We’ve all heard the name, but I’m going to go deeper. The story of Jezebel is about a nation that’s lost its fear of God. It’s about those who think they can live without him. And it’s about the consequences that may not come over night, but make no mistake, it’s coming.
Allow me to begin by talking about the notion of “God fearing.” When I was a kid, I used to hear that all the time but I barely understood it. What kind of “loving” God wants us to fear him?
Well…consider every relationship you’ve ever been in. Consider why people lie when asked about an uncomfortable truth. I believe most people lie because they are afraid. They have a “fear” of hurting the ones they love and care about. Some are afraid of losing the relationships they have. Some are afraid of losing out on the benefits and opportunities of being associated with a person or organization.
That fear…I understand it. Because my fear of God is the fear of being abandoned by him.
As I get into the story of Jezebel, you’re going to read about how God doesn’t completely abandon His people due to a steadfast promise He made with their Patriarchs (Abraham, David). But time and time again, God’s people willingly abandon Him. It’s kind of like runaway children who rebel against their parents. Runaways who think they can do better on their own.
You’re going to read about horrible events: mass slaughter, purges, violent raids and the horrific murder of innocent people. You’re also going to read how the chaos, violence, and bloodshed doesn’t just stop at Jezebel and her allies…the results of her wicked belief system trickled down to her sons and grandsons. It permeated the culture and polluted their sense of right and wrong.
That’s why, when I wrote about Redemption, I wanted to mention how one of the benefits of being married to someone who’s God-fearing is the providence of our children. Make no mistake, many Americans may not be openly worshiping anyone claiming to be a god…but they are religiously devoted to Status, Popular Opinion, Idolized Celebrities, Sex, and Money.
When asked to choose between God and the ways of the World, a lot of people including Christians will choose the World, ashamed to even mentioned Christ’s name for fear of being judged by the World. Thus, they are disobeying the greatest commandment, which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt 22:37)
“But Rock. Can’t you do both? I know some Christians who go to church every Sunday and are constantly talking about Jesus, but they also support progressive modern movements. It doesn’t mean they don’t love God with all their hearts.”
I understand that logic. It makes sense and “sounds” possible. But you have to ask, how well do they know the God that they claim to love? Let’s keep that in mind as we get into it.
For those who don’t know, when I say Jehovah, I’m referring to the name of God (Exodus 6: 3), He is the Grand Creator of all things, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses, the father of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins, and the one who gave us his holy word, the Bible. I have to clarify that because you’re going to read about other gods (notice the lower case). These false gods also have names and I don’t want you to be confused. There’s only one true God.
Hundreds of years before Jezebel’s generation, just as the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, Jehovah was kind enough to warn His people about the blessings that come with following his commandments, and the curses that came from disobeying him. This is important, because it’s the answer to “Why do all these bad things keep happening!?”
Since the beginning, Mankind has always had the freedom of making choices. All choices have consequences.
The very first of the Ten Commandments is that “you shall have no other gods before me.” The second was that you shall not make any idol or graven image. And after Moses died and the Israelites were now under Joshua’s leadership, Joshua gives probably one of the most potent warnings as it pertains to what happens to Israel through Jezebel. At Joshua 23:12-13 he warns the people:
12 For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13 know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.
It’s important to point out these warnings because it speaks to Jehovah God’s character. He doesn’t want to destroy us. He doesn’t want to punish or inflict us. Time and time again, he sends prophets and messengers and even his own Son Jesus Christ to help us, to remind us, to warn us, to save us…this is love. Just as a father continuously steps in as we waddle about, as we constantly veer towards danger, Jehovah reaches out to correct our course.
And what do we do? We’re grateful at first, sure. But when things are going good for long enough, we forget how we stumbled, we forget how he saved us…and we start to tell ourselves we don’t need God at all, that we can do it on our own.
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
To understand the story of Jezebel, it pays to know what the world was like back then. After the Israelites took possession of the land of Canaan, the land the God promised to give their patriarch, Abraham…the Israelites had a series of judges, powerful men and women who led the nation, fought their enemies, and settled their disputes with God’s backing. (feel free to skip down if you already know the background)
After so many generations, the Israelites, which were essentially Twelve Tribes, each with their own elders (leaders)…they started to desire one king to rule them all, just like the nations around them. God heard their requests and chose Saul, the tallest and best looking man from the Tribe of Benjamin.
