Jezebel and the Lessons We Learn From Her
Everything in the Bible is there for a reason, even examples of evil people. Jezebel comes close to the top of the list of evil people in the people. That's why preachers and Bible teachers do not discuss her very often even though they should.
The Bible uses examples to illustrate what not to do as well as to show what to do. Therefore, there are some lessons to learn from the life of Jezebel.
Who Was Jezebel?
Jezebel was the daughter of Ithobaal I, a Phoenician king and the wife of Ahab, the seventh king of Israel, according to 1 Kings 16:31. Even though Ahab was the seventh king of Israel, his wife Jezebel was the power behind the throne. Under her influence, Ahab gave Baal, the false god in the Old Testament equal place with God.
Because of her wicked ways, she has come to be known as an evil woman. Not many parents give the name Jezebel to their daughters. If so, they believe the girls will be cursed for life. The name in Hebrew means "not exalted."
Lesson 1: Don't Use Good Qualities for Evil
It has been said that there is something good in the worst of us and something bad in the best of us. So, what was good and bad about Jezebel? The bad list is longer, but Jezebel did have some good qualities, but she used her good qualities for evil.
Queen Jezebel had some good qualities. Unfortunately, she used them for evil instead of for God's glory:\
- She was smart, but she used her intelligence to come up with evil schemes.
- She had boldness and courage but used those attributes to intimidate others and to commit murder.
- She had strong leadership abilities but used them to control her husband who was king and to take over the throne.
- She was assertive but used the quality to turn people away from God instead of turning them toward God.
- She had a royal lineage but used it to manipulate her subjects. She didn't become a royal by marring King Ahab. She was a Phoenician princess, the daughter of Ithobaal I, king of Tyre, according to 1 Kings 16:31.
Jezebel could have used those same attributes to glorify God, but she didn't. If you have those qualities, use them for good and not evil.
Lesson 2: Don't Use Power to Do Wrong
Jezebel used her influence and power to get her way. She literally got away with murder and did other evil things. According to 1 Kings 21:5–16, Naboth had a vineyard next to the palace. Jezebel wanted it, but Naboth refused to sell it because it was an inheritance from his father. Jezebel was so determined to get the vineyard that she set a series of evil acts in motion that caused Naboth to be killed and she and Ahab to get the vineyard after his death.
- Jezebel wrote letters to the elders that were filled with false accusations and character assassination.
- Jezebel committed forgery and identity theft by putting King Ahab's seal on the letters she wrote accusing Naboth (1 Kings 21:8).
- She had them people testify that Naboth had cursed both God and the king (1 Kings 21:10).
- She commanded the people to “take him out and stone him to death” (1 Kings 21:10).
Naboth was killed, Ahab got the man’s property, and Jezebel once again got her way. She told her husband, “take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead” (1 Kings 21:15).
Jezebel tried to destroy those who opposed her. God's prophets were intimidated and afraid of Jezebel. They had good reason to be afraid. She commanded most of them to be killed. All except 100 prophets were killed. Elijah ran for his life away from her so his life would be spared.
Lesson 3: Don't Serve Wrong God
Jezebel encouraged her husband King Ahab to abandon the worship of Yahweh and promote the worship of the deities Baal and Asherah. Ahab took his wife's advice and the worship of Baal and Asherah rose to a national level as the worship of Yahweh declined.
Jezebel is considered to be a bad person in the Bible, and she worshiped that bad god of the Bible, Baal (1 Kings 16:31). Jezebel, like the foreign wives of Solomon, required facilities to carry on her pagan worship. Ahab, like Solomon, built altars for Baal worship.
Because of Jezebel's heavy involvement in idolatry and the influence she had on her husband, Ahab turned his back on God. According to 1 Kings 21:25, "There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife.”
During Ahab's reign, the worship of God became almost non-existent. Altars dedicated for the worship of God were torn down and replaced with temples and altars dedicated to Baal. Jezebel additionally used royal provisions to fund the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah during a severe famine in Samaria.
Lesson 4: You Reap What You Sow
Jezebel lived about ten years after Ahab was killed in battle. Other kings reigned, but Jezebel did not give up her wicked ways. When King Jehu went to meet with her, she adorned herself and taunted him while looking down out of an upstairs window.
Jehu ordered members of Jezebel's own court to throw her out of the window. Her blood splattered on the ground, on the wall, and on things below. While still on his horse, Jehu allowed it to trample her corpse. Then Jehu ordered Jezebel's body to be taken for burial. After all, she had been the daughter of a Phoenician king and the wife a king of Israel.
When Jehu's servants went to honor his request, they discovered only her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands were left behind. The rest of her flesh had been eaten by stray dogs, just as the prophet Elijah had prophesied earlier.
The Bible does not say why those three body parts were left. One could imagine that even stray dogs didn't want any part of Jezebel's skull that she had used to do evil thinking, her feet that represented her sinful walk, and the palms of her hands with represented her work.
The lesson here is that Jezebel was met with a gruesome death because of her transgressions against God and her evil deeds against the people of God.
Lesson 5: Turn to God
You might not have been born of royal heritage. You might not be married to a king. You might not even have any of the good qualities that Jezebel had, but there might be a little bit of Jezebel in you.
To avoid the gruesome death that Jezebel encountered, turn to God instead of turning away from Him. Don't use your influence to turn others away from God. Treat people with love and respect. Don't manipulate them and falsely accuse them just to get what you want.
Jezebel's story should teach us that no bad deed goes unpunished. Think about that when you are tempted to have the spirit of Jezebel.