A Guide to Bible Stories on Jealousy - Exploring the Lessons Found Within
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A Guide to Bible Stories on Jealousy – Exploring the Lessons Found Within


Have you ever been jealous?

It’s a tough emotion to deal with, isn’t it? In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about jealousy. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most famous Bible stories involving jealousy and explore the lessons we can learn from them.

So, sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of jealousy – Bible style!

woman in black jacket sitting beside woman in black jacket

The Story of Cain and Abel

The story of Cain and Abel is one that’s often cited when it comes to the topic of jealousy.

In the story, Cain becomes jealous of his brother Abel after God favors Abel’s offering over his own. This jealousy leads to Cain killing Abel in a fit of rage.

The story is a reminder that jealousy can be destructive and it often leads to bad outcomes. When we’re jealous, we can become consumed by our own feelings and lose sight of what’s important.

King Saul and David

In the Bible, the story of King Saul and David is one of the most famous examples of jealousy. Saul was the first king of Israel, and he was extremely jealous of David. He became so paranoid that David would overthrow him that he tried to kill him on multiple occasions.

But even though Saul was constantly trying to kill him, David never stopped worshiping God. He knew that God was on his side and that Saul’s jealousy was rooted in fear and insecurity. As a result, David was able to forgive Saul and maintain his faith in spite of everything.

This story teaches us an important lesson about jealousy: it’s always rooted in fear and insecurity, and it can never come from a place of love or faith. When we’re able to understand this, it becomes much easier to forgive those who have hurt us in the past.

Joseph and His Brothers

The story of Joseph and his brothers is one of envy, betrayal, and forgiveness. As the youngest son of Jacob, Joseph was favored by his father, and he soon became the target of jealousy from his brothers.

One day, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and he was taken to Egypt. There, he was bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Joseph proved himself to be a trustworthy and skillful servant, and soon became overseer of Potiphar’s household.

However, Potiphar’s wife grew jealous of Joseph and tried to seduce him. When he refused her advances, she falsely accused him of attempted rape. Joseph was thrown into prison, but he remained faithful to God and was eventually released.

The story of Joseph and his brothers teaches us about the dangers of jealousy and the importance of forgiveness.

The Golden Calf Idolatry Incident

The Golden Calf incident is one of the classic Bible stories about jealousy. It highlights the danger of idolatry, which is when someone puts something else ahead of God. The story begins in Exodus when Moses, after being commanded by God to lead his people out of Egypt, goes up Mount Sinai for forty days and nights to receive the Ten Commandments.

During this time, the Hebrews become impatient and turn to Aaron – Moses’ brother- to build a golden calf idol. In their fear and anxiety, they burn incense to it and even make a feast before it. When God saw what they were doing, He was furious with them and threatens to destroy them. Thankfully, Moses intercedes on their behalf, but they still faced consequences for their actions.

This incident in the Bible reminds us that worshiping or prioritizing anything or anyone above God will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction, stress, and regret – things that can feed into jealousy rather than ward it off.

Mary and Martha’s Hospitality Contest

In the Bible story of Mary and Martha, we see a lesson in hospitality. In Luke 10:38–42, two siblings named Mary and Martha invite Jesus into their home. Mary takes a seat and relaxes while Martha immediately starts scurrying around with housework.

After watching her work away while her sister rests, Martha’s exasperation eventually leads her to ask Jesus why he isn’t making Mary help out too. Jesus responds by saying that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”.

The Bible goes on to explain how Mary had chosen to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to his teachings instead of help clean the home, making this an example for us of how Jesus values us investing in spiritual matters first instead of physical temptations like jealousy.

This story serves as a reminder that we should prioritize our spiritual growth over the competition with others or material possessions.

Jesus, the Disciples, and the Case of Jealousy

In one of Jesus’ encounters with his disciples, we can find a lesson on jealousy. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells the disciples that only they who are strong enough to remain faithful will sit with him in heaven. The remaining disciples are overcome with envy and a desire to be chosen; when they all go to the mountain, he is transfigured before them and Peter speaks up, saying he wishes to build three tents there. When the disciples come down from the mountain, however, their discussion turns back to who will have greater power in heaven.

Jesus then implicitly instructs them that power comes only through humility and servanthood rather than jealousy and envy. Repeatedly throughout his ministry, Jesus taught about humility and how it can be used as a tool for spiritual growth, which can help us in our journey to rid ourselves of feelings of jealousy.


When it comes to the Bible stories on jealousy, the overarching message is that jealousy is destructive and leads to sin. Although jealousy can sometimes be motivating, it ultimately ends up hurting not only oneself but also those around them. If you’re struggling with jealousy, it’s important to examine the root of the problem and work on addressing those issues. With time and effort, it’s possible to overcome jealousy and live a healthier, more productive life.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.