History vs Myth: The Jezebel Spirit

Jarrel Oliveira
20 min readJan 5, 2024

Why Jezebel?

There is a superstitious malignancy evident in the Christian church that catapults ministers from varied denominations when they denominate and then cast out unclean spirits from seemingly unsuspecting people. It is common, the further down the rabbit hole of Pentecostalism you go, to find some of the more egregious doctrinal errors filmed and shared online. The casting out of demons for clicks and shares is one of them and today I want to challenge a particularly well-known form of this error, that, at face value makes sense to adherents of a church ministry when they hear it uttered but one that makes zero biblical sense if we’re to follow the Bible within a healthy and wholesome context.

I want to discuss what we know about Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, ruler of Northern Israel circa 871–852 BC. And then I want to compare that history with the mythology or rather demonology invented around this truly heinous historical figure, Jezebel.

What Do We Know About Jezebel?

Well, for one, we know that Jezebel was a Sidonian princess, the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon. Sidon is long gone and today its rubble exists under the nation of Lebanon. Ancient Sidonians bordered Northern Israel and shared a mixed relationship with their southern neighbors, often leading to deadly skirmishes between the two struggling nations. Israel was no longer the beloved nation of Solomon where princesses and princes world over stopped by to visit and fraternize with the wise king. Now, the nation was split into two kingdoms, northern Israel and southern Judah. Samaria was the capital of Israel and Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah. Both Hebrew peoples warred for military and spiritual hegemony in the region. Judahites believed the Israelites were pagan for setting Samaria as their preferred place of worship since Jerusalem was the only city in all of Israel proper that held a physical temple wherein to worship God, the ark of covenant present inside, daily and yearly sacrifices and worship offerings made inside by Levitical priests. Samaria was then considered an unsanctioned worship site by the religious leadership of Jerusalem. The Jews would go on to hate the Samaritans for centuries because of this, among other issues.

Samaritan leaders were unfazed by such threats because many of them were comfortable mixing Jewish religious practices with pagan ones, many of which spread from Sidon.

Jezebel married King Ahab, perhaps out of political reasons more than for love or want. She brought with her from Sidon the religious practices and norms of Baal worship. Baal was a Canaanite and Phoenician god of fertility. Later, however, he became known also as the storm god. A region heavily reliant on well-populated kingdoms for protection and wholesome crops for their sustenance created for themselves gods that would assist in their repopulation and harvest seasons. Whenever women got pregnant, brought their children to the world and the child survived the numerous challenges of a pre-modern medicine world, Baal was to thank. Whenever crops received water and that water nourished the same crops, bringing about a wholesome harvest, Baal was to thank. And of course, when women miscarried their babies, when babies died suddenly after birth, or when crops burned in random brush fires or to armies of flying locusts, well, Baal was angry and he needed a sacrifice made in his name to appease his wrath. Food was offered, at times. Other times, human sacrifice was the only way to appease an angry Baal. Although there seldom exists evidence of human sacrifice in this region, it is not out of the question to accept the religious texts that exist describing scattered incidents of the macabre practice.

It is this religion that Jezebel pushed through the kingly courts of Samaria with Ahab’s permission. He was so receptive to the idea that he, too, began to worship Baal, abandoning the accepted worship practices of Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David.

31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, he took as his wife Jezebel the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made a sacred pole. [Asherah] Ahab did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than had all the kings of Israel who were before him.” 1 Kings 16:31–33

So this is our first encounter with Queen Jezebel. She reigns from a nation with no history of following the God of Israel and she enters the Israelite scene with a bang. She wants her husband, a willing participant, to worship her god of fertility and storm, and she wants everyone else in this struggling Northern Israel kingdom to worship Baal with her. The duo impacted their subjects with what we now call forced or coerced religious worship of a god not many of them wanted to follow. They began to remove symbols, scrolls, passages, and practices that honored the God of Abraham, Yahweh, and replace those with that of Baal.

Jezebel Was An Evil Person

In another passage, we find Jezebel planning the murder of a man so that her husband could take possession of his land. King Ahab visited a man named Naboth the Jezreelite and asked that he sell the king his lands so that he might have a vegetable garden. Mind you now, this is the king, already the owner of a massive body of land asking another man that give up his land. Gracefully, however, Ahab tells Naboth that he will gladly pay him what his land is worth but Naboth refuses. He states that he cannot part ways with the land that is his by right, through inheritance. A sacred Israelite observance. Taking one another’s land in the Holy Land was as sacrilegious as blasphemy against Yahweh. King Ahab went home embittered and broken, unable to convince the man to sell him the land. King Ahab refused to drink and eat and then lay in his kingly bed, turned his face away, and wept bitterly.

