|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:30-37 Instead of hiding herself, as one afraid of Divine vengeance, Jezebel mocked at fear. See how a heart, hardened against God, will brave it out to the last. There is not a surer presage of ruin, than an unhumbled heart under humbling providences. Let those look at Jezebel's conduct and fate, who use arts to seduce others to commit wickedness, and to draw them aside from the ways of truth and righteousness. Jehu called for aid against Jezebel. When reformation-work is on foot, it is time to ask, Who sides with it? Her attendants delivered her up. Thus she was put to death. See the end of pride and cruelty, and say, The Lord is righteous. When we pamper our bodies, let us think how vile they are; shortly they will be a feast for worms under ground, or beasts above ground. May we all flee from that wrath which is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
Verse 30. - And when Jehu was come to Jezreel. Some commentators suppose that Jehu did not engage personally in the pursuit of Ahaziah, but, leaving that to a portion of his retinue, pushed on with all haste to Jezreel, where Jezebel was, "the originator of all the mischief." But it is certainly more natural to understand (with Keil and Josephus) that Jehu himself pursued. The pursuit to Ibleam, where Ahaziah was mortally wounded, and the return to Jezreel, need not have occupied more than about three hours. Jezebel heard of it. She would naturally be the first to hear. On the death of her son, which must have been plainly seen from the walls of Jezreel, she become practically the chief authority in the place, and indeed in the kingdom. Jehoram's sons were probably minors. And she painted her face; literally, and she put her eyes in antimony; i.e. she adorned her eyes with the dark dye which has always been fashionable in the East, and which is still used at the present day. The dye is spread both on the upper and the lower eyelids. It at once increases the apparent size of the eye, and gives it unnatural brilliancy. The Oriental nations, Babylonians, Assyrians, Medes, Persians, were acquainted with the practice from very early times; and it is not surprising that it was known to Jezebel. What was her exact object in applying it is more doubtful. The older commentators, who are followed by Ewald, suppose that she intended to "summon up all her seductive fascinations in order to tempt and conquer Jehu;" but more recent writers (Bahr, Keil, and others) argue that her probable age renders this incredible, since she had already a grandson who was twenty-three years of age (2 Kings 8:26), and must therefore have been herself at least fifty. But, if we remember that Cleopatra was forty when She held Antony as her slave and hoped to captivate Augustus, it would seem to be not altogether beyond the bounds of possibility that a Phoouician princess of fifty may have thought that, by the use of art, she might reader herself a captivating personage. There is, at any rate no evidence that "putting the eyes in antimony" was an ordinary or a fitting preparation for meeting death in a way worthy of a queen. Ewald's view has, therefore much to commend it to our acceptance. Jezebel, trusting in the charms and the fascination which had been so potent over Ahab, may have imagined that she had still enough beauty left to capture Jehu, provided she increased her natural attractions by a careful use of all the resources of art. And tired her head. Phoenician statues of goddesses have their hair arranged in long pendent curls, and bear on their heads a small conical cap with a ribbon wreathed round the base. The artists probably had queens and princesses as their models. There is no evidence that false hair was worn in Phoenicia, either by men or women. And looked out at a window. Windows, sometimes open, sometimes latticed, were common in Oriental houses from the earliest times. They mostly looked into the court round which a house was commonly built; but some few were in the external wall of the building; and through these new arrivals might be reconnoitered. Jezebel "looked out," partly to see, but perhaps still more to be seen.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it,.... And of what he had done to Joram:
and she painted her face; or put "stibium" on her eyes; a sort of paint, to make them look beautiful perhaps the same with powder of lead ore, the Moors now use to tinge their eyebrows with, and make them look black, which they reckon graceful; see Gill on Ezekiel 23:40, this custom now obtains among the white Indians, who, to heighten the lustre of their complexion, and render their eyes more languishing, put a little black about them (n):
and tired her head; dressed her head in the most elegant manner; not with a view to tempt Jehu, which she could not expect, being an aged woman; but for grandeur and majesty, and in the pride and haughtiness of her spirit, which she retained to the last, and resolved to keep up and show in her extremity and calamity:
and looked out at a window; in a bravado, as fearless of Jehu, and to dash him out of countenance if she could; or she might hope, by such a graceful and majestic appearance she made, that he would be moved to spare her life; though this does not so well agree with what follows as the former.
(n) Agreement of Customs between East Indians and Jews, art. 15. p. 65.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
30. Jezebel painted her face—literally, "her eyes," according to a custom universal in the East among women, of staining the eyelids with a black powder made of pulverized antimony, or lead ore mixed with oil, and applied with a small brush on the border, so that by this dark ligament on the edge, the largeness as well as the luster of the eye itself was thought to be increased. Her object was, by her royal attire, not to captivate, but to overawe Jehu.
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