When he chose Saul, he warned this new king, just like in the Book of Deuteronomy, to follow his commands. Ultimately, King Saul disobeyed God on a number of occasions, so God rejected Saul and chose to give the kingship over to David, the son of Jesse.
It’s here that we have the remarkable stories from 1 Samuel, beginning with David slaying Goliath. David was said to be a man after God’s own heart. He was a poet, a singer, a warrior, and had a zealous love for Jehovah. But he was still a man. He made mistakes, one of which was the killing of Uriah after David committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
Despite all this, God made a promise with David, known as a covenent, that his bloodline would never be completely cut off. Meaning, no matter what happens, there would always be at least one member from his bloodline who will survive and have God’s protection.
HOWEVER! Just because God made this covenant, it doesn’t mean David and his descendants wouldn’t have to face the same consequences every other man faces when they disobey God.
After King David died, his son Solomon ruled in his place. What’s tragic about King Solomon is that, again, God gave him multiple warnings. Solomon was said to be one of the wisest men who ever lived. So, it’s highly likely that he knew and was fully aware when he disobeyed God. How did he disobey?
Well…King Solomon had over 700 wives and concubines. Many of these wives led Solomon into worshiping false Gods. Ladies and gentlemen…I can’t stress this enough in my essays. History is constantly repeating itself and it’s literally one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Even in today’s modern times…we fell for the trick of thinking “the Patriarchy” is this evil oppressive thing, and the future is female, and that male leadership is bad.
In Genesis, Adam was led astray by giving into Eve who was tricked by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit. In Number 25, the Israelites in the wilderness were led to worshiping Baal of Peor by the women of Moab. This was a deliberate plan by a Balaam. Balaam literally told a rival king to use women to entice the men into worshiping false gods and the plan worked.
When we get to Jezebel, you’re going to see the exact same thing. This isn’t to slight women or to say that women are evil and dangerous. But as men, we need to recognize that one of our biggest weaknesses is our love, affection, and desire for women. A God-fearing man would respect this weakness, acknowledge it’s there, and pray for the strength to resist all temptation and to put God first. Even if it means us dying alone because we couldn’t find a woman worth marrying. Our love for God should come first.
When King Solomon was led by his wives into worshiping false gods, it essentially opened the doors and made it acceptable for other Israelites to do the same if they wanted to. This is why good leadership is critical. Because of Solomon’s disobedience, the unified nation of Israel was divided and split into two countries.
The southern kingdom would be known as the Kingdom of Judah. Its capital city was Jerusalem, and their kings were the descendants of King David. (Solomon, Rehoboam, Joash, Hezekiah, etc)
The northern kingdom was called the Kingdom of Israel. Their capital was predominately Samaria. And it was founded by Jeroboam after King Solomon died.
So here, we have it. Two nations, bordering each other. Both comprised of the descendants of Abraham. Here’s what happens when you abandon God.
The first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam, was a mighty man. But he was wicked and worshiped false Gods, even though HE KNEW it was through Jehovah God that he became king in the first place. It was through the prophet Ahijah that he learned how Jehovah would give him the northern kingdom. (1 Kings 11:31-39)
Despite this, Jeroboam chose to turn his back on God and built Golden Calves…you know, kind of like the one the Israelites built after coming out of Egypt which resulted in hundreds of them being slaughtered by Moses and crew.
When God saw how Jeroboam led his people the Israelites to worshiping false gods and indulging in wicked practices, he said in 1 Kings 14:10, “I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free, in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it’s all gone.”
God did what he said he was going to do and destroyed Jeroboam’s house. His sons didn’t survive long after Jeroboam’s death. This essentially began a pattern for the northern Kingdom of Israel. Their kings, having turned their back on God, continued to worship false gods and do what was good in their own eyes. Thus, it makes sense why there was no loyalty, why their kings had a chronic fear of treachery and treason.
1 Kings Chapter 15 and 16, talks about the power struggle for the throne of Israel just a couple of generations leading up to Jezebel.
