The Envious Man
THE Hebrew language has only one root word for “jealousy.” When referring to sinful humans, the Hebrew may be translated “envy” or “rivalry.” (Genesis 26:14; Ecclesiastes 4:4) The Greek language, however, has more than one word for “jealousy.” The word zeʹlos, like its Hebrew equivalent, may refer to both righteous and sinful jealousy. Another Greek word, phthoʹnos, has a purely negative sense. In the New World Translation, it is always rendered “envy.”
How was the word phthoʹnos used in ancient Greek? The Anchor Bible Dictionary states: “Unlike the greedy man, the man afflicted by phthonos does not necessarily want the goods he resents another having; he simply does not want that other to have them. He differs from the competitive man in that his aim, unlike that of the competitive man, is not to win but to keep others from winning.”
The envious man is often unaware that his own attitude is the main cause of his problems. “One of the peculiarities of phthonos,” the same dictionary explains, “is its lack of self-awareness. The phthoneros man, if called upon to justify his conduct, will always tell himself and others that those he attacks deserve it and that it is the unfairness of the situation that moves him to criticize. If asked how he can possibly speak of a friend in the way he does, he will say that his criticisms have the friend’s best interests at heart.”
The Gospel writers Matthew and Mark use the Greek word phthoʹnos to describe the motive of those responsible for the murder of Jesus. (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10) Yes, they were driven by envy. The same harmful emotion has turned apostates into vicious haters of their former brothers. (1 Timothy 6:3-5) No wonder that envious men are debarred from entry into God’s Kingdom! Jehovah God has decreed that all who continue to be “full of envy” are “deserving of death.”—Romans 1:29, 32; Galatians 5:21.
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Do not let envy ruin your life