Shady Ladies of the Bible: Jezebel

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Thank you to our amazing kitchen staff and to all of you that brought food in for our BBQ this past Sunday. The food was wonderful and the fellowship, as always, was exceptional. We are so blessed with this team that provides a meal for us each week. If you are not part of the team and would like to help, extra hands are always welcome! If you love to cook and want to add to the menu on a Sunday, you don’t have to wait for Potluck Sunday – an extra dish is always received with open arms and hearts!

There will be one more week of the Shady Lady of the Bible series. This coming Sunday, we will be talking about Shady Wives of the Bible. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take the lessons from this week’s biblical character: Jezebel.

Jezebel is a foreigner from Phoenicia and marries King Ahab, the king of Israel. She is beautiful, comes from nobility, enjoyed a life of luxury and was from a cosmopolitan, populous and extremely diverse area. The area where King Ahab lived was very conservative, and she was to be their queen.

Jezebel was very unpopular with the people of Israel as she worshiped an idolatrous deity named Baal. They wanted her to conform and worship the “One God,” Yahweh. Not only did she worship Baal, but she converted King Ahab to do so also.

She does a lot of wicked things as the Queen and ends up losing her life in the end. There is a lot to unpack in this story. You can read her story in 1st and 2nd Kings.

When Jezebel enters the scene in the 9th Century B.C.E., she provides a perfect opportunity for the Bible writer to teach a moral lesson about the evil outcomes of idolatry, for she is a foreign idol worshiper who seems to be the power behind her husband. From the Deuteronomist’s viewpoint, Jezebel embodies everything that must be eliminated from Israel so that the purity of the cult of Yahweh will not be further contaminated.

Jezebel’s name has been used for thousands of years to describe cunning, ruthless and reprehensible women; however, there are others who believe that Jezebel was one of the first suffragists and that it’s time to change that definition to: a strong, courageous, loyal woman who stands up for what she believes in, no matter the cost.

Jezebel is an outspoken woman in a time when females have little status and few rights; a foreigner in a xenophobic land; an idol worshiper in a place with a Yahweh-based, state-sponsored religion; a murderer and meddler in political affairs in a nation of strong patriarchs; a traitor in a country where no ruler is above the law; and all of this in the territory where the Ten Commandments originate.

Listen to the complete message from the 10 a.m. service (audio only) or watch the message from the 8 a.m. service above.

This coming Sunday we welcome back Julie Thompson during the 10 a.m. service.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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