Bad Girls of the Bible: Jezebel

Bad Girls of the Bible | Liz Curtis Higgs

There’s no joy in her story.
She was bad, for her own glory.
But the truth I gotta tell:
We can learn from Jezebel.

Woman in Black

Chapter 8: Friends in Low Places
1 Kings 21:1-25 and 2 Kings 9:30-37

We’re cutting to the chase this week. A quick review, and I’m washing my hands of this evil queen. Before we’re done, I think you’ll discover a lesson worth learning.

Her crimes were legion. For starters, Jezebel committed forgery and identify theft: “she wrote letters in Ahab’s name [and] placed his seal on them” (1 Kings 21:8).

Plus, her letters to the elders were filled with false accusations and character assassination: “seat two scoundrels opposite [Naboth] and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king” (1 Kings 21:10).

Then came murder: “take him out and stone him to death” (1 Kings 21:10). Sadly, the nobles in Naboth’s city did exactly what they were told.

Death by Stoning

Naboth was killed, Ahab got the man’s property, and Jezebel once again got her way.

She told her husband, “take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead” (1 Kings 21:15).

Though being heartless and ruthless isn’t a crime in most law books, it’s a sin in God’s Book, which Jezebel had no time for.

Jezebel’s worst crime was her first crime: she worshiped that bad god of the Bible, Baal, just like her daddy, King Ethbaal (1 Kings 16:31). Because of her idolatry, she encouraged her husband, Ahab, to turn his back on God: “There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife” (1 Kings 21:25).

An Evil Queen

We may not be queens of the realm, but we still wield power in our homes, our workplaces, our churches, and our social circles. If we worship the one true God, any strength he provides should be used for the good of others. His name will be glorified, and an entirely different kind of crown will be reserved for us: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

In this week’s Discussion Question from Bad Girls of the Bible, we took a look at some of Queen Jezebel’s good qualities, and how she (unfortunately) used them for Baal’s glory:

1. She had a finely tuned mind, but used it to devise evil schemes.
2. She had boldness and courage, but used those attributes to commit murder.
3. She had strong leadership abilities, but used them to take over the throne.
4. She had an assertive personality, but used it to draw people away from God.
5. She had a royal lineage, but used it to manipulate her subjects.

Now the question: how could those same attributes be used for God’s glory? Here’s my take.

1. A smart woman who loves the Lord could study his Word and teach others. She could become a licensed counselor and help others. She could become a medical doctor and heal others. There’s no limit to what a bright woman could do for God!

2. A bold, courageous sister who has given her heart to the Lord could rescue women from sex traffickers. She could find a way to take the gospel into closed countries. She could speak the truth in high places where others are afraid to do so. Think of all the doors this bold sister could kick open for God!

3. A natural leader who follows God could build a business using biblical principles. She could educate her peers and point them in the right direction. She could create a non-profit organization that helps those in need. A woman in leadership can make a world of difference!

A Natural Leader

4. An assertive personality can be an asset when a woman wants to convince others that God’s way is the right way. Her conviction might give others confidence. Her fearlessness might empower those who tend to be afraid. Her positive straight talk might dispel all the negative self-talk. What a powerful servant an assertive woman can be!

5. A woman born into an influential family can be mightily used of God. When she talks, people are more likely to listen. When she proclaims the truth, others are prone to be persuaded. When she opens her checkbook, others will want to follow suit. When we’re born into power, prestige, or position, we have the opportunity to turn the spotlight on our Savior.

How sad to think that Jezebel might have been a Deborah, an Esther. All the more reason for us to reach out to those strong women who seem least likely to be interested in the things of God. When their hearts are won, look out world!

The World in Her Hands

Now, it’s your turn. If you share any of these strengths, how might you use them to honor and serve God? Is it time to step out of your comfort zone and really go for it, for God’s glory?

I hope you’ll add your voice to the conversation under Post a Comment below. Your sisters and I love hearing from you.

And do take a peek at Jezebel’s woman-in-black Pinterest board. Believe it or not, it’s one of my faves.

