╨╧рб▒с>■  QS■   P                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ье┴G ┐ф`bjbjО┘О┘ nь│ь│ф\      ]╠╠╠╠╠╠╠ррррр ь$р╢╩╠╠╠╠╠╠$╗ЇпЦЁ╠ЁD╠╠DDDО╠╠╩рр╠╠╠╠╩DЖD╩╠╠╩ └лsЭ┤Ї├рркЪ╩ C H R O N I C L E O F T H E H O R S E S O F I S R A E L -- P A R T I I I A N T E A N N O S T E L L A E 8 7 0 Her Painted Eyes Ahab son of Omri the great king of Israel could have chosen anyone and gotten her. The Pelethites had beautiful women, and long before the time of Samson they had demonstrated that they knew how to please men until they turned nigh to madness! Moab was renowned for women too, of special merit and nobility of carriageЧbut Moab was ruled by Israel, and a wife from a subject land would not be accepted by his people. As for the other kingdomsЧthe Ammonites, the Edomites, and so on, they were too crude and tribal in manners to suit a son of Israel, or so it was thought. He lived in a house, not a tent, not like the majority of Ammonites and Edomites whose countryside could boast few built up towns and cities the size and splendor of Tirzah, Samaria, and Jezreel. Mizraim, of course, was peerless in for the pride and beauty of its womenЧbut the pharaohs hated to send their royal princesses to foreign courtsЧit was held demeaning to the royal Mizraimite blood to be joined to УbarbariansФ by marriage. What to do? Second choice, other than Mizraim, was Byblos (Gebal), Sidon, Tyre, and Ugarit, the closest and greatest of IsraelТs neighbors on the northern coast. They were not Yahweh worshipers, true, but Ahab cared little for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. His father too cared little for the God of their fathersЧfor times had changed. The people of Israel were no longer tent-dwellers and nomads, moving from place to place with their flocks. Now they inhabited cities, with walls, palaces, and fortresses, with vineyards and villages spread round them. Such an advanced nation, with the refined ways of the royal court, required a religion that pleased the people better than the old sacrifices and the rigorous and unnecessary demands put on the people by Moshe the lawgiver. Sidon was renowned of late for its king, Ethbaal, who was reputed not only to have the most beautiful palace in that region but also possessed the most beautiful daughters, some of which he had given to the chief temples of Astarte as high priestesses. As for his sons, they were not as vigorous and high-spirited as the daughtersЧand the first-born, in fact, was missing, having been given by his royal parents to the god Moloch as a sacrifice. So to Sidon the young Ahab journeyed in his fine Mizraimite chariot, with horsemen attending him, and a chest of gifts for his prospective bride. Ethbaal had already conferred with Omri, and so Ahab was visiting the royal household of Ethbaal, with an aim to choose among the kingТs daughters, born to him either by his wives or his concubines. The kingТs favorite daughter put the last touches of paint to her chief beauty, a very alert pair of emerald-green eyes, as she sat on a golden Egyptian stool in her private chamber in the eunuch-guarded womenТs quarters of the palace at Sidon. Jezebel, whose name meant УThe Chaste,Ф had been dedicated at birth to give pleasure to BaalТs divine loins, readied herself for the crown princeТs visit. She knew she was head and shoulders above the other daughters of the king by his various wives and concubines, by all means the best choiceЧjust the age he would prefer, being a few years younger than he, and everyone said she was beyond question the most beautiful. But would the foreign Israelite prince be turned away by the ways of Sidon and TyreЧwhich were quite different from those of his own country, which, she was informed, worshiped a strange, invisible god called Yahweh. This god was also said to exact strict obedience in sexual purity. A man might have a wife, but he could not take any woman besides without marrying her. How odd! And he also could not worship any other god but this god Yahweh, or he was cursed! Could anything be stranger? She wasnТt sure she wanted to live in such barbaric conditions, with so strait a religion, but perhaps she could prevail upon her husband to change the religion to make it more pleasing. The kingТs daughter awaited the crown prince, making doubly sure her royal garments and hair and jewelry and body perfumes were perfect in every respect. She had her own spies, who sat by the main gates of the city watching for the crown prince. The day came when news came to her in the womenТs quarters that the prince had arrived. How excited the slave girls were for herЧit was most annoying! She hated them, every one. How dare such