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There is a lot of debate about whether the stories from the Bible are true or not. I’m not one to verify or disavow the stories from the Bible, I will say the Bible has some valuable life lessons that people can apply to their lives. One of these stories and It’s one I keep having to learn over and over again in my life, is the story of Jezebel.
Jezebel was the princess from the city-state of Sidon. She was a member of the Phoenicians, who were cosmopolitan and sophisticated folks who controlled large parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. An arranged marriage was set up between Jezebel and Ahab, who was the king of the Israelites. This marriage worked politically, but it had underlying religious conflicts in it. The Phoenicians believed in Baal. In fact, Jezebel parents were high priests in the religion which would make Jezebel a priestess of Baal. Ahab being king of Isreal, believed in Yahweh… aka God in Christianity. During this time in Isreal, there was a different thought in the state some believed in Yahweh, others in Baal, others believed in Asherah. The old school, Yahweh believers, thought that there was only one true God and that this diversity of religious worship stuff was a pile of crap.
At this time in Isreal, a terrible drought hit. Now droughts back then had a different meaning then droughts today. If we have a drought today, you cant water your grass or are forced to take shorter showers or baths. In a drought back then, people died! First, the young and the elderly than any adult human who wasn’t physically strong enough to survive it. When people start dying, people get desperate. People start saying all type of prayers to every God possible but to no avail.
Finally, the prophet Elijah had had enough of all these false idols, made worse by Jezebel now the queen of Isreal pushing her religious views on the People. Elijah challenged Baal high priests to a spiritual showdown. Elijah and the Baal priests both built an altar on a mountain, then slaughtered two bulls and laid them on the altar but didn’t set fire to them. The bet was that who’s ever God was the real one would light the altar to show who was real. The Baal Priests said their prayers and…no fire. Elijah said his prayer and Bam! Fire comes down from the sky lighting Elijah’s altar on fire. Yahweh 1 -Baal 0, series over in a clean sweep. Elijah, feeling empowered by the outcome, orders the killing of all 450 Baal Priests. I mean damn the Baals really lost! Jezebel got word that all her priests were murdered or whacked by the Orders of Elijah, promised to get revenge on Elijah for all her fallen comrades. Elijah knowing the power Jezebel had as queen, got the hell out of Isreal and wondered in the wilderness for years. Another outcome of this showdown was that the drought was over.
Ahab built a new palace in Isreal, and it abutted the land of a man named Naboth. Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard to feed the administrative and military staff living at the palace. Ahab made a fair offer to Naboth to buy his land or to build him a better vineyard elsewhere. Naboth refused because the property was his ancestral land and the tradition in Israel at the time was that one does not give up ancestral land under any condition. Ahab sat up in his palace in his feelings about not getting the property. Jezebel saw Ahab pouting and asked him what’s wrong? Ahab told her the story of Naboth, and Jezebel said aren’t you king? Go ahead, get some food, and I will get Naboth’s land for you. Now Ahab understood the reason Naboth did not want to sell, but Jezebel didn’t as it wasn’t a custom in her territory. Also, Isreal was more of a progressive country, the king couldn’t just do whatever he wanted to whoever, there were laws and Customs. In Sidon, the king was a dictator who could do as he pleased and take whatever he wanted, without any repercussions.
Jezebel had Naboth and his sons accused of treason. Then Jezebel compiled some false evidence against them that got them convicted and executed. It gets worse for poor Naboth because now the vineyard is the property of a convicted traitor. When that happens, the land reverts back to the province, and Ahab has his estate. Cold blooded but a smooth political move by Jezebel. Before Ahab took possession of the property, Elijah reappears from the wilderness and tells Ahab that because of the deceitful act Jezebel and he pulled against Naboth, Ahab would die, his lineage would be obliterated, and Jezebel would be eaten by dogs. Elijah makes this proclamation and heads back to the wilderness
Ahab would later be killed during a battle. His first son Ahaziah took over but became severely injured two years later from a bizarre fall (Elijah’s curse!). His next son Joram would become king. Elisha, who was the Successor to Elijah as the Yahweh prophet of choice, picked an ambitious Israelite soldier named Jehu, to become the new king of Isreal and finish the rest of Elijah’s Prophecies. Jehu got his chance when Joram got wounded in battle and went to the palace to heal. Jehu sneaks into the palace and set a trap to draw Ahaziah and Joram out from the inner sanctum. Jehu murdered both Ahaziah and Joram. Remember Elijah’s Prophecy didn’t stop there, he mentioned Jezebel getting eaten by dogs.
Jezebel sees the death of both of her sons. Jehu’s army broke into the palace walls, and Jezebel days were numbered. Jezebel went to her bedroom and put on makeup and her Queen Headdress. I guess Jezebel was like if she’s going out, she’s going out as a queen. Jehu breaks into the bedroom, Jezebel calls Jehu a king and queen murderer. Jehu is unfazed by the insults and gets some of Jezebel’s servants to pick her up and throw her out of the tower window! Jehu then gets in his chariot and repeatedly runs over Jezebel’s body as she did not die from the fall but is severely injured. Jehu then goes and murders all of the male children in Jezebel family, about 70 and all and orders their heads to be brought to him in a basket! Jehu is then hungry from all the murders he just committed and goes inside and feasts and tosses back a few drinks. Jehu then remembers Jezebel corpse is still outside and tells his men to bury her because she is the daughter of a king. When Jehu men get outside, all they find of Jezebel is her skull, feet, and palms of her hand. Apparently, while Jehu was feasting, wild dogs came and ate Jezebel’s corpse. Prophecy Fulfilled! And people thought Game of Thrones was hardcore, it has nothing on the Old Testament tales.
Mistakes Were Made:
Throughout the centuries the name Jezebel has become associated with false prophets. By the early 20th Century the name has also become associated with a fallen, abandoned or promiscuous woman. In the Bible, there weren’t any signs Jezebel was cheating on Ahab. It seems she was really loyal to him and would go to extreme measures to make him happy. In modern times the name Jezebel is used as a synonym for sexually promiscuous or controlling woman. Most Christians view Jezebel as a pagan masquerading as a servant of God. They believe she misled the saints of God (Ahab) into idolatry and sexual immorality.
Let’s skip past the religious aspects of the story and look at the overall lessons that can be learned from Jezebel’s tale. Who among us has not experienced a Jezebel in their life? Jezebels can be male or female, and they come into your life to distract or throw you off course from your life’s purpose. They come in attractive packages of beauty, or with barrels of money or access to power that makes them appealing. They sway you with tales of fantasy and promises that never will be fulfilled or in Ahab’s case may get you killed. They will tell you anything or resort to any efforts to sway you to their side.
In most cases, you’re just a means to an end to whatever goal the Jezebel wishes to attain. They may even tell you they love you, whatever it takes to make you believe their lies. Once that goal is accomplished, they will toss you aside, gently of course or not gently. They will tell you they need to find themselves or it’s not you it’s them, whatever lie that makes them feel better about the situation, and it’s on to the next one. It was never about you, Jezebel’s are self-absorbed and only think about what’s best for them in any situation.
What makes us attracted to and fall into the Jezebels trap? Jezebel was a biblical character but its still a lesson that gets played out over and over again today. The Jezebel is falsely offering something that fulfills a hole or needs we want or think we want and they find no drought of suckers to seduce. There’s a famous line from the show Mad Men where the character Don Draper states, “People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” Think of the Jezebel’s you’ve encountered in your life were there not many red flags that you choose to ignore because you wanted them to be who you wanted them to be and not seeing them for who they are? Were they in another committed relationship when you met them? Were they in a bad situation of their own doing that they wanted you to save them from? Did they only become interested in you after you attained some money or power? Did your family and friends try to warn you about dating him or her and you ignored them?
If you were an 80’s or above baby we all loved the song Poison by Bell Biv Devoe. While we were busy dancing to it, did anyone actually pay attention to the lyrics? “Never trust a big butt and a smile that girl is poison!” Not all humans with a big butt or nice smile is poison of course, but I feel they were saying look beyond those things to see what type of person they are. Are they Jezebel’s? Or someone that you would like to form an authentic relationship with? Don’t just judge from the surface look more in-depth because all that glitters isn’t gold. I’ve dealt with my shares of Jezebel’s in my life, and after every encounter, I’m like I’ll never fall into that trap…and it happens again years later. Different person same trap, after this last encounter, I hope I’m done with Jezebels forever, but I realized it’s an internal issue that makes me attracted to them, that I have to work on.
I write this blog to teach people lessons from the past, so they don’t repeat them. With the Lesson of Jezebel, I hope y’all head my words because it’s a painful lesson, I hope no one else goes through. Seeing as its a continuous lesson played throughout history though, it’s a lesson many will fall victim too still. Worse yet you could end up like Ahab, and your whole lineage wiped away because of the actions of a Jezebel.
Originally published at https://mwmblog.com on June 10, 2019.