Women of the Bible - Jezebel

    A Woman Synonymous with Wickedness
    by Kathryn Capoccia

     Young Adults Sunday School Class
    
     All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW
     INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by
     permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

 Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2000.  This file may be freely copied, printed out,
and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact,
and that it is not sold.

 I. Introduction

     A. Prayer Requests

     B. Review of Last Week's Lesson/Verse

II. Character Profile: Jezebel, a Woman Synonymous With Wickedness

     A. Who Was She? (read 1KI 16:31; 18:4,13,19; 19:1-3; 21:5-16,23; 2KI
        3:2,13; 9:7,10,22,30-37; REV 2:20).

        1. Who was her husband? (1KI 16:31).

           1KI 21:25,26  "There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself
           to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his
           wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like
           the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel."

           a) Ahab, "brother of father", 8th king of Israel who reigned 22
              years (1KI 16:29) from @869-850 B.C..

              1) he considered the sins of Jeroboam as trivial (1KI 16:31).

              2) he had no regard for the Scriptures concerning marriage to
                 pagans (DEU 7:1-5).

              3) he erected an altar and temple for Baal in Samaria (1KI
                 16:32).

              4) he was a weak believer in the LORD, naming at least some of
                 his children godly names (sons Ahaziah, "held by Jehovah"
                 and Jehoram, "he whom the LORD exalts", and daughter
                 Athaliah, "strong is Jehovah") and exhibiting repentance
                 after a prophetic rebuke (1KI 21:27-29).

           b) Son of Omri, king of Israel

              1) Omri built the city of Samaria as the royal residence
                 (1KI 16:24).

              2) Omri followed the idolatrous practices of Jeroboam (1KI
                 16:26; MIC 6:16).

                 a] Jeroboam commanded the Israeli's to worship two golden
                    calves in Bethel and Dan, instead of traveling to
                    Jerusalem to worship (1KI 12:28,29).

                 b] Jeroboam caused the people to worship at shrines on high
                    places officiated at by non-Levite priests (1KI 12:31).

                 c] Jeroboam instituted a worship festival on the 15th day
                    of the 8th month at Bethel, with sacrificial offerings
                    at the altar he instituted (1KI 12:32,33).

              3) Omri formed an alliance with Ethbaal of Tyre and Sidon
                 which was sealed by the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel (1KI
                 16:31).

        2. Who was her father? (1KI 16:31). Ethbaal, "man of Baal", king of
           Sidon and Tyre (i.e. all of Phoenicia) who reigned 32 yrs. after
           usurping the throne of his brother. Ethbaal is reputed to be a
           grandson of Hiram, king of Tyre (2SA 5:11), who was friend to
           King David and King Solomon (these facts come from Josephus). He
           was a formidable and unscrupulous politician and a priest of the
           vile Canaanite goddess, Astarte, who was connected with fertility
           and sex.

           a) Sidon:

              1) Sidon was one of the four most important Phoenician (a
                 sea-faring people) city-states, located on the eastern
                 Mediterranean Sea coast. It was conquered in turn by the
                 Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans, with
                 each conquering civilization leaving cultural influences in
                 the Sidonian culture.

              2) Sidon was famous for her skilled artisans, particularly in
                 embroidered robes, ivory and silver, and enjoyed extensive
                 trade with these industries.

              3) Sidon was a pagan culture, whose chief god was Eshmun.

           b) Tyre:

              1) Tyre was a famous seaport of the Phoenicians, located 25
                 mi. S. of Sidon; it was considered by some to be a colony
                 of Sidon.

              2) Tyre was famous for her cedar timber, crimson dye, dyed
                 cloth and commerce in tin and copper.

              3) Tyre's chief god was Melquart, or Baal: Tyre was the
                 principle seat of Baal and Astarte worship. A magnificent
                 temple with a golden pillar for Baal had been constructed
                 in Tyre by Hiram, which was later copied by Ahab for the
                 Baal temple in Samaria.

        3. What was her name? Jezebel, "chaste, free from carnal
           connection".

        4. What gods did she worship? (1KI 16:31; 18:19).

           a) Baal, "owner, master", was regarded as the great cosmic
              nature-god who controlled fertility in agriculture, animals
              and mankind and was owner of a localized area, not a universal
              deity. Baal was actually a pantheon of local fertility gods,
              "the Baals"; His images are supposed to portray strength and
              fertility. To insure his favor extreme forms of cultic
              worship, such as ritual prostitution, and child-sacrifice,
              were practiced. He is described as being the son of Dagon, an
              Amorite grain god.

           b) Astarte or Ashtoreth, "queen of heaven", was a mother-goddess
              of both love and war, and was the mother and companion of
              Baal; her cultic worship encouraged sexual license. Figures of
              her depict her with exaggerated sexual organs and breasts. She
              appears first in history as a Sumerian goddess but her worship
              was widespread throughout the Middle East, Egypt and Asia.