Next time we’ll tackle what I consider the most difficult story in Bad Girls of the Bible. Thanks for making our study a part of your busy week!

Your sister, Liz

P.S. If you and your small group are interested, here’s a helpful PDF:
How to Use the Women of Christmas as a Bible Study

The Women of Christmas | Liz Curtis Higgs


27 Responses to Bad Girls of the Bible: Jezebel

  1. Dodie October 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    I just finished The Women of CHRISTmas. How I would like that these books were in Spanish so I could share them with my sisters-in-Christ from Mexico. Gracias amiga.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      I would love that too, Dodie. Translations often come along one or two years after the original publication date, so I’ll pray NEXT Christmas a Spanish publisher might choose to translate The Women of Christmas. So glad you enjoyed it, my sister!

  2. Stephanie October 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Today’s world isn’t much different than ancient times. People are still worshipping false idols – money- prestige – greed – politicians and the like. If everyone would put their faith and trust in The Lord Jesus, the world would be a better place.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      I hear you, Stephanie. The constant prayer of my heart is, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

      • Carol October 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

        I say the same thing, Liz! I’m reading your Christmas publication and doing the Bible study. Loving it! Any time you would be in Michigan or near Michigan?


  3. Carlisle Botha October 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Dearest Liz
    Thank you so much for all your really interesting bible studies
    Much Love

  4. Angel @ Finding The Inspiring October 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    This is a great series Liz, and I love this post. It’s a solemn reminder that we all have a choice in life – to use our gifts for evil or for good. I pray I will make the right choices, always for good, always for Him.

  5. Birdie Cutair October 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Thank you for your comments about jezebel and I, too, say that we should get rid of her. Yes, she did have some good qualities and used them for evil. I found myself identifying with the smart woman who likes to study the Bible and teach others. And, yes, I’m going to use your Women of Christmas as a Bible study with some women starting in a couple of weeks.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      I confess, after years of studying the Bad Girls, it has been refreshing to hang out with three of the Good Girls of the Bible. Hope your study of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna will bear fruit, dear Birdie.

    • Marie October 24, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      you share my dear mom’s name, Birdie. She just recently moved on to Heaven, after a long, good life serving the Lord & others.

  6. Robyn @ a bird in the Father's hand October 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Great points, Lizzie! I find this so true in my life and as I observe others also. I would add a third option. We can use our gifts/strengths for evil (like Jezebel), for good in our own power, or for God’s glory in His unction. Oswald Chambers has much to say about this and also about surrender in the devotional I’m doing this year called “My Utmost for His Highest.” I love it! Thank you for your wise blog-evotions, Liz. You rock, girl!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      A classic in Christian literature, Robyn. Wonderful reading. The only way I want to do ANYTHING is by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. A good word, sister. THANKS.

    • Marie October 24, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      right following the post by Birdie, my dear mom’s name, I see your post, Robyn, my sister’s name! (I’ll take that as a sign from the Lord 🙂 )

  7. Cindy October 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Yes, yes! We are created for such a time as this. We are equipped to take the attributes that Jezebel misused and utilize them to honor and glorify God.

    It is time!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      THANKS for catching that vision, Cindy. Yes, yes, yes.

  8. cathy gross October 24, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    When I/we go to our pastor with a complaint or a need we see in our church or community his response is something like…. so what are you going to do about it? Our insights are part of our gifting and God does not waste His time handing out ideas to someone who can’t answer that calling in His strength.
    You have Lizzie and encourage Believers and non-Believers alike. thank you!

  9. Beth S. October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    Oh, Jezebel! As I read this post today, I thought of the many young women I can influence each and every day in my college classroom. Some are searching for ways to develop their own personal qualities, and if I demonstrate my leadership and wisdom and positive attitude, it may be just what they need to continue to seek their degrees. So many of them are struggling with single motherhood, finances, and positive influences. Being a positive role model and encourager can do nothing but coax them along in the right direction. Thanks for your perspective on these timeless lessons, Liz!

