In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Jezebel

  • Introduction
  • Commentaries
  • Monographs
  • History of Israel
  • Phoenician History
  • Feminist Approaches
  • Jezebel as Sexualized and Foreign
  • Womanist Approaches
  • Studies Focusing on Elijah
  • Jezebel and the Ancient Near East

Biblical Studies Jezebel
Tammi J. Schneider
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 March 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0299


The stories about and references to Jezebel are found in 1 Kings 16:24–33, 18:4, 19:1–2, 21:1–29, and 2 Kings 9:1–37. Jezebel is introduced as a foreign Phoenician queen, brings the cults of Baal and Asherah with her to Israel, is referred to as killing the prophets of the Israelite deity, has altercations with the prophet Elijah, is responsible for the death of Naboth, and fixes her makeup before being brutally murdered by Jehu. In the New Testament book of Revelation 2:20, she is symbolically associated with false prophecy. As a result, her name throughout much of history is synonymous with an evil woman, especially a foreign one. Thus, modern biblical scholarship must grapple with the legacy of following the biblical author’s theological notion that she is the root cause for much evil in northern Israel and symbolizes the danger of foreign women versus feminist-inflected treatments that contextualize, critique, and respond to the portrayal of Jezebel, especially as her portrayal impacts women today.


Dictionary articles provide good overviews, especially since there is limited material addressing Jezebel directly. Jezebel is included in many biblical dictionaries, but because little had been written specifically on women in the Bible in general, there is a genre of dictionaries focused primarily on women. The point of separating them as two different categories here highlights how the treatment of women in the biblical text is both part of the general genre of biblical dictionaries and its own genre.

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