              *It was because of these gods and the corruption of the
              inhabitants of Canaan that God brought the Israelites to
              annihilate every person in the land.

              DEU 12:31 "...in worshiping their gods, the do all kinds of
              detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons
              and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods."

              DEU 9:4 "...it is on account of the wickedness of these
              nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.
              5 "...on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD
              your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what He
              swore to your fathers..."

        5. Where did she live?

           She lived primarily in Samaria with Ahab; but Ahab maintained a
           winter residence at Jezreel also, about 17 mi. from Mt. Carmel;
           Samaria was the sight of the royal palace (1KI 16:24,18:45; 2K
           I9:30).

     B. What Did She Do?

        1. She Promoted Ungodliness

           a) She was zealous for paganism

              1) she influenced her husband to "serve Baal and worship him"
                 (1KI 16:31).

              2) she influenced Ahab to erect pagan worship places:

                 a] a temple for Baal was built in Samaria, the capital
                    city, modeled after the Baal temple in Tyre (1KI 16:32).

                 b] a representation of Asherah was set up by her altar in
                    the Baal temple (1KI 16:33).

              3) she sponsored the pagan priesthood

                 a] she personally maintained 450 prophets of Baal at their
                    palace in Samaria (1KI 18:19).

                 b] she maintained 400 prophets of Asherah at Jezreel (2KI
                    10:11 and from "All The Women of The Bible" by Herbert
                    Lockyer, Zondervan Publishing House, pg. 74).

              4) she was the spiritual leader of her family

                 a] her first child, Athaliah, was a wicked woman (2KI
                    8:16-18: 11:1-16).

                    i] she married Jehoram, king of Judah, and influenced
                       her husband and son, Ahaziah, for evil (2KI 8:18;
                       8:27).

                   ii] she introduced Baal worship into Judah (2KI 8:18).

                  iii] upon the death of her son, Ahaziah, she murdered all
                       of her grandchildren (except for Joash, who was
                       hidden) to become ruler of Judah- she ruled for six
                       years until she was executed upon the ascension of
                       the rightful king (2KI 11:1-16).

                 b] her first son, Ahaziah, was an evil king practicing Baal
                    worship and the idolatry of Jeroboam (1KI 22:51-53)

                 c] her second son, Jehoram, followed the sins of Jeroboam
                    (2 KI 3:1-3).

           b) She may have influenced Ahab to rebuild Jericho in defiance of
              God's command that it should remain desolate forever (this
              construction was not accomplished without cost: as God had
              said, anyone rebuilding the city would lose both his oldest
              and youngest sons, and the builder, Hiel the Bethlehemite, did
              1KI 16:34).

              WHY WOULD SHE DO THESE THINGS?

              Jesus said that, "everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (JOH
              8:34) and that the unsaved ..."belong to your father the
              devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was
              a murderer from the beginning..." (JOH 8:44). In other words,
              she was being used as a powerful tool of evil by Satan, whose
              desire was to foster false religion and corrupt individuals
              and nations.

        2. She Persecuted Righteousness

           a) She tried to eradicate true worship.

              1) Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the LORD (1KI 18:4,13).

                 She systematically tried to kill all of the true prophets
                 of God- yet even in this she was unsuccessful because God
                 protected His people through Obadiah, Ahab's palace
                 supervisor, who hid 100 prophets in two caves with 50 in
                 each.

              2) she hunted Elijah to kill him

                 a] for confronting the sinfulness of Ahab and Jezebel and
                    delivering the prophecy of drought (1KI 17:1).

                    i] the sin of Ahab and Jezebel called for judgment to be
                       made on Israel (1KI 21:17-24).

                       1KI 21:22  I will make your house like that of
                       Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of
                       Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and
                       have caused Israel to sin.'

                       1KI 21:23  "And also concerning Jezebel the LORD
                       says: 'Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of
                       Jezreel.'

                   ii] natural disasters, particularly drought, are a
                       frequent avenue of judgment from God, not merely as
                       punishment, but as a means of promoting repentance
                       (JER 5:3; DEU 11:17; 1KI 8:35; 2CH 6:26; JER 3:3,
                       14:3-10; AMO 4:6-8).

                       DEU 11:17  "Then the LORD'S anger will burn against
                       you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not
                       rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you
                       will soon perish from the good land the LORD is
                       giving you."

