Jezebel’s Kingdom: the Queen as a primary character in 1 Kgs 16:29 – 2 Kgs 10
Merecz, Robert Jerzy
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The main thesis of this dissertation is that Jezebel is a primary character in 1 Kgs 16 – 2 Kgs 10. This may be observed both in the so-called Elijah and Elisha cycles. One of the main purposes, if not the purpose, of the stories contained within the Elijah cycle is to enhance the polemic against Jezebel and against the Baal cult which had been introduced by her, and not merely to convey events from Elijah‘s ministry. The choice of the characters and details revealed about their background indicate that the Elijah cycle is only partially concerned with the prophet, while it is directed importantly also against the queen and Baal. Elisha‘s ministry follows that of Elijah. His cycle prepares the reader for the punishment of Jezebel by revealing different details of the final moments of the queen‘s life and the events surrounding her death. Even though the reader will find only two direct references to the queen in 2 Kgs 2-8, the text sheds some light on the queen, her character and her death. The narrative also introduces new characters whose role is to be a foil or a contrast to the queen. The thesis, then, argues that Jezebel is a primary character in the narrative of the middle part of the Books of Kings. It must be said, however, that many elements of the argument against Jezebel operate on the narrator‘s, and not on characters‘, level. Besides a few direct references to Jezebel and to her activities, she herself quite often remains absent from the stage. It is only when one raises one‘s sights from the characters‘ to the narrator‘s perspective that he or she may notice abundance of allusions, prefigurations, comparisons, use of foils, and other devices that enhance the argument against the queen and make her a primary character in 1 Kgs 16:29 – 2 Kgs 10.