Jezebel's Influence

Ahab fell completely under the evil influence of his queen Jezebel, the heathen princess, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Zidon. Fierce, revengeful, and ambitious, Jezebel easily established her dominion in the Kingdom of Israel. She was a fanatical worshipper of the Baal and strove hard to spread this idol worship in Israel. All over the land she consecrated high places and built altars upon which countless sacrifices were offered to the idols. No less than four hundred and fifty prophets of the Baal were in the capital, and four hundred prophets of the Ashtarte sat at her table as her daily guests. At the same time she persecuted the true Hebrew prophets so fiercely that not one prophet could raise his voice without forfeiting his life.

As for Ahab, he was quite content to let the heathen queen rule his country. Like his predecessors, he was not averse to idol worship. The worship of the calves in Bethel and Dan went on with unabated zeal, and all sorts of abominable practices common in Phoenicia were willingly emulated.

Many new cities sprang up during Ahab's reign. Among them Jezreel, in the province of Issachar, which became one of the favorite royal residences. In open contravention of the ban imposed by Joshua, Jericho was rebuilt from the ruins in which it had lain since its miraculous collapse.

With the true prophets of G‑d murdered or driven from the country, the Kingdom of Israel was on the verge of a total spiritual collapse. At this crucial period there appeared a Divine messenger who fearlessly defied the idolatrous king and queen, and held back the tide of complete assimilation that threatened the Kingdom of Israel.