The Jezebel spirit is running rampant in marriages, and maybe there’s a sign on my forehead that says “Advice Columnist” or something. Not that I mind (it’s quite flattering actually), but it seems lately that women come to me in droves either posing this question: “Why do women stay…?” As I listen to different ones’ reasons, which are all valid, the signs all point to the one main culprit. The X factor is FEAR. Men stay too, for the very same reason.
Where does the fear come from? Ponder this: Sometimes we are controlled by others, and we are unaware. According to the biblical accounts of Queen Jezebel and King Ahab, there is a very good explanation for why this may be happening.
(Let me interject here: For clarity, the Biblical Jezebel was indeed, a WOMAN. However, the SPIRIT of Jezebel may manifest itself in a woman or a MAN, according to the book cited below. Now, back to your regularly scheduled reading…)
Jezebel Spirit Explained
puts it all in plain English. Picture this: someone enters your life who will bend over backwards to do anything for you. They may buy you gifts, lunch, watch your children, cook for you, detail your car, or even give you money. Sounds like a real asset right? Maybe. Unless the flip side of all that giving comes with a hefty price. Before you know it, this once angelic person begins to throw it in your face the moment you do not comply with their wishes.
Suppose while engaged in conversation you disagree with them (especially publicly), you’re subjected to the silent treatment for days or weeks on end? What if you find yourself suddenly faced with the threat of all those gifts (some of which you’ve probably become dependent upon) being no longer available to you. If you are inclined to keep going along to get along just to keep the peace, then you may be carrying the biblical “Ahab” spirit. Your friend, spouse, family member, boss or employee, male or female, is probably a Jezebel!
Ladies, I think it’s high-time we all cut Eve a little slack. Yes, she’s partly the blame for the excruciating pain we endure from month to month, as well as the unfathomable labor pains that come with childbirth, but she has much less to do with the perils of modern-day marriages. Jezebel and Ahab are to whom we owe that honor!
Jezebel Destroys Marriages
Now I know what you’re thinking. Queen Jezebel is typically thought to have been a harlot. True. However, her biggest claim to fame was actually her possession of power through manipulation and control. Poor King Ahab played right into her hands. Most men are unaware that the failure to take the spiritual lead in his household is a sin against God.
Notice I said “spiritual” lead. If a man loves God, and loves his wife as Christ loves the church, then he is taking the spiritual lead. However, if a man establishes no spiritual leadership in the home, then the woman naturally assumes leadership duties, and can sometimes make a mess of things (no offense ladies…I am certainly not above reproach here either). A spiritual lead covers the home in Godly armor against spiritual warfare. A worldly lead conversely, opens the door to destruction.
The only way to protect the home is to adhere to Genesis 2:24, which reads, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (women, we need to cleave too).”
Jezebel in the Bible
Here’s the abbreviated story, somewhat. Queen Jezebel worshiped Baal who was the chief male pagan god when the Israelites first came into the promised land. God was already angry about the prevalence of idol worship and witchcraft, and had ordered the prophet Elijah to stand up against them (1 Kings 16: 22-33 NIV). Ahab made matters worse by marrying the already forbidden Jezebel in the first place, and began to serve Baal along with her (v 31)! It was only a matter of time before she began to kill off God’s prophets and replace them with false profits. When the pagan prophets met Elijah at Mount Carmel, an amazing thing happened.
Elijah had set up two altars…one dedicated to Baal and one dedicated to God. When Elijah called upon God to send fire down to consume the sacrifice on his altar, fire came down from heaven immediately and consumed the offering. When the prophets of Baal asked their god to do the same…NOTHING. This infuriated Jezebel and she swore to kill Elijah in revenge. Poor old King Ahab sat idly by and let all of this go on for fear of what would happen to him if he stood up to his wife. Meanwhile, he learned how to manipulate Jezebel to satisfy his own selfish desires (1 Kings 21:1-15 NIV).
You see, there was a vineyard in Jezreel located near the palace of Ahab which belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Ahab said to the man,
“Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange, I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”
Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.”
After Naboth declined to fulfill Ahab’s wishes, he instinctively went to a place where he knew he could get what he wanted…home to Jezebel.
