Hi, about the time Leanne wrote her post on the Jezebel Spirit, I also was writing a post to follow her soon after. A mite bit later than hoped, here it is…”
a couple of quotes to start the ball rolling…
“Jezebel crushes the will, and especially the will of man to make them passive. Jezebel’s main purpose is to destroy the image of Father God from the earth so that people will not want to reach out to Father God.” -Mariett Louw
“When a woman has a Jezebel Spirit she has first of all been Satanically seduced herself. Lets go back to the garden. The serpent came to Eve. He seduced Eve, then he used Eve to seduce Adam…” Jacob Prasch
The use of slandering women with having or operating under a ‘Jezebel spirit’ has been around for ages. Having been personally a past recipient of this smear campaign that instantly discredits your person and voice in the eyes and ears of others of your immediate church family and further afield, I would like to address what the bible actually says concerning Jezebel. Is there actually any foundation at all for this practice of accusation? You might wonder as indoctrination of this belief is obvious by the vast supply of Jezebel themed sermons and diatribes on YouTube 1 dedicated to the discerning of this supposedly powerful and dangerous demon. With advice as to its manifestation and appearance in individuals, this spirit (more accurately its teaching) appears to cause much anxiety throughout many denominations and sects of Christianity with little differentiation between patriarchal evangelist denominations and the more obvious ‘Christian’cults. There is not a lot of sanity concerning the topic to be found –this is really sad.
It seems, to really buy into this teaching, you need to accept three prominent but biblically flawed human inventions:
- The ‘Headship and Covering theology’ -an assumed male authority teaching, seen as fundamental in many (if not the majority) of Christian denominations –ranging from an unenforced but assumed communal knowledge to being openly enforced in church and home, and again most obvious in patriarchal denominations and cults.
- This idea of women automatically being ‘easily deceived’ (daughter in nature of Eve) as opposed to men… and her ‘natural progression’ (if allowed the freedom and means to do so) of morphing into a deceiver and becoming a tool of Satan to deceive others -knowingly or not.
- The Jezebel Spirit itself – a high ranking feminine demon – odious, greedy, manipulative and dangerously powerful, as being actually real and not just the convenient fear-based figment of someone’s imagination in aiding and maintaining personal entitlement over others -namely women plus the occasional unfortunate male.
Just saying- the obfuscation by scribes/translators concerning key scriptures dealing with women, beginning first and foremost with the Genesis account has obviously not been helpful.
An interesting and insightful quote attributed to Augustine and repeated often by many –
“The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed,
The Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.”
(so true in reference to Messiah), is being used as an authoritative catch-phrase to give weight to the understanding or interpreting the Old Testament in light of the New– the New Testament being the primary filter for our understanding of the old. What happens though, when our perspective is of a Gentile; when it is read with a personal agenda that is not of God – or simply that we have accepted as truth, error taught by others of these scriptures?
…The Old Testament scriptures are inevitably mis-read, and mis-presented, appearing in harmony for what is untrue.
However, the New Testament is a great commentator on the Old, and the Old Testament just as worthy a commentator of the New. They go hand in hand, reflecting the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever. But, in order to authenticate and understand what the New Testament is saying (especially so it seems about women), we must do as the ‘Bereans’, who searched the ‘scriptures’ to see if Paul’s words were actually true. These ‘scriptures’ the Bereans had, of course, were of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and they authenticated for the early Jewish believer the New Testament writings as trustworthy. It is therefore through the lens of the OT that we also will correctly understand the New. So to be clear, our basis for understanding the scriptures about women in the New Testament begins in Genesis – not the other way round.
Another thing worth mentioning is the inconsistent use of basic Hermeneutic rules concerning women in the bible – one in particular – ‘the First Law of Mention’ 2 This is a biggy and obviously opens the door wide for misinterpreting what was originally intended.
So lets start looking at Jezebel who appears in the OT and is mentioned also in the New –keeping in mind what YeHoWaH Elohim has said about the woman’s creation in Genesis – that He designed her as an ezer-kenegedo and identified in her the weakness/sin that contributed to her downfall. Also the Hebrew root meaning for ‘female’ (neqeba 3) gives additional light as to why Jezebel has been traditionally and consistently portrayed in Judaism and Christianity throughout our history.
From here on, I will use ‘Iezebel,’ as the ‘J’ sound was not present in the transliteration or phonetic spelling for both Hebrew and Greek mention of her. Her name as recorded in scripture sounding not unlike the very popular ‘Isabelle’.
