Two clichés: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and “Two peas in a pod” come to mind with these two women. Both have become symbols of wickedness. Together they impacted both parts of the nation of Israel. Neither Judah nor the northern kingdom escaped the treachery of these women. Without a doubt, Jezebel exercised great influence on the beliefs and character of Athaliah. The very name Jezebel has come to be synonymous with evil, adultery and deviousness. Although there is no specific reference to any sexual immorality in the Scriptures, we can be sure she was unfaithful to the Creator of heaven and earth. Her worship of Baal no doubt caused her to do many things, including offering human sacrifice.[i] “Worship of Ba‘al involved imitative magic, the performance of rituals, including sacred prostitution, which were understood to bring vitality to Ba’al in his struggle with Mot.” [ii] Jezebel’s name also means un-chaste or Baal exalts. That really says something—that the Baal god exalted her! Their household must have been consumed with idol worship!
Twelve things solidly identify Jezebel as the wicked queen, wife, mother and grandmother of the northern kingdom:
- Besides following Jeroboam in his evil ways (2 Kings 14:24), King Ahab demonstrated his wickedness by knowingly taking a wife from the idolatrous nation of Sidon (1 Kings 16:30-31).
- As queen, Jezebel exerted an evil influence in all public affairs of the northern kingdom and the worship of the God of heaven. Jezebel was one of the most influential queens in the history of the world, but not for good (2 Kings 18:4, 13; 2 Kings 19:1-3; 2 Kings 21:5-16).
- She was an evil counselor to her husband (1 Kings 21:3-7).
- Jezebel was a sorceress who practiced witchcraft (2 Kings 9:22).
- Together with Ahab, Jezebel was guilty of homicide and felony on a national level (1 Kings 21:10-24; 2 Kings 6:32). The judgments that came from the throne during this era were intended to destroy true worship of the Heavenly Father and to destroy righteous judgment (Deut. 16:19; Deut. 25:1; Psa. 1:5; Pro. 18:5; Hab. 1:4).
- Jezebel’s false accusations and slander were a way to control the people she hated or the people whose possessions she coveted. One example is the plot against Naboth, where she accused Naboth of high treason (1 Kings 21:10,13). In that sense, Jezebel was not only guilty of falsely accusing an innocent man, but also guilty of conspiracy against Naboth and his sons (1 Kings 21:8-13; 2 Kings 9:26).
- Jezebel was also guilty of forgery when she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal (1 Kings 21:8).
- She was guilty of murder and martyrdom when she ordered the slaughter of God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:4,13).
- Jezebel was guilty malice in taking revenge against a prophet of God. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets (of Baal) with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there” (1 Kings 19:1-3).
- Because of her severe persecution of the prophets of God, Jezebel caused depression and despondency in Elijah. He fled from Jezebel to the wilderness, sat under the juniper tree, and wanted to die (1 Kings 19:4). In context we see that Elijah escaped to the wilderness from the fierceness of Jezebel(1 Kings 19:1-18).
- Jezebel had no fear of God. Others in Israel who knew the true God feared Him more than they feared Jezebel and worked to save the remaining prophets who refused to follow Jezebel in her evil worship. The prophet Obadiah was governor in Ahab’s house and yet he sheltered one hundred prophets against the wrath of Jezebel. They lived by fifties in caves (1 Kings 18:3-4).
- The Heavenly Father prophesied that He would destroy Jezebel for her wickedness, and that prophecy was fulfilled (1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:10,33-37).