Jealousy is used in the Scriptures in both a positive and a negative sense. When jealousyis used as an attribute of God, it is obviously used in a positive sense. Probably themost striking example of the anthropomorphic portrayal of God is in those passages wherehe is said to be jealous. The language is based upon the relationship of husband and wifeand is frequently associated with Israel's unfaithfulness to God.
The Hebrew word qana [
The Greek word zelos [zh'lo"] and its verb form zeloo [zhlovw] are onlyused five times in the New Testament. In Romans 10:19, Israel is said to be provoked tojealousy by Gentile nations that receive divine blessings. The same use of the word isrecorded in Romans 11:11 because "salvation has come to the Gentiles." In 2Corinthians 11:2, Paul declares his deep concern for the Corinthians when he says, "Iam jealous for you with a godly jealousy."
The Corinthian Christians are said to be provoking God to jealousy because of theworship of idols ( 1Cor 10:22 ). This is followed by the question, "Are we stronger than he?"meaning "Can we afford to defy his power?" Therefore, to arouse the jealousy ofGod is a very dangerous action on our part. On the other hand, God's jealousy is based onhis love and concern for us.
Alan N. Winkler
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
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[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Bibliography InformationElwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Jealousy'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology".