Nissim Amzallag recently argued that words from the Biblical Hebrew root קנא have very different meanings depending on whether they are used in the human or divine context. While “jealousy” is an acceptable translation in the human sphere, Amzallag claims that in the divine sphere these words refer to furnace remelting, signaling that Israel’s God was viewed as a smelting deity. There are several problems with Amzallag’s argument. By paying closer attention to linguistic evidence and methodological considerations, one finds that in both human and divine contexts words from the root קנא are best understood with the traditional translation “jealousy,” an emotion closely related to anger, rather than the elaborate metallurgical imagery that Amzallag proposes.

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