Jezebel: A Study in Prophecy, Divine Violence, and Gender
New Perspectives on the Book of Revelation
This chapter considers the threat of punitive violence against "Jezebel" in Revelation 2. It argues that "Jezebel" is vulnerable to particular divine violence because she has laid claim to the role of prophet. For a variety of authors in the ancient Mediterranean, being a prophet was uniquely dangerous. Prophets were vulnerable to divine violence against their own bodies and against the bodies of their close associates. This chapter traces the theme of divine violence against six different prophets: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Balaam, Cassandra, the Delphic Pythia, and the Jewish Sibyl. It finds that although both male and female prophets could be victims of divine violence, and perhaps even of sexual violence, the encounter was often more severe when the prophet or the prophet's close associate in question was female. All of this heightens the rhetorical threat against "Jezebel" and her children made by the one like a son of man in Revelation 2.