ENVY (קִנְאָה, H7863; ardor, zeal, jealousy, envy; φθόνος, G5784; envy; ζη̂λος, G2419; jealousy, envy. The Eng. word “envy” comes from the Lat. word invidere “in—against”; videre—“to look at”), meaning “to look askance at,” or “to have hatred or ill will toward another.” It is a feeling of displeasure and ill will because of another’s advantages, possessions, etc.; a malign feeling toward another who possesses that which one greatly desires.
The Heb. word qin’āh has a good meaning and an evil meaning. In its good sense of “zeal” and “jealousy” it is used repeatedly of God and of good men; while in its evil sense of “envy” there are comparatively few instances, and it is never used of God. Basically it means “burning,” “glowing,” a “getting red in the face,” and thus denotes intense emotion. From this come the diverse meanings of “zeal,” “jealousy,” and “envy.” The exact meaning is determined by the context of the passage in which the word is found. In many passages the KJV has “envy” where the RSV has “jealousy” (
R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the(9th ed. 1880), 86-90.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(qin’ah; zelos, phthonos):