Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Evil Mother Daughter Duos-Jezebel and her daughter Athaliah


Last week we took a critical look at the lives of two of the lesser known women in the New Testament, evil Herodias and her seductress daughter Salome. This evening we are going to continue our discussion of Evil mother-daughter duos by looking into the Old Testament, back to the 9th century BC, to a pair of really evil women, the witch Jezebel and her murderous daughter Athaliah.

Why do I call Jezebel a witch? Because of the scripture:

2 Kings 9:22 And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?

But, I get ahead of myself … allow me to set the stage by way of a brief biography on the life of Jezebel, while you turn to the book of 2 Kings 9.

Jezebel was born around 900 to 910 BC in what is now Lebanon, daughter to the King of Tyre and Sidon. Her people were deeply steeped in idolatry and wholly committed to the worship of Baal. Jezebel’s later marriage to Ahab marked the very first time a King of Israel had married a heathen princess.

From the very beginning of her reign as Queen of Israel it was evident that she was a representative of all that was evil and disastrous. She was designing, crafty, malicious, revengeful, cruel, unprincipled, and seductive. Jezebel was the first instigator of persecution against the saints of God.

She immediately began ruling her husband and his kingdom to further her own desires by instigating Baal worship and importing 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of asherah from her own country. These false prophets ate at the king’s table and lived in the king’s palace while the prophets of Jehovah were being slaughtered by Jezebel to make way for the new god of Israel.

Jezebel insisted her husband, King Ahab, join in Baal worship, which he did, and thus idol worship was established as the nation’s religion. Ahab even built special places for Baal worship and supported it wholeheartedly.
This eventually angered God to the place where He acted to get King Ahab’s attention. God had the prophet Elijah call for a drought, the shutting up of heaven, over the land of Israel for the space of 3 ½ years. At the end of this time Elijah had the big showdown with Jezebel’s prophets on Mount Carmel overlooking the Jezreel Valley. In the end Elijah called fire down from heaven, proved that Jehovah was the one and only true God and then he slew 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the groves which ate at Jezebel’s table.

1 Kings 18:19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

1 Kings 19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

1 Kings 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.

Elijah then sent Ahab back to Jezreel to get ready for the rain. Upon arriving Ahab told Jezebel what Elijah had done in killing her prophets. She was infuriated and sent a messenger to threaten the life of Elijah.

This woman was not afraid of either Elijah or God. Nothing was going to make here change who or what she was. After all, didn’t God know who she thought she was? At any rate, Elijah believed her threats and ran for his life to the desert.

Sometime after she had successfully ran Elijah off and into hiding in a desert cave, Jezebel found that her meal ticket, husband Ahab, was depressed. She was a bit angry to hear that he had stopped eating because he was denied a vineyard he fancied by the property owner, one Naboth the Jezreelite.

1 Kings 21:5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?

1 Kings 21:7 And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

Jezebel made a critical and cutting remark to Ahab about his lack of leadership ability and told him to get over it, she would get the vineyard for him. And that she did … she convinced others to set a trap for Naboth, hired unscrupulous men to tell lies about him, and had him stoned to death along with his sons. Then, with Naboth dead and no heirs to the vineyard, she told King Ahab to seize it for his own, which he immediately did.

1 Kings 21:15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.

Immediately after this God spoke to Elijah to carry the Word of the Lord to Ahab. Elijah met Ahab in the vineyard which Jezebel had taken for him from Naboth. Elijah told Ahab what was to come to pass upon him, his sons, and his wife Jezebel.

1 Kings 21
19 … Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.

23 And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.

Even though Ahab counted Elijah as an enemy, he nonetheless recognized him as a man of God, and when he heard this he humbled himself and repented in sackcloth with fastings.

This moved God, as humility and repentance always does, and he put off the judgment until after Ahab’s days upon the earth. Man, God is such a good God – even to those who have done evil in His sight – and God will hear the prayers of the repentant heart. However, Jezebel was not repentant!

Why do you think Ahab got onto God’s bad side in the first place?

1 Kings 21:25 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

It was that woman Jezebel – she kept Ahab her husband stirred up all the time. She was a master of seduction and getting men to do whatever she wanted. It was nothing less than witchcraft … mesmerizing powers of charm and beauty – enticements to which she was wholly given which she used to bring men to their knees as puppets under her control.

Later on in her life’s story, her husband, King Ahab, was killed by an arrow…

1 Kings 22
37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.

… which was shot into the air by a Syrian soldier. Interesting enough, just as dogs had licked the blood of Naboth who had been stoned, dogs also licked the blood of King Ahab according to the words of the prophet Elijah.

After Ahab’s death, Jezebel’s son, Ahaziah reigned in his father’s place for 2 years following the ways of Baal and his mother. Then Ahaziah died according to the word of Elijah and Jezebel’s next son, Jehoram, also known as Joram, began his evil reign about the time Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind marking the beginning of the prophetic ministry of Elisha.

Twelve years later, in about 841BC, God raised up a man named Jehu to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy which had been spoken over Jezebel and the house of Ahab.

2 Kings 9:7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.

Jehu first went to find King Joram, son of Ahab and Jezebel. He met him in the vineyard of Naboth and there Joram was slain. Jehu threw the dead king’s body into the bushes in the vineyard to be eaten by the wild dogs and fowls of the air.

