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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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Jealousy, as the translation of ζῆλος (vb. ζηλόω, denotes the state of mind which arises from the knowledge or fear or suspicion of rivalry. (1) It is often begotten of self-love. Those who have come out of heathen darkness into Christian light should no longer walk in strife and jealousy (Romans 13:13), which are characteristics of the carnal or selfish mind (1 Corinthians 3:3). Bitter jealousy (ζῆλον πικρόν) and faction, in which rivals are ‘each jealous of the other, as the stung are of the adder’ (King Lear, v. i. 56f.), and exult over (κατακαυχᾶσθε) every petty triumph achieved, are an antithesis of Christianity, a lying against the truth (James 3:14). Where jealousy and faction are, there is anarchy (ἀκαταστασία) and every vile deed (James 3:16). The Jewish opponents of the gospel were filled with jealousy, e.g. in Jerusalem (Acts 5:17) and Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:45). ‘Jealousies’ (ζῆλοι, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Galatians 5:20) are the inward movements or outward manifestations of this un-Christian feeling.

(2) But the heat of jealousy (cf. קנְאָה) is not always false fire. To the Corinthians St. Paul says, ‘I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy’ (ζηλῶ γὰρ ὑμᾶς θεοῦ ζήλῳ, 2 Corinthians 11:2), i.e. with a jealousy like that of God. In the OT Jahweh is the husband of Israel, loving her and claiming all her love; in which sense He is a jealous God. A somewhat similar jealousy is once ascribed to Christ (in John 2:17, ζῆλος, ‘zeal’); and St. Paul, who has betrothed the Corinthian Church to the Lord, and hopes to present her as a pure bride to Him, is jealous over her on His behalf, feeling the bare thought that she may after all give herself to another to be intolerable. Some take θεοῦ ζήλῳ to mean ‘with a zeal for God,’ but the context demands a stricter sense of the word.

James Strahan.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jealousy'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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Jealousy (2)
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