Nadab the son of Jeroboam reigned for two years before one of his own captains, a man named Baasha, killed Nadab and his entire household before taking the throne for himself. And because Baasha walked in the ways of Jeroboam, “provoking” the Lord to anger, at 1 Kings 16: 3, Jehovah says, “I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house”.
After Baasha died, his son Elah reigned for two years before Elah’s own commander Zimri assassinated him in an attempt to take power. Zimri, had the privilege of having the shortest reign of any king in Israel…just seven days, which is why Jezebel later uses his name as a slurring insult.
After Zimri betrayed King Elah, another commander who was out fighting the Philistines heard about the assassination. This commander was named Omri. The people almost immediately chose Omri to be king. Omri rode out to besiege Zimri. Zimri ended up killing himself. And so…the House of Omri was born.
Let’s pause for a moment and take note of the line of succession. These weren’t peaceful transitions. In 1 Kings 16:25, it says “Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did more evil than all who were before him.” He walked in the ways of Jeroboam, making the people sin by worshiping their idols. After Omri died, his son began to reign in his place. The name of Omri’s son was Ahab. The woman who Ahab marries…was Jezebel.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking. “Wait one dang minute. Why does Jezebel get so much hate? Looks to me, that Israel was already immersed in the practice of worshiping false gods. Why is so much of the blame heaped upon her?”
Good questions. Let’s talk about it.
WHO WAS JEZEBEL?
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. Ethbaal, means “Baal is alive”…so red flag right there…As king of Phoenicia, Ethbaal murdered his own predecessor and, according to Josephus, was a priest of the false gods, Melqart and Astarte. – according to John MacArthur Study Bible.
So, Jezebel comes from a background where she’s never acknowledged Jehovah, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses. In 1 Kings 16:32, after King Ahab married Jezebel, he built a house for Baal in the capital of Samaria and erected an altar to worship him. In verse 33, it says Ahab did more to provoke Jehovah God than all the kings of Israel before him.
Seriously…Ahab deserves a lot of blame for what happened. At the same time, as you continue to read through to 1 Kings Chapter 18, we begin to understand how powerful Jezebel was, or rather, how powerful Ahab let Jezebel become by way of his weakness and allowing her to lead.
In those days of Ahab and Jezebel, God didn’t completely abandon his people even though they tried to run away from him. He gave them Prophets. Prophets were messengers of God.
Yes, there were a lot of false prophets, so you could make the case that you can’t blame people for being misled. At which, I’d argue that you can tell who’s a false prophet by simply hearing if they’re telling you to obey God’s commandments or disobey them. Which is why it pays to read the scriptures so you can know what those commandments are.
This also begs the question of why the people were so enticed to reject God in favor of these false gods in the first place. In my opinion, I think the first reason why is the lack of faith. In reading Exodus, ever since the people were delivered from Egypt, you could tell how impatient and quickly they became ungrateful, such as when they got tired of eating manna and wanted the food they ate in Egypt.
Baal was the Canaanite god of fertility, rain, wind, war, and seasons. These were all things a people living in those ancient times desired, and they desired it on their schedule. If they believed Jehovah wasn’t providing the rains for their crops fast enough, instead of maintaining their faith that he will provide, I can see how they’d be enticed upon hearing how their pagan neighbors believed in a false god and if they did as well, maybe, just maybe they’d benefit from the blessings this false god could provide.
Another reason why they were likely enticed to worship false gods harkens to what I see today. If you don’t go along and follow the course of your cultural leaders, you may be ostracized, rejected, and even persecuted.
In Jezebel’s days, she cared for an army of 850 false prophets that were all serving the Baals. It was one of the many ways she held power and controlled Israel. Anyone who refused to “bend the knee” and worship these false gods were subjected to her wrath and that of her army of false prophets. Think of the Spanish Inquisition. Think of Hitler’s Brown Shirts. Think of the near 300 Protestants who were burned as heretics under Bloody Mary. Jezebel wrote the textbook on persecution.
The Enemies of Jezebel:
Thankfully, Jehovah God provided prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Obadiah, and a small commune of believers known as the Sons of Prophets.
