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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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JEZEBEL (meaning uncertain). Daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and previously high priest of the Tyrian Baal; wife of Ahab, king of Israel, of the dynasty of Omri. Jezebel’s evil influence in the land of Israel, especially in combating the religion of Jahweh in the Interests of Baal-worship, was exercised not only during the twenty-two years of Ahab’s reign, but also during the thirteen years of the rule of her two sons, Ahaziah and Joram; moreover, this influence extended, though in a less degree, to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, where Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, seems to have followed in the footsteps of her mother ( 2 Kings 8:18 ). In her strength of character, her lust for power, her unshrinking and resolute activity; her remorseless brushing aside of anything and everything that interfered with the carrying out of her designs, she was the veritable prototype of Catherine de Medicis.

In the OT the figure of Jezebel is presented in connexion with some dramatic episodes which are probably recorded as illustrations, rather than as exceptionally flagrant examples, of her normal mode of procedure. These are: the account of the trial of strength between the prophets of Baal and Elijah (1 Kings 18:19 to 1 Kings 19:3 ), the narrative about Naboth and his vineyard ( 1 Kings 21:1-16 ), and, as illustrating her obstinate, unbending character to the very end note especially her words to Jehu in 2 Kings 9:31 the story of her death ( 2 Kings 9:30-37 ).

In Revelation 2:20 the name of Jezebel occurs; she calls herself a prophetess, and tempts men to wickedness. It is questionable whether the mention of the name here has any reference at all to the queen Jezebel.

W. O. E.Oesterley.

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

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jezebel'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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