Jezebel and Ahab meeting Elijah, print by Sir Francis Dicksee (1853-1928)
|Occupation||Princess of Phoenicia, Queen of Israel|
|Children||Ahaziah, Jehoram, and Athaliah|
Jezebel (/ˈdʒɛzəbəl/, /ˈdʒɛzəbɛl/; Hebrew: אִיזֶבֶל / אִיזָבֶל, Modern Izével / Izável Tiberian ʾÎzéḇel / ʾÎzāḇel) (fl. 9th century BCE) was a princess, identified in the Hebrew Book of Kings as the daughter of Ethbaal, King of Tyre (Phoenicia) and the wife of Ahab, king of north Israel. According to genealogies given in Josephus and other classical sources, she was the great-aunt of Dido, Queen of Carthage.
Jezebel was a power behind the throne. Ahab and Jezebel allowed temples of Baal to operate in Israel, and that religion received royal patronage. After Ahab's death, Ahaziah and Jehoram, his sons by Jezebel, acceded to the throne. The prophet Elisha had one of his servants anoint Jehu as king to overthrow the house of Ahab. Jehu killed Jehoram as he attempted to flee in his war chariot.
Jehu confronted Jezebel in Jezreel, where he incited her court officials to murder the queen by throwing her out of a window and leave her corpse to be eaten by dogs. Jezebel became associated with false prophets. In some interpretations, her dressing in finery and putting on makeup before her death (2 Kings 9:30) led to the association of use of cosmetics with "painted women" or prostitutes.
Meaning of name 
Jezebel is the Anglicized transliteration of the Hebrew אִיזָבֶל ('Izevel/'Izavel). Attempts to trace its original meaning are largely speculative.
The biblical Hebrew 'Izebel may be rooted in a Hebrew word for "prince/nobility" or "husband" (בעל bul/ba'al) combined with the word for "naught/none" (יי 'iy), "there is no prince/nobility/husband", suggesting a lack of character—i.e., implying lack of royal sensibilities—or of morality—i.e., unmarried, engaging in adultery or fornication. It may also find its root in a Hebrew word for "dung" (from זבל zbl; note here Ba'al-zebul/Ba'al-zebub, "Lord of dung") combined with the word for either "naught/none" ('iy) or "island" ('iyz), thus "no dung" or "island of dung".
Other sources find meaning from the character's native Syro-Phoenician language. It may be rooted in the word ba'al (lord), referring either to the Syro-Phoenician god, the "King of Heaven", or simply the royal title "lord". Thus, Iz-ba'al may mean "the Lord (Ba'al) exists/exalts" or "where is the prince", a name known from liturgies of the Syro-Phoenician Ba'al cults.
Scripture and critical perspective 
Jezebel's story is told in 1st and 2nd Kings, which details an intense religious-political struggle — the most detailed such account of any period in the history of the Kingdom of Israel. The account portrays the religious side of the events, with the political, economic and social background — highly important to modern historians — given only incidentally.
Jezebel was a Phoenician princess, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Phoenician empire. She married King Ahab of the Northern Kingdom (i.e. Israel during the time when ancient Israel was divided into Israel in the north and Judah in the south). She helped convert Ahab from worship of the Jewish God to worship of the Phoenician god Baal. According to the account in the Hebrew bible, after she had many Jewish prophets killed, Elijah challenged 450 prophets of Baal to a competition (1 Kings 18), exposed the rival god as powerless, and had the prophets of Baal slaughtered (1 Kings 18:40). Jezebel becomes his enemy.
The scholar V. Barzowski interprets Ahab's marriage to Jezebel as a dynastic marriage intended to cement a Phoenician political alliance. This went back to the times of King Solomon, to give the then-inland Kingdom of Israel access to the Mediterranean Sea and international trade. The monarchy (and possibly an urban elite connected with it) enjoyed the wealth derived from this trade, which gave it a stronger position vis-a-vis the rural landowners. The monarchy became more centralized with a powerful administration.[dubious ]
Barzowski believes that the story of Naboth, a landowner killed at the instigation of Jezebel so the King could acquire his land, points to this interpretation. With her foreign religion and cosmopolitan culture, Jezebel represented a hated Phoenician alliance from which the landowners had little to gain and much to lose. Their resentment was expressed in religious terms as related to the difference in religions. Eventually Jehu achieved a bloody coup, instigated and supported by the prophets whose actions the Bible preserves.
In The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience, Roger Williams, the founder of the American colony of Rhode Island and the co-founder of the First Baptist Church in America, wrote of Naboth's story as an example of how God disfavored the use of government force in religious matters. Williams believed using force in the name of religion would lead to political persecution, contrary to the Bible's teachings.
Cultural symbol 
The name Jezebel came to be associated with false prophets, and further associated by the early 20th century with fallen or abandoned women. In Christian lore, a comparison to Jezebel suggested that a person was a pagan or an apostate masquerading as a servant of God. By manipulation and/or seduction, she misled the saints of God into sins of idolatry and sexual immorality. In particular, Jezebel has come to be associated with promiscuity. In modern usage, the name of Jezebel is sometimes used as a synonym for sexually promiscuous and sometimes controlling women. In his two-volume Guide to the Bible (1967 and 1969), Isaac Asimov describes Jezebel's last act: dressing in all her finery, make-up and jewelry, as deliberately symbolic, indicating her dignity, royal status and determination to go out of this life as a queen.
In popular culture 
- The novel Jezebel's Daughter (1880) by Wilkie Collins.
- In his novel The Caves of Steel (1953, 1954), Isaac Asimov portrayed Jezebel as an ideal wife and woman who, in full compliance with the mores of the time, conscientiously promoted her own religion.