In 1 Kings Chapter 18, we learn that Obadiah was a manager in King Ahab’s palace…Obadiah risked his life to hide and care for a hundred prophets because Jezebel was killing them. Verse 4 says Jezebel “cut off the prophets of the Lord.”
Ladies and gents…I can’t gloss over that. In the Bible, the Scriptures tell us what happens and sometimes, it doesn’t go deep into graphic details. But anyone who knows history knows that “cut of the prophets” most likely means these God-fearing prophets were rooted out, hunted down, and killed savagely in public to strike fear into the hearts of others.
It took a tremendous amount of courage for Obadiah to hide over a hundred prophets from Jezebel and provide them with bread and water. Even Elijah and Moses, some of the greatest prophets who ever lived were prone to the same fear all humans face. But by the grace of God, they mustered their courage and stood up in the face of death.
Speaking of Elijah, it’s amazing how much God truly loved and cared about this man. Jehovah fed him through a famine (using birds like the image above), dried up the waters of a river like the days of Moses, and when he died, Elijah has the distinction of being one of two men who God took up to the heavens by supernatural means.
Elijah’s legitimacy as Jehovah God’s prophet was recognized by King Ahab himself. You can tell many in Ahab’s court recognized Elijah but were reluctant to hear from him. Almost the same way many Christians know the Bible is here, but they don’t want to read it and potentially hear the truth about how God wants us to live our lives.
In 1 Kings Chapter 18, Elijah provides a clear and undeniable sign before the entire assembly of Israel that Jehovah is the one and only true God, not Baal or any other false god Jezebel promoted.
At Mount Carmel, Elijah stood alone against 450 of Jezebel’s false prophets. He told the people to cut up a bull and lay it on a pile of wood. Then he instructed the false prophets to call upon their false gods to consume the bull with fire. Not by human means, but by their god alone. The people heard this and agreed with the test.
The false prophets of Baal went first. They cut up a bull, put it on the wood, then from morning to noon, they called upon Baal to burn up the bull with fire. Think about it…450 men, 450 individuals all calling upon this false god to do this. They even went so far as to start cutting themselves and raving. But there was no answer. No fire.
Then was Elijah’s turn…and man…he’d didn’t just cut up the bull and put it on the wood. No, he didn’t want anyone to claim he was cheating or there was some trickery involved. He instructed that the bull and the wood be drenched with water. Then, when Elijah called upon Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses who created the Heavens and Earth, a fire fell and consumed the bull burnt offering.
The people and King Ahab all saw this. They witnessed this with their own eyes. And in their excitement, Elijah used the moment to call for the deaths of the false prophets. The people obeyed and had the prophets slaughtered.
You’d think that’d be the end of false worship and the people of Israel would turn back to following God’s commandments…but no…Jezebel was still alive. Jezebel still had power and sent men to kill Elijah. Elijah had to flee. Then, Jezebel had Naboth killed.
THE MURDER OF NABOTH –
The murder of Naboth is one of the worse crimes I’ve read about in the Bible. It’s up there in terms of David having Uriah killed, and the rape and murder of the Gibeonite concubine.
Naboth was a man living in the city of Jezreel who owned and cared for a vineyard that’s been in his family’s inheritance in accordance with God’s laws. Unfortunately, it was next to King Ahab’s palace. Ahab wanted the vineyard, so he offered to buy it or trade Naboth’s vineyard for another.
But Naboth declined the offer because it was his family’s inheritance and it would be disregarding God’s law (Lev. 25:23-28). And instead of accepting this, Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen to the point that he wouldn’t eat any food because he wanted Naboth’s vineyard so badly.
When Jezebel heard about it, she took matters into her own hands. She wrote letters to the leaders of Jezreel with Ahab’s forged signature. In it, she conspired to have Naboth accused of cursing God and the king. Thus, Naboth…an innocent man was taken outside and stoned to death. Later, we learn that it wasn’t just Naboth who was killed, but his sons as well…no doubt to avoid any disputes about the claim of the vineyard.
