Who was Jezebel?
There are two Jezebels in the Bible. The first one is found in the Old Testament, and the second one is found in the New Testament.
Jezebel – Old Testament
The first time the name Jezebel occurs in the Bible is when she is getting married to King Ahab in 1 Kings 16:31,
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him. And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. 1 Kings 16:30-31 (NASB)
She was an evil woman who killed many prophets of God while feeding and caring for the prophets of two gods called Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18:1-19). In 1 Kings 18:20-46 Ahab, Elijah and 450 prophets of Baal gather to see, “Who is God?” Elijah puts it simply,
How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. 1 Kings 18:21 (NASB)
What followed was a one-sided contest. The followers of Baal prepared a sacrifice but Baal never sent fire to consume the sacrifice even though the 450 prophets called to Baal all day pleading, “O Baal, answer us.” Then they even cut themselves with swords and lances and still Baal did not answer. Baal never responded. Finally, Elijah poured water on his sacrifice three times. After Elijah prayed, God sent fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Elijah killed the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40). Therefore, Jezebel sought to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-2).
In 1 Kings 21:5-25 Jezebel had Naboth the Jezreelite killed so that her husband could own Naboth’s vineyard. What a wicked woman! Eventually, Jezebel was trampled to death by horses (2 Kings 9:30-37). Then dogs ate her flesh, leaving only her skull and the palms of her hands. What a horrible way to die. Jezebel was a wicked, evil, adulterous woman who was fighting against God.
Jezebel – New Testament
The name Jezebel is used for a woman once again in Revelation 2:18-29. Here, Jezebel is described as a prophetess, a false teacher, an immoral woman and idol worshipper. She attended a church at Thyatira. She encouraged those who attended the church to engage in sexual sin and worship other gods.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Rev. 2:20-21 (NASB)
She was like the Jezebel in the Old Testament. They share many of the same characteristics. God warned this Jezebel that He would punish her if she did not stop teaching this evil and repent. God not only warned Jezebel the teacher, He also warned her followers to stop and repent (Rev. 2:22-23).
And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. Rev. 2:23 (NASB)
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a sharp contrast to Jezebel. She was a woman who committed herself to God and followed Him. Notice Mary’s attitude of willing submission to God when she agreed to become the mother of Jesus,
And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 (NAS95S)
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave.” Luke 1:46-48 (NASB)
What a wonderful woman! What a contrast. This is the kind of woman God desires, one who is humble, God honoring and God glorifying.
Suggested Links:False Teachers and Their Followers
Searching For God