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Stewards: Jezebel- an ugly steward

By Charlie Osewalt | 29 August 2013 | Comments (3)

Stewards- Jezevel

Jezebel: an ugly steward

Think about bad stewards in the Bible and it won’t be long before you get to Jezebel. The wickedest of the wicked, the lowest of the low, the persecutor of the prophets, Jezebel’s name has become synonymous with evil deceit.

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So what happened to Jezebel? Are her crimes no longer severe enough to shock? Has the protagonist in this cautionary tale finally become a heroine of sorts? Is she really such a bad steward after all?

The truth is that Jezebel’s list of sins is quite long. She:

  • Promoted idol worship. (1Kings 18:19)
  • Practiced witchcraft (2Kings 9:22)
  • Sought to exterminate prophets of God (1Kings 18:4-13)
  • Designed idol worship that had sexual immorality at its core (1Kings 16:29-33)

Yet these are small fry compared to her gravest of sins. Writing in his book ‘The Bloody Tenent of Persecution’, Roger Williams reminds us of the time that Jezebel signed a death warrant of an innocent man so that her husband could expand his property portfolio. But Williams sees it as more than an issue of personal greed; he suggests that this is the first moment in history when the state uses its authority to force religion on others. When the state dictates and controls religious practice and belief, people whose belief systems are different are persecuted and destroyed. Conscience is murdered.

Jezebel was a bad steward because her actions were the genesis of religious intolerance and terrorism. Jezebel was a bad steward because she was corrupt, controlling and unwilling to see her power and influence as an opportunity to serve God.

We still live in her shadow today.

Want to go deeper? You can download the PDF below for more:


Posted by Charlie Osewalt

Charles Osewalt is a husband, father of four children and former elder at Redeemer Church NYC. He has worked in schools for the last twenty years as principal in the Morrisanna section of the Bronx. He formerly worked as a content and curriculum specialist for Stewardship. He tweets at @charlesosewalt



August 30, 2013 2:40 AM
A thought-provoking perspective, thank you... I guess if I was trying to respond off the back of this I'd ask God to highlight any manipulation in me. You paint a very extreme picture of Jezebel because that's what she is... an extreme. But when I check myself, how many of her traits do I recognise in my own life that are really subtle but need healing?

Do I sometimes try to force my views on others in a manipulative manner?
Do I sometimes get my way at the expense of others?
Do I subtly bring others down to further my agenda?

If I hold myself up to such an extreme benchmark as Jezebel's I think I'd have always expected to come out looking rosy... But do I?


August 31, 2013 9:35 AM
This is a good study! We don't often study the "bad characters" of the Bible, but this can be a good way of revealing our own shortcomings, as Sarah points out.

I'm not surprised at the popularity of, seeing that nowadays "bad"=good, "wicked"=excellent, "sick"=admirable, and so on...

One question - I've checked Strong's dictionary, and I can't find a connection between idols and dung. This is probably my fault, but can you help me with a reference?


September 10, 2013 3:41 PM

Sarah, I also struggle with looking at these figures-I have walked, at times in poor pathways. Writing about others, reading about others, should force you/me to reflect on how we are walking. Pslam 77:12 states, 'Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen' For me, a key is praying to see the unseen, in myself, the word and others.

Roger-thank you for your thoughtful and question comment. The Hebrew word's root meaning points


"gullulim". This first occurs at Lev.26:30. Ezekiel uses it 38 times beginning at 6:4.

"idols= logs of wood. Heb. gillulim, trunks, blocks, used in derision for idols. Also derived from galal = dung, or detestable thing. First occurence; frequently in Ezekiel."-

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