The Hebrew איזבל – Iezebel is found 22 times in the old testament – 14 within 1Kings 16:31-21:25 and 7 times within 2 Kings 9:7-37.
It appears no one is 100% certain of the meaning of her name because of it being so unique within the semitic language group (of which Hebrew is a part).
BDB Theological Dictionary suspects Iezebel to be a contraction of the extra-biblical Phoenician name בעלאזבל Baalezebel (‘Baal has exalted’), ‘Baal’ having been removed by pious scribes. As it stands however, the name we are familiar with – Iezebel – by itself has two root meanings within it–the first, of negation and the second root, meaning ‘exalt’ or ‘honor’.
Possibly because the second root is also found in Gen 30:20 as a word play on Zebulun, another possibility has been for it to mean ‘living with a spouse’ (because of its context), BDB therefore suggests the meaning of Iezebel as – unexalted or unhusbanded. 4
Other dictionaries 5 give similar suggestions, including the positive meaning –‘Chaste’ –I imagine, in the sense of being unmarried, therefore ‘a virgin’.
Jumping outside of Christian/Jewish academia, ‘The Naked Archaeologist’ (a TV show) is said to have given the meaning as ‘Virgin of Baal’ – with originally, an extra letter included. After it was removed its meaning changed into ‘Whore of Baal’.
Other suggestions offered on the open forum -‘Behind the Name’ are ‘Joy of Baal’ and ‘shameless.’ 6
I seriously doubt whether Ethbaal, king of the powerful Phonecian city of Sidon, would have given her a name meaning ‘unexalted’ or ‘unhusbanded’, ‘whore of Baal’ or ‘shameless’ …
she was his daughter…
As his name ‘Ethbaal’, means ‘man of Baal’ (–Baal 7 being the principal god of the Phonecians alongside Astarte), ‘Baal has exalted’ or ‘Virgin of Baal’ is a far more believable meaning or description of the Sidonian princess – his daughter.
This possible removal of Baal from her name as suggested by BDB (leaving us with the name Iezebel in the biblical text) is interesting and quite believable as the same has been done to another –namely Yeshua himself. So despised had the person of Yeshua become in Judaism (fueled I imagine by the horrendous anti-semitism of the Gentile Christendom), that He purposely became referred to as Yeshu (found in Shem Tob’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew) This Jewish name for Jesus –Yeshu – is a Talmudic acronym of contempt – ‘Yimach Shmo V’Zichro’…meaning- ‘May his name and memory be blotted out/obliterated’ as they believed him to be a ‘blasphemer and idolator’. (Interesting. Today it remains as the common Israeli Jewish name for Yeshua, however, though most Jewish Israeli’s are unaware of its original meaning and intent, the Ultra-Orthodox Religious sect fully understand and continue to use it in contempt of His person.)
This subtle change of His name, is of course a form of desecration and public misrepresentation of Yeshua’s character/person. This same understanding however, is never considered from the pulpit concerning Iezebel’s name. We have been happy to accept the meaning given of her name as being completely legit and as such, being the honest representation of her character. It is seemingly almost with glee she is described in the most vitriolic terms by teachers professing to uphold the truth, yet in the same breath, admitting to having had read between the lines of biblical text concerning her. As their portrayal of her enlarges –so they add to the Word, inflaming the ears of others, and together, acting in the likeness of a lynch mob, she is unlawfully condemned and executed. Truth has been sabotaged and our diversion, a shameful success.
Let’s be clear –she was not a good woman of Israel. Her national identity was Phonecian from the city of Sidon 8, and as her actions proved, was an excellent ‘Exalter of Baal.’
She was true to her (original) name.
She did not compromise her devotion to the worship of Baal, being clearly evident in 1 and 2 Kings.
And all Israel knew this.
There was no hidden agenda to convert Ahab or manipulate the people of Israel to the worship of Baal, she didn’t need to, because Baal was already established in the hearts of many who’s national identity was supposed to be solely based in the strength and worship of YeHoWaH. Her position as Ahab’s wife, as the acknowledged Queen of Israel, only strengthened and further refined the worship of Baal in Israel’s public sphere – actions I’m sure, completely in keeping with other ‘alliance’ brides given to previous Kings of Israel by foreign royal dignities in securing mutually beneficial trade and relations between their kingdoms.
