Who Is Jezebel In The Bible


The Biblical character Jezebel is best known today as a synonym for wickedness, however little is known of her original meaning. Jezebel is first mentioned in 1 Kings 16:31 as the daughter of Ethbaal who was the king of Tyre. She went on to marry King Ahab of Israel.

The marriage of Jezebel and Ahab had a huge negative impact, both politically and spiritually, on the kingdom of Israel. Under her influence, Ahab became more and more wicked and idolatrous. He led the nation into syncretic worship which blended the worship of Jehovah and the gods of the Baal pantheon.

The Bible records numerous confrontations between Jezebel and her husband’s enemy, the prophet Elijah. Elijah challenged the rule of Ahab and Jezebel and accused her of leading the nation away from true worship. He also accused her of ordering the murder of many of the Lord’s prophets.

Jezebel was not a passive figure and continually strove to secure her power and influence over Israel. She went so far as to publicly execute one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in an attempt to remove all religious opposition. She spent much of her time encouraging her husband to pursue a course of action which ran contrary to God’s laws.

God’s Interventions

God intervened in the story of Jezebel and Ahab in a number of ways. Firstly, He sent Elijah with a message for Ahab informing him that unless the partnership between himself and Jezebel ended immediately, the kingdom would suffer. In response to this, Ahab humbled himself before the Lord and repented of his actions.

God also intervened by dealing out judgments to those who had followed Jezebel and her wicked ways. Ahab and Jezebel’s offspring were killed as punishment for their wickedness while Ahab himself was killed in battle as a consequence of his idolatry. Ultimately, Jezebel herself was punished by God; she was cast out of her palace and left to die in disgrace.

The story of Jezebel did not end with her death. It is believed that the idolatry she had promoted and encouraged continued long after her demise. This continued influence was not lost on God, in fact, He later cursed the generations who had followed Jezebel’s example.

Cultural Impact

The legacy of Jezebel has been a part of popular culture for many centuries. Her name is often used as a negative adjective for any woman who is thought to be sexually promiscuous or morally corrupt. Her story has been referenced and alluded to in literature and in films. In recent years, her story has become popularised in the form of the biblical drama Jezebel, which was produced by Circle7 Media in 2020.

The story of Jezebel is often used as an introduction to the Bible for young children, as it serves as a powerful example of the consequences of living a life contrary to God’s laws.

In addition to its cultural impact, Jezebel’s story has also had an important impact on women’s rights movements around the world. Her story serves as a reminder of the difficulties faced by women in pre-modern societies, as well as a reminder of the dangers of unchecked power wielded by one individual.


The story of Jezebel is a powerful reminder of the consequences of living a life contrary to God’s laws. In addition, her story has had a major cultural impact, being referenced and alluded to in literature and films for centuries. Finally, her story also serves as a reminder of the difficulties faced by women in pre-modern societies, and of the dangers of unchecked power wielded by one individual.

Overt and Subvert

In the story of Jezebel, the Bible did not give details about a woman who defied her husband’s word purposely, but a narrative of a powerful woman who tried to install idolatry and be the ruler of the kingdom.

Jezebel certainly was a transgressor of the law. She was a disobedient woman, but she was also a leader and an authority. She used her power to subvert her husband’s rule, no matter if it was right or wrong. She gained the respect of those around her, even if it was out of fear.

Even though the Bible talks about Jezebel as a transgressor, she was also an example of female power.

A Contemporary Jezebel

In modern culture, we can spot a plethora of ‘Jezebel-like’ characters in films, books and TV series. One prime example would be Regina George from the 2004 cult-classic Mean Girls.

Regina was queen bee and the leader of her group. Similar to Jezebel, she was feared as she could influence her peers and her “victims” into following her no matter if it was right or wrong. She used deceit and manipulation as tools of power, and did not hesitate in using them.

Still, in the end, she paid the consequences of her actions; which strengthens the idea that power, no matter how it is used, will eventually be contained.

Rehabilitating Jezebel

The character of Jezebel has been subjected to centuries of negative thinking and stereotypes about powerful women. In recent years, scholars and feminist groups have started to challenge these negative stereotypes and have created new interpretations of her story.

These interpretations often focus on Jezebel’s bravery and womanly strength, instead of focusing on her wickedness and transgression of the law. Likewise, some Bible scholars argue that instead of being wicked, Jezebel was merely a heroine who exercised her individual power within the context of a patriarchal society.

It is clear that the myth of Jezebel has not been erased, but scholar’s contemporary approach to the story has given the character a chance to be perceived in a new light, often times resembling a hero, instead of a villain.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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