Here…is the climax of my essay. Because God knows I got rage in my heart. I see injustices and so badly I want vengeance. In the New Testament, it says that God will avenge us (Romans 12). And while it might not feel satisfactory while we’re festering in our own emotions in the moment, when you know how God’s justice is indeed meted out…it does help you to let go of that all that rage. And sometimes, out of sheer human compassion, you might even feel sorry for the person.
Seriously, when I read about what happened to Naboth…I was angry. Then, a couple of nights later when I read what happened to Jezebel, despite all the wicked atrocities she committed. I did honestly feel sorry for her. Maybe I shouldn’t. But I did.
After Naboth was murdered, God sent Elijah to condemn Ahab. In 1 Kings 21, starting in verse 19, it says, “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood. I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up and cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free in Israel. And of Jezebel, the Lord also said, ‘the dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel. Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city, the dogs shall eat. And anyone who dies in the open country, the birds of the heaven shall eat.”
After Ahab heard this, he showed some sense of repentance that God took note of. This isn’t fake repentance. Remember, God can see our hearts. Ahab put on a sackcloth and went about “dejectedly” so that God saw how Ahab had humbled himself. Because of this “repentance,” God amended his judgment and said in verse 29, “because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring disaster in his days, but in this son’s days I will bring disaster upon his house.”
In my essay about Reformed Pornstars and Rappers, I wrote about the devious idea I had as a 12-year-old…where I thought about repenting and serving God wholeheartedly only after I’ve gotten all the fun out of my system and was closer to death. I didn’t go down that path, but I thought about it.
If you do choose that path, it’s not my place to say whether God will forgive you or not. But I will say this is a dangerous game to be playing with your life. Not just your life, but the lives of your loved ones and future children. Because here’s how God gets revenge.
Let’s start with Ahab’s death. Ahab was killed during a battle with the Syrians. But before that, he was warned by the prophet Micaiah that he would die in battle. Ahab disregarded this prophecy and even though he went out to fight in disguise, he was struck by an arrow and died. And as prophesied, the dog licked Ahab’s blood when they washed his chariot by a pool (1 Kings 22:38)
After Ahab died, his son King Ahaziah began to reign. Ahaziah walked in the way of his mother, Jezebel. He served Baal and worshiped false gods. After reigning for two years, Ahaziah fell through a lattice from his upper chamber and was confined to a bed.
King Ahaziah sent messengers to ask Baal whether he’d recover from his illness. But God sent Elijah to rebuke Ahaziah for inquiring of the false god instead of the one true God. Thus, Ahaziah died according to the word of God written in 2 Kings Chapter 1.
After Ahaziah died, another son of Ahab and Jezebel began to reign. His name was Jehoram. And here is where God’s punishment gets a bit graphical. Remember, as much as people want to criticize the Old Testament for its violence and bloodshed, it all stems from humans disobeying God’s commandments.
Things to keep in mind: After King Ahaziah died, the prophet Elijah was taken up to heaven and his servant Elisha became the preeminent Prophet in his stead.
During the reign of Ahaziah’s son, King Jehoram, the Syrians began a siege of the capital city until there was a great famine in Samaria. It was so bad, that people were eating donkey heads and took to cannibalism.
There was one incident where a woman literally made this complaint to King Jehoram, “Help me, my lord, O king! This woman said to me, give me your son that we may eat him today and we will eat my son tomorrow. So, we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day, I said to her, give me your son that we may eat him. But she has hidden her son.” (2 Kings 6:24-31)
That’s how bad things were in a nation that rejected Jehovah God.
Another thing to keep in mind: while King Jehoram ruled the Northern Kingdom of Israel, his sister Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, was married to the King of Judah…another man also named Jehoram.
I know all this sounds confusing but stick with me. At the same point in history, we have two different kings named Jehoram, one of Israel and one for Judah. But the main thing I want you to focus on…is that both kingdoms have the wicked offspring of Jezebel influencing their cultures.
In the above family tree, you see King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Jehoshaphat had already named his eldest son Jehoram to be his heir and king. He even wed Jehoram to Athaliah in a political alliance to keep the peace between the two kingdoms.
