Ethbaal was born in 915 BC to a man named Ahiram of whom hardly anything is known except for a sarcophagus bearing his name. Ethbaal originally was a priest of Astarte (or Ashtoreth). His being a priest explains why his daughter Jezebel was so zealous in the promotion in Israel of the Phoenician gods. Ethbaal assassinated the king of Tyre named Phelles and took the throne at the age of about 36. Thus he created a new dynasty.
He expanded the kingdom of Tyre to include all of Phoenicia, which included Sidon for which he is known for the Bible. His behavior in ascending the throne explains why Jezebel dealt with Naboth and his vineyard in the way she did. Ethbaal also was responsible for the establishment of new colonies such as Botrys (now Batrun) near Byblos, and Auza in Libya.
Relations with Israel
He is mentioned only once in the Bible and is said to be the father of King Ahab's wife Jezebel. By giving his daughter Jezebel in marriage with King Ahab of Israel, he held close diplomatic contacts with him. Doing so was a way of affirming an alliance between the two nations. This resulted in major Phoenician influence in Samaria and the other Israelite cities.
After his reign that lasted 32 years, he died in 947/6 BC and was succeeded by his son Baal-Eser II.
Ethbaal is the translation of the Hebrew word אֶתְבַּעַל (eth-bah'-al), which means "with Baal".