low creatures presume on her feelings like they did! But she couldnТt stop themЧthe little animals! Even if she ordered them beaten, they would go on acting the same. She ordered her new Tyrian-manufactured, ivory-handled gold mirror costing twelve Israelite oxen, and it was brought to check her face and eyes the final time before she was allowed to be shown briefly to the prince at the kingТs banquet. There was a gallery built for this purpose. All she had to do was walk along it with her ladies in waiting, and the prince could turn his head and see her. There each daughter was directed to perform a little dance to Baal. If his countenance showed he was pleased, then her father knew his daughter had been chosen. Even though she knew every step of the process, having watched an older sister go through it for the sake of catching a certain Babelite prince, Jezebel was a bit nervous. She was taller than most girls her age. Would a man like Prince Ahab like that in a woman? Most men preferred their women to stand a foot shorter. And her forehead bulged a bit more than could be wanted. She made up for it by curling her hair thickly upon it and adding many lustrous jems, and so there was no bulge. As for the rest, everyone said her green eyes were her best feature, along with fine breasts and fine legs. She could dance, play the harp and lute, and sing. Her manner was graceful, not like some women who could not walk a straight pace to a shrine of the god and bow appropriately. Everyone said she carried herself like a true queenЧand she knew that was true. She had practiced every movement, countless times behind a high, ivory screen in her apartments. She knew just how to arch her neck and tilt her head for a particularly striking pose, and how to glance in a thousand other meaningful ways, either to command, or entice. As for her eyes, she set off their gemlike beauty with Mizraimite paints, using Mizraimite kohl along with gold dust and a blue paste made from ground gemstone that made them appear all the larger and more lustrous. The promenade and little dance went very well. She knew it had the moment she caught the princeТs eye, which was filled with mingled fascination, surprise at her ravishing beauty, and desire as she momentarily cocked her head at him and ran her eyes up and down his body as if she could see through his royal apparel. After many banquets, with visits to the main temples and shrines of Baal and Astaroth, she was given to him with a choice dowry of many servant-girls, men-servants, gold, silver, jewels, spices, fine ointments, queenly gowns and cloaks, furnishings, carpets, furniture, and all sorts of wagons, chariots, and horsesЧonly Ethbaal, with his great wealth, could have given such a lavish dowry. Ahab arrived a small, moderately wealthy prince and went away a rich as many a king could wish! It was a happy union for both, except that Jezebel almost immediately fell homesick for the great city of Sidon and its ways, and thought Israel unspeakably uncultivated and crude. She especially did not like the Yahweh religion that was still holding the country back from being better than it could be. If only she could think of ways to change it! She decided she had to change thingsЧif she were to be happy with her husband in his home. And her husbandЧhe was easy enough to please as a man. Could he not be persuaded to change the religion to one like her peopleТs? She asked that shrines and temples be built to Baal and Astaroth, and he built them. It was as easy as that! So it seemed, anyway, until she heard that she was loathed by the Yahweh priests. They spoke against her, that she was a foreign harlot and idolator! She, УThe Chaste,Ф immoral? She was infuriated! She was so angry that she grew determined to punish such scandal-mongers who had attacked her royal name, dragging in the mud. With the kingТs ascent, she sent soldiers out and arrested some of the most vocal Yahweh priests, and then had them executed. She thought that would cow the rest, but it failed. More priests, then men they called prophets, began opposing her temples and shrines. She continued to have them built all across the land, and gave orders for the Yahweh altars to be torn down wherever they could be found. The people did not rise up, but the priests and prophets continued to speak evil of her. How could they be stopped? She continued to arrest and kill themЧuntil hundreds were slain. Her husband, hearing how many had been killed, grew somewhat troubled. He approached her on the matter one night as they lay together on the royal couch. УWhy ask me about it?Ф she shot back. УWhat am I doing to trouble Israel? I am merely giving the people a choice. They had none before. It was either worship Yahweh or be cursed. Now they can worship our beloved Baal and our beloved Lady! Baal gives us fertility, and our harvests are good, are they not? We would be fools to cultivate this absurd little desert god СYahwehТ who brings only bad times and drought upon the land!У She must have struck a nerve, for Ahab started when she mentioned the harvests. УWhatТs the matter?Ф she demanded. УOh,Ф he replied glumly, Уthere is this sopetet who came out of some dung-heap of a village called Tishbi over down in Gilead who is saying thereТs going to be a droughtЧcalled at his command, mind you!Ф УThatТs ridiculous, our great Lord Baal will never let it happen! Look at all the rich offerings weТve given him and his temples to win his favor! He couldnТt possibly let a little man like that call down a curse upon us!Ф УI wouldnТt be so sure.Ф УOh?Ф The king wouldnТt speak, but she kept prodding him until he divulged what he was thinking. Ahab described the prophet in more detail, and JezebelТs attention grew, along with her understanding, as she saw that he might be more formidable than the others. УBut this sopetet is different, beloved wife! You know how weТve sent out soldiers to comb the countryside for him, and he always gets awayЧsomething always happening to prevent capture, a rainstorm, or a great wind, or a lion, making it impossible to put our hands on him. Then heТs always popping up where you least expect him, just to say how terrible we are, before disappearing, as if the earth swallows him up. The common people are enchanted by him, claiming he has many magic powers, even saying he can fly through the air and call down fire on his enemies! And I daresay he could do all those things, he is such a great wizard.Ф Hearing these details, Jezebel realized the power of her irresistable green eyes were being seriously challenged and that she had to think this one over carefully. Tyre and Sidon knew of wizards, but none so adept as this Elijah was claimed to be. Yet he was a mortal man, was he not? He possessed flesh and blood like any man. He had loins that could desire a woman, had he not? Well, she knew how to get the best of men, even the most powerful and cunning. HadnТt she proven her ability time and time again? On her wedding night hadnТt she approached her bridegroom and he had balked at her request, thinking it was too disgusting and that he might УdefileФ himself if he satisfied her wishes? After explaining that they were most holy practices of the priests, she told him then, УYou want it, and I want it.Ф Hearing that, he had done what she proposed, with the golden images of Baal and Astaroth standing watch over their Sidonian-style nuptials. After that she could make him submit to anything. From time to time she also brought into their bed both male and female temple prostitutes for him and her to share their loves. He even made love to both mother and daughter in the same bed while she made love to father and son. On certain days, holy to Baal and his consort, everyone in the palace was ordered to participate. ChildrenЧtrained by adept priests of Baal--were brought in to play obscenely before them for his entertainment at feasts. Animals were mated to women dancers. Even secret temple rites involving men and young boys (the boys having their throats cut during the rite) were performed for his benefit, after gaining her fatherТs permission. In this way she had gradually won him over to the whole religion of Sidon and away from the ways of YahwehЧso far away, in fact, that for him there was no going back. From that night on, JezebelТs main aim was to capture and slay Elijah after she had made him bow to Baal and confess he was Lord. She heard how he denounced her and her husband, and every report flamed in her mind until she could not sleep at night, as her mind raced with ideas for ensnaring the elusive hick-prophet. She sent out chariot teams of hired assassins, but they came back empty-handed, if they came back, telling her how the prophet had vanished into thin air just when they started to make their arrest! How she wished she had been born a man! If she werenТt a delicate palace woman, restricted to ivory-covered apartments as the queen, she would have ridden a chariot out with horses in pursuit of the prophet. She herself would have thrown the spear through him, or shot him with an arrow. Or hacked off his donkey head! She knew she could do such things, but it would appear unseemly for a queen to act in such a way. Men were soldiersЧwomen were not. Besides, she would spoil her fine skin in the hot sunЧand that would be terrible to face