Hebrew “chemah”

  • 1) heat, rage, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, poison, bottles
  • a) heat
  • 1) fever
  • 2) venom, poison (fig.)
  • b) burning anger, rage

So we’re talking about a venomous, poisonous, burning anger or rage. This is intense anger that is consuming the individual. And we are told that it is “cruel”. The Hebrew word there also means “fierce”. It’s attacking, mean, vicious.

Anger – and that word really just means anger (or nose), we are told is “outrageous”. Actually, the word in Hebrew is “sheteph” and means

1) flood, downpour.

So passionate and burning anger is cruel and mean; anger comes out as a downpour; and then we find out about envy. The question is asked, “Who can stand before it?” Interestingly, the Hebrew word for envy is “qin-ah” and means

  • 1) ardour, zeal, jealousy
  • a) ardour, jealousy, jealous disposition (of husband)
  • 1) sexual passion
  • b) ardour of zeal (of religious zeal)
  • 1) of men for God
  • 2) of men for the house of God
  • 3) of God for his people
  • c) ardour of anger
  • 1) of men against adversaries
  • 2) of God against men
  • d) envy (of man)
  • e) jealousy (resulting in the wrath of God)

So we may be talking about jealousy that results in the wrath of God, or we may be talking about sexual passion, or zealousness. The interpreter gets to make the choice based on the context. Let’s just say jealousy because that’s basically the same as envy and it is something that seeks to benefit oneself.

What’s interesting is that the verbs attached to each of these nouns is physical and impacts the object of the noun. Passionate anger is cruel and attacking; anger is a downpour and flood, but jealousy, or envy, will overwhelm the other person.

Now, as a wisdom saying, this isn’t telling us what to do, it’s stating an observation in very poetic words. Passionate anger is X; anger is Y; and jealousy is Z. Okay.

Psalm 37:8 After we are told in 37:7 to rest in the Lord and not be jealous of the person who has prospered through wickedness, we are cautioned:

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. “

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