Jezreel, from the Hebrew word pronounced yiz-reh-ale, meaning God will sow, was a northern city of Israel within the allotted territory of the tribe of Issachar (see Tribal Lands). The Valley of Jezreel, named after the city, marked the boundary between Samaria to the south and Galilee to the north. Megiddo (see Armageddon) and the Plain of Megiddo, also known as the Plain of Esdraelon, are just to the west of Jezreel. Some of the kings resided in Jezreel, most notably Ahab.
Jezreel is mentioned frequently in events of Bible History between the time of Joshua and the Kings of Israel and Judah:
Within The Territory Of Issachar
- "The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the tribe of Issachar, according to its families. Its territory included Jezreel" (Joshua 19:17-18 RSV)
During The Struggle Between The Houses Of Saul And David
- "Now Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, had taken Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David." (2 Samuel 2:8-10 RSV)
Elijah's Confrontation With Jezebel And Ahab
- "And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of The Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow." (1 Kings 18:45 - 19:1-2 RSV)
Naboth Murdered By Jezebel For His Vineyard
- "Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money."
"But Naboth said to Ahab, "The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers."
"And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food."
"But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, "Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?"
"And he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it'; and he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'"
"And Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now govern Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
"So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who dwelt with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people; and set two base fellows opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, 'You have cursed God and the king.' Then take him out, and stone him to death." (1 Kings 21:1-10 RSV)
Wicked Jezebel Killed In Jezreel
- "When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her eyes, and adorned her head, and looked out of the window. And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, "Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?"
"And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, "Who is on my side? Who?" Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. He said, "Throw her down." So they threw her down; and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her."
"Then he went in and ate and drank; and he said, "See now to this cursed woman, and bury her; for she is a king's daughter." But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. When they came back and told him, he said, "This is the word of The Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, 'In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.'" (2 Kings 9:30-37 RSV)
Fact Finder: Was King Ahab more evil in the eyes of The Lord than any Israelite king before him?
1 Kings 16:30
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