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News – Queen Jezebel

February 2008

Queen Jezebel

An ancient seal discovered in 1964 and long thought to be connected to Queen Jezebel has had its pedigree enhanced following research at Utrecht University, in The Netherlands.

Confusion over the letters engraved on the stone left some uncertainty, but closer scrutiny of the seal’s engraving revealed markings characteristic of royal objects and confirming that Jezebel, wife of Ahab, was a powerful figure in the ancient world who conducted business independent of her husband.

The biblical texts in the Books of Kings prove that Jezebel, a Phoenician, was a powerful and brutal woman. As principal wife, like the queens in Egypt she played a prominent role in religion, politics and representational art. Unlike Egypt, however, biblical Israel did not look favourably upon powerful women.

Although Jezebel outlived Ahab for many years, she was ultimately perceived as a threat and a foreign idol worshipper, accused of prostitution, murder and sorcery. She was tossed from her window to be ravaged by horses’ hooves and dogs.

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