Summary: When people are into control, power, prestige, and having it their way, they own ugly souls.
1. Sometimes information is hard to come by:
A little woman called Mount Sinai Hospital. She said, "Mount Sinai Hospital? Hello. Darling, I’d like to talk with the person who gives the information about the patients. But I don’t want to know if the patient is better or doing like expected, or worse, I want all the information from top to bottom, from A to Z."
The voice on the other end of the line said, "Would you hold the line, please, that’s a very unusual request."
Then a very authoritative voice came on and said, "Are you the lady who is calling about one of the patients?"
She said, "Yes, darling! I’d like to know the information about Sarah Finkel, in Room 302."
He said, "Finkel. Finkel. Let me see. Feinberg, Farber--Finkel. Oh yes, Mrs. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, she’s had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, and if she continues this way, her doctor is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o’clock."
The woman said, "That’s wonderful! She’s going home at twelve o’clock! I’m so happy to hear that. That’s wonderful news."
The guy on the other end said, "From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be one of the close family."
She said, "What close family? I’m Sarah Finkel! My doctor don’t tell me nothing!"
(from Harry Leichter’s Large Collection of Clean Jewish Humor)
2. This is sometimes true with Bible characters. Sometimes we really do not get to know them, like Enoch or Moses’ parents, for example.
3. In other instances, we get to know them pretty well. Over the next few weeks, we are going to get to know two important Old Testament women. One was a devil, the other an angel.
4. Next week we will begin our series in Esther, the Queen who used her influence to save hundreds of thousands of lives. But today, we ill look at her antithesis: Jezebel.
According to E.B. Johnston in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “The name Jezebel usually evokes for us an image of a painted woman who is sexually alluring or trying to be, a manipulator of men… The Bible’s condemnations of her, however, concern her role in public religious and political affairs, not her private (im) morality.”
Main idea: When people are into control, power, prestige, and having it their way, they own ugly souls.
I. Jezebel Was into POWER (I Kings 16:31)
1. She MARRIED Ahab for power (16:31-32)
• The marriage was political, as they Syrians were becoming a threat (alliance)
2. She came from a powerful and TREACHEROUS family
• Ethbaal, king of Sidon (Phoenicia), a priest of Baal who assassinate the king and took over
• Unlike the Jews who had a male priesthood, the Phoenicians had priestesses, so Jezebel would have been a priestess of Baal and Baal’s cohort, Astarte
• Astarte was a fertility goddess worshipped through temple prostitution
• But it carried religious overtones: Jezebel brought in her idols, heathen temple, and a staff of Baal worshipping priests and priestesses…
• So this made the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which has already departed from the Torah, more fully pagan
2. She had the true prophets of God EXECUTED (18:4)
3. She promoted HEATHEN religion (18:19)
• Note that they “ate at her table”
Revelation 2:20 reads:
“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.”
4. She even threatened the great prophet ELIJAH (19:1-2)
Elijah had just proven that Yahweh was the true God; the contest between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal…..and their slaughter
II. Jezebel OVERSHADOWED Her Husband
1. She INITIATED the tragedy of Naboth’s vineyard (21:5-15)
2. She INCITED her husband, Ahab, to great evil (21:25)
3. Ahab was no angel: the weak ENSLAVE themselves
4. She died APPROPRIATELY (2 Kings 9:30-37)
III. The Jezebel LEGACY Lives On
1. Women who are the opposite of all that is SPECIAL about womanhood
• Respect for Human Life & Dignity
• Considering others, not just self
• Challenge for modern women: executives but still feminine
a. Alice Matthews, in her wonderful book, “Preaching that Speaks to Women” writes:
“Women tend to define themselves morally in terms of relationships, and they also evaluate themselves morally in terms of their ability to care” (p. 38)
b. One quality I find in Marylu that draws me to her is her compassion for other people and her willingness to help others…it impresses and inspires me….
c. But Jezebel was the opposite…the positive side of her gender was absent
2. Typically, boys need a dad to CIVILIZE them, but men need WOMEN to civilize them! But Jezebels are the exception.