Jesus had this to say about Jezebel:
“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.” Revelation 2:20
Obviously Jezebel was not a person favored by God. The reason why can be guessed from this passage:
|Jezebel means ‘Where is the prince?’ The ‘prince’ is the god Baal. When Baal was in the underworld or Land of the Dead, vegetation on the earth’s surface died (winter in the cycle of the seasons). Baal’s followers chanted ‘Where is the prince?’ as a prayer to encourage the onset of spring and the return of vegetation. Jezebel was unflinchingly loyal to Baal, and went to her death wearing the ritual make-up and headdress of a high priestess of Baal. womeninthebible.net|
Indeed another more esteemed source concurs with this meaning:
|Jezebel means “where is his highness (=Baal)?” (Korpel 2008: 37). Baal was the great Canaanite storm and fertility god. Jezebel’s father Ethbaal, whose name means “with Baal” or “man of Baal,” was king of the Phoenicians (1 Kgs 16:31). The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that Ethbaal was formerly a priest of Ashtoreth, consort of Baal, who usurped the throne and reigned over Tyre and Sidon for 32 years (Contra Apionem i.18.123). biblearchaeology.org|
The meaning of the name Jezebel is disputable though. Here’s another meaning:
From the Hebrew אִיזֶבֶל (‘Izevel) which meant “not exalted”. In the Old Testament this was the name of the evil wife of Ahab, king of Israel. She was eaten by dogs, fulfilling Elijah’s prophecy. behindthename.com
Here’s even another one:
|The girl’s name Jezebel \j(e)-ze-bel\
is pronounced JEZ-a-bel. It is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is “pure, virginal“. Biblical: a queen of Israel condemned by God. It was used in a contradictory way as a term for a “painted lady” or a brazen hussy by Bette Davis in the film “Jezebel”. Source: thinkbabynames.com
So I gather the meaning of pure and virginal, is to be viewed as sarcastic though. What a great name to give to a baby huh? Here are some public comments to the name Jezebel.
Here’s yet another one:
|Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians (1 Ki 16:31). The name Ethbaal means man of Baal (H854 + H1168), and Jezebel means woman of Baal (H802 + H1168).biblelight.net|
Perhaps the meaning that seems to give the most justification to the name Jezebel is given by this interpretation from Francis Frangipane:
|It is noteworthy that the name “Jezebel,” literally translated, means “without cohabitation.” This simply means she refuses “to live together” or “cohabit” with anyone. Jezebel will not dwell with anyone unless she can control and dominate the relationship. When she seems submissive or “servant-like,” it is only for the sake of gaining some strategic advantage. From her heart, she yields to no one. Francis Frangipane|
Steve Sampson agrees with Frangipane’s interpretation.
One thing is for certain though, Jezebel would be the last name I would want give to a newborn baby.
So who was this lady that earned such poignant condemnation from Jesus? For a brief but informative summary on who Jezebel was, read this webpage. The first few paragraphs read:
Jezebel was a princess from the rich coastal city of Sidon, where her father was king. He had usurped the throne, and was a force to be reckoned with. Strong men often have strong, ambitious daughters, and Jezebel proved to be just that.
She married Ahab, son of a famous warrior king of Israel called Omri, who had also usurped the throne, and was one of the great warriors and builders of the ancient world.
Monotheism was still in its infancy, and most people in the ancient world venerated a number of gods. The people of Israel wavered between Jahweh and Baal, and there was mutual hatred between the priests of Jahweh and Baal. Each side was more than happy to murder their opponents. bible-people.info
From another informative site we further read:
|As if to show Ahab and Jezebel who really controls the rain, the Lord God of Israel or the storm god Baal, the Lord’s prophet Elijah tells Ahab, “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (I Kings 17:1).
