“Is it peace, Zimri?” When will the trash talking end?

After Elijah’s delivers his message of canine blood licking to Ahab and Jezebel, amazingly Ahab repents and puts on sackcloth (1 Kings 21:27).  YHWH is so impressed that he tells Elijah that he’s going to delay the judgment on Ahab’s house (1 Kings 21:28-29).  Ahab is still killed in battle after he ignores the negative prophecy of Micaiah, and the dogs do get to lick up his blood, just as was predicted in YHWH’s trash speech (1 Kings 22:37-38).

There’s an extended break in the trash talking action until Jezebel is confronted by the usurper, Jehu (see my monograph on his dynasty under “Other books”).  The connection between Jehu and Elijah goes back to when YHWH told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor and to anoint Jehu as king over Israel (1 Kings 19:16).  Elijah didn’t do that, and neither did Elisha, but eventually Elisha delegated the task to his apprentice (2 Kings 9:1-9).  And when that young prophet anointed Jehu he also repeated the canine dog licking curse, probably because it was so much fun to say (2 Kings 9:10).

As he approaches Jezebel, Jehu is fresh from a slaughter.  He has been on a rampage, killing both the Israelite king, Joram and the Judean king, Ahaziah (grandson of Ahab and Jezebel because of the intermarriage between the royal houses of Judah and Israel–yes, it’s complicated).  So Jehu finally comes to Jezebel who’s up in her tower.  She puts on her make-up (who was she trying to impress?) and then asks Jehu, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?” (2 Kings 9:31)

I don’t really like Jezebel, but this is amazing trash-talk.

How is Jezebel talking trash here?  By calling Jehu, “Zimri.”  Zimri isn’t very well known, so don’t be embarassed if you don’t know who he is.  He only reigned for 7 days (1 Kings 16:15-20).  Zimri and Jehu had a lot in common: both were military leaders (1 Kings 16:9; 2 Kings 9:5), and both took the throne by killing his predecessor.  Interestingly, Zimri was basically killed by Omri, father of Ahab, husband of Jezebel.  So, by calling Jehu, Zimri, she’s saying “You’ll only reign a week and you’ll be killed by one of my relatives.”

Impressive, although she was wrong; Jehu reigned 28 years, apparently died of old age and had the longest Israelite dynasty.  Jezebel died when she was throne from the tower by her eunuchs…and her blood spattered on the wall…and she was trampled by horses…and the dogs ate her corpse…and pooped it out onto the field (yes the Bible does say all that–2 Kings 9:33-37)

So, the OT trash talking blogs will probably end here, unless you have more requests…

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