Haftarah Pinchas: Reading the Text III
“Jezebel sent an emissary to Elijah saying, ‘Thus may the gods do to me and thus may they increase upon me, unless at this time tomorrow I shall set your soul as one of them’ (I Kings 19:2).” As my father zt”l read underlying message: “I can’t kill you right now. But at this time tomorrow, your great victory will have been forgotten and I’ll kill you then.”
We never read of Jezebel actually sending assassins to execute Elijah. She didn’t need to. Her message killed him: “Great job, Elijah. People will forget by tomorrow.” Once Jezebel noticed that Elijah stopped at the approach to Jezreel, she understood that such a message would mean the end of Elijah.
I always study the evil characters in the Bible as examples of the Evil Inclination’s strategies against us. Hevel, Nimrod, Eisav, Pharaoh, Goliath etc are all sophisticated strategists, as we see with Jezebel as well. She is one of the most destructive personalities in the bible; idol worship, prostitution, intermarriage, and more, but her genius was her ability to destroy great accomplishments, exhilarating moments, a sense of God’s Hand on our shoulder, by honing in on seeds of hesitation and doubt.