1 Kings 16:29-34
1 Kings 19:1-8
1 Kings 21:1-16
2 Kings 9:30-37
My heart beats with haste as I hear the news. Joram is dead.
How can he be gone?
Didn’t I already lose the man I called husband for so many years?
Didn’t I already lose my firstborn son?
And now my second – murdered by his own army general. Traitor.
And that same man is coming for me now.
My breathing hastens as my hands grip the edge of the window and my eyes look over the horizon. I know my fate.
I walk over to my mirror and try to steady my shaking hand. I pick up the charcoal pencil that I have used many times over, and like a force of habit, I begin applying a thick line around my eyes.
These eyes have changed much over the years. My eyelid sags a little, so I lift my brow to stretch the skin and apply the makeup. My eyes are surrounded by wrinkles and my eyelashes aren’t quite as thick any more. Oh but these eyes have seen things. These eyes have known things.
With these eyes I saw the beautiful Mediterranean Sea every morning. I would see the boats headed out for trade, and I would watch the reflection of the sun set in the evenings. It was one of those evenings that my father came to tell me that I was to be married to the King of Israel. Sidon needed the support of Israel as Tyre continued to be a threat to our people. I learned something that evening. To my father, I was nothing more than property. And with my eyes, as young and naive as they were, I saw a man who didn’t even know me, let alone love me. His stare was cold and icy and his voice bold and defensive. For the Sidonians, but definitely not for this man, I had agreed.
The next set of eyes I looked into were those of Ahab, as we vowed to be man and wife. Again, a man who neither knew nor loved me. His eyes held nothing.
No bond, no friendship, no love.
I had left my friends and family, my home, and everything I knew to be bound to a man who meant nothing to me. My eyes looked down at my hands and there they stayed until the wedding was over.
Not out of respect, for he hadn’t earned that, and not out of submission, but out of sorrow.
Shouts from the ground below jolt me back to reality. I walk back towards the window to check the horizon again. Nothing, yet. My hand goes to my hair where it catches in a knot, so I walk back to the mirror, pick up my brush, and begin brushing my graying hair. I used to wear my hair in such magnificent braids, but as my hair has changed, so have the styles.
I begin to think back again, to remember.
When I first moved to Israel, I knew nothing and no one.
All I knew was they worshiped one God.
I worshiped many.
One God for every single thing on this earth?
For every emotion, every season, every event?
I still think it is absurd to expect so much from one God.
I had a favorite god, Baal. I grew up worshiping him, and while I never saw much from my prayers, I always felt him. I knew that the only way I could find any sort of love would be if I taught Ahab the power that could come with worshipping the gods of my land and my people. I knew how to use myself to get Ahab’s attention, and to get what I wanted. I would look at him a certain way or not let him summon me in the night for some time, until he finally would give in. It never took long, and it was never very difficult. Shortly after we wed, he built a temple for Baal. Not long after, I convinced him to be rid of the prophets of “God”. As I tried to bring more knowledge of Baal to the Israelites, the prophets of God would stand in my way. I didn’t want to murder them, but I had to do whatever needed to be done. There were too many for prison, and really, death was the only way to shut them up.
My brush slips from my hands and I realize I haven’t been brushing for several minutes.
I supposed I didn’t lead a life of goodness.
But goodness was never offered to me.
If I didn’t demand love, I never would have received it.
But I know now that true love can’t be demanded.
Because I was never really loved, no matter how much I demanded it.
I tried, oh how I tried to make Ahab love me. He had a dream once, to have a vineyard next to our palace. His plan was perfect, for there was already a vineyard right where he wanted it. The only problem? It belonged to an Israelite man named Nabath. Ahab offered Nabath his pick of any other land, if only he would give the vineyard to us, but Nabath refused. What a simpleton!
For some reason, Ahab had so longed for this vineyard that he couldn’t sleep and he couldn’t eat because he was so angry that Nabath wouldn’t relinquish the property. So, I did what any honorable wife would do, I figured out a way for Ahab to get that vineyard, even if it cost Nabath his life. He was stupid anyways, so it wasn’t much of a loss. After a letter to some elders in the city, and a plan to falsely accuse Nabath of blaspheming their God, he was stoned and the vineyard became ours.
I thought that would earn Ahab’s love.
But I know now that true love can’t be earned.
Because I was never really loved, no matter how much I tried to earn it.
I pick up my headpiece, my beautiful crown, and place it on top of my head and I look proudly in the mirror. No matter the hair turning on my head or the wrinkles covering my face, I always look beautiful in this crown.
Beautiful. Something I always strived to be. Ahab saw my beauty, I know from the way he lusted after me. Strangers saw and knew my beauty. And I knew my beauty.
Maybe that’s why I always hated Elijah. He was the one man who would never be swayed by my prowess and influence. He was constantly trying to prove that his God was better than any of mine. I tried to kill him, I tried to be rid of him many times. Instead, he killed 950 of my prophets, he threatened my husband, and he made my gods look like fools.
Isn’t he the fool?
I hear shouts and commotion again and I walk back to the window. I see him now. Jehu. And he sees me. He shouts, “Who is on my side? Who?” I hear eunuchs running up to the window, and before I can even catch my breath, their hands are around my arms, squeezing so incredibly tight. They’re hurting me. I catch my breath in pain. I fight them, but they quickly overpower me. Fear fills me.
What is happening to me? What is going to come of me?
I fall from the window and see the ground getting closer and closer to my face.
I am going to die, never knowing love, never giving love. Not true love.
Jezebel grasped at so many things during her life. She wished for love, sought control, tried to make others happy, but in the end, she held nothing of substance, only shadows. She died alone and lonely, despised and remembered for her wickedness. Her story makes us shiver at our own mortality, but prods us to grapple with the reality of eternity. Is trusting Jesus enough? What happens after death? Big questions deserve real answers and God is big enough to handle our doubts and nagging unknowns. He waits to offer us deep, abundant life, free from shadows and fear. Take time to wrestle out your questions with the Almighty and embrace the fullness He has for you! Want to chat about your questions with one of our GT partners? Send us an email, we’d love to walk with you!
Jezebel was right about one thing, true love can’t be earned.
Which is exactly what makes the love of Jesus so lavish….because it’s offered freely without conditions!
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