Word: qa-na-' (7065)


  • Baker & Carpenter:
    A verb meaning to be jealous, to be envious, to be zealous. This is a verb derived from a noun, and, as such, occurs in the extensive and causative forms only. The point of the verb is to express a strong emotion in which the subject is desirous of some aspect or possession of the object.
    • It can express jealousy, where persons are zealous for their own property or positions for fear they might lose them. (Num. 5:14, 30; Isa. 11:13)
    • Or envy, where persons are zealous for the property or positions of others, hoping they might gain them. (Gen. 26:14; 30:1; 37:11)
    • Furthermore, it can indicate someone being zealous on behalf of another. (Num. 11:29; 2 Sam. 21:2)
    • On behalf of God. (Num. 25:13; 1 Kings 19:10, 14)
    • As well as God being zealous. (Ezek. 39:25; Joel 2:18; Zech. 1:14; 8:2)
    • It is also used to denote the arousing of one's jealousy or zeal. (Deut. 32:16, 21; 1 Kings 14:22; Ps. 78:58)
  • Mounce:
    qa-na-' (GK 7861, S 7065). Word occurs 34 times.
    • (Of negative attitude:) To be envious, jealous.
    • (Of positive attitude:) To be zealous.

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From Webster's Universal Dictionary, World Syndicate, 1937:

Envy (noun)

Origin:  Middle English envy, envie; Old French envie; Spanish envidia; Latin invidia, hatred or ill will, from invidere, to look askance at; in, in, upon, and videre, to look, see.


  1. Uneasiness, mortification, or discontent at the sight of another's superiority or success, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often or usually with a desire to depreciate the person envied; often followed by of.
  2. An object of envy; as, he is the envy of all who know him.

Envy (verb)


  1. To feel envy toward; to look upon with envy; to hate (another) for excellence or superiority in any way, and to be desirous of acquiring it; as, to envy a wealthy man.
  2. To feel envy on account of; to look grudgingly upon, as the advantages possessed by another; to regard with a covetous spirit; as, he envies your superior knowledge; they envy his advancement.


Origin:  Middle English jelous, gelous; Old French jalous, from Late Latin zelosus, full of zeal, from Latin zelus; Greek zelos, zeal, emulation.


  1. Suspicious; apprehensive of rivalry; uneasy through fear that another has withdrawn or may withdraw from one the affections of a person he loves, or enjoys some good which he desires to obtain; followed by of, and applied both to the object of love and to the rival.
  2. Careful in protecting; watchful; solicitous; as, jealous of one's reputation.
  3. Zealous; commonly with for.

Syn: Envious, covetous, invidious, suspicious.


Origin:  French zele; Latin zelus, zeal, from Greek zelos, zeal, ardor, fervor, lit., heat, from zeein, to boil.


  1. Passionate ardor for any person or cause; intense and eager pursuit or endeavor; an eagerness of desire to attain or accomplish some object, which may be manifested either in favor of or in opposition to any person or thing, and in a good or bad cause; earnestness; enthusiasm; ardor; fervency.

Syn:  Ardor, fervor, enthusiasm, fervency, earnestness, animation, eagerness, vehemence.

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Bible Dictionaries
Word: Envy.

Nelson's (1986):--A feeling of resentment and jealousy toward another person because of his possessions or good qualities.

  • James linked envy with self-seeking. (James 3:14,16; selfish ambition, RSV)
  • Christians are warned to guard against the sin of envy. (Rom. 13:13; 1 Pet. 2:1)


Schaff:--Ex. 34:14, a name of the Lord.


Eerdmans (1987):--(Heb. qin'a-; Gk. ze-los). In biblical usage, one of two possible aspects of a single active emotion. In the positive sense, it is "jealousy for" someone and as such is righteous "zeal", a concept used of both humans and God; in the negative sense it is "jealousy of" someone and thus is sinful and related to envy. The same Hebrew and Greek terms designate both aspects and thus the appropriate nuance must be determined from the context.

