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:
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