If you’ve never heard of Queen Jezebel, one of the infamously evil characters of the Bible, she was the wife of King Ahab of Israel. King Ahab was the ruler of the northern part of the Hebrew nation while King Solomon was the ruler of the southern part, Judah (which included Jerusalem). Queen Jezebel enters the scene in the 9th century B.C. and provides us with the most extreme cautionary tale for why idolatry is so evil.
Cale Clarke spent a segment of The Cale Clarke Show talking about the dastardly life of Jezebel, what lessons we can learn from her story, and why we should avoid the mistakes she made.
The First Commandment reads, “I am the Lord Your God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Unlike some other teachings, this one is very explicit in its outline. There is one God, and we are to know, love, and serve that one God. We are to have no other “gods” before Him, meaning that God always takes priority. Jezebel had no intentions of upholding this law.
Jezebel was a Phoenician, meaning that her ancestors were the Canaanites, a pagan people who worshipped many gods, chief among them Ba’al, the god of storms and agriculture. Both Jezebel and her father Ethbaal were zealous devotees to the Canaanite gods, affirmed by the fact that Ethbaal was a priest of Astarte (Asherah), the goddess of love, war, and hunting.
In the same vein of Solomon’s many wives and concubines, Jezebel ended up being married off to Ahab as part of a political pact.
“She brings with her, though, all of her false religion and that becomes a big, big problem,” said Cale. “So, what does Ahab do to please his new wife? Well, he builds her a temple for Ba’al within the very heart of his kingdom.”
As if that wasn’t enough, the temple was located in the capital of Israel: Samaria. And Ahab even started going with his wife to worship Ba’al. He erected sacred posts to Astarte and a sacred altar to Ba’al. He was repeating history by leading his people astray just as Aaron led the Hebrews away with the golden calf.
Jezebel is the opposite of a role model like Ruth the Moabite. Ruth, who also came from a pagan background, found truth in the Hebrew faith and converted. “Your people shall be my people and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Jezebel, after converting her husband to idolatry, began hunting down and executing God’s prophets. It is at this point in the Bible that Elijah met with Ahab and challenged the Ba’al prophets to a sort of contest to prove that his God is the real and only God. 450 prophets of Ba’al and 400 prophets of Astarte would choose two young bulls. They would cut one up and put it on a pyre, and Elijah would do the same with the other. But without starting a fire, both parties would pray to their respective deity, and whichever one provided fire would be the one true God.
They agreed. The 850 pagan prophets shouted, slashed themselves in blood ritual, and called out to their god from morning until noon. They received no response. Then Elijah erected an altar out of twelve stones, placed the bull upon it, and drenched the offering three times with water. Then he said:
“LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD! Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have turned their hearts back to you.” (1 Kings 18:36-37)
His fire came down from heaven and burnt everything on the altar, even evaporating the water.
Once Jezebel heard that her prophets lost and were killed, she told Elijah that he had better leave the country or she would have him killed like the rest of the Hebrew prophets. And so Elijah was forced into exile.
After Elijah was dealt with, Jezebel turned her attention to acquiring a vineyard for Ahab that a man named Naboth refused to part with. As was the Hebrew law, a man was allowed to retain his ancestral possessions, even from the king. So, Jezebel turned to fraud. She forged documents with Ahab’s signature that told the elders and leaders of Naboth’s village to take him, accuse him of cursing God and Ahab, and have him stoned to death.
After they did so and Ahab took possession of the vineyard, Elijah confronted him and told him that just as the dogs lapped up Naboth’s blood in the streets, Jezebel would suffer the same fate. Ahab, distraught at what he had done, donned sackcloth and repented. Jezebel did not. Eventually, in 2 Kings, Elijah’s prophecy came true when two eunuchs threw Jezebel out of a window at the command of King Jehu, and they were unable to bury her because the dogs had devoured her. (2 Kings 9:35-37)
Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5pm CT