I don’t know if it was by the swaying of Athaliah, but scriptures at 2 Chronicles Chapter 24 tells us that her husband Jehoram had his younger six brothers and other princes killed with the sword. Verse 6 says, “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”
…for the daughter of Ahab was his wife…Translation: Don’t marry WICKED UNGODLY PEOPLE!
Because of King Jehoram of Judah’s wickedness, Elijah sent him a letter saying God would bring about a plague and strike him with a sickness of the bowels until his bowels come out day by day. Elijah’s prophecy came true, and after eight years, Jehoram died painfully from his bowels disease and the people of Judah did not mourn him.
After Jehoram of Judah died, the son he had with Athaliah began to reign. His name was Ahaziah.
So, at this point, we have King Ahaziah ruling in Judah with his mother Athaliah no doubt influencing his every move. And in the Kingdom of Israel up north, there’s his uncle King Jehoram and his grandmother Jezebel who’s still alive.
Soon, King Jehoram of Israel gets injured fighting with the Syrians. King Ahaziah, his nephew, travels to Israel to visit him. The next phase of God’s vengeance begins.
GOD’S AVENGER JEHU –
During this time of turmoil where a famine has struck Israel and they’ve been constantly harassed and sieged by Syria, the Prophet Elisha sent one of his associates to anoint a commander to be the next King of Israel. This is all according to God’s instructions (1 Kings 19:16-18). This commander’s name was Jehu.
And what’s interesting about Jehu’s anointment…was how quickly his fellow commanders and soldiers were willing to accept him as King. What literally happened in 2 Kings Chapter 9, is that one of Elisha’s fellow prophets had a private ceremony with Jehu where he anointed the commander with oil, and told Jehu, “thus says the Lord, the God of Israel,” you shall strike down the house of Ahab so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the servants of the Lord. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish.
After the prophet told Jehu this alone in a private room, the prophet immediately leaves and flees the city. Then, Jehu walks out, tells his commanders what happened…and just like that, with no miraculous sign or voice from God, they all lay out their garments for Jehu to walk on, blare the trumpets and declare Jehu king.
It’s my opinion that the people, particularly the servants of Jehoram were fed up with the weak leadership. Or it may have been that there were many God-fearing soldiers in the army who were waiting for a leader to rise up in the name of the one true God. Either way, Jehu gets to work…and boy does he ever.
Jehu rides out with his men for the city of Jezreel to find King Jehoram. Jehoram senses the threat, so he rides out on his chariot along with his nephew King Ahaziah to confront Jehu. The place where they end up meeting was by God’s divine providence. It was on the property of Naboth, the same Naboth who Jezebel had killed so Ahab could possess the vineyard.
When Jehoram asked Jehu, “is there peace?” Jehu answered at 2 Kings 9:22, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?”
Then King Jehoram tried to flee but Jehu pierced him through the heart with his bow and had his body thrown into the plot of ground belonging to Naboth.
When King Ahaziah tried to flee, Jehu ordered for him to be shot down as well. Ahaziah survived long enough to flee to Megiddo and his servants carried him to be buried in Jerusalem.
Next…Jezebel. When Jehu arrived, Jezebel had her eyes painted in some vain attempt to seduce him and stared down from a high window. She taunted him, calling him “Zimri,” a slur for a usurper whose reign would barely last seven days.
Then Jehu called out to the people who were with Jezebel, eunuchs belonging to Jezebel. He said to them, “Throw her down”. The eunuchs threw Jezebel out the window. Some of her blood spattered on the wall and the horses trampled over her. Jehu then went in to eat and drink. And when his men came out to bury Jezebel, they found nothing more of her than her skull, feet, and palm of her hands. The dogs had eaten her.
God’s vengeance didn’t end there. Remember. God declared he would destroy the idolatrous house of Ahab. Ahab had a lot of sons (this includes some grandsons). Seventy, to be exact.
Jehu wrote letters to the leaders of Samaria, telling them to pick one of Jehoram’s sons to lead them out into battle so they can determine who would be king over all Israel. The leaders didn’t want to fight Jehu. So, Jehu wrote another letter and said, “If you are on my side, if you are ready to obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me at Jezreel” (2 Kings 10:6)
And just like that, the leaders of Samaria decapitated seventy of Ahab’s male descendants. Their heads were piled into two mounds, as was the Near East custom of the time.