These royal brides were as ‘wedding rings’ publicly given to signify the uniting in partnership of the two kingdoms. Iezebel was the visual acceptance of the other kingdom and all it stood for, there being no expectation of her, in changing her cultural or religious identity as it would imply insult to the kingdom from which she came, causing injury to any possible trade or relation between the two kingdoms.
It is evident Iezebel was a proud Sidonian woman and understood her power as the Queen of Israel, and that the relationship of the two kingdoms had ensured she, and the god she worshipped, would be given due honour in her new abode, thus she flaunted and encouraged the worship of Baal above YeHoWaH –most likely considering YeHoWaH the weaker of the two deities. Personally caring for the priests of Baal, she tried to silence YeHoWaH’s voice to His people by slaughtering His prophets (1 Kings 18:4). It is no wonder Elijah fell prey to the fear of her – she was out for his blood. Loyal to her somewhat petulant husband Ahab, by means of his position, she unlawfully secured Naboth’s vineyard for her husband to possess. 9
Born in entitlement, she operated in entitlement over others, considering other people’s lives naturally expendable for her (and Ahab’s) advantage.
And in so doing, she proved herself also an excellent helper to her husband’s fleshly interests. If only it was YeHoWaH she had worshipped so devotedly, and sought her husband’s best standing before God! She was a strong ‘ezer-kenegedo’ but of the dark-side. Working against YeHoWaH her creator, she personally encouraged the enlarging of Ahab’s contempt and reviling of YeHoWaH – the God of Israel, his Creator. However by weight of his authority as king, it was Ahab who lead the people of Israel further away from YeHoWaH, strengthening the worship of Baal and other false gods in the land for the sake of foreign trade, thus fully securing Israel’s future exile and demise. So to put the story straight Ahab, as described in 1 Kings 31-32 – more wicked than any of his predecessors, purposely chose Iezebel as his wife and went to serve and worship the Sidonian deity –Baal, erecting an altar in Samaria to this pagan deity.
In the New Testament the Greek Ἰεζάβελ –Iezabel (though translated in our English bibles as Jezebel) and introduced in Revelation 2:20 as ‘that woman’… is fairly universally accepted as corresponding to the character of Iezebel in 1st and 2nd Kings.
So here Iezebel reappears, but now within the context of the church of Thyatira
“But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads My servants to be sexually immoral and to eat food sacrificed to idols. Even though I have given her time to repent of her immorality, she is unwilling. Behold, I will cast her onto a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer great tribulation unless they repent of her deeds. Then I will strike her children dead, and all the churches will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Revelation 2:20-23
If, as most agree, the Iezebel of Revelation is a particular woman, the same in character as the Iezebel of 1 and 2 Kings then we can rest assured, she was a publicly known idolater, allowed into the church by Thyatira’s already idolatrous leadership and given authority by them to teach practices contrary to God’s word.
For the leaders of the church to ‘tolerate’the idolatry implicit in her teaching, reveals their knowing compromise with a false religion/god 10.
Once again she might be considered the physical ‘seal’ of a ‘trade deal’ between 2 kingdoms –in this case the kingdom of Yeshua with that essentially of Satan. Just as in Ahab’s time (7,000 men of Israel had not bowed the knee to Baal), so too, in the church of Thyatira there were those who did not accept her teaching and who had not learned the ‘deep things of Satan’ (v24; 1 Kings 19:18). In death Ahab and Iezebel shared a common demise –that of dogs partially devouring them, and like them those of the church of Thyatira who commit adultery with ‘her’ would also suffer great tribulation unless (again like Ahab) they repented of her deeds.
‘Her children’ – those who ‘held to her teaching’ and learned the ‘deep things of Satan’ would be ‘struck _ dead’ implying the same sudden demise as of the worshippers of Baal by General Jehu after Ahab and Iezebel’s death, that resulted in the complete removal of Baal worship and its representation from the land of Israel at that time.
If she represents (by her brazen endorsing of Baal worship) the symbol of false religion itself, it has therefore been knowingly embraced and endorsed by church leadership and taught to an undiscerning congregation as being admissible before God. That a part of the congregation was immature in their understanding and walk before God is implied as they are referred to as ‘My servants’, and having been ‘mislead,’ indicating the intention of their heart was to serve YeHoWaH though as their actions did otherwise. Their inability to discern that which was not of God, also indicates a wrong structure of hierarchy in the church that left them vulnerable to falling into sin.
