Jezebel: The Untold Sto­ry of the Bible’s Har­lot Queen

Les­ley Hazleton
  • Review
By – January 27, 2012
Jezebel, like many a pow­er­ful woman, has a bad rep­u­ta­tion. The only infor­ma­tion avail­able about her life is found in the Books of Kings in the Bible. Les­ley Hazle­ton, for­mer­ly a psy­chol­o­gist and a jour­nal­ist who report­ed on the Mid­dle East for Time mag­a­zine, works to pro­vide a more bal­anced pic­ture of this for­eign woman who became queen of ancient Israel by mar­riage. Using his­to­ry, his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, and soci­o­log­i­cal and anthro­po­log­i­cal stud­ies, she paints a pic­ture of life dur­ing the time that Jezebel lived. As a for­eign­er, a poly­the­ist, and a pow­er­ful woman, Jezebel had three strikes against her. Hazle­ton exam­ines the sto­ries that label her a har­lot queen” as well as the roles of Eli­jah and Elisha in cre­at­ing this image. In fact, Jezebel was not sex­u­al­ly promis­cu­ous and the word har­lot refers to her unfaith­ful­ness to the God of Israel. She remained faith­ful to her gods. This is an enter­tain­ing and enlight­en­ing look at a clas­sic bib­li­cal sto­ry. The author includes detailed notes and an exten­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy for fur­ther study. It is a good choice for col­lec­tions in pub­lic and syn­a­gogue libraries. It would be a good choice for book clubs, too.
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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