2 Kings 9:37
And the carcass of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say…
1. Jezebel's is the character of one complete in evil. She enters the stage of human events in the fulness of her wickedness. She does not come before our notice till she has passed through all the stages of early conviction, strife with conscience, and sometimes of the warnings of a better nature. She is one whom savages would pronounce wicked, and from whom they would start as a dangerous member of even their social body. There are some who are brought before us in this way in life, as if the curtain were suddenly drawn up, and they were presented to the eye for the first time in their full development. We have been allowed to see none of the inward workings, none of the early struggle and strife. All this has gone on between themselves and God alone. His eye only has noticed, and His hand recorded the gages, challenges, and contests between the tempter and the sinner. We see but the end of the conflict. We perceive only the conqueror standing forward flushed with his success, and the ranks of the vanquished receding into the far distance on either side, like the forms of beautiful dreams scared by the breaking in of morning light. In the great portrait gallery of Holy Scripture no one is found exactly like her. She stands individually distinctive and terrible.
2. Here is her history. Ahab is mentioned as coming to the throne of Samaria nine hundred and eighteen years before Christ. The marriage with Jezebel is mentioned as a decided step in evil in Ahab, and is clearly connected with his idolatry. The next mention of her is her desire and effort to kill all the prophets of the Lord, and Obadiah's success in saving them. Then came the denunciation of God upon Jezebel, and the prophecy of her being eaten of dogs in the portion of Jezreel There is a pause in her history, and we hear no more of the queen-mother during the reign of Ahab's successor. The wicked king had sunk to his doomed grave. But she, the author and abettor of his sinfulness, lived on. Her end is the next and last circumstance of her life; very terrible. She comes out again with her old characteristic. The long pause in which she has been withdrawn from observation has made no change in her character save to stereotype all old failings, and gnarl into her form the sins of her earlier days. Shameless and barefaced in her iniquity, she looked out for admiration from the very man who was returning as a conqueror over her husband's race.
3. There are certain features which belong to the thoroughly wicked person, and the approach to those characteristics may always excite alarm and anxiety. The principal points about Jezebel are these. A woman holding an evil influence over her husband, and turning her pertinacity and vigour of practical energy and power into the pursuit of the line in which the man hesitated. The wicked woman has an energy of evil which makes her far worse than the man. Her persecution of God and good men. Her casting in her lot with the wicked and the profligate. Her unflinching and unhesitating profligacy in the destruction of Naboth. Her raillery of the king. Her vanity overcoming in the end of life all other feelings, natural or not.
(1) I mentioned the first which was visible in Jezebel. Her decided and unhesitating influence over Ahab. A firm grasp over the conduct of another shows a finish in the character of the person who uses it; still more so when it is complete in evil. No one can take a very decided course unless he have an unwavering trust in his own opinions, or have given himself over to utter indifference. Either a man must have a conscience void of offence, or no conscience at all, to proceed in a very vigorous manner to the attainment of a certain end. "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." Most men are to a certain degree hesitating. An indecision with regard to faith in some one article or detail: an undetermined mind as to serving God or no; a state of sin or indulged infirmity still hindering the moral advances; all these make men oscillate in as many degrees and with as many variations as there are shades of character and distinctions between dispositions. Now he that can guide another fairly must necessarily have a firm and steady line himself. It is harder to gain this entire ascendancy over another individual mind, than it is to have it over the aim or end of a long course of action. The hesitating eye looks up to the guide either for good or evil. If it see a single swerve discouragements at once ensue: if it meet a firm, steady, unwavering gaze, reassurance comes, and a steady step is the consequence. It is a fearful thing to settle the swerving mind when that swerve is on the sand-bar which crosses the entrance to the harbour, and when the settled action given is to drive the vessel out again into the wide though easy deep. Better be among the rocks than float for ever away from shore and harbour. It is a tremendous thing for any one to influence another's will, so that when he hesitates as to a doubtful step, the other with a cheering cry induces him to take it; it is a fearful thing to bid the poor trembler, who shuddered on the edge of the leap, to rush on, and to spring oneself across the chasm to give him encouragement. Fearful is it at any time, but far more so when the steady gaze is only assumed, when the firm tone of voice belies the condemning conscience, and when the daring act of final decision is even to him who takes the step taken in the dark. And yet how common a case, how common a character? The very fact of encouraging or urging on another tends to urge on self, and the voice which cheers on a companion in an evil way, or to take a false step, too often hushes the inward whisper of our own remonstrating conscience. We gain firmness by making others firm, and become determined moral speculators by the mere fact of endorsing another's speculation. Few signs are more certain of far advance in evil than when a man commits himself to urge on another to a doubtful, sinful, or an uncertain course of moral action.
