Jezebel grew up as the princess of a Phoenican city state, within a very different culture than that of Israel. Her husband, King Ahab, should have made sure that she got lessons in the culture of her new country.
But he was a weak man, who prefered to let his much stronger wife take control and do what she wanted. So she would never understand that enforcing her Phoenician culture on Israel was the wrong way to go, because nobody but her husband the king had any right to tell her to stop. So then, Jezebel was told that the people of Israel only had one god. And that would simply not have made any sense to a person, who had grown up in a different culture with a polytheistic religion. Instead, she felt a duty to honor her Phoenician gods and worship then. Going so far that she persecuted the prophets of Jahve would of course give her a bad reputation within the Judeo-Christian tradition, and it sounds terrible even from a modern secular point of view.
So why is Jezebel supposed to be the villain? Religious freedom was simply not a concept at the time, not from either side.
And both sides were just as cruel when they got a chance to be cruel…. Naboth was an innocent victim, yes. Ahab knew that Naboth had the law of Israel on his side, so he could only let him be and sulk over not getting that vineyard. But to Jezebel, this made no sense. Because in her culture, the king was above the law. He had the right to demand what he wanted when he wanted it from his subjects.
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And a traitor deserved nothing but death. Of course, Ahab should have told her to leave Naboth alone. But yet again, he was a weak king and let his queen handle it as she saw fit. Nothing in this article changed my mind about Jezebel.
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She was a murderer of the prophets of the Lord. She cold bloodily had Naboth killed for her petulant husband. She, like the wives of king Soloman, had a devastating impact on the character of their husbands. Both had married for political gain.
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It is right for her name to associated with the personification of evil. But I guess that I have to repeat the key points. Firstly, we have to put much of the blame on King Ahab. He seems to have been a weak husband, who did not care about giving his wife lessons about the religion and the laws of Israel. For years, he was completely happy with letting her do what she pleased. And that included watching her bring her phoenician culture, with its religion and its laws, to his country.
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And we should not forget that the Bible was very biased against Jezebel from the start to the end. She was after all an ambitious woman from a different culture, whio refused to convert to Judaism. And the fact that she and her whole family was defeated made it easy for her opponents to start a smear campaign against her.
And no matter what you feel about it, I have to say that Janet Howe Gaines makes a good case for that Jezebel, while not being an innocent angel, could be a greatly misunderstood figure. So … to so obtusely deny all of that, to repudiate its significance, to completely dismiss it and worse, to argue justification for Jezebels treason is beyond the pale and inexcusably ignorant.
Sinai with their God — The law of the Ten Commandments.. I will kick this ignorant Janet-whats-her-name off my perch any day every way, all day.
She is a propagandist of the worst kind — pretending that she is not one. It continues to amaze me how we impugn motives onto the Creator of the Universe, i. I found this a very interesting article on a different way to read how Jezebel is presented in the bible. Found the article fascinating and well worth my time. And that is actually a fair point, and that is probably also what lead to her undoing. But you have to remember that her husband, King Ahab, seems to have been a weak man, who was under the thumb of his much more formidable queen. He would never have bothered with giving Jezebel the proper lessons in Israelite culture and religion, but he just let her get her way all the time instead.
And yes, there is probably much more to their story than the very biased view, that we got from the Bible. I thought this article was brilliant.
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It puts the story of Jezebel into real perspective and is thoroughly researched and supported. It brings out several points which are often glossed over in her story. Interesting read that I would recommend. And I can only shake my head at all the religious people in the comments, who refuse to think outside their little box when it comes to Jezebel. Even if there were things going on in the cults of Baal and Astarte, which sound terrible to us today, that will not change that Elijah did the same thing to his opponents, that Jezebel had done to hers.
Lovely article! And after I went through three pages of Google results, this gem finally came up! She might have done many things, which were bad not only to the men, who wrote down these stories, but which are bad even now to modern readers.
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But when you think about it, there is nothing to suggest that Jezebel was worse than any of her comtemporaries. But yes, when you think about that she was a non-Israelite woman, who refused to give up her polytheistic faith for proto-Judaism, the men who wrote down the Bible were bound to condemn her in retrospect. Yeah, that is what I call double standards galore… And I just love how you even made the execution of Nabot more understandable, as a case of two different cultures clashing rather than Jezebel just doing it for the evil of it.
This is well written and interesting. You make a good point that there is nothing to back up the sexual immorality claim. I like how u explained why J painted her eyes and sat in the window, because I hv been wondering about that. It is good to be able to see good in others. You are a talentented thoughtful writer and the world needs you.
My sister and I, we were just talking about Jezebel negative and positive characteristics which were fully discussed in this post. We were not making a hero of her, but was saying that her strong loyalty to her belief and to her husband could be admirable. We as children and believers in God should be just as passionate. It seems that is what Jezebel was working on. Also remember this spirit is a mastery of deception she lies an steals while looking like an innocent bystander.
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It was the spirit of fear that entered into Elijah. We fight not against flesh in blood. She is principality.