Monday, August 3, 2015

Jezebel and the Fatal Royal Houses of Israel and Judah

Nadene Goldfoot                The House of David                                                                     

King Solomon (961-920 BCE)

King David (1010-970 BCE)

The Royal House of Israel started with King David and his son, King Solomon who died in 920 BCE .  Solomon died and that was the cue for the southern half of Israel which was was mostly the land of the tribe of Judah, to break away from the rest and claim their independency.  They took Jerusalem as their capital which left Samaria the capital of Israel.

 Next in line for the throne of Israel were the following:
1. Jeroboam (933-912)
2. Nadab (912-911) 
3. Baasha (911-888)
4. Elah (888-887)
5. Zimri (887)
6. Omri (887-876)
7. Ahab (876-853) married Jezebel
8. Ahaziah (853)
9. Jehoram of Israel (853-843) son of Ahab;  and Jehoram, King of Judah (851-844) son of Jehoshaphat
10. Jehu (843-816)
Baal cult worship of Sidon introduced by Jezebel who died in 843 BCE to Israel
King Ahab with Prophet Elijah
Queen Jezebel
Omri was the father of Ahab, the next king.  He married Jezebel, who was the daughter of Ethbaal,  the King of Sidon who introduced Baal worship into Israel.  This was a religion similar to the Greeks in that it was a pantheon of gods and Baal was the head god.  Jezebel had a forceful and vindictive personality.  She had lots of influence over Ahab.  He must have been the first henpecked husband, even though he was a king.  She intended to introduce her native Baal cult into Israel and that was that.  She is depicted in the Bible's I Kings 16:31 and II Kings 9 as a bloodthirsty woman who persecuted the prophets of G-d and unjustly brought about the death of Naboth.
 Naboth was a Jezreelite whose patriarchal vineyard was situated near the palace of King Ahab.  King Ahab wanted a plot of land for his own kitchen garden, and Naboth refused to sell his plot to the royal family.  This made Jezebel angry, who probably was the person who wanted it in the first place, so it was she who engineered his execution as told in 1 Kings 21.  The prophets led by Elijah were the reason Naboth wouldn't sell as he supported Jehu who wiped out the dynasty of Ahab.  Naboth's vineyard has become proverbial.  

                          Jehu Assassinates Royal Family before 843 BCE
Jehu being annointed King of Israel by the prophet Elisha

Jehu ruled after Jehoram from 843 to 816 as king of Israel..   While he was the commander-in-chief for King Jehoram, he had conspired with the army and had the support of Elisha, a prophet and disciple and successor Elijah the famous prophet, so he annihilated the royal family including King Jehoram, and his wife, Queen Ahaziah-mother of Princess Jezebel of Judah and the queen-mother,  and the priests of Baal.  He did away with the evil element in the Royal House, except for Jezebel.
 Jezebel was killed later in the uprising of Jehu.  The name has become proverbial in English, though not in Hebrew.

Sidon was an ancient Syrian coastal city, now in Lebanon.  It was the capital of the Phoenicians who were called Sidonians in the Bible.  Sidon was occupied several times by the Assyrians, was subject to Persia and was captured by Alexander the Great.    It finally lost its independence when under Roman domination, just like Judah had.

 Elijah, the prophet of Israel,  fought against this idol worship.    A fierce struggle took place between the royal house and the many prophets of the day which Elijah headed.

Ben Hadad of Damascus was defeated in a battle which meant that Israel regained several districts of theirs previously captured by him.

Later, Ben Hadad and King Omri of Israel formed an alliance and fought against the Assyrians near Karkar in 853 BCE.

 King Ahab of Israel was killed while fighting Damascus in alliance with King Jehoshaphat of Judah from 874-850 BCE.  Jehoshaphat  was the first king of Judah to make a treaty with the kingdom of Israel.
  In order to strengthen the ties between the 2 kingdoms, he married off his son, Jehoram, a different Jehoram ,   to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab of Israel and Jezebel the Sidonian, which was a fatal decision.   Jehoram ruled Israel from 853 to 843 BCE.  It seemed like a good idea at the time of the Princess of Israel married to the King of Judah.  Jehoram's reign was marked by the revolt of the Edomites and by invasions of Philistines and Arabs who plundered Jerusalem.  He died after a prolonged illness as told in II Kings 8.

Kings of Judah:
4. Jehoshaphat (875-851 )
5. Jehoram (851-844 ) wife-Athaliah
6. Ahaziah 844-843 )
7. Athaliah (843-837)
8. Joash (837-798)
9. Amaziah (798-780
10. Azariah/Uzziah (780-740)
Evil Princess Athaliah, daughter of Evil Queen Jezebel and King Ahab of Israel
However, this Princess Athaliah,  was by blood, only half Jewish.  Her mother, Queen Jezebel,  had never converted, evidently, since she was bringing in Baal worship into the country.  Evidently Elijah was losing the battle of idol worship as he had to fight against the ruling house.

