"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there."-1 Kings 19:1-3

It's understandable how Jezebel got furious after realising that Elijah killed all her best prophets but if she was supposedly so angry about it, why did she decide to curse herself? Why not be explicit and tell Elijah that he should be killed without all of the fancy language? She certainly didn't put on this act when she decided to coldly organise Naboth's execution. Quite counterproductive for an ambitious queen hellbent on vengeance and bloodshed.

Was Jezebel trying to get into Elijah's mind, trying to disturbingly suggest that maybe her god(s) truly existed? Or was it just simply her trying to sound self-righteously pious or conversely, being extremely nihilistic? Imagine the immense foolery Elijah had to put up with.

  • Self-cursing is a fairly standard part of an oath. Even in modern times, when we swear, "I will do X; so help me God", the meaning of "so" is "in the same way". Thus, we're asking that God help us just as we're doing X. In particular, if we don't do X, may God not help us --- a self-curse. Mar 4, 2019 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


Ahab was a very wicked king but the source of his wickedness does not appear, to me, to be within himself :

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. I Kings 21:25 KJV.

Yet, even Ahab humbled himself, :

And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.

Jezebel was out of control. And the final act of hers, sealed her end - the matter of Naboth's vineyard. Writing letters in Ahab's name, she engineered Naboth's decease through the worst form of slander, see I Kings 21.

Ahab merely went into a sulk when Naboth refused to yield his rightful inheritance, I Kings 21:4, it was Jezebel who actively did the wicked deeds that brought about Naboth's death.

In the text quoted by the OP, Jezebel swore an oath to her own gods, and swore to kill - or to bring about the death of - the prophet of the Lord, Elijah. This indicates a depth of depravity which is wilful, deliberate, malicious and indicates that she is completely given up to a demonic spirit, through the means of idolatrous worship.

Paul warns the Corinthians of the fact that demonic spirits are associated with the worship of idols in I Corinthians 10:20 :

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. KJV

Not so Ahab. He was weak and his spirit was stirred up by his wife, rather than being a strong source from within his own self.

I doubt Jezebel was attempting to play psychological tricks with Elijah's mind. I think she was moved, within herself, by a spirit which was very powerful, completely amoral and utterly opposed to the Lord God of Israel . . .

. . . and she was willingly in a spiritual union with that demonic force.

  • If this is the case, then does that mean that Baal intentionally silenced himself when his prophets tried to call on him? He simply looked on whilst they cut themselves and were executed. That's pretty disturbing and evil, on par with Satan. No wonder Jesus conflated them two with the Pharisees. Mar 5, 2019 at 5:12
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    There is no such being as Baal, there were only idols called 'Baal'. But demons associate with such forms of worship. I think this is fairly clear throughout scripture.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:36

That is a conditional statement from a malicious and cruel woman that was ruling Israel (she was definitely the decision maker in her relationship with king Ahab), had 850 prophets around her (450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah, 1 Kings 18:19) and killed the prophets of Yahweh (1 Kings 18:13).

She had killed prophets before, why would this time be different? The expression present in the passage just shows how Jezebel was so sure she would kill Elijah that she was willing to put her life at stake.

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