  1. Divine Jealousy.
    • The Old Testament frequently affirms that God is a "jealous God". (Exod. 20:5)
    • Intensive nominal forms are used exclusively of God. (Heb. qanna-'; e.g., Exod. 34:14; Deut. 4:24; qanno-'; e.g., Josh. 24:19; Nah. 1:2)
    • The substantive "jealousy" (qin'a-; e.g., Num. 25:11; Job 5:2; KJV "envy"; Ps. 79:5)
    • and the verb "be jealous" (qa-na-'; e.g., Gen. 37:11; KJV "envied"; Num. 11:29) are used in reference to both divine and human, righteous and sinful, jealousy.
    • At times God is said to exercise his "jealous wrath". (Ps. 79:5)
    • And he is capable of being provoked to jealousy. (Ps. 78:58; par. "anger")
  2. Human Jealousy.
    As with all human qualities, jealousy can be either a positive emotion or a sinful perversion. In its positive expression, jealousy or zeal is, like God's jealousy, a concern for another's good. It is "jealousy for"--
    • Sometimes for God, as in the case of Elijah who was "jealous for the Lord" in his confrontation with the priests of Baal. (1 Kings 19:10, 14)
    • And sometimes for another person, as in the case of a husband's legal right to his wife's faithfulness. (Num. 5:14).
    • The necessary selfless character of positive jealousy is harder to maintain here, but since it is based on a genuine legal right, it is legitimate; thus the Mosaic law specifies a procedure for testing those suspected of adultery. (Num. 5:11-31)
    • The apostle Paul speaks of his "divine jealousy" (Gk. theOU ze-LO-) for the Corinthians. (2 Cor. 11:2)
    On the other hand, human jealousy is almost inevitably sinful. In contrast to righteous jealousy, the sinful perversion is based on the belief that one is entitled to something to which one has no natural right. Examples of this type of jealousy abound in the Bible:
    • The jealousy of Jacob's other sons over the special favor accorded to Joseph. (Gen. 37:11; cf. Acts 7:9)
    • Jealousy of those in positions of power, as Dathan and Abiram's jealousy of Moses. (Ps. 106:16-18; cf. Num. 16:1-40)
    • The Wisdom Literature warns of the dangers of jealousy and its almost inevitable connection with sinful self-indulgence. (e.g., Job 5:2; Prov. 6:34; Song 8:6)
    • In the New Testament jealousy appears in lists of vices; Paul classifies it among "works of the flesh". (Gal. 5:20; cf. Rom. 13:8-14)
    • Such jealousy is destructive and divisive. (1 Cor. 3:3; 2 Cor. 12:20; cf. James 3:14-16)
    Characteristically, however, Paul also suggests that jealousy itself, like other sins, can serve an ultimately redemptive purpose; it can be used by God to achieve his providential plan. Thus Paul explains that redemption has been extended to the Gentiles in order to provoke the jealousy of Israel, to the end of inspiring the Jews to faith in Christ. (Rom. 10:19; 11:11, 14; cf. Acts 5:17ff; 17:1-4, 5, 6-15, where the jealousy of Jewish leaders is aroused by the success of the Christian mission.)


  • Generally means suspicion of conjugal infidelity. (2 Cor. 11:2)
  • The word is also used for anger or indignation. (Ps. 79:5; 1 Cor. 10:22)
  • Or for a deep interest for the prosperity and honor of another. (Zech. 1:14; 8:2)
Its various meanings are generally indicated by its connection.

Word: Zeal, zealous.

Funk & Wagnalls (1909):--

  1. In the OT these terms render Heb. qa-na-', qin'a-h (the root idea of which is 'to become red', as in the face through strong emotion). The same words are frequently translated 'jealous' or 'envy'. The term is used of both God and man, and is indicative of intense regard for one's honor or rights, or of ardent devotion to a given cause. (Num. 25:11f; 2 Kings 10:16; Is. 9:7)
  2. In the NT, ZE-los, 'zeal' (John 2:17; 2 Cor. 7:11; Phil. 3:16), ze-lo-TE-S, 'a zealot' (Acts 21:20; 22:3; 1 Cor. 14:12), and the verb ze-LOUN (Gal. 4:17, 18) reflect the OT usage and have the same range of meaning.

Nelson's (1986):--Enthusiastic devotion; eager desire; single-minded allegiance. (2 Sam. 21:2; 2 Kings 10:16; 19:31)

  • The Psalmist wrote, "Zeal for Your house has eaten me up". (Ps. 69:9)
  • When Jesus cleansed the Temple, His zeal reminded the disciples of the psalmist's words. (John 2:17)
  • Even before he became a Christian, Paul was zealous toward God and the law of Moses. (Acts 22:3; Phil. 3:6)

Word: Zealot.

Funk & Wagnalls (1909):--Cananaean (kanaNAIos, perhaps more correctly kanNAIos = Aramaic qannai, 'a zealous one', of which the Greek equivalent was ze-LO-te-s, 'zealot'. Some manuscripts have kanaNIte-s = 'Canaanite', so KJV).

