2 Kings 9.30-33
“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.”
When Jezebel hears of Jehu’s arrival in Jezreel, she arranges her hair and paints her eyes. She arrays herself in full royal splendor and stands at the window to await the usurper. She throws out a taunt: “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?”
Her reference is to the earlier coup of Zimri, who killed King Elah and all of the other claimants to the throne (1 Kings 16:8-14). Her statement may also be a curse meant to thwart the success of Jehu’s insurrection, since Zimri ruled for only one week before he too became the victim of political violence (1 Kings 16:15-20).
Jezebel’s last words are meant not to entice but to deride Jehu; her last beautifying acts can be understood in the same way.
Jehu responds, “Who is on my side?” Because Jezebel had never earned the trust and loyalty of her aides, they do not fight to protect her. She had ruled not through wisdom and courage, but through the ruthless use of power. And since power had now shifted to Jehu, the loyalties of the aides also shifted to Jehu.
Her husband Ahab is dead. Her son Joram is dead. She has no support in her time of greatest crisis because never earned any support.
At Jehu’s command, Jezebel’s eunuchs throw her out the window, her blood splattering as she hits the ground. Jehu’s horses then trample her. Keep in mind that Jezebel is not an Israelite; she is a Phoenician who worshiped pagan deities. The image of an adorned woman at a window suggests not only royal power but also goddesses, who are also depicted looking out windows. In this way, the death of Jezebel is not just the death of a Phoenician princess who became queen of Israel but also the symbolic death of the goddesses she worships and represents.
It is not enough simply to kill her; she must be violently expelled from the political and religious community.
“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 on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’” (2 Kings 9.34-37)
Jezebel’s body now lies on the ground, mangled and lifeless. Jehu simply goes inside for dinner. Almost as an afterthought, he commands her burial. But while he has been inside eating, the dogs outside are feasting as well—on Jezebel’s body. Only her fingerless hands, feet, and skull remain.
Dogs are powerful symbols of many of the gods in Canaanite religion. There is a deep irony here. According to Canaanite mythology, the god Anat wore a necklace and belt of human skulls and hands.
In the end, the pagan deities that Jezebel served cannot save her. The wicked pagan queen is dead.