Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 4 Page 10 April 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles
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Jezebel: Forever an Evil Name

By Rebecca Rushmore

There are many names found in the Old Testament that are still used today. One name comes to mind that is associated with such evil that I can imagine no one giving it to his child. Revelation Chapter Two Verse Twenty reads, "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols." The Jezebel mentioned here is not the same as the one found in the Old Testament. The Jezebel of the Old Testament left such a legacy of evil that her name was used here to indicate the evil in the church at Thyatira. Just what did the Old Testament Jezebel do to offend the Lord?

The story of Jezebel's wickedness begins in 1 Kings 16:31. Here we read that Ahab took Jezebel for his wife. Notice the phrase ". . . as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel . . ." Implied here is the fact that marrying Jezebel was even worse than being wicked like his fathers before him. The rest of the verse says that Ahab and Jezebel served and worshipped Baal (a god of the Canaanite people). Jezebel greatly influenced the religious lives of the people of Israel. First Kings 18: 4, 13 and 19 tell of her hatred for God's servants. She killed many prophets of God and vowed to kill Elijah after he destroyed her 850 prophets of Baal.

Another account of Jezebel is found in 1 Kings 21:1-16. Here her husband, Ahab, is pouting because he cannot get a vineyard he wants. Jezebel arranges for lies to be told so the owner of the vineyard is killed. Ahab now can take possession of the vineyard. God's anger is kindled against Ahab and Jezebel. God, through Elijah, tells of the punishment these two will receive. Ahab's descendents will all be destroyed so his line will end; Jezebel will be eaten by dogs. Later, in 2 Kings 9, we read of the fulfillment of this promise.

What can we learn from Jezebel's personality? There are many different ways to classify personality. One method divides personalities into four types. The first type is sanguine. This person is a talker, one who thrives on attention. Another type is the choleric. Cholerics are workers and individuals who love to be in control. Melancholy individuals make a third group. They are thinking people who need order in their lives. Finally, there is the phlegmatic. This individual is a watcher. He needs peace in his life above all else. The characteristics Jezebel exhibits in her life point to a choleric personality.

Jezebel demonstrates many of the negative aspects or weaknesses of the choleric. Consider the incident with Naboth. First Kings 21:7 relates Jezebel's response to Ahab's pout. ". . . Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." She is very unsympathetic about his problems and is impatient with his attitude. These are both characteristics of a choleric. Notice that she tells Ahab that she will get the vineyard for him. The next verses tell how she writes letters using his seal instructing officials to use false witnesses against Naboth. Jezebel does not sit around and think about the things that could be done; she does something. When used in the right way this choleric trait of always working could be very good. Jezebel demonstrates the choleric weakness of craftiness in her method of gaining the vineyard for her husband.

Throughout her reign as Ahab's wife, we see a very domineering woman. Jezebel took control of the situation with the vineyard and brought about her desired results. The Bible says she is responsible for slaying God's prophets (1 Kings 18:4, 13). The worship of Baal was widespread during the reign of Ahab. It gained its foothold after he married Jezebel; she brought with her the pagan worship of the Canaanites. This worship included human sacrifice and prostitution. Her influence was so strong that the people who God had delivered from Egypt turned against him to such an extent they were wholly embracing this vile worship to an idol. Verse 25 of 1 Kings 21 reads, "But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up." This woman was a very bad influence on her husband.

Christians cannot afford to be like Jezebel. There is no room in the church for the craftiness and domineering nature she displayed. Jezebel is a good example of the negative traits of the choleric personality. Like the apostle Paul, she could have done much good for the Lord if she had displayed the choleric strengths instead. Such strengths include hard work, good leadership abilities, productiveness and resourcefulness. We as Christians need to be a good influence for God (Matthew 5:13-16). We need to use our strengths for God and not against him (Luke 16:13). We should work to lessen the affects of our weaknesses in our lives.

Compared to other Bible characters, Jezebel receives very little space on the pages of God's Word. However, her influence will be felt until the end of time. The church at Thyatira should have felt immense grief and guilt when Christ condemned their acceptance of "Jezebel" and her evil. The brethren were allowing a false teacher to lead them back into idolatry like Jezebel led the Israelites many centuries before. Christ was giving the church at Thyatira another chance just as he had given Jezebel many chances. Jezebel did not take advantage of God's longsuffering and was destroyed. Any today who allow the Jezebel's of this life to lead them astray will follow her to destruction. The name of Jezebel will forever be connected with great evil. Let us live in such a way that we cannot be associated with the Jezebels of this world.

[Sister Rushmore has written a Bible class book in which she makes a correlation between personality traits and Bible characters. It is an excellent volume and has been successfully used in ladies' and adult classes. What Makes Us Tick? A Study of Personality And The Bible is a reproducible Bible class book and may be ordered from our book store. ~ Editor.]

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