“Jezebel” is a name synonymous with  evil; she is the epitome of the wicked woman. So infamous is her name that, to  this day, no one names their baby daughter “Jezebel.” To call a woman a  “Jezebel” is the greatest insult imaginable. Jezebel was the daughter of  Ethbaal, a priest of the cruel, sensuous, false god Baal. Ethbaal, the  priest-king of Tyre who murdered his own brother to take over the throne, was  hardly a good father figure. But Jezebel followed in her father’s footsteps and  was herself a power-hungry murderess who stopped at nothing to get what she  wanted.

The king of Israel at the time was Ahab, a weak, self-pitying  man who abdicated his authority to his bride, the princess Jezebel. In spite of  God’s laws forbidding idolatry and the worship of any god but Jehovah, Ahab  married this princess who brought to Israel with her hundreds of priests of lewd  Baal worship, a cult which tended to destroy manhood and drag womanhood into  shame. Jezebel was such a domineering person that she soon became master over  her weak husband. One of her first acts was to order the extermination of the  prophets of Jehovah (1 Kings  18:4, 13) and  set up altars to Baal. So pervasive was her idolatrous influence in Israel that  Jesus later used her name to refer to a woman who led the church at Thyatira  into immorality and the worship of false gods (Revelation  2:20).

Jezebel’s strongest enemy was the great prophet Elijah, who  defied her and opposed her evil rule. First, he pronounced the punishment of God  upon Israel in the form of a drought which lasted three years (James 5:17). This culminated in a contest on Mount Carmel  between the powers of Israel’s true God and the Baals. After the 850 priests of  Baal spent the day beseeching their gods with wailing and self-mutilation to end  the drought, all to no avail, Elijah prayed to his omnipotent God who responded  by accepting the sacrifice, having the false prophets slaughtered, and providing  an abundance of rain (1 Kings  18:16-46). Instead of acknowledging the awesome power of the one true God,  Jezebel was enraged and vowed to kill Elijah (1 Kings  19:1-2). Elijah fled from her wrath to the wilderness (1 Kings 19:3-8).

In the meantime, Jezebel was proving herself to be the greedy, murderous, evil  woman she truly was. A righteous man named Naboth owned a vineyard next to  Ahab’s palace. Ahab offered to buy the vineyard, but Naboth, honoring God’s  command to keep inheritances within the family, rightly refused to sell. Ahab  became “sullen and angry” and went home to sulk on his bed. Jezebel ridiculed  him for his weakness and told him to cheer up for she would get the vineyard for  him. She plotted with two lying scoundrels to have Naboth falsely accused and  denounced, then put to death. Then she calmly declared to Ahab that the vineyard  was his (1 Kings  21:1-16). Here we see the formula for a disastrous marriage: a weak,  childish man who allows his evil, domineering wife to rule the home. This is the  exact opposite of God’s plan for marriage: a loving husband who leads his  family, and whose care for his wife mirrors that of Christ and His church (Ephesians  5:25-26, 28-29), and a godly woman who submits to her husband “as  to the Lord” (Ephesians  5:22), each submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 3:18-191 Peter  3:7).

As with all who defy the Lord, Jezebel’s end was not a pretty  one, although it was more gruesome than most, perhaps as an object lesson to all  who set themselves up against the one true God. Her doom was sure, having been  prophesied by Elijah in 1 Kings  21:23. Even as she saw her death approaching, she remained defiant to the  end, painting her face and adorning herself in queenly garments. She looked out  the window and shouted her defiance to Jehu, the next king of Israel who came to  take his throne (2 Kings  9:30-37). Jehu commanded her to be thrown out the window to her death, where  she was trampled by the horses’ hooves and almost entirely consumed by dogs. Her  thirty years of tyranny over Israel had ended. The terror visited upon Jezebel  was a testimony to the Israelites, and to us, that God’s power is supreme and  those who defy Him will meet a terrible end.