(2) But, again, Jezebel openly persecuted the good, killed the prophets of the Lord, and strove to get Elijah within her grasp. This, too, is a sign of advance in evil. Men do not persecute boldly till they have gone on far in their own sinful course. Persecution infers in the persecutor not so much the love of vengeance and the wish to inflict pain, as the desire to get rid if possible of the testimony and witness of the good. The object of the wicked is to suppress good; to show it to be an unreality, an imposition, a sham; to proclaim it false to its professed principles; to discover some flaw in the motive, or some failure in the act. "He hath a devil, and is mad." "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." This is the persecutor's aim. Not so much revenge and simple hate for its own sake. The foundation of this feeling is the deep conviction in the persecutor himself, that he has no ground to stand on, save one of sin; has nothing in common with the good, and comes not into the congregation of the righteous. Yet he feels the truth of that ground, its power, its reality. He acknowledges its reality, but he dare not occupy it. He has forfeited his standing. Consequently, the more wicked a man is, the more he longs to drive the good from his ground and the more he persecutes.
(3) But more than this, Jezebel made the wicked her companions; the Baal prophets ate at her table. There is ever a step between persecuting the good and fraternising with the wicked. The latter is a step further in advance. It is positive, the other negative. To love wickedness is in one sense worse than to hate goodness. It is a harder transition for hate to blend into love, than for love to melt off into hate. We often see men not good, not holy, living without God, still hating sin and despising the wicked when brought before them, shrinking from what is mean and vile, shunning the false motive, yet not themselves holy. Positive goodness is a step further than the negative evil.
(4) But the next feature of Jezebel's character is that of intrigue and calumny for the purpose of gaining her designs. No man ever stands still in the path of his moral nature. He advances or recedes, but he is in motion. When once the mind is steadily fixed upon evil, the next condition is sure to be one of tact, intrigue, and management to obtain the guilty object. Lies, untruthfulness, slander, meanness, and every kind of duplicity, crowd in and fill up the vacuum between the settled intention to do wrong, and the sinful object itself.
(5) Her end is significant. A long interval elapses in which we hear but one thing of her, that her whoredoms were many; and we are led up to that moment to imagine that either in seclusion she had become penitent, or that the sinful heart had exhausted its fire, and the inward volcano become extinct. But she appears again the very wreck of what she had been — an old woman, painted on the face and tired in the hair, leaning from the upper window to gaze down upon and attract the notice of the returning conqueror, whose sword was yet red with the blood of her husband's family. What a picture! Lost to every sense and touch of even natural feeling, the wretch is wrapped up in self; without God, and without an ultimate object. But such is the symptom of finished sin, it quenches the last spark of even natural feeling; it gnaws downwards from the bloom and stem of religion and morality, and eats away the very root of the original creation. It is a symptom of finished evil when surrounded by desolating calamity, brought on by their own wickedness, men compelled to withdraw for a little while from the stage of human action peer forth again from time to time spectral anatomies of what they were, and caricatures of even the monstrous features they originally presented. Such was Jezebel, and the incidents of her life suggest no insignificant tests of a character that is rapidly approximating to a condition of finished and hopeless iniquity.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.