The onus of blame or responsibility for their unwittingly sinful actions lies not with the clearly idolatrous woman Jezebel or false religion itself, but with the ‘leadership’ of the Church of Thyatira who authenticated her teaching as being from God, because to ‘tolerate’means to: allow, permit, authorize, sanction, condone, indulge, approve; endure, put up with, submit to, support; accept, swallow, acknowledge, recognise; ignore, turn a blind eye to, wink at…
Because of the Church of Thyatira’s strong coincidences to the account of 1 and 2 Kings there is room to wonder of the ‘trade’ or payoff that warranted (by human reasoning) allowing or legitimising a ‘blasphemer and idolator’ access to the ears and hearts of Yeshua’s servants. Maybe compromise of doctrine and practice for church safety within a socially hostile environment might be felt a reasonable ‘trade’ under the circumstances of the time…we can only but speculate as to what the relationship could or would be.
It is interesting that Satan was clearly identified in the Thyatira account in Revelation as he himself tried with Yeshua, to make a deal in which he promised all the physical kingdoms of this world as a payoff in return for Yeshua’s yielding to him. Isn’t that what he offers us all –the fleeting pleasure or comfort of sin now, that has a pay-back for eternity?
Once again, as in the Garden of Eden, this scripture has been used erroneously to shift blame from leadership (most often male) to women (for the most part) who might question their words … but as said before, God is not fooled. Human stitch-ups are only ever designed for human consumption, totally ineffective concerning God, who unlike us is not deceived.
So in looking at the scriptures and the person of Iezebel herself I find this teaching that is intent on identifying a ‘demonic Jezebel spirit’ manifestation – in any woman -particularly those within the body of Yeshua to be completely ridiculous and false as the problem lies not with the openly pagan Iezebel who should never have been there in the first place, had not those professing to be of Yeshua endorsed her teaching and practice as God approved.
Rather this labeling of today (which is libel) is being used as a means by which to silence and shame dissenting women, diverting attention from one’s own sin and achieving advantage by means of social control over them and others.
Medieval metal masks that pierced or held the tongue 11, physically stopping the voices of women who dared oppose men’s authority, are thankfully now only curiosities in museums of torture. I visited one such place in Toledo Spain in 2016. It is to the church’s shame that these instruments of human degradation and suffering in partnership with civil authorities of the time endorsed it as ‘God approved’ and necessary to keep order. We need also to know our history to be able to recognize that which is of God, and that which is simply, yet again, another display of our sin.
Scold’s Branks may not in use now, but public degrading and shaming of women continues to occur in many churches to silence their voice by label of them having a ‘Jezebel’ spirit.
It is to be clearly understood by their teaching that this ‘demonic spirit’ has the potential to be in every ‘ordinary woman’ and from whom it can never seemingly, ever be effectively removed, but only controlled by submission/subjection of her to men (- for her sake and of course everyone else’s…) What an incredible con! It is laughable but for the injustice and pain it has caused. The very identifying traits of the so-called ‘Jezebel Spirit’ –manipulation and control of others – is better used describing those who have sought to maintain perceived authority over others. We are all capable of manipulation (the bible calls it witchcraft) and acting in a spirit of violence. Name it for what it is – primarily a work of the flesh that perhaps given continued expression may well offer foothold to demonic entry. But lets not be too quick to give credit for our sin to others –the devil included.
The two main portions of scripture used to give ‘weight’ to the ‘Jezebel Spirit’ teaching is from Ephesians 5, as it is primarily about a falsely perceived authority or rather the very much feared usurping of it. 1 Corinthians 11 is also used to maintain a false understanding of hierarchal order concerning men and women. However, these both deserve their own posts to do them justice.
It is as Yeshua said to those who believed His word:
“If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:31-32
Heavenly Father, YeHoWaH Elohim, may Your Spirit of truth continue to remove the lies that bind us and give us wisdom -reminding us of the incredible grace You so lavished upon us as we seek to relate with others in love. Amen.
