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The wife of King Ahab of Israel (869-850 B.C.). An ardent devotee of Baal worship, Jezebel corrupted the court of Ahab by bringing to Israel hundreds of priests of this cult from her Phoenician homeland (I Kings 18:19). She was the cause of the deaths of many faithful Israelites who protested the immoralities she fostered (I Kings 18:13). The prophet Elijah defied her and challenged the priests of Baal to a contest on Mount Carmel to prove the superiority of Yahweh over Baal (I Kings 18:21-46). He won the contest but had to flee into the wilderness. Jezebel suffered a horrible death (II Kings 9:30-37). Her name is used to symbolize wickedness.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.