Jesus threatens to throw the self-appointed prophetess Jezebel onto a bed (Revelation 3:22). The threat carries multiple resonances.

The original Jezebel died by being thrown from a window to the ground in front of conquering Jehu. Jesus is the new Jehu throwing Jezebel to her deathbed. 

It’s fitting that she’s thrown into a bed with all those who commit adultery with her; her death completes the ménage a trois, quatre, plus en plus that was her life.The bed is the place where she has done her harlotry, but the bed has become a sickbed, or even a deathbed. 

More subtly, the threat picks up on the recurrent bed theme in 1-2 Kings, where beds are places of sickness and death and also graves from which the dead rise. Beds are sites for the daily death of sleep, also sites for the daily drama of waking and resurrection. Jezebel is a figure from the period of the monarchy, and Jesus’ threat fits the kingdom period.

Beds are also altars, as altars (Heb. mizbeach) are “sites of communion” between Yahweh (or a false god) and his bridal people. In Thyatira, Jezebel has enticed the people to commune with idols, and Jesus threatens to toss her on her bed/altar, where He will consume her in the fire of His eyes.

More on: Revelation, Jezebel

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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