                       JER 5:3  "O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?
                       You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed
                       them, but they refused correction. They made their
                       faces harder than stone and refused to repent."

                        -- Elijah was protected by God at the brook Cherith
                          where he was sustained by the brook and ravens
                          (1KI 17:3-7).

                        -- Elijah was sent to Zarephath for the remainder of
                          the time of judgment (3 yrs.) to stay with a poor
                          widow (1KI 17:9-24).

                 b] for besting Baal in the contest at Carmel and
                    slaughtering the 450 priests of Baal (1KI 19:1,2).

                    i] at God's command Elijah staged a contest between the
                       LORD and Baal: the true god would answer the prayers
                       of his followers by fire. (According to the text note
                       in The New International Study Bible, Pg.511, both
                       God and Baal were thought to ride the thunderstorm as
                       a divine chariot [see PSA 104:3], thunder was
                       supposed to be their voice, and lightning was thought
                       to be their weapon).

                        -- The 450 prophets of Baal prayed from morning until
                          the time of the evening sacrifice (3 PM) with no
                          answer, despite their frantic dancing, chanting
                          and self-mutilation (1KI 18:25-29).

                        -- Elijah built an altar of twelve stones, dug a
                          trench around the altar and filled it with water
                          (sea water?), killed a bull and placed it upon the
                          altar and prayed to God- fire came from heaven and
                          consumed everything, including the water in the
                          ditch (1KI 18:30-38).

                   ii] after the contest Elijah ordered that the false
                       priests be killed.

                  iii] rain came to the land after the people had forsaken
                       Baal and God had been shown to be the true deity (1KI
                       18:42-45).

           b) She was thwarted

              1) she could not destroy true worship

                 a] Obadiah  had protected and housed 100 prophets
                    when Jezebel was killing the prophets (1KI 18:4,13).

                 b] God had preserved 7,000 faithful God-worshiping
                    Israelites that did not worship Baal (1KI 19:18).

                 c] God protected Elijah from Jezebel

              2) she could not make her god triumph at Carmel over God

                 a] God proved through Elijah the falseness of Baal because
                    he was powerless before the true God

                 b] Jezebel's attempt at revenge (1KI 19:2) failed- Elijah
                    escaped to the desert where God revitalized him and
                    commissioned him to anoint the three men who would
                    destroy Baalism in Israel (1KI 19:3-15).

                    1KI 19:1,2  "Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had
                    done and how he had killed all the prophets with the
                    sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say,
                    'May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if
                    by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that
                    of one of them.'"

                    1KI 19:15-18  "The LORD said to him, 'Go back the way
                    you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get
                    there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu
                    son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of
                    Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
                    Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of
                    Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the
                    sword of Jehu."

                    CAN YOU THINK OF ANYONE TODAY WHO IS LIKE JEZEBEL?

           c) She was responsible for a righteous man's murder

              1) Naboth owned a field that Ahab desired (1KI 21:5-16).

                 a] Ahab had offered money or an exchange for the family
                    field of Naboth of Jezreel but had been refused because
                    Naboth regarded the field as a trust for his successors.

                 b] Jezebel promised Ahab that she would get it for him.

              2) Jezebel engineered Naboth's death to acquire the field.

                 a] she sent a message to the town elders ordering:

                    i] that a feast be held and Naboth be seated
                       conspicuously so that he could be publicly accused of
                       treason and blasphemy.

                   ii] that two scoundrels falsely accuse Naboth and he be
                       stoned to death.

                 b] she gave the field to Ahab after learning of Naboth's
                    death.

                    *In committing this murder Jezebel was repeating the
                    actions of her father, Ethbaal, who murdered his own
                    brother to get what he wanted- the throne of Phoenicia.
                    Scripture says that God will punish the children of
                    godless for the sins of the fathers to the 3rd and 4th
                    generation (EXO 20:5)- in this case the curse for her
                    family's idolatry meant that she would repeat their
                    evils.

                    WHY WOULD JEZEBEL PERSECUTE RIGHTEOUSNESS?

                    The Proverbs say, "bloodthirsty men hate a man of
                    integrity and seek to kill the upright" (PRO 29:10), and
                    "... they cannot sleep until they do evil; they are
                    robbed of slumber till they make someone fall" (PRO
                    4:16). Jezebel was consumed by the desire to pervert the
                    righteous or kill them- Why? Because "like Cain, who
                    belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother... his
                    own actions were evil and his brother's were
                    righteous..." (1JO 3:12). The righteous inflamed Jezebel
                    seek to destroy them because she could not tolerate the
                    contrast between herself and them- she had to destroy
                    the righteous standard in order to be at peace with
                    herself.