in the mirror! She varied her tactics. She sent the youngest and most beautiful temple prostitutes, both male and female, to entice himЧthey were ignored. She sent gold to bribe him into silenceЧit was spurned, either thrown to the ground or distributed to the poor. She sent fifty men at a time to entrap and kill him, but he called down fire and burned them up! What was she to do? As long as he lived, she knew she couldnТt wipe out the religion of Yahweh in her kingdom. She knew her husband was too easy-going and weak-hearted in nature to want to do a complete job of itЧso it depended on her. As long as she was thwarted, her ferociousness grew. She vowed for revenge upon the prophet. She lusted for his blood. All her good qualitiesЧand she had manyЧwere enlisted in the effort to eliminate the prophet who alone opposed her happiness. To her thinking, there could be no peace in the palace and in the kingdom until this Уtroubler of IsraelФ was done away with once and for all. What particularly galled her was the time he showed up uninvited at Naboth the JezeeliteТs vineyard. She had just had Naboth assassinated so that the king might have his heartТs desire, the beautiful vineyard the stupid owner had refused to sell to the king. She had arranged the whole thing, after finding her husband so distraught over the stubbornness of Naboth that he refused to eat and hung his head. УWhy is your spirit so sad, that you refuse to eat?Ф she said to him when she could not bear his sulking. УBecause I went to Naboth the Jezreelite and said, СGive me your vineyard for money; or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.Т And he replied, СI will not give you my vineyard,ТФ Then she asked him, УDo you govern the kingdom of Israel? Or does this miserable Naboth? Get up and eat, and let your heart be merry, for I will give you the vineyard of Naboth.Ф So she had, after sending a letter to the elders of the town, proclaiming a fast and honoring Naboth. While he was being honored in a special booth before a gathering of the townspeople, she had arranged that two witnesses speak against him, charging him with blasphemy against God and the king. And the people rushed upon Naboth and carried him away and stoned him. After that the king went to possess the vineyard once she told him Naboth was dead. Spoiling everything, Elijah showed up and said to the king, СThus saith the Lord: УHave you killed and taken possession? In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your blood! Behold, I will bring evil upon you. I will take away your posterity. СУ Following this blasphemy, Elijah spoke against her royal person as well, saying, СThus saith the Lord: УThe dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.ТФ Her green eyes squeezed shut with rage whenever she thought of it. How could she let him live one day more after such taunts? At one point she almost got him, when he thought he was victorious over her and dared to come into Jezreel her city, entering through the city gates, with people acclaiming his vile deeds on Mount Carmel where he slew all her priests and prophets after calling down fire from the sky upon his altar to Yahweh after her priests failed to call down fire from Baal upon their sacrifices. She heard he was in the city, and she sent out men immediately to arrest him, but he kept moving so quickly that they werenТt able to capture him. Finally, a messenger reached him through the crowds that continually thronged about him, and she was able to deliver her thoughts to him. She meant every word, and apparently he believed her words, for he immediately fled. She had wanted him captured at the gates, but the guards failed to identify him in time. Evidently, he had posed as a beggar and no one wanted to touch a dirty beggar. She had the guards responsible executed, but the harm was done. Elijah remained at large, and years passed. She received reports of him and his mischief almost every day. He had anointed the king of Syria! Then he anointed a successor! And then he even dared to anoint a successor to her own husband! There came a day that she dreadedЧher husband did not return alive from battle with the king of Syria. But she was still the kingТs beloved wife. She could still rule with as strong an arm as any man as long as she remained queen in the royal palace. But Jehu, the traitor Elijah had anointed, came to Jezreel with his army. He dared ride right into the city, and no one would stop him. Hearing she had to face the fellow, she had her eyes painted, and clothed in her royal gown, with her Sidonian-style crown on her head, she went to a window, spread the ivory shutters, and looked down. In spite of being so fat, her eyes were as beautiful as in her youth and she still looked a queen with her crown jewels and peacock feathers. Jehu had ridden up with his men in chariots, demanding she come out. As she was speaking to him, saying, УHad Zimri the usurper peace, who slew his master?