21 April 2008

Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen

book by Lesley Hazleton - a review

In this book, Jezebel is proud, regal and triumphant in the face of the intolerant enemy. She worships her many gods with the same passion and zeal as folks like Elijah worshipped his. She's not a bad fellow, you know. She's just *drawn* that way in the Bible.

And you see, folks who wrote the Bible like to put their own little spin on things. Let's face it: the God of Elijah is not a very nice guy. He's jealous and mean and nasty. Why, look how he treated the Israelites because of Ahab's allowing a temple to other gods and other petty sins. Really, why should God be so picky? I mean, everyone ELSE around-about was doing stuff like that. It was a great political move for Ahab to marry Jezebel. Why shouldn't he have been kind enough to build his new wife a temple to her gods? You know, why can't we all be tolerant?

"This is where it begins: the binary mind-set. Either/or. You're either with me or against me; either a believer or an infidel; either good or evil. There is no middle ground. The world separates into black and white, with not a shade of gray, let alone real color. Elijah issues the classic challenge, heard everywhere from Islamist madrasas and hardline yeshivas to evangelical seminaries; you're one of us, or one of them. Merely to tolerate the existence of other faiths is to be a dangerous weakling; it is tantamount to being an infidel yourself. Believe, or be damned." (p. 90)

This one-God gets awfully upset sometimes. And He takes it all out on the wrong people. Do you think all the nobles went hungry or died of thirst during the three-year draught? Nope. It was the common folks. I have to hand it to the author; she really does raise a good point on that one. Doesn't it stink when "good" people suffer for the "bad" someone else does?

I know the churchy answer is that there are no good people. We all deserve Hell but the wonderful gift of God was Jesus etc. etc. etc. Try that theology on a parent watching her children slowly die of dehydration. It doesn't really work.

The book is written in such a way that we follow the author in looking at the places the biblical events were supposed to have taken place. Gorgeous palaces lie in ruins and dogs patrol Elijah's birthplace. I'd have to say it's an interesting read just for that. She puts an interesting if secular spin on the biblical events surrounding Elijah and Jezebel.

I wouldn't buy the book, though.

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