Meet Jezebel, Evil Queen of Israel

Jezebel, The Heathen Queen. Getty Images

No woman in the Bible is more identified with wickedness and treachery than Jezebel the Queen of Israel, wife of King Ahab, and persecutor of the prophets of God.

Her name, which means "chaste" or "where is the prince?," became so associated with evil that even today women who are deceitful are called a "Jezebel." Her story is told in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings.

Queen Jezebel

  • Known for: Jezebel, an evil queen, was the wife of King Ahab. She persecuted and tried to destroy God’s prophets, established Baal worship throughout Israel, and turned people away from the God who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt.
  • Hometown: Jezebel came from Sidon, a Phoenician seacoast city.
  • Bible References: Queen Jezebel is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Kings 16:31; 18:4, 13; 19:1-2; 21:5-25; 2 Kings 9:7, 10, 22, 30, 37; Revelation 2:20.
  • Occupation: Queen of Israel
  • Spouse: King Ahab
  • Father: Jezebel’s father was Ethbaal, King of Sidon.
  • Children: Two sons, Joram and Ahaziah, and a daughter, Athaliah.

The Story of Queen Jezebel in the Bible

Earlier in Israel's history, King Solomon had entered many alliances with neighboring countries by marrying their princesses. Ahab did not learn from that mistake, which led Solomon into idolatry. Instead, Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon, and she too took him down the path of Baal worship. Baal was the most popular of the Canaanite gods.

At Jezebel's urging, Ahab built an altar and temple to Baal in Samaria and a place of worship for the pagan goddess Asherah. Jezebel plotted to wipe out the prophets of Jehovah, but God raised a mighty prophet to stand against her: Elijah the Tishbite.

The confrontation took place at Mount Carmel, where Elijah called down fire from heaven and slaughtered hundreds of Jezebel's prophets. She, in turn, threatened Elijah's life, causing him to flee to Beersheba.

Meanwhile, Ahab coveted a vineyard owned by an innocent man, Naboth. Jezebel used Ahab's signet ring to issue a royal order that Naboth be stoned for blasphemy. After the murder, Ahab prepared to take the vineyard, but Elijah stopped him. Ahab repented, and Elijah cursed Jezebel, prophesying that she would be killed and dogs would eat her body, not leaving enough to bury.

After Ahab's death, Jezebel continued her evil influence for 10 years in her role as queen-mother, as her sons Ahaziah and then Joram ruled over Israel. Her corrupt influence also spread to the southern kingdom of Judah through her daughter Athaliah, who married Jehoram, king of Judah. Thus, idolatry infected both kingdoms of the Hebrews through this evil queen.

When Elisha anointed Jehu to replace Joram, Jehu became a violent avenger for God to destroy the wickedness in the land. When Jehu entered the city of Jezreel, Jezebel painted her face and eyes and mocked Jehu. He ordered some eunuchs to throw her out a window. She fell to her death, and Jehu's horses trampled over her.

After Jehu had eaten and rested, he ordered men to bury Jezebel's body, but all they found was her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands. Dogs had eaten her, just as Elijah had foretold.

Jezebel - Vengeful Queen of Israel
Jezebel Advises Ahab by James Tissot. SuperStock / Getty Images


Jezebel was smart but used her intelligence for the wrong purposes. She exerted a strong influence over the life of Israel and her husband. Although she possessed great power of persuasion over her husband, she corrupted him, leading both him and herself to downfall.


Jezebel was selfish, deceitful, manipulative, and immoral. She refused to worship the One True God of Israel, leading the entire country astray. Her name became so associated with wickedness that the false prophetess in the church at Thyatira, one of the seven churches of Revelation, was labeled “Jezebel."

Life Lessons

Only God is deserving of our worship, not the modern idols of materialism, wealth, power, or fame. Those who disobey God's commandments for their own greedy desires should expect horrible consequences.

Key Verses

1 Kings 16:30-31
Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. (NIV)

1 Kings 19:2
So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." (NIV)

2 Kings 9:35-37
But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. They went back and told Jehu, who said, "This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh. Jezebel's body will be like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, 'This is Jezebel.'" (NIV)

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "Meet Jezebel, Evil Queen of Israel." Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021, Zavada, Jack. (2021, December 6). Meet Jezebel, Evil Queen of Israel. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "Meet Jezebel, Evil Queen of Israel." Learn Religions. (accessed June 2, 2023).