- In her novel, The Handmaid's Tale, first published in 1985, which is full of biblical allusions, Margaret Atwood names an underground brothel "Jezebel's." 
- In the novel Skinny Legs and All (1990) by Tom Robbins, Jezebel makes a cameo appearance.
- Lesley Hazleton wrote a revisionist historical non-fiction account, Jezebel, The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen (2004), that presents Jezebel as a sophisticated queen engaged in mortal combat with the fundamentalist prophet Elijah. Hazleton is also the author of several non-fiction books about the Middle East.
- Paulette Goddard starred as the Biblical Queen Jezebel in the film Sins of Jezebel (1953).
- Libertad Green starred as the Biblical Queen Jezebel in the film Blast and Whisper: Elijah's Story (2010).
- Sônia Lima starred as the Biblical Queen Jezebel in the TV mini-series O Desafio de Elias (Elijah's Challenge) (1997).
- Victoria Wicks starred as the voice of Biblical Queen Jezebel in Season 1, Episode 4, "Elijah," of the TV Series Testament: The Bible in Animation, which originally aired November 6, 1996.
Allusions to Jezebel in Film and Television 
- Bette Davis starred as an antebellum Southern Belle named Julie in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the film Jezebel (1938).
- In Season 4, Episode 15 of Little House on the Prairie (1978), which originally aired on January 16, 1978, Miss Rachel Peel, played by Anita Dangler, calls Mary Ingalls, played by Melissa Sue Anderson, a "Jezebel" for teaching the students how to read.
- In the film Snake Eyes (1998), Brian De Palma called the tropical storm turned hurricane that hits Atlantic City "Jezebel," an allusion to the conspiracy, turmoil and evil deeds taking place behind the scenes in the film.
- The song "Jezebel" (1941) (Trad./O. Wilson) recorded by the Golden Gate Quartet.
- Frankie Laine recorded "Jezebel" (1951), written by Wayne Shanklin, which became a hit song. Herman's Hermits recorded the song for their 1967 LP There's a Kind of Hush All Over the World, and it became a regular feature of their live performances afterward.
- The song "Carry Go Bring Come" by Justin Hinds, recorded in 1963, repeatedly addresses "You old Jezebel"; it went to no. 1 in Jamaica and was covered by The Selecter on their 1980 album Too Much Pressure.
- The song "Jungle Jezebel" (1982), by Divine, on Divine's album My First Album (1982), but also on "Jungle Jezebel" (1982) and The Story So Far (1984).
- The song "Jezebel" (1985), by Sade and Gordon Matthewman, on Sade's album Promise.
- The song "Jezebel's Tribulation" (1986), by deathrock band Christian Death from their album The Scriptures (album).
- The song "Jezebel" (1992), by 10,000 Maniacs on the album Our Time in Eden, about the guilt felt by a woman who has fallen out of love, or was never in love, with her husband.
- The song "Jezebel" (1994), by sludge metal band Acid Bath from their first album The Kite String Pops.
- The song "Jazzy Belle" (1994) by the Atlanta hip-hop duo OutKast.
- The song "Juke Joint Jezebel" (1995), by KMFDM on the album Nihil.
- The song "Jezebel Spirit" by David Byrne and Brian Eno which features a recording of an exorcism.
- The song "Jezebel" (2000) by Recoil on the album Liquid, using the recording by the Golden Gate Quartet.
- The song "Jezebel" (2002) by Chely Wright on the album "Never Love You Enough".
- The song "Jezebel" (2003) by Dizzee Rascal on the album Boy in da Corner.
- The song "Jezebel" (2005) by Iron & Wine on the album Woman King.
- The song "Jezebel" (2009) by Depeche Mode on the album Sounds of the Universe.
- The song "Jezebel or A Song About My Friend And That Whore He Dated" (2010) by Quiet Company on the album Songs for Staying In.
- The song "Jezebel" (2012) by Memphis May Fire on the album Challenger (Memphis May Fire album)
- The song "Jezebel" (2012) by South African melodic rock band aKING.
- The song "Angry Johnny" by Poe (singer).
Other mentions 
- In the video game, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (2004) the player encounters an non-player character named Jezebel Locke who turns out to be a seductress for a fictional doomsday cult in one of the side storylines.
- The Gawker offshoot blog Jezebel (launched 2007) concerns mostly feminist issues and women's interest.
- In the song "Doo Wop (That thing)", a song about sexually promiscuous women, Lauryn Hill makes a reference to Jezebel saying that was "the sin that did Jezebel in".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jezebel|
- Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition.
- Elizabeth Knowles, "Jezebel", The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, OUP 2006
- BRUCE M. METZGER and MICHAEL D. COOGAN, "Jezebel", The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible, 1 Jan 2001, accessed 15 Nov 2010
- V. Barzowski, The Merchants and the Kings - Impact of the Mediterranean Trade Routes from the Phoenicians to the Venetians, Chapter 1.
- Byrd, James P. (2002). The Challenges of Roger Williams: Religious Liberty, Violent Persecution, and the Bible. Mercer University Press. ISBN 0-86554-771-8.
- Cook, Stanley Arthur (1911). "Jezebel". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 411.
- The New Testament, Book of Revelation., Ch. 2, vs. 20-23.
- "Meaning #2: "an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman"". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Pilgrim, David. "Jezebel Stereotype". Jim Crow Museum. Ferris State University. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- Asimov, Isaac, "The Caves of Steel", Panther Books Ltd, 1958, 7th reprint 1973, p. 40-41.
- "Study Guide to Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale (1986)". Public.wsu.edu. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- "The Golden Gate Quartet: The Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 4: 1939-1943". Oldies.com. 1996-09-01. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
The Novel 'Skinny Legs and All' by Tom Robbins
- Scholars Debate “Jezebel” Seal Biblical Archaeology Review, 2008