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Is Jealousy A Sin?

The ten commandments say "do not covet." Which would say to me that coveting is a sin. A synonym for coveting is jealousy...

Yet, the Bible, which says God is perfect, also says he is Jealous.

So is it, or isn't it, a sin?

If God gets Jealous, it is either not a sin, or he is sinful.
But if it's not a sin to be Jealous of others, then why do the ten commandments command his followers not to covet?

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 7:29 PM on Apr. 7, 2012 in Religious Debate

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (20)
  • Yes. Well, let's do a different example. You should not lust after you neighbor's house. Covet/envy/lust. God is a jealous God. He doesn't want to share the worship of him with other things. He does not covet those other things. You have to realize that translation to English is imperfect, but the original two words used were not synonyms.

    Answer by Mom2Just1Kiddo at 10:09 PM on Apr. 7, 2012

  • Jealousy = intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness
    Covet = to wish for earnestly; to desire

    From my dictionary. Yours may vary. Point being, they are not pure synonyms.

    I'm getting a kick out of the person downvoting us, but who apparently has no ability to actually disagree. :)

    Answer by Mom2Just1Kiddo at 10:36 PM on Apr. 7, 2012

  • I am going to assume you are speaking of Exodus when you are describing God as a jealous god. In that context he is speaking of justice and wickedness. Now if you care to read the whole passage, you will find a very different meaning then the one given in the op.any emotion that leads you to sin is to be avoided. Jealousy or envy often causes people to behave in ways that are harmful to. themselves and others

    Answer by adnilm at 11:35 PM on Apr. 7, 2012

  • If you read the commandements it says thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife.
    Also Thous shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods, nor his servant.

    Earlier It say I ma thy Lord thy God, thou shalt have none before me.

    Pretty clear. I does help to actually read the whole thing.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:48 PM on Apr. 7, 2012

  • Envy is a sin; jealousy is actually different from envy.

    "The demand of the covenant is for single-minded worship of God alone. And the image created in our mind by the word "jealous" is the picture of a lover or a husband who gets angry when someone else competes for the heart of his wife or when her heart goes away after other lovers.

    This picture is confirmed by verses 15 and 16 which warn Israel against playing the harlot with other gods. The demand of the covenant is: don't be a harlot. Don't commit adultery against God. Don't let your heart turn from him and go after other things. For your God, your husband, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. " - John Piper

    Answer by -Eilish- at 12:39 AM on Apr. 8, 2012

  • But there is another reason why I have stressed that the covenant of Exodus 34 is not a covenant of works but is based on mercy. I wanted to make sure that we saw the jealousy of God in its true context.

    God is not jealous like an insecure employer who fears that his employees might get lured away by a better salary elsewhere. God's jealousy is not the reflex of weakness or fear.

    Instead God is jealous like a powerful and merciful king who takes a peasant girl from a life of shame, forgives her, marries her, and gives her not the chores of a slave, but the privileges of a wife—a queen. His jealousy does not rise from fear or weakness but from a holy indignation at having his honor and power and mercy scorned by the faithlessness of a fickle spouse.


    Answer by -Eilish- at 12:41 AM on Apr. 8, 2012

  • The ten commandments are not a job description for God's employees. They are the wedding vows that the peasant girl takes to forsake all others and to cleave to the king alone and to live in a way that brings no dishonor to his great name.
    The Threat and the Comfort of God's Jealousy

    God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, and responds with terrible wrath against those whose hearts should belong to him but go after other things. For example, in Ezekiel 16:38–40 he says to faithless Israel, "I will judge you as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into the hand of your lovers and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber . . . they shall strip you of your clothes and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a host against you and cut you to pieces with swords."

    Answer by -Eilish- at 12:41 AM on Apr. 8, 2012

  • I urge you to listen to this warning. The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces. It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty.

    But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to him and live for his honor—for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope. Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of his faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence.


    Answer by -Eilish- at 12:43 AM on Apr. 8, 2012

  • God's jealousy is a great threat to those who play the harlot and sell their heart to the world and make a cuckold out of God. But his jealousy is a great comfort to those who keep their covenant vows and become strangers and exiles in the world.

    -All of the above from John Piper

    Answer by -Eilish- at 12:43 AM on Apr. 8, 2012

  • Whenever the OT uses terms like "anger" or "jealousy" referring to G-d is only for us to able to understand that certain actions are wrong, not that G-d actually experiences those emotions. Those are HUMAN emotions that come from feeling wronged, frustrated or lacking something we want. G-d being omnipotent has no desires, let alone desires He couldn't fulfill and there's really no way to wrong Him. So it's simply giving a metaphor with a human quality we can understand. Many parts of the OT also speak of G-d's "eyes", "mouth", or "face", but it doesn't mean He has those actual physical parts, as He isn't physical. It's again, a metaphor.


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 10:10 PM on Apr. 8, 2012

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