This is a recent men’s talk that I gave, you can listen to the audio here.
Abusive men are bad. They are evil, really. A man who hits a woman in anger is not worthy to be called a man. I have encountered abusive and violent men in my days, and we should have no tolerance for that kind of behaviour. We should also help men who struggle with anger and self-control issues. But we should not tolerate such behaviour. If you struggle with this, sort it out, before it destroys you and your family.
That being said, we are not here today to talk about that, we are here today to talk about the passive man, and the wicked woman. Now, not every passive man is coupled with a wicked woman, but more often than not he is. It is my experience that passive men are more common than abusive men. Far more common. It is like a plague in our society today. So today, I want us to look at a passive man, Ahab, and see what we can learn about him, and from him, and why we should not be like him.
The context (1 Kings 21:1-4):
“Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 And after this Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” 4 And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.”
The context of this situation is very simple. Naboth has a vineyard that Ahab wants, and Naboth won’t give it to him.
For those of you not familiar with who Ahab is, he is one of the most wicked kings of Samaria, the northern Kingdom of Israel. But he was also very successful and very powerful, leading Israel to many good victories in battle. He is also the king who caused the most trouble for Elijah. He did great wickedness in the sight of the Lord, and many abominations. In fact, this same passage tells us, 1 Kings 21:25-26:
“(There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. 26 He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.).”
So, we know that Ahab is not a good man, therefore, we can expect that he will not do the right thing in this passage. Which is exactly what happens.
But this passage also makes clear that not only is Ahab a bad man, he is a very weak man. Look at this:
“And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.”
What a pansy.
Naboth refused to sell his family’s inheritance to this wicked man, who should not have even asked him to. In ancient Israel, families had their allotted land, and the righteous men made sure they handed it to the next generation. The unrighteous men might sell it, trade it, or lose it because of bad investments, or lack of diligence.
This rejection sends this man, who is also the king of his people, into depression mode. He is broken by this refusal. This is a weak man with some really serious issues. So, what happens?
What happens next is the man of the house comes in and takes control of the situation (vv.5-7):
“But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” 6 And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” 7 And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
The man of the house takes the leadership role. The man of the house takes charge. The man of the house makes sure to provide. The man of Ahab’s house was the woman, Jezebel. Ahab’s wife.
So, who was Jezebel? She was a Phoenician princess, a priestess of the Baals and Asherahs. We read about her in 1 Kings 16:31-33:
“And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”
We know it was Jezebel who led Ahab to commit these sins because as we read before, it was Jezebel who incited him to these sins. But also, this was her job as the high priestess of her people.
Ahab is considered one of the most wicked men in the Bible, a truly evil man, and as we noted, the arch enemy of Elijah, the righteous prophet. But everything you read about Ahab shows that if he lived today, he would be a progressive, modern man, who was adept at reflecting the culture of his day and very successful in the eyes of many.
He was religiously progressive, his wife led the teaching of Israel, and she was in charge of the prophets. He followed the religious practices of the ancient peoples around them. He was a multicultural man.
He was also politically progressive, he had conformed his nation to the image of one the wealthiest nations in the region, Tyre and Sidon.
He was militarily successful, his wife was probably beautiful, he would have looked the part of the man’s man, a leader among men. The kind of man every other man wants to follow.
But in reality, Jezebel led Ahab. Jezebel had taken the spiritual and practical leadership of the home. This is what Jezebel did, this is what a Jezebel does.
We read about another woman just like this later on in the Bible, in Revelation 2:21-22:
“But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.”
Again we see this woman, this Jezebel, taking the lead in religious matters, seeking to dominate this church that she is in.
Many people have called the spirit behind this, the Jezebel Spirit. But I call it the Asherah Spirit. Here is why: Jezebel was a high priestess in the religion of the Canaanites. The Canaanites worshipped the Baals and Asherahs.
Asherah was the chief goddess, and she had been the wife of the original high God of the Canaanites, called El, which means, God. According to the Canaanites, she had undermined El, weakened his reign, and then she replaced El with Baal. And we know that Baal is the devil; Beelzebub (Baalzebub).
In other words, Jezebel was a priestess of the Asherah spirit, whose religion was all about women undermining men, to bring them into servitude to the devil. To put it more plainly, Asherah was the “smash the patriarchy” mascot of this ancient time. We call this religion today, feminism. It is inspired by the same demonic Spirit that was behind Jezebel.
The Asherah spirit specializes in turning men, even powerful men, into weak, pusillanimous and passive men, over which the devil can easily rule.
