Is God a Jealous God?

When you hear the word ‘jealous’, what feeling do you experience? For me the emotion is generally negative. Although, I have never been the victim of negative jealousy, we do read and hear of people whose jealousy over their mate causes them to react in a bitter rage many times inflicting damage, either verbal or physical, on the person that they say they love or on another person they perceive as being threatening to their relationship.

Some time back I was researching the various attributes of God and must admit that I paused when I read that God is a jealous God. I do not see God showing the negative emotions or actions that I so naturally associate with jealousy.

Jealous does mean to be “intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness”, “disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness” or to be “hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage”.(1)  However, as I read on I learned that jealous also means to be “vigilant in guarding a possession”.  Could it be this meaning that applies to God?

The Hebrew word for jealousy is quin’ah and uses terms like ‘zeal’, ‘ardor’, and ‘loyalty’ to denote the meaning of jealousy. It is this meaning that I believe pertains to the description of God as a jealous God. He is not covetous of something that belongs to another; however, he is diligent in preserving something that belongs to Himself. Just as a marriage relationship between a husband and a wife is to be exclusive, so is the relationship between God and His people.

Whenever we read of God’s jealousy in scripture, we will always find it within the context of worship. He alone is God. There are no other Gods before Him. To worship anything or anyone else is to betray God.

God takes his relationship with His people (each of us who have acknowledged the death of His Son Jesus for our sins) — seriously.  As His people, we are to take our relationship with him seriously as well

You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

Exodus 34:14 NLT


Lord I thank you for loving us enough to be passionate, zealous in your adoration, your loyalty to us, Your people. I pray that You will help us be to be as passionate, as zealous in our adoration of You and as loyal in our relationship with You.

In Jesus Name,


(1) Merriam-Webster Online.


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