Jezebel happens upon her King and discovers why he is upset. Upon hearing the details of the matter she writes up a letter in the King’s name and sends it to the men of Jezreel asking that they conspire against him by assembling the town, paying two men to speak against Naboth, claiming that he has blasphemed the name a Yahweh (a crime punishable by death) and also denounced King Ahab (also a crime punishable by death). Of course, none of this is true, but who would doubt a letter supposedly written and sealed by King Ahab?

The town of Jezreel follows through, they conspire against an innocent man, and he is dragged outside of town and stoned to death. His land now belongs to the King of the land, Ahab. Jezebel hears of the news and rushes to restore her husband’s spirits by explaining the serendipitous news. Naboth is dead, Ahab gets his vegetable field, and Jezebel laughs at her successful Machiavellian plot.

Killer of Prophets

It is known that Jezebel demanded the death of Israelite prophets who denounced her Baal worship. She killed them by the hundreds since Baal worship was a religious requirement in her and Ahab’s kingdom.

In one particular situation, she and King Ahab accepted prophet Elijah’s offer to have a feud about whose God was the bigger and better God. The challenge was to set up an altar made of stone at the top of Mount Carmel. The altar would be filled with water and meat offerings and whoever convinced their god to send fire down from heaven to consume of the water and offering from the altar attained bragging rights in all of Canaan. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel accepted the offer, understanding that the god they worshiped, Baal, was the god of the storm they seemed confident of their expedient victory of Elijah and his god Yahweh. This was an easy task and challenge for their deity. They sent some four-hundred and fifty priests and prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel to summon the storm gods’ wrath upon the water and offering on the altar.

Prophet Elijah allowed the Baal prophets to go first. They did. They yelled and prayed all morning, afternoon, and evening for the storm god to send fire down but none came. Elijah mocked them, stating that perhaps, they should yell louder because Baal was asleep. These prophets were so exasperated by the silence from the heavens that they began to cut themselves with swords and lances, bleeding all over the place, begging Baal to answer.

He never did.

Elijah asked other spectators to pour more water on the altar and then prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

Within moments God sent fire down from the sky to burn the water and offerings that were on the altar.

Shortly after this, Elijah demanded the shocked crowd to round up the four-hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and kill them all. They did just that.

This enraged Jezebel so much that she, a murderer of prophets herself, would not rest until someone brought her Elijah’s head. She wanted him dead by the next day.

Jezebel’s Demise

Villains in ancient writings always earn some of the most gruesome deaths. Elisha, the successor of prophet Elijah, anoints a new king in Israel, Jehu. This Jehu starts a violent campaign to transform the decrepit and spiritually bankrupt Northern Israel from a nation of violent human-sacrificing priests and priestesses to a nation that worships Yahweh again. Jehu enters Samaria in search of anyone still in favor of Ahab and his queen Jezebel and finds very few still loyal to the evil monarchs. I’ll allow scripture to detail what happens next.

30 When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window. 31 As Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?” 32 He looked up to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down; some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, which trampled on her. 34 Then he went in and ate and drank; he said, “See to that cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36 When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite: In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; 37 the corpse of Jezebel shall be like dung on the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, ‘This is Jezebel.’ “ 2 Kings 9:30–37

Such an odd albeit consequential death for Queen Jezebel. She became fertilizer for the field wherein she demanded Naboth’s death. They murdered an innocent man to attain his fields only to become the fertilizer for the crops growing in them.


Jezebel Is Dead So Why Are We Still Talking About Her?

The physical, embodied human being known as Queen Jezebel dies after being thrown from a balcony, crashing, probably head first onto the ground in front of newly anointed King Jehu. The Israelites go on to celebrate her death and before they’re able to bury her body the animals that wandered the kingdom had their fill of her flesh, leaving behind a few appendages and a chewed-up skull. I wouldn’t be surprised if they intentionally left her corpse out there for an extended period to be desecrated by wild animals on purpose.

The architect of Baal worship, of spiritual prostitution, the murderous Queen of North Israel, Jezebel, was finally dead.

So why are we still talking about her? Shouldn’t we move on to other, more nefarious individuals in the biblical canon? The answer is resolutely yes but we see her name pop up again in the very last book of canon, Revelation.

