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By her marriage to King Ahab of Israel, Jezebel helped to join Phoenicia and Israel together in a political and religious alliance. She was daughter of the king-priest of the Phoenician cities Tyre and Sidon, and set out to make Phoenician Baalism the official religion of Israel. Ahab cooperated in the plan and built a royal Baal temple in Israel’s capital, Samaria (1 Kings 16:29-33).


Soon, however, Ahab ran into opposition, his opponent being God’s prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:17-18). The ministry of the prophets Elijah and Elisha was aimed specifically at preserving the true worship of Yahweh in Israel when Jezebel’s Baalism threatened to wipe it out (see ELIJAH; ELISHA).

Within a short time, Jezebel had killed a large number of God’s prophets and replaced them with several hundred of her own (1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 18:19). When, after a contest on Mt Carmel, Elijah defeated and killed the Baal prophets, Jezebel tried to kill him, but he escaped (1 Kings 18:40; 1 Kings 19:1-3).

Jezebel demonstrated her total lack of moral uprightness in the way she arranged for Ahab to seize the vineyard of Naboth. She set up people to make false accusations against the innocent Naboth, then, after having him executed, she seized his vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-16). Elijah announced a horrible judgment upon the dynasty of Ahab, and particularly upon the murderous Jezebel (1 Kings 21:20-25).

Even after Ahab’s death, Jezebel still exercised much influence in Israel. For the next fourteen years two of her sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram, ruled as successive kings and promoted her religious policies (1 Kings 22:51-53; 2 Kings 1:17; 2 Kings 3:1-3). She and Jehoram were killed at Jezreel in Jehu’s bloody revolution. Strong-willed to the end, Jezebel was determined to meet her executioner with royal dignity (2 Kings 9:22-37).

In New Testament times the church at Thyatira in Asia Minor was troubled by a woman nicknamed Jezebel. She was a false prophetess whose religion, like that of the original Jezebel, was characterized by idolatry and immorality (Revelation 2:18-23).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Jezebel'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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