of the murder of her grandson.

face = eyebrows and eyelids.

tired = adorned.

a window = the lattice.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.

Jezebel ... painted her face, [ `eeyneyhaa (Hebrew #5869), her eyes; bapuwk (Hebrew #6320), in the painting; 'put her eyes in the painting,'] according to a custom universal in the East among women, of staining the eyelids with stibium, the sulphuret of antimony, a black powder, mixed with oil, called in Syria, Egypt, and Persia, kohl, and applied with a small brush or blunt probe of wood, ivory, or silver, on the border, so that by this dark liniment on the edge, the arch of the eyebrow is darkened and elongated, the largeness as well as the luster of the eye itself was thought to be increased, and the natural beauty of the countenance supposed to be heightened by the effects of contrast. This practice existed in early times, as is proved by the ancient monuments of Egypt and the kohl vessels and probes found in the tombs (Lane's 'Egypt,' : cf. Job 42:14; Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:40 : Xenophon, 'Cyrop.,' 1:, 15; Pliny, 'Natural History,' 11:, 37; Juvenal, 'Satires,' 2:, 93). Jezebel's object was, by her royal attire, not to captivate, but to overawe Jehu.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-9.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(30) And when Jehu was come.—Rather, And Jehu came—i.e., after the slaughter of Ahaziah, as the Hebrew construction implies.

Jezebel heard of it.—Rather, Now Jezebel had heard—scil., the news of the death of the two kings. There should be a stop after Jezreel.

And she painted her face.—Rather, and she set her eyes in paint—i.e., according to the still common practice of Oriental ladies, she painted her eyebrows and lashes with a pigment composed of antimony and zinc (the Arabic kohl). The dark border throws the eye into relief, and makes it appear larger (Bähr). Pliny relates that in his day this pigment (stibium) was called platyophthalmon (comp. Jeremiah 4:30), because it dilates the eye (Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxiii. 34).

Tired.—An old English word, meaning adorned with a tire or head-dress. (Comp. Isaiah 3:18.) Tire might seem to be the Persian tiara, but is much more probably connected with the German zier and zieren. (See Skeaťs Etym. Dict., s.v) Jezebel put on her royal apparel in order to die as a queen. Comp. the similar behaviour of Cleopatra:—

“Show me, my women, like a queen. Go fetch

My best attires. I am again tor Cydnus,

To meet Marc Antony . . . Bring our crown, and all.

* * * * *

Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have

Immortal longings in me.”

Antony and Cleop., Acts 5, scene 2.

A window.—The window, looking down upon the square within the city gate. Others think of a window looking down into the courtyard of the palace.

Ewald’s notion (after Ephrem Syrus), that Jezebel thought to captivate the conqueror by her charms, is negatived by the consideration that she was the grandmother of Ahaziah, who was twenty-two years old when Jehu slew him, and the fact that Oriental women fade early.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
Jezebel
1 Kings 19:1,2
painted her face
Heb. put her eyes in painting.
Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:40
tired
Isaiah 3:18-24; Ezekiel 24:17; 1 Timothy 2:9,10; 1 Peter 3:3
Reciprocal: Genesis 6:16 - window;  Numbers 16:27 - and stood;  Joshua 19:18 - Jezreel;  1 Kings 16:31 - Jezebel;  1 Kings 21:23 - Jezebel;  Proverbs 6:25 - take;  Proverbs 7:10 - the attire;  Isaiah 3:9 - The show;  Revelation 2:20 - that woman;  Revelation 9:8 - hair

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:30". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-9.html.