Idolatry in the Northern Kingdom began with Jeroboam I, the first king. But there was a difference between the sin of Jeroboam and the sin of Baal worship introduced by Jezebel. The sin of Jeroboam was a corruption of the true religion. Jeroboam set up a golden calf in Dan and Bethel, but these golden calves represented the God that brought them out of the land of Egypt. This was idolatry, but it was a corruption of the true Jehovah worship (1K. 12:25-33). Furthermore, Jeroboam could cite a precedent in the worship of the golden calf built by Aaron. His words concerning the golden calf in 1 Kings 12:28 are a quotation of Aaron’s words in Exodus 32:4. With Jezebel, it was not merely a corruption of the true religion; a whole new god and system of worship were introduced in Israel (1K. 16:29-33). Through Jezebel, Baal worship came into the Land, resulting in more idolatry than ever before. Involved in the worship of Baal was sexual immorality. In the corruption of Jehovah worship morality was still present, but in the worship of Baal there was complete immorality.1Throughout the Scriptural record concerning Jezebel, one sees an overbearing woman who constantly exerted her strong will over the weak will of her husband, a role reversal common in our day.
1 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 59.