Ф he turned and called up to her attendants. УWho is on my side? Who?Ф shouted Jehu, ignoring her taunt. And two or three eunuchs looked outЧmen who had been her lovers as young men on her royal command and then been made eunuchs by her command when she tired of them. She had never thought of them as possessing minds of their ownЧnot until now as Jehu said to them, УThrow her down.Ф Suddenly, their hearts revived. They recalled they were men despite what she had done to them. Before she could scream and call her guards to slay the eunuchs, they seized her and thrust her out the gold-casemented window. She fell heavily and crashed, splitting open against the stones of the street and wall, her blood spilling everywhere and her bones shattered like sticks. She died instantly. JezebelТs royal blood splattered against the feet of Jehu and his horses and against the wall of Jezreel, and royal as she was he drove his chariot over her, one of his chariot wheels driving right between her legs and splitting her open like an over-ripe melon Then, after he passed, dogs ran up and eagerly licked queenТs blood. What was to stop ravening creatures? They continued after consuming her blood by eating her flesh. Whoever dared JehuТs wrath eagerly stole her jewels and ivory treasures and fled away with them. After he had dined in the palace, Jehu remembered the dead queen. УGo,Ф he ordered his men, Уand see now to this cursed woman, and bury her, for she is a kingТs daughter.Ф And they went to bury her but found only her hands and feet and a skull, its flesh and hair gnawed off leaving only her eyes staring, lidless, from their sockets. He then remembered the prophecy given him by a son of the prophets, who said to him, УAnd they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. У His aides replied, УYes, this is the word of the Lord, which was spoken by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, who said, УIn Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel. And the carcass of Jezebel shall be as dung on the ground in Jezreel, so that they shall not say, СThis is Jezebel.ТФ How hated she was! УOld Green Eyes,Ф as she came to be called by her oppressed subjects, had taxed and executed and taxed and executedЧuntil the people of Israel were not only impoverished but lived daily in fear of their lives. What good had her foreign gods of Tyre and Sidon done them? They had given up Yahweh and gained every vile practice known to the Baal worshipers. The temples of Baal and Astaroth consumed their daughters and sonsЧand ruined them as temple prostitutes. Thus, no one wanted to bury even her hands and feet. What little was left of her was carried off in a dung-basket and cast into a fire burning in the dung-heap outside the city walls. ElijahТs word from the Lord, that seemed impossible at the time they were spoken had come to pass, long after the queen herself had laughed them to scorn. Nevertheless, the spirit that gave such boldness to Jezebel did not perish with her. On the contrary! It flew straight to her daughter, Athaliah. She proved a willing, perfect host. As wife of the king of Judah, when he died she had every male of the royal family killed that she could find, then sat on the throne and ruled like the worst of Israelite kings, taxing the people into poverty and worshiping the gods of Sidon and Ethbaal with all their unspeakable abominations until the people revolted and killed her just like they would kill a poisonous snake. ╣╛└эў°IPVЧDЪD▌`у`ф`√ї√єэєщє√5БCJ( 5Б6БCJ(6Б 5Б6БCJ85БCJ8"#CD`a}~гд┐└┴┬├─┼╞╟╚╔╩╦╠═╬╧╨¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√ф`■╨╤╥╙╘╒╓╫╪┘┌█▄эю MPь║0u№хЇG H K"%p&¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√p&╨(Е)K+ж+╒+п,б-╦-ъ-V./з191;w=█?vA!CШCsD5E G,H╓HaILVNdO№O¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤№OjQ┐QTRЮRQS╒SBTГUУU╢WqXэY[[▌]Ф^█`▄`▌`▐`▀`р`с`т`у`ф`¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤░╨/ ░р=!░"░#Ра$Ра%░ [$@ё $NormalmH :`: Heading 1$@&5Б6БCJ(nH <A@Є б<Default Paragraph Fontф\ n    ф`1╨p&№Oф`2456ф`3yz{|МНЪЫў√Q[ёї@D═╒├\ц\,1sxДЙ!@XtБ'2o x ╪ у L ФZw[~[ц\   Ron Ginthes3C:\My Documents\horsesisraelpartthreechron.html.doc @Ау\у\xД├у\у\ф\╨@GРЗ: Times New Roman5РАSymbol3&Р З: Arial"0И╨hlВВ&mВВ&p ШL'г!е└┤┤А0^   C H R O N I C L E O F Ron Ginthes Ron Ginthes■ ZрЕЯЄ∙OhлС+'│┘0xИР╝╚▄ш°  4 @ LX`hpф! 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