After that, Jehu set out for Samaria. Along the way, he met up with a group of people who told Jehu “We are the relatives of Ahaziah and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.”…Jehu had them taken alive and slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons in total.
When he got to Samaria, Jehu struck down all who remained loyal to Ahab till he wiped them all out, according to the word that God spoke to Elijah.
Next…Jehu set about removing Baal from Israel. He set a trap by telling the people of Samaria that “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much.” So, he gathered all the worshipers of Baal in the temple. He said “let none be missing. Whoever is missing shall not live”.
When all the worshipers of Baal had assembled in the great temple that Ahab built for this false god, Jehu instructed eighty men to not let a single person come out alive. Anyone who gives into their compassion or feeling sorry for these people by letting them escape…that soldier would forfeit his own life.
Thus, Jehu’s men went in and struck the worshipers down with the sword. They burned the pillars and the false god and demolished the house that Ahab made, turning it to a latrine. Jehu reigned in Israel for 28 years.
The story doesn’t end there. Even though Jezebel was dead, her wicked influence continued through the life of her daughter Athaliah in Judah.
ATHALIAH’S TREACHERY –
According to 2 Kings Chapter 11, when Athaliah heard that her son Ahaziah was dead…dude, this woman set about killing other members of her own royal family. We’re talking about her grandsons. Athaliah wanted to rule. She craved power. She craved control. She hated the God of Israel and was determined to continue establishing the false gods of her mother and grandfather.
But through God’s divine providence, even though Athaliah came close to exterminating the Davidic line…the infant Joash, one of Ahaziah’s sons survived the purge, saved by his aunt Jehosheba. Jehosheba was married to Jehovah’s High Priest named Jehoiada. Together, Jehosheba and Jehoiada instilled in Joash the fear the one true God, raising him hidden in Jerusalem’s temple.
After six years of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada worked to have Joash crowned and anointed King. I mean, if you read 2 Kings Chapter 11, Jehoiada really had the spirit of God in him to move with such courage and conviction. Athaliah had already proven what she was capable of. But by the grace of God, Jehoiada and the faithful servants and soldiers stood by King Joash’s side.
When Athaliah heard the trumpets and declarations, she went into the temple and saw Joash crowned king. She cried “TREASON”. Jehoiada called for her death. And out of respect for the temple grounds, the soldiers took hold of Athaliah, dragged her out through the horse’s entrance and put her to death.
After that, Jehoiada took the lead, since Joash (or Jehoash) was still a boy, in making a covenant with God and the people, that they should be God’s people. They tore down the house of Baal, killed the false priests, and destroyed his altar and images.
So ends the story of Jezebel and the House of Ahab. I wrote the rough draft of these ten pages in four hours and I think one of the things that invigorated me was a recent debate with a self-proclaimed Christian who literally told me, “I don’t pay too much attention to the Old Testament. Those guys were kinda out there.”
That blew my mind. She might as well have said, “I don’t pay too much attention to wisdom.” There are so many lessons, so much wisdom to be gleaned from the Old Testament. But more than anything, reading the Old Testament teaches me the character about my heavenly Father. I’ve seen what happens when you run away, when you ignore his teachings, when you strike out on your own and think you don’t need him.
Also…reading the Old Testament, in a way, humanizes God. I admire Him because I’ve seen how loving, patient, and kind he is with us, not just his chosen people…but ALL of us. A classic example is the case of the Ninevites, who he was going to wipe out until they repented when Jonah reproached them.
Another is in 2nd Kings Chapter 13, where it says King Jehoahaz and the people of Israel did what was bad in God’s eyes because they worshiped false Gods. Jehovah’s anger was kindled against Israel, so they were attacked and harassed by the Syrians. But when Jehoahaz called out and sought favor from Jehovah, he listened. He didn’t have to. He didn’t have to show mercy. But he did.
Throughout 1st and 2nd Kings, Jehovah God had every reason to wipe out his people. But out of his abundant love and kindness, and the faithful covenant he made with their forefathers, God reached out to rescue them.
When you know all this…what kind of man would I be to reject God’s commandments and follow the way of the world?