She is the most notorious woman in the Bible and quite possibly, all of literature. Jezebel, her name is a synonym for wickedness (Deen 125). What could she have possible done to earn such a reputation? Is she really worse than any other man or woman in the Bible? Or was she just a confidant, powerful and misunderstood woman with a fervent faith and devotion to Baal?
Jezebel is first mentioned in the Bible in I Kings. Before the recounting of the tale of Elijah, she is referenced as the wife of King Ahab. There is slight background information given about her. She was a Phoenician princess raised in Tyre (Sur) and Sidon, one of the most liberal courts of the day (Gaines 4). Immediately following her genealogy she is faulted for the "veneration and worship of Baal" (I Kings 16:31). It would only be natural for her, a native Sidonian, to follow the cult of Baal being that Sidonia was teaming with idol worshippers at the time (Gaines 3).
Additionally her father was a high priest of Baal (Gaines 3). Can we truly blame her for following a religion set upon her at birth?
After being chastised for her choice of religions, she is then held responsible for that of her husband. King Ahab is a complex person. His first mention in the Bible is slightly before Jezebel's and starts out similarly with a recounting of genealogy. However, his intro differs greatly in that after, he is burdened with being referred to as
"evil in the sight of the LORD more than any of his predecessors" (I Kings 16:30). Jezebel's intro follows and then we learn of Ahab's erection of an altar and temple to Baal. This is a tad unexpected, however not all that surprising. Ahab...