        3. She Perished

           a) Her works were destroyed

              1) the commission: 1KI 19:15-17

                 1KI 19:15-17  "The LORD said to him, 'Go back the way you
                 came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there,
                 anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of
                 Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat
                 from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
                 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael,
                 and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of
                 Jehu.'"

                 God commissioned three men to destroy Baal worship in
                 Israel:

                 Hazael of Aram (Damascus) to wage war against Ahab

                 Jehu, son of Nimshi, to become the next king of Israel

                 Elisha, to succeed Elijah as prophet of the LORD

              2) the fulfillment:

                 a] Ahab is killed (1KI 22:29-37)

                 b] Ahab's family is killed

                    i] his son, Ahaziah died (2KI 1:16,17)

                   ii] his son, Joram died (2KI 9:24)

                  iii] 70 other sons of Ahab were killed (2KI 10:6-11)

                   iv] the rest of Ahab's family were killed (2KI 10:17)

                 c] Baal prophets were killed (2KI 10:17-28).

           b) Jezebel was destroyed

              1) her death predicted (1KI 21:21-24; 2KI 9:10).

                 1KI 21:23  "And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says:
                 'Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.'"

                 2KI 9:10  "As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot
                 of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her."


              2) the fulfillment (2KI 9:30-37)

                 a] Jehu, as executioner came to Jezreel to kill Jezebel
                    (2KI 9:30).

                 b] Jezebel anticipated him (2KI 9:30,31)

                    2KI 9:30,31  "Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel
                    heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair
                    and looked out of a window. As Jehu entered the gate,
                    she asked, 'Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer
                    of your master?'"

                    i] she painted her eyes and arranged her hair

                       WHY WOULD SHE DO THIS?

                        -- some say she was trying to entice him: among
                          Hebrews make-up was worn only by prostitutes (thus
                          the phrase "a painted Jezebel") but this cannot be
                          the reason because-

                          I. by this time Jezebel was an old woman.

                         II. she followed her appearance with a derisive
                             greeting.

                        -- some say she was preparing herself for death:
                          cosmetics were used by Egyptian royalty and among
                          common people; Phoenician queens wore eye make-up,
                          so it would seem that she merely wanted to be
                          buried dressed like a queen (this information is
                          from the "Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the
                          Bible", vol. one, pg.981, and "The Ryrie Study
                          Bible").

                 c] she mocked him (2KI 9:31).

                    2KI 9:31  "As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, 'Have
                    you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?'"


                    She knew who Jehu was yet she called him, Zimri. Why?
                    Zimri had seized the throne from Elah by assassination
                    and then destroyed all of the members of Baasha's family
                    (Elah was King Baasha's son) only to be murdered 7 days
                    later himself. Her inference was that Jehu would end the
                    same way.

                 d] she died as predicted (2KI 9:33-37)

                    2KI 9:32-37  "He [Jehu] looked up at the window and
                    called out, 'Who is on my side? Who?' Two or three
                    eunuchs looked down at him. 'Throw her down!' Jehu said.
                    So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered
                    the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.
                    Jehu went in and ate and drank. 'Take care of that
                    cursed woman,' he said, 'and bury her, for she was a
                    king's daughter.' But when they went out to bury her,
                    they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her
                    hands. They went back and told Jehu, who said, 'This is
                    the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant
                    Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel
                    dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh. Jezebel's body will be
                    like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so
                    that no one will be able to say, 'This is Jezebel.'"

                    i] she was killed and dogs devoured her flesh and blood.


                   ii] she was not buried.

     C. What Can We Learn From Her?

        1. An unsaved spouse can have a tremendously evil influence within a
           family: God commands Christians to marry only Christians for that
           very reason (2Co 6:14).

        2. While Jezebel was a powerful tool for evil God protected and
           delivered His people and land and He will do the same for us,
           because He does not change.

        3. Jezebel received what her lifestyle called for- death, spiritual
           and physical: God says that everyone who remains in sin will die
           and that the only solution is faith in Christ (ACT 2:21).

           "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

        4. No matter how bad someone is salvation is available for the
           asking: Paul, the "chief of sinners", who persecuted the Church
           (like Jezebel), repented of his sins, sought forgiveness and was
           saved, transformed and made useful to God- anyone can do the
           same if they truly want it.

 III. What Fruits Of The Spirit Do We See In Her? None.

  IV. Memory Verse: ROM 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of
     God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Kathy Capoccia's Sunday School Lessons for Young Adults" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
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Email: tony@biblebb.com
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