If you recall, Jesus’ favorite disciple, apostle John outlives the other eleven disciples. The group was dispersed throughout the Roman world to spread the gospel of Jesus and were all brutally murdered by the people they set out to win for Jesus. They were all persecuted and killed, either by the state in a state-sanctioned execution or by enraged mobs who challenged and then denounced the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even apostle John found himself in hot water, literally. Some historians believe he was arrested by the Romans and placed in a cauldron to become human soup for their entertainment. When the boiling water failed to faze or harm John they opted instead to exile the strange man onto the Island of Patmos. It is on this island, under arrest and exile, that John receives a series of cryptic, futurist, idealist, metaphorical, allegorical, literal, and prophetic revelations from Jesus and then one of several angels about what would happen in Jerusalem and the world then and also in some unforeseen time in the future.

One of these revelations or messages that John receives is about a church in the ancient Greek city of Thyatira, modern-day Akhisar, Turkey. In this passage we see the name Jezebel pop up again but don’t be fooled, there’s more to this passage than the connotation that Jezebel’s spirit or soul has come back from the dead some 800 years later to terrorize Christians in the Greco-Roman city of Thyatira. Here’s the passage for context:

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze:

19 “I know your works: your love, faith, service, and endurance. I know that your latest works are greater than the first. 20 But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to engage in sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.” Revelation 2:18–23

So, without context, a modern-day preacher could use this passage to state that Jezebel or Jezebel’s spirit has transcended time and space and relocated itself into a group of people in this first-century church. Again, any bible passage without context becomes a pretext, useable for all sorts of horrors in the name of God.

But Jesus, through John, having to write all that he hears down on parchment paper or scrolls, expresses that there is a woman within the church of Thyatira whose name is not Jezebel but is simply being referred to as such because of her willingness to lead people, scores of them into idolatry and sexual deviance. Her real name is unknown and the names of the people she led astray are not recorded in canon, namely, the Bible. But what we do know is that this woman who called herself a leader in the church, a prophet or prophetess began teaching and promoting sexual immorality and idolatry.

Remember, sexual immorality and idolatry are not new sins. These sins are not unique to Thyatira nor are they unique to Greco-Roman provinces. These sins were not unique even in King Ahab’s kingdom at the time he met and married Queen Jezebel. Sexual immorality and idolatry have been around since people were aware of their sexual membranes and their freedom to worship anyone or anything other than God.

But in this passage, this woman was referred to or at least she wanted to be known as Jezebel, either because of her awareness of the evil Sidonian Queen whose name she took or because it was a common name used in a derogatory nature at the time. A term of empowerment, one could say.

There is nothing within this passage that suggests that a dead woman’s spirit has left the afterlife and indwelled the lives of churchgoers in the first century. Perhaps, they make an inference, loosely at that, that Jezebel, the woman and her life’s many wrongs, her presence as an intelligent albeit evil leader, became a symbol of strength for this woman and her group of sexual deviant churchgoers.

Nothing, I repeat, nothing within this passage eludes or mentions or even references a Jezebel spirit or a demon or unclean spirit that wanders the earth possessing the lives of believers or unbelievers to make them worship Baal or whichever local god or goddess people worshipped in Thyatira before and after the message of Jesus made its way throughout the region.

So Why Jezebel?

That’s a question few Christians are able or willing to discuss. Women, no matter how good they have been throughout history have always fallen short of the value and grace men receive, no matter how evil they are.

What I mean is, that although Jezebel was evil, malicious, conniving, and murderous, she does not even come close to the evil men listed through scripture, some of whom we revere to this day as men of good faith and stature.

Here’s what I mean. In early Greek and Roman cultures, women were viewed as incomplete or flawed men. In fact, sexual relations between men with other men were seen as more honorable and desirable in some Roman eras whereas sexual relations between men and women, although a valid and acceptable practice, became second tier. Homosexuality between men was praised in certain Roman cultures and times whereas homosexual relations between women were frowned upon.

Women, no matter their accomplishments or failures, within a patriarchal society, were always painted with a harsher brush. Women were always the property and possessions of men. They belonged to their fathers, then to their husbands, and when their husbands died they were relegated to the possession of their male siblings or became the possession of their male heirs. Seldom were they afforded the freedom to vote, own land, consent to sexual relations, or have a say in the senate or in the town square.

Do you see why it is troubling to hear of Jezebel being the only spirit or supposed spirit that possesses, causes people to stumble into witchcraft, rebellion, murder, and idolatry? Because Jezebel was one, a woman, two, a foreigner, three, worshipped a different god, and lastly, yes, an intelligent and evil woman.

