Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal King of Sidon, a princess and eventual Queen of the kingdom of Israel.
It’s easy to think we have little in common with her, but I think what’s more true is that we have a lot in common with this interesting woman.
There are many views about Jezebel, many of which equate her with evil. Her name now describes “a wicked, shameless woman.”
Jezebel grew up in dark times, and not only that, she lived right at the heart of all the action in the palace of a Sidonian king. Her home and nation were a place where a supposed powerful deity known as Baal ruled ruthlessly through his priests, and where worship and power were very much intertwined concepts. Human sacrifices were normal, and human life had much less value.
She grew up around power and she learned what power could get her. She learnt manipulation and she got good at it too, and when the time was right, she would play her own part. She would unite kingdoms through her contractual marriage to another king, and secure more power and influence and even protection for her people and family perhaps.
That’s the only life she knew, and that’s who she became.
The nation of Israel she was catapulted into was a parallel to her own world. This one God and His holiness were too different from what she knew. Submission? What did that mean? As far as it could seem to her, those who believed in such a God were fools. How could one not be a fool for believing in such limitations? Life was meant to be lived to its fullest and only the strong should survive. Who was this God to tell her what to do and who to be?
Jezebel was well prepared for the world. She had all the right tools -the secrets to success. All of a sudden, she comes to Israel, and she’s asked to play by a different set of rules. Not to worry, men will be men, and she’d survive in Israel too.
Jezebel was powerful in her own right, and she had what a lot of women today wish they had. But the truth is that Jezebel, just like the rest of us, could never fill the gaping hole in her life by the things she deemed important and the things she acquired. She lived though, and maybe she “lived it up” but she didn’t really have life.
She might have laughed in mockery at the Israelites who claimed to have the one true God, but were just like any other men or women she knew, who were easily bought – who sold their souls for little. And she would have been right about them. She just didn’t know that there was a bigger picture, and a greater plan. She couldn’t fathom the greatness, the love, the holiness of God.
When I think of Jezebel, it’s hard not to put her in a box, label her, and put her away. But when I realize that Jezebel is every woman, I understand even better, how terribly important it is, to reach out with the good news of Christ’s love and salvation to the female heart.
I realize that the manifestation of evil takes only one natural step after another, but the manifestation of light takes something great and powerful like the sacrifice of God.