JEZEBEL (Heb. אִיזֶבֶל, perhaps from זבל, "the exalted one" with the prefix [i;] meaning "Where is the Exalted One / Prince?" (cf. Ichabod, "Where is the Divine Presence?). Another possibility is "The Prince Lives," by assimilation from *ʾš zbl > yzbl > ʾyzbl and the addition of prothetic aleph; see Cogan, 420 ). "Prince" should be connected to an attested epithet of Baal. Jezebel's father's name, Ethbaal, would indicate devotion to Baal going back at least two generations, and presage her own Baalistic enthusiasm. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, wife of *Ahab king of Israel, and mother of *Ahaziah and *Jehoram (Joram), sons and successors of Ahab (note their Yahwistic names). Jezebel was born about the end of the first decade of the ninth century and was killed in the insurrection of Jehu in 841 B.C.E. Her marriage to Ahab, arranged evidently by Ahab himself (I Kings 16:31), sealed a mutually advantageous alliance between Israel and the Tyrian Empire. She instituted the worship of the Tyrian Baal in Israel, and for her sake Ahab built a temple to Baal in Samaria that not only served the court of the queen and the Tyrian merchants, artists, and craftsmen, but deeply influenced the aristocracy of Israel. In the stories
In 1964 Avigad published a seal from the ninth or eighth century B.C.E., which reads yzbl, but it is doubtful whether one can identify this name with the name of the queen.
Peake, in: BJRL, 11 (1927), 296ff.; Albright, in: JPOS, 16 (1936), 17ff.; Avigad, in: IEJ, 14 (1964), 274ff.; Cross, in: BASOR, 184 (1966), 9 n.17; Eissfeldt, in: VT Supplement, 16 (1967), 65ff.; Bright, Hist, index; EM, 1 (1965), 257–8. IN THE AGGADAH: Ginzberg, Legends, 4 (1947), 188–9; 6 (1946), 313; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 60–61. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Rofé, in: VT, 38 (1988), 89–104; M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB; 1988); M. White, in: VT, 44 (1994), 66–76; G. Yee, ABD, 3:848–49; M. Cogan, I Kings (AB; 2000).
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