Information sources and additional thoughts:
1. YouTube Videos:99.9% Of Women have the Spirit of Jezebel And Don’t Know It–from the now deceased ‘Prophet’ Tom Deckard; Understanding Ahab and the Spirit of Jezebel(48min), Christian Women in Ministry(6min) – a couple from Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries
2.The First Law of Mention -the first mention of any fundamental word or institution usually presents the general conception of the subject and its use throughout Scriptures. http://www.messianicassociation.org/ezine07-hermen-rules.htm-Dr David L Cooper
3.The meaning of ‘female’ (neqeba in the Hebrew) comes from the root word naqab meaning – to pierce; to curse. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance gives the meaning of naqab as being: to puncture, lit. (to perforate, with more or less violence) or fig. (to specify, designate, libel* ):- and is translated in English – appoint, blaspheme, bore, curse, express, with holes, name, pierce, strike through. (*bring undeserved discredit on a person by misrepresentation.)
5. (`perhaps intact, chaste; cf. Agnes’ (Gesenius))), Jezebel (modern: Isabel), wife of Ahab (circa ; 1 Kings 16:29), an impious and cruel queen, who protected idolatry and persecuted the prophets (1 Kings 16:31 — 2 Kings 9:30); in Revelation 2:20 equivalent to a second Jezebel, the symbolic name of a woman who pretended to be a prophetess, and who, addicted to antinomianism, claimed for Christians the liberty of eating things sacrificed to idols, Revelation 2:20. -Thayers Greek Lexicon
Of Hebrew origin (‘Iyzebel); Jezabel (i.e. Jezebel), a Tyrian woman (used as a synonym of a termagantor false teacher) — Jezabel. -Strongs Exhaustive Concordance http://biblehub.com/greek/2403.htm
Antinomianism -anti = against; nomian = lawhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomianism
Termagant -In medievalEurope, Termagantwas the name given to a god which Christiansbelieved Muslimsworshipped, represented in the mystery playsas a violent overbearing personage. The word is also used in modern English to mean a violent, overbearing, turbulent, brawling, quarrelsome woman; a virago, shrew, vixen.In the past, the word could be applied to any person or thing personified, not just a woman. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Termagant
7. ‘Baal’ properly Ba’al – meaning lord, master, possessor,(also including husbandas being master/owner) is the honorary title associated most with the storm and fertility god Hadad. It was also used generically for various Levantine deitiesas well as to YeHoWah Himself as is evident in the scriptures – Baaliבַּעְלִי–‘my master’–symbolic name for YeHoWaH; Baalyah בְּעַלְיָה –Yah is master/lord
8. Sidonwas considered the ‘seat’ of Phoenician civilization, it’s production of glass and trade in purple dye made it both rich and famous. It’s area inhabited as early as 4000BC, it remained a very powerful Phoenician city-state in Ahab’s time in the 9thcentury BC. And because of it’s history of power and wealth, Baal being Sidon’s deity of protection was regarded superior to other land or city gods of lesser wealth and power. http://www.ancient.eu/sidon/
9. The words of Constantine’s song to Miss Piggy (though not his character) from Muppets Most Wanted seem very reminiscent of Jezebel regarding Ahab… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XiQm2ATaJI
10. The blurring of identity of ‘Baal’ with ‘YeHoWaH/Yeshua’ and other pagan deities occurred both in Old Testament times as well as in the New, as the common meaning of the titles given for YeHoWah/Yeshua and the false god Hadad are one and the same – the English ‘LORD/Lord’ in Hebrew is ‘Adonai,’ and in the Phoenician language is ‘Baal’. At the time of the writing of Revelation, a Jewish ban on speaking the name of YeHoWaH was very much in action (erroneously) so as not to profane His Name. In this environment ‘Lord’ could be speaking of any deity, as the pagans did the same for their gods. Young believers could unwittingly recieve doctrines of other religions by church endorsed teachers who spoke ‘in the name of the ‘Lord/Adonai/Baal’ – Why do many christians refer to God as “Allah”?; The-Christians-who-call-God-Allah . “The Lord helps those who help themselves”–though accepted by many as a biblical quote – is in reality speaking of Allah (- Arabic title for ‘God’) taken from the Muslim Quran. If YeHoWaH’s name is covered to the ears of His servants, His Name is completely profaned by treating it as unmentionable -just as pagan deities names were never to be mentioned (being as nothing)… Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:7 – essentially doing the opposite of what was required as His name was to be a ‘memorial’ – a ‘continual mention’ by Israel. -Nehemiah Gordon’s Ban on the Divine Name – http://messianicfellowship.50webs.com/ban.html
11. Scold’s Bridle/Brank -a punitive torture device to humiliate and silence female dissentors recorded in use, 1567 Edinborough – 1856 Lancashire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scold%27s_bridle