Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not Quite The Jewess

The action takes place in the Land of israel and the lady is Queen to a Jewish King.

But, she's no Jewess.


And the book is subtitled: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen.

It's by Lesley Hazleton and here's an excerpt from the Washington Post review:-

Although this volume sports a deliciously seductive cover, it is, in fact, a work both academic and speculative, taking as its underlying material the war between paganism and the God Yahweh, and how Yahweh won.

"Jezebel" consists of a close reading of the Book of Kings in the Old Testament, which, among other things, tells the story of how King Ahab of Israel (as opposed to its poorer southern neighbor, Judea) took it upon himself to marry the 15-year-old Princess Jezebel from the city-state of Tyre, just a stone's throw away in geography (an island off the shore of what is Lebanon today) but a universe apart in terms of belief systems...When Ahab married Jezebel and when he later spared an enemy army in battle, Elijah became filled with rage, accusing Ahab, and particularly Jezebel, of harlotry, which meant not physical adultery but "selling out," much as we say that talented writers "prostitute" their art to Hollywood today. "Israel was selling its soul, not its body," Hazleton writes. "This was abomination. This was treason. This was harlotry." And Ahab's God was jealous. [???]

Because of Ahab's misdeeds and the bad influence of Jezebel, who had brought with her a retinue of priests devoted to Baal and Astarte, Elijah prophesied three years of drought. But prophesying drought in Israel is like doing so in Southern California. The odds are certainly with you. Chaos and high drama ensued.

...Hazleton pours common-sense feminine scorn on Elijah, who -- as she sees it -- engineered the destruction of Israel, plotting the deaths of Ahab and his sons and managing it so that Jezebel was murdered, too, and thrown to the dogs, unburied, her reputation so bruised that even now she stands for "bad girls" everywhere. Elijah, at least in Kings, does seem like a nut job, but in the years since he's -- ironically -- been seen as a caring soul in each of the three "one, true" religions. The overall impression left by "Jezebel" is disheartening. They're still at it, over there at the far end of the Mediterranean, and this volume helps explain why those warring factions can't seem to ever find peace.

All I can add to this is that back in 1977, Ms. Hazleton published a book, Israeli Women: The Reality Behind the Myths in which she suggested that the Hebrew slang word for penis, i.e., zayin, is akin to Zion and therefore Zionism is a form of feminist subjugation. Nice try, Lesley, but Zion is English. The Hebrew is Tziyon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So Jezebel was only a spiritual harlot?
I hear that's far less lucrative.

Love the line "But prophesying drought in Israel is like doing so in Southern California. The odds are certainly with you. Chaos and high drama ensued."