  10. Marie October 24, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Jezebel truly needed a “new name, written down in Glory” ! Her name, and her father’s name, both contained the very idols of the Canaanites, which they were NOT to worship! There is so much in a name, as we learn from the names of OUR GOD!

  11. Susan Gruener October 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    What’s interesting when you are a ‘daughter of the Most High’ we have access to His wisdom (to make us ‘smart). He gives us ‘boldness’ through His Holy Spirit. He can turn a meek, mild woman into a ‘leader’ for Him. And born into a ‘lineage’ – well, guess what? We are the ‘daughters’ of the King! It’s good to be a ‘Princess’!
    Thanks Liz for your great insight, and wisdom as we learn about another ‘bad girl’ of the Bible!

  12. Judy Fairservice October 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    This is what the Lord says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. Jer 2:5-6 that was what Jeremiah had to say to the Israelites, it also applies to all sinners. Jezebel was a classic example. She was brilliant as you said Liz, but worthless. No matter what our gifts and skills what we worship will determine our usefulness in the Lord’s work. He empowers and enhances our abilities as we serve and love Him, as we walk with him day by day we become women of worth. I determined to put Christ first in my life and work when I entered as a student nurse 55 years ago.that commitment has remained with me despite ups and downs. Each day I worship him first, this keeps my eyes on him. Through this we have had many opportunities to speak to others about Christ, and encourage others through Bible Study and personal work. Working for his kingdom is so fulfilling, as is the supreme joy of seeing folk come to Christ and mature in him. Who would want to worship worthless idols and become a worthless woman!

  13. Susan Ireland October 25, 2013 at 12:25 am #

    I can start with my family. I can decide today I am full of Joy and I want to change my family, with more love. Let people see the Joy and they will do this in their own family. Love and more love !! In Jesus name – Amen

  14. Linda H October 25, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    We don’t have to follow in the footsteps of a past just because it is family. I can be who God created me to be and seek to discover those gifts that will give God the glory. I am going to pray that some chains come off that are hindering me in my walk to glorify God. A new beginning awaits me each day!!

  15. amy October 26, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Dear Liz,

    My heart is filled with gratitude for this entire series that you have done. It has been painful as I can identify with each of these women in different ways. It has made the cross of Jesus Christ sweeter and more cherished than ever. I am humbly grateful.

    My heart’s desire is to use what the Lord has created in me for good, but I feel so weak and have no idea how to begin effectively. I get scared and feel completely inadequate. I need the word of God – it is life and breath to me. I long to study, teach and write, but there is fear on so many levels and I don’t know how to do it.

    Yesterday I was reading with my boys. I knew the Lord was stirring things up in my heart and has been for some time now, but your recent post along with others were pressing in. And then I read this:

    Deut. 30:11 For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.

    30:14 But the word (Jesus right) is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so that you can do it.

    Deut. 31:3a The LORD your God himself will go over before you.

    Deut. 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread , for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

    I don’t know what the Lord is doing with my life right now. When I am afraid, I put my trust in HIm. It is my prayer that He will show me and guide me in the next steps.

    I am deeply, deeply grateful for you and the way that the Lord has used your writings to reveal more of His word to me thus giving me more hope in Him.

    With His love,

  16. Julie Sunne October 27, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Finally getting to this study, Liz–so grateful I did. God can use anyone’s life, even the life of someone as evil as Jezebel, for good–teaching and growing us, transforming and convicting us.

  17. Teri Leef November 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    You are truly an inspiration to me. It is amazing of how much He loves us! How He was with us through everything!
    I was also at the “Women of faith conference”.11.13 In Hartford.
    Blessing to you Liz.

  18. Kathy T. November 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Oh my, what a bad girl Jezzie was, we can learn to be the opposite. We can speak goodness and mercy and encourage others. Influence is so big right now and for sure we can teach and mentor women to love The Lord with all their hearts! So important in these times. Thanks Liz for this great. Bible study, sorry I’m behind-but catching up. KT