On the “Jezebel Spirit”

I recently completed a read and study of 1/2 Kings; one of the most fascinating characters was Ahab. He reigned for 22 years and was married to Jezebel. They were pretty much the worst husband/wife team ever. The phrase “Jezebel Spirit” has often been used to show that someone is a wicked troublemaker, sowing seeds of rebellion and undermining a biblical leader. A few minutes ago, I saw a series of posts on Twitter from Jonathon Stone, pastor of Renovatus Church in North Carolina regarding his thoughts from 1 Kings 21.

The story is simple: a man named Naboth had a vineyard near Ahab’s home, and Ahab wanted it. Naboth told him it wasn’t for sale, so Ahab did what any strong leader would do- he went home and cried about it to his wife (Jezebel). The next day, Jezebel had Naboth brought up on false charges and executed.

Ahab got his little kindom. Here’s the tweets:

  • I don’t know if there is any such thing as a “Jezebel spirit,” but it often gets defined as oppositional and control seeking.
  • But based on the Naboth story, Jezebel is only able to function to the degree that Ahab is dysfunctional. No one talks about “Ahab spirit?”
  • When someone accuses a person or system of operating with a “Jezebel spirit” they are more likely expressing frustration towards Naboth.
  • Maybe you’re not fighting a Jezebel spirit, maybe you’re just sulking because Naboth won’t give you what you want.
  • Jezebel did not oppose Ahab, she got for him what he insisted on having at any cost.
  • If a “Jezebel spirit” can only operate in conjunction with a “Ahab spirit,” then it might be helpful to define an “Ahab spirit.”
  • Maybe this, an “Ahab Spirit” is fretful, anxious and undifferentiated leadership that deals with the answer “no” w/sulking & self-loathing.
  • Unfortunately, accusations of a “Jezebel spirit” often get associated with strong female leadership.
  • However, Ahab and Jezebel are not about men and women. Not even about marriage.
  • Instead, Ahab and Jezebel are about undifferentiated leadership abdicating its authority to cruel and vicious pragmatism.
  • If you are a leader, opposing voices are more likely to be Naboth. Jezebel is the voice promising to get you what you want at all cost.

To Ahab’s “cruel and selfish pragmatism” I’d add unbridled selfishness, unfounded fear and malignant narcissism. Because those consumed with themselves need only the slightest encouragement by a wicked “Jezebel” to wreak havoc on and destroy the lives of others. Regardless of cost or consequences.

And those same tyrants, like Ahab and Jezebel before them, will eventually be brought down in a spectacular way, and the Naboth’s among them will be lifted up.

 

 

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