  • A title borne by the Simon mentioned toward the end of the lists of the Apostles. (Mark 3:18; Matt. 10:4)
  • The Greek form 'zealot'. (Lk. 6:15; Ac. 1:13)
  • The Zealots were the party headed by Judas of Gamala in opposition to the census under Quirinius, in 6 AD. (Jos, Antiquities XVIII, 1 1,6)
  • They were intensely nationalistic in their aims and during the civil war committed many excesses. (Josephus, Jewish War [with Rome] IV, 5 1-3)
  • See also Schuerer, History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ I, ii, p. 80f, and Mathews, The Messianic Hope in the NT p. 15f.

Nelson's (1986):--A nickname given to Simon, one of Jesus' twelve apostles (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), perhaps to distinguish him from Simon Peter. Simon the Zealot is also called Simon the Canaanite (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:18; Cananaean, RSV; a member of the Zealot party, NEB). The Aramaic form of the name means "to be jealous" or "zealous".

Simon was given this name probably because he had been a member of a Jewish political party known as the Zealots. A Zealot was a member of a fanatical Jewish sect that militantly opposed the Roman domination of Palestine during the first century AD. When the Jews rebelled against the Romans and tried to gain their independence, a group of the most fervent Jewish nationalists called themselves "Zealots". They thought of themselves as following in the footsteps of men like Simeon and Levi (Gen. 34:1-31), Phinehas (Num. 25:1-9, 10-13), and Elijah (1 Kings 18:40; 19:10-14) who were devoted supporters of the Lord and His laws and who were ready to fight for them.

Like the Pharisees, the Zealots were devoted to the Jewish law and religion. But unlike most Pharisees, they thought it was treason against God to pay tribute to the Roman emperor, since God alone was Israel's king. They were willing to fight to the death for Jewish independence.

The Zealots eventually degenerated into a group of assassins known as Sicarii (Latin, daggermen). Their increasing fanaticism was one factor that provoked the Roman-Jewish war. The Zealots took control of Jerusalem in AD 66, a move that led to the siege of Jerusalem and its fall in AD 70. The last stronghold of the Zealots, the fortress of Masada, fell to the Romans in AD 73.

Schaff:--The name of a party among the Jews who, under the leadership of Judas of Galilee, claimed that God was the only king of Israel, refused to pay tribute to, and at length openly rebelled against, the Romans. They were soon routed, but for some time afterward kept up a sort of guerilla warfare. (Acts 5:37)

Zondervan (1963):--(Greek zelotes, zealous one).

  • A member of a Jewish patriotic party started in the time of Cyrenius to resist Roman aggression.
  • According to Josephus (BJ, IV, iii, 9; v, 1; VII, viii, 1), the Zealots resorted to violence and assassination in their hatred of the Romans, their fanatical violence eventually provoking the Roman war.
  • Simon the Zealot was distinguished from Simon Peter by this epithet. (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13)

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Other Ancient Sources
Clement of Rome (?-99 AD), First Epistle to the Corinthians:--"Chapter IV. Many Evils Have Already Flowed from This Source in Ancient Times." For thus it is written: And it came to pass after certain days, that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice unto God; and Abel also brought of the firstlings of his sheep, and of the fat thereof. And God had respect to Abel and to his offerings, but Cain and his sacrifices He did not regard. And Cain was deeply grieved, and his countenance fell. ... And it came to pass, while they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." (Gen. 4:3-8) Ye see, brethren, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother. Through envy, also, our father Jacob fled from the face of Esau his brother. (Gen. 27:41ff) Envy made Joseph be persecuted unto death, and to come into bondage. (Gen. 37) Envy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, when he heard these words from his fellow-countryman, "Who made thee a judge or a ruler over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst kill the Egyptian yesterday?" (Exodus 2:14) On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their abode without the camp. (Num. 12:14-15) Envy brought down Dathan and Abiram alive to Hades, through the sedition which they excited against God’s servant Moses. (Num. 16:33) Through envy, David not only underwent the hatred of foreigners, but was also persecuted by Saul king of Israel. (1 Kings 18:8ff)

Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35 or 50 to 98 or 117 AD), Epistle to Hero:--Flee from haughtiness, "for the Lord resisteth the proud." (James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5) Abhor falsehood, for says [the Scripture], "Thou shalt destroy all them that speak lies." (Ps. 5:6) Guard against envy, for its author is the devil, and his successor Cain, who envied his brother, and out of envy committed murder. Exhort my sisters to love God, and be content with their own husbands only. In like manner, exhort my brethren also to be content with their own wives. Watch over the virgins, as the precious treasures of Christ. Be long-suffering, (Prov. 14:29) that thou mayest be great in wisdom. Do not neglect the poor, in so far as thou art prosperous. For "by alms and fidelity sins are purged away." (Prov. 15:27 after LXX; Prov. 16:6 in English version)

Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (2nd cent AD):

Testament of Simeon Concerning Envy:--And now, children, take heed of the spirit of deceit and of envy. For envy ruleth over the whole mind of a man, and suffereth him neither to eat, nor to drink, nor to do any good thing: it ever suggesteth to him to destroy him that he envieth; and he that is envied ever flourisheth, but he that envieth fades away. Two years of days I afflicted my soul with fasting in the fear of the Lord, and I learnt that deliverance from envy cometh by the fear of God. If a man flee to the Lord, the evil spirit runneth away from him, and his mind becometh easy. And henceforward he sympathizeth with him whom he envied, and condemneth not those who love him, and so ceaseth from his envy.

Testament of Gad Concerning Hatred:--And now, my children, hearken to the words of truth to work righteousness, and all the law of the Most High, and not go astray through the spirit of hatred, for it is evil in all the doings of men. Whatsoever a man doeth, that doth the hater abhor: though he worketh the law of the Lord, he praiseth him not; though he feareth the Lord, and taketh pleasure in that which is righteous, he loveth him not: he dispraiseth the truth, he envieth him that ordereth his way aright, he delighteth in evil-speaking, he loveth arrogance, for hatred hath blinded his soul; even as I also looked on Joseph.

Testament of Benjamin Concerning a Pure Mind:--Know ye, my children, the end of the good man? Be followers of his compassion in a good mind, that ye also may wear crowns of glory. The good man hath not a dark eye; for he showeth mercy to all men, even though they be sinners, even though they devise evil concerning him. So he that doeth good overcometh the evil, being shielded by Him that is good; and he loveth the righteous as his own soul. If any one is glorified, he envieth him not; if any one is enriched, he is not jealous; if any one is valiant, he praiseth him; he trusteth and laudeth him that is sober-minded; he showeth mercy to the poor; he is kindly disposed toward the weak; he singeth the praises of God; as for him who hath the fear of God, he protecteth him as with a shield; him that loveth God he aideth; him that rejecteth the Most High he admonisheth and turneth back; and him that hath the grace of a good spirit, he loveth even as his own soul.

Cyprian (c. 200-258), Treatises:--Thus also the Apostle Paul, when he was urging the merits of peace and charity, and when he was strongly asserting and teaching that neither faith nor alms, nor even the passion itself of the confessor and the martyr, would avail him, unless he kept the requirements of charity entire and inviolate, added, and said: “Charity is magnanimous, charity is kind, charity envieth not;” teaching, doubtless, and showing that whoever is magnanimous, and kind, and averse from jealousy and rancour, such a one can maintain charity. Moreover, in another place, when he was advising that the man who has already become filled with the Holy Spirit, and a son of God by heavenly birth, should observe nothing but spiritual and divine things, he lays it down, and says: "And I indeed, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, not with meat: for ye were not able hitherto; moreover, neither now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there are still among you jealousy, and contention, and strifes, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

Augustine (354-430), Moral Treatises:--When then such as make profession of perpetual chastity, comparing themselves with married persons, shall have discovered, that, according to the Scriptures, the others are below both in work and wages, both in vow and reward, let what is written straightway come into their mind, "By how much thou art great, by so much humble thyself in all things: and thou shalt find favor before God." (Sirach 3:18) The measure of humility for each hath been given from the measure of his greatness itself: unto which pride is full of danger, which layeth the greater wait against persons the greater they be. On this followeth envying, as a daughter in her train; forsooth pride straightway giveth birth to her, nor is she ever without such a daughter and companion. By which two evils, that is, pride and envying, is the devil (a devil). Therefore it is against pride, the mother of envying, that the whole Christian discipline chiefly wars. For this teaches humility, whereby both to gain and to keep charity; of which after that it had been said, "Charity envieth not;" (1 Cor. 13:4) as though we were asking the reason, how it comes to pass that it envieth not, he straightway added, "is not puffed up;" as though he should say, on this account it hath not envying, in that neither hath it pride. Therefore the Teacher of humility, Christ, first "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men, and found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, made obedient even unto death, even the death of the Cross." (Phil. 2:7-8)

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