Compare and Contrast Women of the Bible
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There are many women mentioned in the bible, and this essay will be taking a closer look at two very well known women in it. Although Jezebel and Esther are both queens in the bible, they have very different life paths. These two diverse queens however, shared several traits: fine minds, boldness and courage, leadership capabilities and loyalty to a cause. The main difference was in how those qualities were used and whom the women served and worshiped
Jezebel was a Phoenician princess, a daughter of the king and queen of the rich coastal city-state of Sidon. Jezebel means “Where is the prince?’-The “prince” is the god Baal. Jezebels upbringing was from a well-cultured and luxurious environment. Her people, the Phoenicians were diverse and sophisticated. Her father was an absolute monarch and therefore Jezebel believed that might is right and that monarchs can govern as they wish. She was also trained to lead and command. When Jezebel was old enough, a marriage was arranged for her with Ahab, the King of Israel.
Esther grew up differently; she was a symbol of Jews who lived successfully in a somewhat separate culture. The name Esther means, “hidden.” As a woman, she was not in a possession of power. Basically just as other Jews were not members of the power elite. She grew up as an orphan and was separated from her native land. Both of these things were big disadvantages for her, so she had to use every skill and advantage she had. She also had to quickly adapt herself to the situation just as the rest of her people had. Esther is the beautiful virgin selected to marry Ashasuerus, the King of Persia after the King banishes Queen Vashti for refusing to obey orders from him.
Jezebel’s mission or what she sees is her duty, is to guard the worship of Baal and Asherah. She believed these gods regulated the fertility of the country she now lived in and ruled. It was a turbulent period of the divided kingdoms, as various dynasties struggled for political power. There was also famine and as the drought worsened the people became desperate. They pleaded with any god that would listen to their cries. A contest to see whose god was real developed between the people who worshiped Baal and those who worshiped Yahweh. Elijah, the prophet of Yahweh proves to the people that God is real when God manifests himself thru fire. Elijah makes himself very unpopular with Jezebel because after the contest, he defeats and slaughters 450 of her prophets. Only a few remarks are made by Jezebel “ The Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying “ So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I don not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life…” (1 Kings 19:1-3) Thus proving her allegiance to the false god Baal.
Another example of Jezebels fearlessness is when her husband, King Ahab becomes upset that he cannot buy a vineyard from Naboth. Jezebel seems to ridicule him and takes matters into her own hands by accusing Naboth of stealing. He is then killed and Jezebel and Ahab are able to claim the vineyard they wanted. Jezebel is now depicted as a wicked queen. After a battle, Ahab is killed and his two sons take the throne. Jehu then enters the picture and somehow manages to set a trap for the young kings. They are both murdered as Jezebel witnesses it from her watchtower. Jezebel soon realizes her time is to come too so she dresses up in her most elaborate queen attire and waits. As Jehu enters the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?” Jezebel died a dramatic death, hurling insults at her murderers to the last moment of her life.
Esther’s Mission at first is to keep her heritage a secret and not reveal that she is a Jew. Especially after her Mordecai, her uncle, advises her not to do so. Everything is seemingly going well for Esther and Mordecai until a man named Haman is promoted by the king to a position beyond his capabilities. Noticing Mordecai does not bow before him as ordered, he devices a plan to eliminate all the Jews in the land. The king unwittingly signs the death warrant of all Jews. Mordecai grieves and mourns, but then pulls himself together and sends word to Esther.
The Queen comes to a crossroads where her character and courage will be tested. Esther asks for prayer and fasting on her behalf from her people and decides to go forth and try to see the king all though this could have great consequence and cost queen her life. “ If I perish, I perish”. The king had seemed surprised to see her and somehow delighted by her presence. She invites the king and Haman to a banquet she is hosting and when they arrive, the king soon finds out of Haman’s evil plot against the Jews. Haman is then taken out and hanged from the gallows he had built for Mordecai. Esther is seen now as a brave heroine and saves the Jewish population of Persia.
Both Queen Esther and Queen Jezebel were highly intelligent. They were bold and had a lot of courage for women of their times. They were incredibly strong willed and stayed loyal to their families to the very end. Except one queen used her power for light and for God and the other for darkness and false idolism.