Imagine someone saying of your husband, “As if it wasn’t bad enough that he followed in the footsteps of his wicked father, he also married you.” Ouch! Jezebel had such a reputation, that she was evil to the core, and she brought down everyone in her sphere of influence. And she supported her husband, but in all the wrong ways. She may well have been the most evil woman spoken of in the entire Bible, but we can still learn something from her.
1 Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, 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 the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him.
1 Kings 21:25 But there was none like unto Ahab, who did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
- She influenced her husband, Ahab king of Israel, to worship Baal, the false god of her people (1Ki 16:31).
- She killed all the prophets of Jehovah that she could get her hands on (1Ki 18:4).
- She fed the false prophets of Baal from her own table (1Ki 18:19).
- She threatened to kill Elijah the prophet (1Ki 19:2).
- She hired false witnesses to testify against Naboth, convict him of blasphemy and treason, and stone him to death—all because Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard (1Ki 21:1-16).
This incident with Naboth is the last evil act that Ahab and Jezebel committed. You might say it was the last straw. With this deed, God’s cup of wrath against them was full. But what was the significance of the situation? Was Naboth wrong for refusing the king? Why did Naboth stand up against the king (respectfully, I might add) and refuse to give him his vineyard?
Because the vineyard was a part of his inheritance, established in the Law of Moses by God. Any inheritance of land was never to be traded or sold, according to Law, but was always to remain with the family.
Deuteronomy 19:14 You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which they of old time have set in your inheritance, which you shall inherit in the land that the LORD your God gives you to possess it.
1 Chronicles 28:8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that you may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you forever.
When Naboth refused Ahab’s order, he was taking a stand for Jehovah, the one true and living God, whom Ahab had rejected. Neither Ahab nor Jezebel had any regard for the Law of God because they had no regard for the God of the Law.
Naboth’s example teaches us the great value which every professing Christian ought to set upon his inheritance, as purchased for him, and handed down to him by Christ, and that no man ought to part with it, no matter how strong the temptation.
1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you.
2 Kings 9:30 And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and adorned her head, and looked out at a window.
This verse used to humor me when I was younger, but now I see that it is terribly sad. Jezebel was getting ready to die. She knew Jehu was coming to kill her. And what did she do? She put on makeup and dressed herself in her royal attire. She wanted to go out in style. Did she know that in just a short time the dogs would lick her bones clean? Jezebel made herself beautiful on the outside, but she never took care of the ugliness in her heart. How much better if she had instead fallen on her face before Jehovah God when she knew Jehu was coming. How much better if she had cleaned up her inside and not worried about her outward appearance at all.
Jesus had a lot to say about this because the Pharisees in the New Testament era were also more concerned about outward appearance than matters of the heart.
Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitened sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
The Law considered people unclean who had come into contact with anything dead. For that reason, the sepulchers (tombs) were white-washed once a year to make them clearly visible so people would know to avoid them. They were beautiful on the outside, but on the inside they held nothing but the decayed remains of the dead.
Jesus compared the Pharisees to these white-washed sepulchers. On the outside they did everything right (according to their own standards). They lived right, talked right, smelled right, and looked right… But their hearts had never been changed. Spiritually they were dead. Jesus saw past the ornate robes these men wore, their broad phylacteries, and their keeping of tradition, if not law. Jesus saw their hearts and thoughts. He knew the motives for what they did, and He was not impressed.
God wants us to worship Him in our hearts. Yes, there are certain things He expects from us, but the point is that if we do not serve Him from a heart of love for Him, then we might as well not serve Him at all.
Jezebel’s Great Transgression
2 Kings 9:22 And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?”
By whoredoms, Jehu was not referring to her sexual behavior, but to her idolatry. Jezebel had dedicated her life to serving the dead gods of her people and had caused king Ahab to worship them too. Not only that, but she had also turned many other Israelites away from Jehovah.
In the book of Revelation, when the angel of the Lord is giving John the messages to the churches, he mentions Jezebel figuratively as representing those who have turned from the true and living God to worship lifeless, breathless, powerless idols.
Revelation 2:18-23 And unto the angel [messenger/pastor] of the church in Thyatira write; “These things says the Son of God, who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine bronze: ‘I know your works, and love, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her time to repent of her fornication; and she repented not…. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.’”
God did give Jezebel time to repent. Elijah prophesied of her death months before it came to pass. When the prophet told Ahab that he would die, he repented. But the heart of Jezebel was hardened; she never repented, but held firmly to her idolatry right up to the bitter end.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Pet. 3:9). He even wanted Jezebel to repent and turn to Him so that He could forgive her. He said the same thing of the figurative Jezebel in Revelation, and of those who went along with her.
My friend, if you have not yet repented of your sin and turned to Christ, why not? Is it because you like your sin too much? Trust me, it’s not worth it. Is it because you feel unworthy of the love of God? We all are. But God loves us in spite of who we are.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
If God loved Jezebel, the queen of idolatry, enough to give her time to repent, then surely He loves you too. There is nothing you can do that is worse than what she did. There is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you. I’ll close with the verse that so many of us know by heart, because its truth will never grow old:
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
There are some lessons that we learn by experience, and some that we learn by knowing and heeding the experiences of others. Let this be the latter. Take the account of Jezebel to heart, and decide today that you will serve the one true and living God, who loves you, and who lives today in heaven. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for you, rose for you, and lives for you. He is in heaven today preparing a home for you and interceding before the Father on your behalf. Please turn your heart toward Him who sees and knows who you are on the inside. Trust Him now. ❧
Next week: Jehosheba
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