Jehu invaded the city with his troops, the hunting dogs
normally kept in pens seem to have been let loose to create
confusion and panic.
Some of them
found their way into the palace courtyard where Queen
Jezebel's bleeding body lay...'
word 'Jezreel' comes from the words El (God) and Izra
(plant seed). Obviously the word is close to 'Israel'.
The reason for
importance lay in its geographical position. It was the natural route to
take when traveling from west to east of the country, and so it saw a
large amount of traffic, peaceful and warlike.
The valley of Jezreel much
as Jezebel would have seen it, with its rich fertile farms
Tabor in the distance. Her city dominated the valley, allowing the
guards to see any enemy coming hours before he reached the city,
giving Jezebel's people time to prepare for attack.
The town of Nazareth lies on the hillside to the left.
Its flat terrain was
suitable for chariots and also for pitched battle, so it was the site of many historic
clashes between the Israelites and their enemies. Mobile units of charioteers could
patrol the plains and the roads running across them, giving protection
to trade caravans and road traffic.
Part of a
wall relief from the Northwest Palace at Nimrud. King Ahab,
husband of Jezebel,
died in much the same way as this warrior, as did her son Joram
Jezreel was capital city of
the northern kingdom of Israel. It was the site of several significant
biblical events: King Saul and his three sons were killed there by the
Philistines in the Battle of Gilboa.
Carved ivory plaque
showing the Woman at the Window; the Bible scene where Jezebel
appears at an upper window may be an allusion to this image -
though the story behind it is long since lost
This seal, from the
collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem,
may have belonged
to Jezebel, wife of King Ahab of Israel.
seal of Jezebel
Jezreel was the winter
capital of the extraordinary King
Omri, one of the great military
commanders of the ancient world. His son Ahab lived there with
Queen Jezebel, and it was from the tower at Jezreel that she watched her son
murdered, just before meeting her own grisly death.
Naboth's vineyard, the
cause of so much trouble, was close to the walls of the city (1 Kings
21). In the courtyard of the palace Jezebel's body was eaten by
dogs (2 King 9:30-37).
for her story.
Excavations on the eastern side of the city. Somewhere here is the spot where Jezebel's blood spattered the stone floor of the courtyard, to be licked up by
the palace dogs
once the central administrative area of the city of Jezreel
around Jezreel was called the
plain of Esdraelon in the Book of
Judith, and was supposed to be close
to Judith's own
For Judith's sexually ambiguous story, see
For famous paintings of the scene where she hacks off the
head of her enemy Holofernes, see Bible
See other fascinating links between
Archaeology and the Bible