Ahab and Jezebel in Psalm 45

A recent post by Wil Gafney about sexuality and eroticism in the Bible made the suggestion that Psalm 45 is about King Ahab and Jezebel. It is an interesting suggestion, which I had probably read before but forgotten about – for instance, Claude Mariottini blogged about the possibility in 2007, and commentaries mention it as well. The psalm refers to the queen forsaking her own people, and to gifts from Tyre, and Jezebel is the only instance we know of in which a princess from that part of the world married an Israelite king.

This is a great example of different perspectives on events within the Bible. Read Psalm 45, and then if you haven’t read them, or haven’t read them in a while, read 1 Kings 16:29-2 Kings 9:37.

The psalm also gets applied to Jesus in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:8-9).

What do you think about the suggestion regarding the original context of the psalm as being for the wedding of Ahab and Jezebel? How would that change the way you read the psalm – or the Deuteronomistic History, for that matter?

"Oh wow—I totally forgot about that one! Would like to find those verses."

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  • Michael Wilson

    I looked into this after you posted, I hadn’t heard this suggestion before, but after thinking it over, it has merit. It may seem odd that such a famous biblical villain would have a poem dedicated to them in the Bible, but it is certainly possible that the song was included into the psalms in ignorance of the original inspiration. Further the time that Ahab and Jezebel ruled marks a period of close relations between Judah and Israel. I suspect that the two kingdoms may have been united after Ahab’s time by Joram of Judah, who may have been the same person Joram of Israel. I think this may have been an apt time for the writing of J as wel, so may have been thought of as a good time for the Yahwhist, and perhaps it was not until later that the reputation of Ahab was blackened, after the usurpation by Jehu and Athalia’s massacre of the Judean royal line.