Doctrinal · Jealousy

A Jealous God – Part 2



Let’s continue our study on the jealousy of God, looking at one more Hebrew term translated as jealous in the Old Testament.

God’s Jealousy קַנּוֹא

The following words for jealous are used only of God, and the remainder of the post will consider God’s jealousy

The Hebrew word H7067,קַנּוֹא qannôwʼ, kan-no’; jealous or angry:—jealous, which occurs 6 times in the following 5 verses.

Exodus 20:5

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Jealous for me

Moses, in the first occurrence of this concept of God’s jealousy, directly links jealousy with worship and service.  This is a recurring theme in the verses we will look at.

Jealousy is also rooted in covenant, since the law is being given in this passage, and this passage is the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, the covenant that establishes Israel as a Theocratic kingdom on earth.

Consider the marriage covenant.  Two people promise themselves to one another.  One breaks the promise by being unfaithful.  Jealousy rears it’s head.  As humans, we tend to immediately seek selfish revenge.  Can we attribute this selfish revenge to God?

The covenant warns those entering into it the severity of the covenant.  Iniquity will be visited up.  There were no secrets, or hidden clauses that Israel could accuse God of.  And yet, the visitation of God upon the nation of Israel was not swift and severe.  It tended to be forgiving, patient and merciful.

Now Carl you have gone to far!  

Consider the verse we are looking at. Note that God will visit the iniquities of the fathers generations later.  The average Israeli could expect judgment upon his life, or 60 to 80 years after the sin, (if I read this right, given that a generation is 20 years).

Exodus 34:14

(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

A reiteration of the above conditions the nation entered into at Sinai.
Deuteronomy 4:24
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
This verse should sound very familiar if you read the New Testament.  The author of Hebrews quotes this passage, warning the people of Israel of the coming judgement on their nation.
The nation’s rejection of the Messiah certainly roused the jealousy of God.  They not only serve other gods, and worship other gods, but they wholesale murder the God whom they were to worship and serve.
And yet note, that the judgment that fell on the nation that killed the Son of God was held off for about 40 years.  Did I mention one of the differences between our selfish jealousy and God’s jealousy is the merciful forgiveness and patience He exhibits.
Please be clear that God’s jealousy is not to be discounted, assuming He is different somehow today than He was under the Old Covenant.
The author of Hebrews bring this passage into the Christian experience in order to remind us He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Deuteronomy 5:9

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

As the book title means “Second Telling”, this verse repeats Exodus 20:5

Deuteronomy 6:14-15

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—

for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

God’s jealousy in this verse is directly associated with anger.  We will find this concept of anger /wrath associated with the second Hebrew word translated jealousy also, which we will look at in our next post.
But let us consider this verse for the time being.
The Lord their God in their midst is a jealous God.  Does this not imply that the Israelite’s were currently chasing other gods?  As many readers may know, this habit of chasing other gods became a consistent sin for the nation.
Due to this sin, the Jealousy of God was kindled and many passages in the Old Testament speak of this anger and wrath. (I may look into the difference on the two terms of anger and wrath in a separate post at a later time.)
The nation hobbled along for approximately 500 years before the Babylonian exile took the nation away from the land.  Even then, the Lord watched over His people for 70 years, sending them prophets and leaders to give them direction.  Eventually, the people returned to the land, with God again sending prophets and teachers for close to 600 years eventually culminating in the Messiah.
We are talking of approximately 1200 years of the Jewish nation, in varying degrees of idolatry, being patiently dealt with by the Father.  Yet the verse says He will destroy you (the nation of Israel) from off the face of the earth.
The Jealousy of God is so different from the human counterpart in many ways. 
Is anger a common thread?  Yes.  Is the competition of ones devotion involved in both?  Yes. 
Is both jealousies patient and concerned about the “traitors” life?  Not so much. 
Human jealousy is selfish and impatient, concerned only with my rights and refuses to consider the responsibilities of the relationship.
Father Son HugGod is not so.  When a relationship is broken, the Father heart of God seeks restoration. 
When the idolatry/adultery is raging, and the anger is building, the heart of restoration continues to beat in the breast of God.
Jesus pronounced woes on the nation of Israel throughout the 23rd chapter of Matthew, speaking of the judgement to fall upon that generation.   Jesus left the mount of Olives that last time, speaking of the broken heart of God, and giving a lament of the stubbornness of the nation to the patient kindness and long suffering of God.

Matthew 23:37

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

God is a jealous God, and His patience and longsuffering in the midst of His anger is beyond understanding. 

But it isn’t beyond some limit.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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