Jehu then turned his attention towards the city of Jezreel where Jezebel lived. She was now most likely in her mid 60’s or so and still a seductress who worked her witchcraft on all who came within her luring reach. However, Jehu was anointed by the Lord and on a mission from God. Her charms would have no affect on him.

As Jehu entered the gates of the city Jezebel painted her eyes and fixed her hair … well, let’s read it --- turn with me to 2 Kings 9. I have filmed two or three television programs from the ruins of the city of Jezreel overlooking the Jezreel Valley. It is such a beautiful place situated in front of Mount Gilboa and across the valley from the cities of Shunem and Endor, not too far from Naboth’s vineyard.

2 Kings 9
30 ¶ And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
31 And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?
32 And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.
33 And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot.
34 And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter.
35 And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.
36 Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:
37 And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.

Did I tell you … or have you figured it out yet? Jezebel was an evil and a wicked woman. So evil and wicked that her name has continued to be associated with all the ungodly characteristics which may be found in a woman who is controlling, demanding, revengeful, designing, crafty, malicious, cruel, unprincipled, and seductive, bent only on fulfilling her own selfish lusts and insatiable ambitions without care for the costs.

Before we leave Jezebel, let’s hear the last word from the bible. It comes from the letter Jesus gave through John to the church in Thyatira.

Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

“which calls herself a prophetess” – self ordination; personal claim to the office and the influence of one who stands in the place of God. But, she is prophetess only to Baal, a false god, one fashioned into man’s idea of god.

“to teach and seduce” – to teach by seduction;
• to seduce Christians to stray from the Lordship of Christ.
• To mingle with, interact with and take on practices of worshippers of false gods

Once again … the element of control. Women who have to be right, have to rule the men in their lives and always stir up the men in their lives without respect for their God given leadership roles may be influenced by what the bible calls, “that woman Jezebel”.


Ahab had 70 sons and an untold number of daughters. However, with Jezebel we know of two sons and one daughter. The first son, Ahaziah took the throne of Ahab and reigned two years in Samaria over the northern ten tribes called Israel. After those 2 years Ahaziah died and Joram, the second son of Ahab and Jezebel reigned for 12 years until he was killed by Jehu.

Ahab and Jezebel also had a daughter named Athaliah. In the scriptures Athaliah is sometimes referred to as the daughter of Omri, Ahab’s father, to which she was granddaughter but common to that day’s writings, could also be called daughter of Omri since the bloodline was established. However, there is no doubt Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.

Raised at her evil mother’s feet in the palace of Jezebel, taught by the prophets of Baal and the groves, Athaliah turned out to be a wicked and evil woman.

The children of God were at that time divided into two kingdoms, the northern ten tribes called Israel and the southern tribe of Judah which had its capital in Jerusalem. Jezebel was Queen over the northern kingdom of Israel but it was seemingly not big enough for her. She wanted more …

So, at some point she managed to have her husband befriend King Jehoshaphat who came to Ahab’s palace in Samaria. During the friendship Jezebel arrange a marriage between King Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, and her daughter, Athaliah. When Jehoshaphat died, Athaliah became Queen of Judah. At that time her brother, Joram, was King of Israel.

Jezebel no doubt thought she had arrived with one son King of the northern 10 tribes of Israel and her daughter Queen of the southern kingdom of Judah … this went on for 9 years. However, Queen Athaliah was out, not for what mama wanted, but for her own exaltation.

Jehoram and Athaliah reigned in Judah for 8 years before his death at which time their son, Ahaziah, the only one not taken away captive by invaders, became King of Israel. Misguided by his evil mother, Ahaziah reigned only one year before being mortally wounded in battle while allied with his uncle, King Joram of Israel. Before leaving Jerusalem King Ahaziah put his mother Athaliah in charge.

After Ahaziah’s death, now Queen Athaliah took the throne for herself and began her reign of terror for 7 years.

2 Chronicles 22:10 But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.

2 Chronicles 22:11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.

Did you follow that? Jehoshabeath was the daughter of the King of Judah, Jehoram, and sister to Ahaziah, who was son of Athaliah. This perhaps makes Jehoshabeath the daughter of Athaliah, certainly aunt of Joash, the young boy heir to the throne of Judah.

What made this woman go against her evil mother or at least her father’s number one wife and only wife left in the kingdom? No doubt it was how she had been affected and influenced by living with the High Priest, who was her husband, Jehoiada. Living in the House of God and being married to a godly man makes a difference and changes a life. This marriage to a man of God broke the generational curse and household influence of Jezebel. And, your wickedness can stop at the house of God as well!

2 Chronicles 22:12 And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

When Joash was 7 years old Jehoiada the Priest brought him forth from hiding and showed him to some of the elders of the city who swore to protect him as the only rightful heir to the throne of David. They set a day and arranged guards who stood watch over the coronation of King Joash.

Athaliah heard the noise …

2 Chronicles 23:12 Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the LORD:

The temple guards kept Athaliah’s army outside and captured her while she cried treason. When all had been discovered Athaliah was taken out of the temple and killed.

2 Chronicles 23:21 And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword.

2 Chronicles 24
1 ¶ Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Zibiah of Beersheba.
2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.

He was of the same blood but not of the same house. Joash was raised in the House of God instead of the house of Baal or Jezebel. Believe me, it makes a difference.

The Joash Box
2 Chronicles 24
7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim.
8 And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD.