The following is a portion of I 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.
8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
9 And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.
Jezebel’s techniques at handling the male ego is amazing.
Ahab refuses to eat food and his Queen, Jezebel is concerned. Asks him as to what is distressing him, the King of Israel is neither wicked enough to dispossess Naboth of his vineyard nor is he good enough to relent his pursuit of wanting to possess the vineyard. Caught between his covetousness and incapacity, like a disgruntled kid, refuses to eat food and makes a mighty show of it.
Jezebel steps in.
She smothers that wee little manhood still left in him by asking him in a reprimanding tone:
Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry:
The King of Israel with ten tribes under his rule, must have been bewildered and Jezebel instinctively follows it up with the solution thus:
I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
That the King of Israel, who ought to be upholding the Rule of Law, sheepishly hands over the symbols of his power and authority to a woman who promises to take through cunning and violence the heritage of his subject and hand it over to the King!
What a plight of a King, who did not know the nature of his office. The same King on the advice of his courtiers or even the same Jezebel had, in the previous chapter of the same book of the Bible had sent word to Benhadad, the Syrian King thus: Let not him who puts on his armour talk like one who is putting off his armour!
The weakness of Ahab is to be contrasted with David’s reply to Michal when she reprimanded David for dancing in the presence of the Ark of God. I Samuel 6 runs as follows:
20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!
21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.
22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
I know not whether David danced naked or in the exuberance of his dance he was seen undressed as is reported:
Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD;
In any case, that was not palatable to the Princess Michal. So the Princess admonishingly chides David and see the response from the MAN. David refuses to be ‘cowed’ down and rebuts the princess and defends his action.
Ahab, though a King, behaved like a spoilt kid and went running to the mothering Queen, little realising that it was his own power which was deployed by Jezebel to procure for him Naboth’s vineyard. Worse part was that the sin which accrued out of that act of getting Naboth killed was billed to his account also!
But the beauty of all these virulent Queens who use their men’s resources and power meet their Jehus also.
Jezebel threatens Jehu thus: HAD ZIMRI PEACE? (Refer my earlier blogs on this topic)
Jehu was made of sterner stuff, he just orders the eunuchs from her own harem to throw her down and his orders were complied!
Jezebel’s end though pathetic, is fittingly cathartic.
The Bible says:
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.
Ahab allowed himself to be stirred up and Jezebel was the best in this business. There was none like her in the Bible, even her relative Athaliah is not a patch on her. Elijah blurted out and ran away, but Jehu, kept all these things in his heart and after his anointment wreaks retribution on the whole bunch of the Omriites.