King Jehoram and Queen Athaliah 's son, Ahaziah,  ruled as King of Judah from 844 to 843 BCE, and then he was killed by assassination. It was because in about 853 BCE, he was denounced as an idolater by Elijah as explained in I Kings 22.  He was then succeeded by his brother, Jehoram.  He was a Baal-worshipper like his mother, Athaliah, and then he joined his uncle Jerhoram of Israel in a battle against Hazael of Syria as told in II Kings 8-9.  After Jehoram was wounded, Ahaziah visited him at his place of convalescence in Jezreel where both were killed by Jehu.                    
     Queen Athaliah Assassinates Whole Family-Grandson Saved 

What did Queen Athaliah do?  There was no heir to the throne from Ahaziah.  She exterminated the entire royal family  starting  with her son first,  then the aunt Jehosheba who saved Joash and was wife of  the high priest, Jehoiada,  except for her grandson, Joash, who she couldn't find.  He had been saved by his aunt, Jehosheba.  Athalia then took power and introduced the Baal cult into Judah.  She ruled for 6 years from 843 to 837 BCE, and  then a successful revolt broke out in favor of  her grandson, Joash.  Evil Athaliah was put to death.  Joash was left to carry on the name.  Joash ruled from 837 to 798 BCE as king of Judah.
High priest, Jehoida and Evil Queen Athaliah

Joash or Jehoash was only 1 year old when his grandmother, Athaliah, had all the members of the House of David murdered.  His aunt, Jehosheba, who had rescued him, was the wife of the high priest, Jehoiada, so was a powerful lady.  She kept Joash hidden in the Temple for 6 years.
Then her husband, the high priest, crowned the 6 year old king Joash and had Athaliah put to death, obliterated the Baal cult, and acted as regent until Joash was 21 years old.  Joash continued in the priestly tradition and restored the Temple, but later, fell from his uprightness.  During his reign, Israel was invaded by Hazael of Aram (Syria) who was bought off with a large indemnity or security against harm.  Joash was killed by conspirators. His son, Amaziah was the next king and ruled from 798 to 780 BCE.  He put the murderers of his father, Joash,  to death.  He was victorious over Edom, but only challenged Samaria, was heavily defeated and held prisoner for a time.  He was killed in a palace revolution.  The high priest, Jehoida died at age 130 and was buried in the royal tomb.  His influence brought about the prohibition of the influence of the Baal cult, its sanctuaries destroyed and the Temple in Jerusalem was restored.

I might add that the line of kings of Israel  after Solomon died started with  Jeroboam I, an Ephraimite who had been the superintendent of forced labor during King Solomon's reign but later led a revolt against the burden on subjects of the monarchy, which was suppressed and he fled to Egypt.  When Solomon died, he led a delegation and met at Shechem demanding changes in taxation and forced labor which Solomon had been doing.  It was refused and it was the northern tribes who wanted to be independent from Judah and that's when they anointed Jeroboam King.  5 years later, 60 towns were ravaged by Egypt's invasion.  He set up new shrines at Bethel and Dan with a similar cult but centered around the symbols of golden calves.  This was thought of as a great sin and caused Israel to later sin even more with the Baal cult.

On the other hand, Rehoboam, King of Judah after King Solomon died in 933 BCE, was the son of Solomon by his Ammonite wife, Naamah.  He had refused to change the taxation which is why the kingdom had split with just the tribes of Judah, Simeon and most of Benjamin remaining loyal to the Royal House of David.  It was then that the Temple was plundered by Shishak of Egypt who had taken the opportunity to invade.  Ammon was another Semitic tribe related to the Israelites living in what was Transjordan and their capital is today's Amman.  They had been defeated earlier by Jephthah and King Saul.  They worshipped fertility gods, the chief being Milkom/Milcom or Moloch, the name of the national god of the Ammonites, to whom children were sacrificed by fire. This god was also worshipped by the Phoenicians and Canaanites.

One of the places that Moloch was worshipped was in Tophet, “in the valley of the son of Hinnom, very near Jerusalem, where the image of Moloch (that god of unnatural cruelty, as others were of unnatural uncleanness) was kept, to which some sacrificed their children, burning them in the fire, others dedicated them, making them to pass through the fire (2 Kings 23:10), labouring in the very fire,Habbukah 2:13. It is supposed to have been called Tophet from toph, a drum, because they beat drums at the burning of the children, that their shrieks might not be heard."

Resource: The new Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Jezebel, song by Frankie Laine :

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