When this feminist spirit is unleashed on men, especially powerful men, it creates disaster all around, because it unleashes evil (vv.8-14):
“So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. 9 And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. 10 And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” 11 And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12 they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. 13 And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”
Because Jezebel was a wicked woman, she took full advantage of her husband’s weakness and all the power of his household and kingdom and used it to destroy this innocent man.
Passive men attract such evil women.
Sexually immoral men, also attract such evil women. Ahab was sexually immoral because he married a forbidden woman, one of the Canaanite priestesses of Baal and Asherah. This was just as sexually immoral as if he had gone to a whore.
We also know he was sexually immoral because Asherah worship was much akin to what happens in brothels and strip clubs. In fact, the priestesses of Asherah would dance around the Asherah pole provocatively, just like a stripper would today, and this religion was full of sex rituals.
Men like Ahab, weak, passive and overcome by sexual sin, will create opportunities for Jezebel’s to run wild. This is why we have so many such women in our society today. Because so many men are like this, weak, passive and overcome by sexual sin.
If a good woman marries one of these passive men, who does not know how to lead, she will likely try to improve her man. She may try hard to inspire him to leadership, and this might work. But it could also bring the worst out in her. She might find herself having to be the man of the house, and this will diminish her ability to be the woman God intended her to be.
Because in the very act of trying to lead her man to be a better man, she has to lead him, which is not God’s intention for marriage. So, not every Ahab is married to a Jezebel, but every passive man will do damage.
If a couple like this has sons, it will do great damage to those boys, and if they have daughters, it will likely create potential Jezebels for the future. It will multiply damage across generations.
The demon Asherah creates great disaster for mankind, is empowered by things like feminism, and revels in child sacrifice, which we today call abortion.
What happens next in 1 Kings 21, is that Ahab gets the property, then God sends Elijah to come down and condemn him, and tell him that he is going to be severely punished. And guess what. Ahab listens (vv.27-29):
“And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. 28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”
This is quite remarkable because this is seemingly out of character for Ahab, but he actually repents.
We know this is not a true and lasting repentance, because Ahab proves in the next passage he has not fully changed. In fact, he will end up dying under the judgement of God. But still, he does actually repent here.
I think this shows us something interesting about an Ahab. A man like this will often be cognizant of his evil, will feel guilty about his passiveness, and will struggle with it. I don’t think very many men like being ruled by the women in their lives, whether their mother or wife. They more often feel trapped when living in this way of life.
But, because they are weak-minded, they are easily driven to guilt, as much as they are driven to sin. Their emotional state is probably all over the place sometimes. They may even seem genuinely repentant for a time.
But at the end of the day, their lack of courage and manliness will betray them again. Ahab dies in the next chapter, after having placed himself under his wife’s false prophets for the last time. He didn’t learn.
So what do we learn from a weak man like Ahab?
A failure to live for righteousness in your life, can make you vulnerable to a dangerous woman like Jezebel. The Asherah spirit preys on weak men, who are easily dominated, who are given to sexual immorality, and who don’t stand up for what is right.
Porn, sexual immorality, fornication, promiscuity, all of this will diminish your ability to lead as a man. How can you raise holy hands to the Lord, when your hands are otherwise engaged in sin?
Not all the wives of passive men are bad women, some are just unfortunate and good women who married a weak man. But a passive man will bring the worst out in even a good woman. So, make sure you are not a passive man.
When you lead, don’t lead like a tyrant. Lead like a gentle and compassionate man, who is willing to die for his wife, and who is willing to oppose evil with everything in you.
Only true and genuine repentance will be of any profit to you on the final day. And only this kind of repentance can protect your family from your sin. Repent before Jesus genuinely, if you fall into these patterns of sin.
This last point of application comes from my wife, who had this insight:
“From a woman’s perspective the men need to know the wife they married is battling the curse to rule her husband and he needs to help her defeat this desire by him ruling the home and leading her. If he neglects this spiritual role to lead by being passive he is disobeying God. Nature abhors a vacuum so if he leaves a space for ruling she will do it. Encourage them to talk openly in their homes about the spiritual battle and the fact that women both want to be led by her husband (it creates security to have a man in charge and how God designed the male female relationship to be) and also wants to rule her husband (this is the curse). If women seem contrary at times it’s because her desires within are conflicted. Pray for her, talk to her about it and lead well. Just a thought.”
I thought this was a good insight, so I thought I would share this too.
Passive men and wicked women are dominant right now in society. We call them progressive egalitarian men and empowered women. But the Bible calls them Ahab and Jezebel.
As a man, you have the responsibility to not let the Spirit of Asherah rule in your home, because the Spirit of Asherah will create a throne for Baal, which is the devil. If you know you are too passive, then repent, turn to the Lord, and ask him to help you lead better. If you need help, ask a man you respect to help you out.