There follows three years of famine. Elijah, whom Ahab calls “you troubler of Israel,” then tells the king to gather at Mount Carmel all the people of Israel and all of Jezebel’s prophets of Baal. When all are gathered, Elijah conducts a contest between himself and the prophets of Baal, to see which God will answer their calls to send down fire for a burnt offering. “The God that answereth by fire,” Elijah says, “let him be God.” The prophets of Baal entreat their god in vain to send down fire, whereupon Elijah prays to God, and “the fire of the Lord fell.” The people fall down, saying, “The Lord, he is God.” Elijah orders that the prophets of Baal be brought down to the brook Kishon, and there Elijah slays them (1 Kings 18:17-40).
When Jezebel gets word of this slaughter, she sends a messenger with a letter to Elijah expressing her intent to kill him “by this time tomorrow.” This sends Elijah into hiding (I Kings 19:1-3).
Jezebel’s willfulness is further displayed in the matter of Naboth’s vineyard (I Kings 21:1-29). Ahab sulks like a spoiled brat, refusing to eat, when Naboth the Jezreelite won’t sell him his vineyard. Ahab wants the vineyard, which is next door to his palace in Jezreel, for a vegetable garden. Jezebel tells the pouting Ahab, “Do you not govern Israel?” She tells him to eat, for “I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite” (RSV). Jezebel sends orders in Ahab’s name to the elders and nobles of Jezreel to have Naboth tried for blasphemy, based on false witnesses. After Naboth is found guilty and stoned to death, Jezebel tells Ahab to go take possession of the vineyard. Ahab does so, but who should show up but Elijah, who quotes the Lord to the king: “Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?” For this provocation, the Lord tells Ahab through Elijah, “I shall bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity.” “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.” As for Jezebel, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel” (I Kings 21:19-23).
When Ahab, at war with Syria, is mortally wounded in battle while disguised as a common soldier, he is propped up in his chariot till he dies. His blood is then washed from the chariot, and as prophesied the dogs lick it up (I Kings 22:29-38).
Ahab’s (and Jezebel’s?) son Ahaziah becomes king of Israel. He also serves Baal, till a fatal fall through a window lattice gives the throne to his brother Joram (I Kings 22:51-II Kings 1:1-17). Meanwhile Elijah leaves the scene, said to be taken alive to heaven by whirlwind, with his mantle falling literally to Elisha, the new leader of the prophets of God (II Kings 2:1-15).
Elisha sends one of the prophets to anoint Jehu, a commander of the Israelite army, as king of Israel, telling Jehu in the name of the Lord, “Thou shalt smite the house of Ahab, . . . to avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel.” “The dogs shall eat Jezebel” and “there will be none to bury her” (II Kings 9:1-10).
Jehu dutifully conspires against King Joram. He heads by chariot for Jezreel, where Joram is recuperating from a Syrian war wound, and where Ahab’s grandson Ahaziah the king of Judah is visiting him. Joram and Ahaziah ride out in chariots to meet Jehu, who assassinates them both, for the “whoredoms” and “witchcrafts” of Jezebel. Jehu then goes after Jezebel herself in Jezreel (II Kings 9:14-28).
Aware that he’s coming, the queen mother Jezebel paints her face, adorns her head, and looks out at an upper window. (Thus she is pictured, notes Mary Chilton Calloway, as a whore.) Knowing what to expect, and remaining true to her gods to the end, Jezebel shows Jehu bravery and defiance. “Is it peace, you Zimri?” she asks him, as Jehu arrives through the gate below. The question is rhetorical, since Zimri, as she immediately notes, “murdered his master” (see 1 Kings 16:8-12.).
“Who is on my side? Who?” Jehu shouts, and “two or three eunuchs” appear at the window. “Throw her down,” Jehu commands, and they do so. Some of her blood spatters on the wall and on the horses. After trampling Jezebel with the horses, Jehu goes in for a bite to eat. He gives orders too late for “this cursed woman” to be buried, as dogs devour Jezebel’s body, as prophesied, except for the skull, feet, and palms. Now her carcass, Jehu notes, “shall be dung on the face of the field” (II Kings 9:30-37). Source: ronaldecker.com