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Jezebel

Born: ?
Died: 842 BC
Cause of death: Execution
Remains: Other (eaten by dogs)

Gender: Female
Religion: Pagan
Race or Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Royalty

Executive summary: Wife of King Ahab

Jezebel (Hebrew Izével, perhaps an artificial form to suggest "un-exalted", a divine name or its equivalent would naturally expected instead of the first syllable), wife of Ahab, king of Israel (1 Kings 16:31), and mother of Athaliah, in the Bible. Her father Eth-baal (Ithobal) was king of Pyre and priest of the goddess Astarte. He had usurped the throne and was the first important Phoenician king after Hiram.

Jezebel, a true daughter of a priest of Astarte, showed herself hostile to the worship of Yahweh, and to his prophets, whom she relentlessly pursued (1 Kings 18:4-13). She is represented as a woman of virile character, and became notorious for the part she took in the matter of Naboth's vineyard. When the Jezreelite sheikh refused to sell the family inheritance to the king, Jezebel treacherously caused him to be arrested on a charge of treason, and with the help of false witnesses he was found guilty and condemned to death. For this the prophet Elijah pronounced a solemn curse upon Ahab and Jezebel, which was fulfilled when Jehu, who was anointed king at Elisha's instigation, killed the son Jehoram, massacred all the family, and had Jezebel destroyed (1 Kings 21; 2 Kings 9:11-28).

What is told of her comes from sources written under the influence of strong religious bias; among the exaggerations must be reckoned 1 Kings 18:13, which is inconsistent with 19:18 and 22:6. A literal interpretation of the reference to Jezebel's idolatry (2 Kings 9:22) has made her name a byword for a false prophetess in Revelations 2:20. Her name is often used in modern English as a synonym for an abandoned woman or one who paints her face.

Husband: King Ahab
Son: Ahaziah
Son: Joram
Father: (king of Sidon)

    Biblical Figures



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