Ahab Uses Jezebel
He laid in bed, assumed the position and sulked. Woe is me. I couldn’t get what I wanted from that mean man. No fair! In verses 5-7, Jezebel came in, asked what was wrong and listened attentively as her husband pouted. “Is this how you act as king over Israel (shot to his manhood)? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite (power-move = I do this for you and now I OWN you).” So, she wrote letters in her husband’s name and ordered that Naboth be stoned to death! He was surely killed, and without a shred of guilt, Ahab went down and claimed the vineyard. Afterwards, Elijah prophesied that Ahab and his descendants would be killed and that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs (1 Kings 21:17-24).
This is a classic codependent relationship. A Jezebel desperately needs an Ahab in order to function, and an Ahab relies on a Jezebel to get what he or she wants. Although she mercilessly controls her Ahab, anyone who upsets him is bound to feel her wrath! Thus, he is rendered powerless. She saves him time after time, and is firmly in control.
The Momma’s Boy
One common product of this type of relationship is the “mama’s boy.” There’s a neat little piece at the Institute of Love that explains it quite nicely. In essence, a mama’s boy has been coddled and enabled by his mother all of his life, which causes him to become very dependent on her. In other relationships, he finds it difficult to fully commit to a woman or God, which would mean that he would have to break the emotional dependency he has on his mother. These mothers maintain control by continuing to support their sons financially, well into adulthood. They uphold him in wrong doing (especially in relationship matters), and threaten to stop supporting him should he ever turn against her. The Institute of Love writes,
“Guys, who are “mama’s boys,” are not able to be godly boyfriends or husbands, because they will need to share their attention and love with their moms. You, as their girlfriend or wife, are going to feel treated secondary, frustrated, and hurt, and nothing is going to change as long as they continue to cater to their mothers.”
Ahab Shares the Blame
Steve Sampson writes in Confronting Jezebel,
“A man who is an Ahab has a distorted concept of his own authority, blames others (mainly his wife), justifies himself, leans on his wife, is a “mama’s boy,” is irresponsible and relinquishes authority over his house. Weak and childish, he pouts, is spoiled and throws temper tantrums….A woman may resemble an Ahab, especially if she is married to a Jezebel man. Fearing a loss of financial security, she may become passive and surrender her authority and dignity in God to a controlling man. Whether male or female, those who have an Ahab spirit refuse to take their rightful place in God’s call.”
“An Ahab-passive wife often is afraid to stand up to or disagree with her husband. So she blames herself for the way things are, telling herself that everything is her fault. Her dominating husband intimidates her with his size and projected male hierarchy. He is spiritually weak and lacks the heart of a servant. He is not a leader, but a dictator. She may capitulate to passivity and stay in the marriage merely out of fear or for financial security.
A woman with Ahab tendencies is sincere and wants strength. Consequently she often will end up following a man who seems sensitive but turns out to be a manipulator. Such a wife feels offended because he does not lead her well nor protect her. Ultimately, she feels unloved. Rather than making healthy and assertive choices such as insisting on counseling, she may gradually lose all her self-esteem and shut down.”
Seriously, Pick Up the Book!
Should you, the Ahab, EVER try to break free from your controller, the Jezebel, there will be WAR. Only God can grant you the courage to minimize the consequences for making the Jezebel in your life angry. Remember, power fuels Jezebel. If you gain the strength to withstand and rebuke manipulation and control, then you take away that person’s power. A Jezebel has a hardened heart that lacks humility. Don’t busy yourself with ideas of ways to change such a person. The only person you can change is YOU!
Back to the story…Three years after Jezebel had Naboth stoned, Ahab died in battle. His son, Ahaziah inherited the throne, but died in an “accident” where he fell from a balcony. Jezebel’s second son, Joram succeeded him. He died too (see where this is going?).
As for Jezebel, she sat high up in her window, looking out one day, fully made up. Elijah’s successor, Elisha had appointed Jehu to be his successor. He was to destroy Ahab’s descendants, thus issuing punishment for the way Jezebel had treated God’s people. Then, he ordered Jezebel’s own servants to throw her out of that very window. They sprinkled her blood on the walls and trampled upon her corpse (pity). Later when the servants went to bury her, they found only her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands. Dogs ate her flesh, just as Elijah had prophesied (2 Kings 9:35-36).
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19 KJV).