Monday, February 22, 2016

No Disney princess here . . .


Make no mistake; there are some BAD girls in the Bible! (Grin)
This week we are going to study one who might be the "baddest"!
This woman's name conjures up all kinds of bad vibes; people know what you mean, the moment you say it! Even today, people use this name to describe a woman that they feel is really a sinful or unfeeling person . . .

Ready?

Jezebel.

Yup. I thought you would recognize her. Let's look at the Bible verses that tell us about this woman. There are several passages, so this will be a lengthy post today!
                        In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. (I Kings 16:29-33)
The next passage is the one that details Elijah's triumph over the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel; you need to read it so you can truly see what is happening next. I know you may already be familiar with it, but turn over there and read, if you will!  It's I Kings chapter 18 . . . we'll wait until you get back!

OK, the next time we see Jezebel mentioned is when she hears what Elijah did to her precious prophets of Baal and Asherah (Ashteroth).
                 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” (I Kings 19:1-2) 
Hooooboy. Now that's a threat.
The next time we see ole Ahab and his nasty wife Jezebel, it's in I Kings, chapter 21. I'd like to encourage you to read that one, as well. You may recall the story of Naboth, who had a truly green thumb. His vineyard was producing awesomely, so Ahab wanted that land for a vegetable garden. Well, Naboth didn't want to hand it over -- then Jezebel heard about it from her spoiled, despondent hubby, and she "makes it so." Yep. She has Naboth accused and killed.
Voila!
Hey, Ahab, the land is yours now!
There was one party-pooper there, though. Elijah took his life in his hands and went to Ahab to prophesy against him. Told him just how he and his wife would meet their ends.

In II Kings 9, we read that his prophecy for Jezebel was fulfilled:
Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. 31 As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, “Have you come in peace, you Zimri, you murderer of your master?”
32 He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.
34 Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care of that cursed woman,” he said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. 36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. 37 Jezebel’s body will be like dung on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”
Our title today said "No Disney princess here" and that is the truth! We generally think of princesses as ladies who work within the lines; they don't color outside the lines too often because there are rules about how princesses today are supposed to act. There's etiquette, and there are unwritten codes of conduct, and then there is the perception of the people. They certainly don't go around breaking laws and flaunting their cruelty and foul deeds. Of course, you may hear a rumor or two, but . . .

Jezebel broke all the rules, didn't she? She was a princess of the land of Phoenicia, from a territory called Sidon. Daughter of the king, she probably didn't like that the name of her town meant something common like a "fishery," and she married the king of Israel, Ahab. She was religious, but in a totally different way -- she was unwaveringly devoted to Baal and other idols. Ahab is considered now to be just about the worst king Israel ever had, and he needed no instruction in being bad. But she sure kicked it up a notch; she set to work hunting down and killing all of the prophets of the great I AM, except for Elijah (he must have been quite wily to escape her clutches). She put 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah in place, instead, (Don't worry, gentle reader, Obadiah was still at the palace in a place of leadership, and he squirreled away fifty prophets of Yahweh in one cave, and fifty more in another.)

Jezebel's name meant "Where is the Prince Baal?" and Elijah's name meant "My God is Yahweh," so I think we can see there was conflict coming!

We'll study more in these passages next time!

2 comments:

Cathy said...

This is going to be interesting. I came across a lady to study in my reading. You touched on her once, but I can’t fond or remember going back to her.... Zipporah. Is she in your “line up”?

Austin Towers said...

Even, and maybe even especially, characters like Jezebel are used to show the power and purposes of the God of Israel! This is going to be great!!