Women with power in the ancient world were seldom accepted in a patriarchal society. Intelligent and empowered women are despised to this day!

Let us then take an inventory of other equally or even more evil characters in the Bible who have yet to merit their own version of a Jezebel spirit.


Cain is known as the first murderer in recorded scripture. We know that he was jealous of his brother, Abel, and in his jealousy, he lifted his hands against him in rage and murdered him. He left his brother in the field and ran off to another town to start a new life. He was even frustrated that people would try and kill him because of what he had done.

But you won’t hear of a Cain spirit that possesses people in the church. A spirit that forces people to commit murder.


We all recall the story of Noah who, under God’s guidance, built a ship large enough for the animals in his vicinity to hide inside and be protected from an ensuing flood. Noah and his immediate family survived the flood. Once off the boat, Noah opted to find solace in wine after such a calamitous event. He drank himself naked and fell asleep. His sons found him in that compromising situation. When he came to, rather sober or drunk we don’t know for sure, he cursed one of his sons, Canaan, and his descendants, into perpetual slavery. A bit extreme to us but perhaps it was unacceptable to be seen naked by kin back then in their culture.

But you won’t hear of a Noah spirit that leads people to alcoholism or a spirit that forces people to curse their kids into slavery for catching them in compromising situations.


We’ve all heard of the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah. The collective of city towns that went astray into various forms of spiritual deviancy and violence. God demanded that Lot and his family leave the area immediately one day because He was going to rain down fire over the region. Lot, reluctant at first, left the area with his wife and daughters. His wife whilst fleeing the area turned back and was turned into a pillar of salt. I’m not entirely sure what Jewish writers meant by such a statement but that she stayed behind and died is certain. The city was destroyed and Lot, a faithful servant of God and a family member of Abraham, fled the area.

What happens next is bizarre. Lot is so depressed by his circumstances, namely, that his home was destroyed, his wife is dead, and his daughters, previously engaged or married, are now single and without children, namely, the Lot family has no future.

His daughters, realizing the depression that has taken over their father get him stupidly drunk and they take turns sleeping with him, turning a filial relationship between them into an incestuous one. The Bible does not relay to us how often they had to do this or just how “unaware” Lot was about it all but eventually, both daughters birth children to Lot, their father, and these children become the leaders of the Moabites and Ammonites, eternal enemies and proximal neighbors of the Israelites.

But you won’t hear of someone having a Lot spirit that possesses the children of God, forcing them to drink alcohol and then leading them into incestuous relationships with their grown children.


The Old Testament relays to us a story of a man named Korah who led a mutiny against Moses and Aaron in the desert. You see, the Hebrews (Israelites) had fled slavery in Egypt and were now wandering the desert between Egypt and modern-day Israel-Palestine. This wandering, some Jewish scholars estimate, took some forty years to complete before they finally reached their final destination in northeast Israel. They took the long way around because God forced them to. Long story.

On one particular day, the people were so tired of wandering through the desert in fear of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Egyptians, and more. They were hungry, thirsty, poor, homeless, destitute, and angry.

One man, Korah, alongside Dathan and Abiram, started a mutiny against Moses’s leadership. They were tired of endless wandering and of the horrors experienced in the desert. God eventually told Moses to tell Korah and his family, alongside the other mutineers to step to one side of the camp while Moses and whoever was with him got behind Moses. Moses was so distressed by this ask of God that he begged Korah and the others to cease and desist because they were about to anger God.

They didn’t listen.

God opened the earth under Korah, his family, his friends, and fellow mutineers, and everyone fell into a dark, bottomless pit, and the earth closed over them.

But you won’t hear of a Korah spirit that leads people into mutinous skirmishes, rebellion, or anger.

Peter the Disciple

We all know the story of Peter, the disciple of Jesus whose capricious temperament often landed him in hot water with Jesus. Peter was asked by Jesus to lead the disciples in his absence. Peter was the disciple who preached a beautiful and redemptive sermon on Pentecost day in the book of Acts. A sermon so impactful that thousands converted to Jesus on the spot.

But Peter was also the disciple who followed Jesus once he was arrested by Jewish religious leaders. Peter stood there in the courtyard of the building where men questioned and beat Jesus bloody and blue. They ripped his beard, slapped him around, and punched him with closed fists while Peter stood outside by the fire with others, listening on.

Several people began to recognize Peter and asked if he, too, was a follower of the miracle worker from Nazareth. Three times Peter denied knowing or being affiliated with Jesus, even cursing at those present to emphasize that he was in fact, not a follower of Jesus.

