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Jealousy is used in three senses in Scripture; (1) as intolerance of rivalry or unfaithfulness; (2) as a disposition suspicious of rivalry or unfaithfulness; and (3) as hostility towards a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage. Sense 3 approximates envy. God is jealous for His people Israel in sense 1, that is, God is intolerant of rival gods (Exodus 20:5 ; Exodus 34:14 ; Deuteronomy 4:24 ; Deuteronomy 5:9 ) One expression of God's jealousy for Israel is God's protection of His people from enemies. Thus God's jealousy includes avenging Israel (Ezekiel 36:6 ; Ezekiel 39:25 ; Nahum 1:2 ; Zechariah 1:14 ; Zechariah 8:2 ). Phineas is described as jealous with God's jealousy (Numbers 25:11 ,Numbers 25:11,25:13 , sometimes translated zealous for God). Elijah is similarly characterized as jealous (or zealous) for God (1Kings 19:10,1 Kings 19:14 ). In the New Testament Paul speaks of his divine jealousy for the Christians at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:2 ).

Numbers 5:11-30 concerns the process by which a husband suspicious of his wife's unfaithfulness might test her. Most often human jealousy involves hostility towards a rival. Joseph's brothers were jealous ( Genesis 37:11 ) and thus sold their brother into slavery (Acts 7:9 ). In Acts 17:5 a jealous group among the Jews incited the crowd against Paul. Jealousy, like envy, is common in vice lists ( Romans 13:13 ; 2 Corinthians 12:20 ; Galatians 5:20-21 ). Jealousy is regarded as worse than wrath or anger (Proverbs 27:4 ). James regarded jealousy (or bitter envy) as characteristic of earthy, demonic wisdom (Proverbs 3:14 ) and as the source of all disorder and wickedness (Proverbs 3:16 ). See Envy .

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Jealousy'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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