Character Study - Jezebel

1.   The foreign-born wife of Ahab, a ninth-century BC king of Israel. Jezebel was the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon.

2.   She was a devout worshiper of the god Baal, whose religion she promoted in Israel after marrying Ahab. Many people were persuaded to add the worship of Baal to the worship of Yahweh, the true God of Israel.

3.   God raised up two prophets during this time, Elijah and Elisha, who resisted the encroachment of her false religion.

4.   Jezebel also pushed her too-willing husband to act like a despot rather than a servant of God toward his own people. First Kings 21 recounts that a landowner, Naboth, refused to sell his field to King Ahab. The refusal angered Ahab, but an Israelite king could not dispossess one of his subjects. Jezebel came from a different royal house, however, and she instructed Ahab how to unjustly acquire the field. Although they succeeded in falsely convicting Naboth of cursing God and the king and, after his execution, took his land, God sent Elijah to pronounce a curse against Ahab’s family, including Jezebel (“Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel” [1 Kings 21:23]).

5.   Jezebel outlived her husband, but God’s judgment overtook her when a usurper, Jehu, killed her royal son and then pursued her. She was thrown out of a window, and dogs picked at her body (2 Kings 9:30–37).

6.   Jezebel was evil and a worshiper of false gods.

7.   In the NT she became an exemplar of wickedness. Revelation 2:20 associates a woman prophet in Thyatira with Jezebel because she was leading the people astray by her teaching.