But you won’t see people referring to a Peter spirit that indwells the believer, forcing him to renounce Christ in a moment of trial and fear.

Judas Iscariot

Lastly, I’ll mention the most infamous but seldom referenced person in all of the Bible, Judas Iscariot.

We know Judas followed Jesus, nearly from the start of Christ’s ministry on earth. Judas was even entrusted with carrying the money bag or the mobile bank the disciples kept to help with their logistics as they traveled with Jesus, to pay taxes, or to help the poor. Judas was even said to be upset at how often Jesus asked that they give what they had to the poor.

Greed was his downfall, one can say.

On the Last Supper, Jesus’s last meal with his disciples when he instituted a substitute for the Easter meal, namely, the Communion or Lord’s Table where followers of Christ were tasked to take of his body (bread) and his blood (wine), metaphorically, of course, in remembrance of Him until He returns from heaven, Judas betrayed Christ.

At this meal, the Bible tells us that Jesus knew Judas would betray Him. He then looks to Judas and tells him something along the lines of “Go and do what you have to do” and at that moment the devil himself possessed Judas Iscariot. The traitorous disciple went on to betray Jesus by informing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious leaders, of Jesus’s location. A secret at the time since so many religious leaders wanted to trap him and kill him.

We know the rest. Judas comes to Jesus later in the night and kisses him on the cheek to indicate to the guards behind him that the man he kissed was Jesus. Jesus is arrested, beaten, nearly killed by the Roman whip, and, eventually, crucified by the Romans at the request of the Jews.

Judas ends up regretting his decision to betray Jesus. He attempts to return the thirty pieces of silver he was paid but the religious leaders said they would not accept blood money.

Judas grabs a robe and hangs himself. This effort is a depressing failure because the robe or branch, one or the other snaps, and Judas falls down from a cliff and splatters his guts on the rocks. His end is almost as ugly as that of Jezebel.

But… again… you won’t hear of a Judas Iscariot spirit. The only man in Bible history who was personally indwelled by Satan himself, the father of lies, the first fallen spirit, and the master of all evil. No other person in scripture was ever unfortunate enough to be under the complete control of the devil but even here we never hear of a Judas spirit. The very man who was the catalyst for the death of God on earth does not merit a spirit named after him.

But Jezebel sure does.


Misogyny, namely, the hatred of women, infused with patriarchy, a society run by men, churned by religion, any religion, will spit out hatred for women so strong that to then challenge it will seem like the person is challenging God, culture, and nature.

The concept of a human being’s spirit coming back from the netherworld to possess and indwell people is so foreign to Judaism and Christianity that to portray the Jezebel spirit as canon or a doctrinally sound concept is as pagan and idolatrous an idea as Baal worship was to Israel.

Jezebel is dead. Her influence died with her. Her spirit is in the hands of God. He has decided what to do with her, an answer we will have resolute confirmation of in the afterlife.

Perhaps, yes, we can say someone is following in the footsteps of Jezebel in the same way we can say someone is following in the footsteps of Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, or Trump. But we cannot say that someone has Mussolini’s spirit of fascism indwelling them. Nor can we say that Hitler’s spirit is plaguing modern-day Germans who perform the sieg heil (Nazi salute) in honor of the disgraced Third Reich. We might call a man a Communist but we mustn’t imagine that the ghost of Lenin, Marx, and Stalin have returned from the afterlife to indwell that man.

We might even state that someone is operating within a Trumpian mindset or promoting Trumpian ideologies of hate, crassness, idiocy, sexual deviance, lies, and cruelty.

But we cannot imagine someone saying that Trump’s spirit has possessed them.

So why do it with Jezebel?

She’s dead. Let her rest. In peace or in flames. Let her go and with her this nonsense of a spirit that the Bible does not mention, condone, infer, or profess.

The concept of a Jezebel spirit is not only extra-biblical, in the sense that the concept is not found in the Bible, but it is anti-biblical, namely, that the teaching is heretical.

This obsession with spirits and their influence over the lives of believers is an affront to the work of Jesus in the life of believers and His overall protection of their souls and salvation.

Even if… and I’m reaching here… even if there were such a thing as a Jezebel spirit, it would shudder in the presence of someone truly indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God.

Be at peace, friends, Jezebel is dead.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. — Proverbs 31:8 NLT

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Originally published at http://olivettheory.com on January 5, 2024.



Jarrel Oliveira

Husband | Girl Dad x4 | Dude | Dilettante | Blogger | Brazilian living in Canada. Life motto: Jesus said cool things.