But foreign born, and who had thought,
What harm in Israel she would wreak?

    April 2008 Passover Edition            
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Jezebel - She Led a Nation

By James Vasquez

The daughter of a king was she,
This Jezebel of whom I speak,
But foreign born, and who had thought,
What harm in Israel she would wreak?

She cast her lot with Ahab and,
As queen within our land knew not
Restraint in turning Israel’s clan
To idols we for long had fought.

She urged him on in wicked ways,
And who, in truth, ruled from the throne
Was doubtful though it mattered not,
By both were seeds of evil sown.

She ruled her husband till he would,
In sin all men of lore excel.
And ‘neath her sway Baal’s prophets swelled,
And those of Asherah as well.

For hundreds of these prophets ate
At tables served by Jezebel,
And rising then, false gods they preached,
With words resounding like a knell.

At nothing would she stop to turn
Our people’s hearts from God’s true way.
The prophets of the Lord she bound,
To end their teaching, and to slay.

E’en to Elijah, prophet, priest,
Her vilest threats were manifest,
For when he finished with the sword
Her prophets, humbled on the crest,

She sent this chilling word to him,
“Now be assured by this dark hour
Tomorrow, will I make your life
Like one of them in death’s cruel power.”

And such the fear she raised in him,
That for his very life he ran,
And in a desert waste he prayed
To join his long departed clan.

The lowly also knew her scorn,
And here I speak of Naboth who,
A vineyard owned, lush and serene,
Each morn enriched by sun and dew.

Now Ahab coveted the place,
And wished to buy or trade for it,
But Naboth chose to keep the land,
Nor would he any loss permit.

So Ahab mourned and sulked at home.
He would not eat and lay in bed.
But Jezebel learned what occurred,
And Naboth, then, was good as dead.

“Is this the way a king should act?
The man who rules in Israel ?
Now rise, cheer up!” she said, “You’ll have
The vineyard of that infidel.”

(And are you now more prone to see
The evil that in Jezebel,
At any moment might arise?
But wait, there’s more I have to tell.)

She ordered that a feast be held,
And Naboth would be honored there.
“But seat two scoundrels at his side,
That they may confidently swear,

“They heard the man curse God and king.
And for this act he must be stoned,
By elders, nobles and the rest,
For such audacity he owned.”

The feast was held, the scoundrels hired,
And all things went as she had planned.
She told the king, “Your foe is dead,
His blood now stains the burning sand.”

So Ahab rose from off his bed,
To see the place his wife had got.
But what he did displeased the Lord,
And all the queen’s malicious plot.

The Lord then sent Elijah and
A prophecy of doom he told,
Concerning Ahab and his wife,
Who had their hearts so vilely sold,

To bring such evil to the land,
To Israel ’s chosen, suffering race.
A shocking end they each would know,
Nor royal heirs would they embrace.

Now later Jehu reigned as king,
And Jezebel’s foreseen demise,
Drew daily nearer, yet would she
Not from her evil ways arise.

And as the king marched through the town,
Our lady, from a window, saw
His entourage, his troops aligned,
And felt contempt but little awe.

Her eyes were painted brazenly,
And like a vulture she appeared.
Her hair was set in braids and with
Some cheap and pungent unguent smeared.

Her visage was exceeded by
The words she shouted to the king,
And they, for all their untamed scorn,
Her final end would shortly bring.

She asked if he had come in peace,
This errant queen, this scheming one.
She called him by the tarnished name
Of Zimri, who had murder done.

The king, offended greatly, called
Upon his servants at her side,
To cast poor Jezebel head first,
From out the window – where she died,

As horses at their masters’ word,
Pranced over her with hooves brought high.
Her wailing ended soon for she
Had long been destined thus to die.

Her blood was spattered ‘gainst a wall,
And wandering dogs soon found her there.
They left but hands and feet and skull,
Before returning to their lair.

‘Twas Jehu then, who uttered words
Elijah first to all had said,
That Jezreel’s dogs would eat the flesh
Of Jezebel when she was dead.

This woman was a sinner, true,
But many others have there been.
So why this harshest judgment now?
She led a nation into sin.


from the April 2008 Passover Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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