The Evil Eye (Envy)

Definition: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage; an object of envious notice or feeling <his new car made him the envy of his friends.

The possible curses associated with disapproving, irritated looks have their inworking as curses upon the soul and eventually upon the body through superstition and fear.

The Western world is for the most part not aware of the consequences of the curses placed through the evil eye and its effect upon one’s life as they are in the East. In many Mediterranean and Eastern countries the concept of the evil eye is an accepted and widespread practice in daily life, and it has been taken as a very serious offense.

There is an array of defensive gadgets available for a person to be protected from the possible effects of these negative curses.

This symbol is commonly used throughout the culture, as can be seen in these pictures:

The attitude of murmuring and complaining by the people of Israel in the wilderness must be similar to throwing an evil eye upon a person or situation. God warned the people of Israel against this fleshly reaction while being tested by Yahweh, the God of their salvation. In the same way the apostle Paul warns the Corinthian Church against their continually negative attitude of murmuring. 1 Cor. 10:10.

Jesus states in Matt 20:15, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”

In Mark 7: 22 we see thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, blasphemy, pride, foolishness associated with the evil eye.

Mark 7:22 In the New American Standard Bible the “evil eye: is translated with “envy.”

Proverbs 28:22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

In the Dutch language S. Vert.: Mark 7:22- Dieverijen, gierigheden, boosheden, bedrog, ontuchtigheid, lastering en het boose oog, …” is mentioned in de opsomming van negatieve houdingen.

Scriptures Referring to the Evil Eye

Envy is forbidden in the Bible

Proverbs 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Rom 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Envy is inconsistent with the gospel and leads to every evil work

Jam 3:14-16 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Envy: Produced by foolish disputation

1 Tim 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

Envy: Excited by good deeds of others

Eccl 14:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Envy: A work of the flesh

Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Jam 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Envy: Hurtful to the envious

Job 5:2

Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

None can stand before Envy

Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

Envy: A proof of carnal-mindedness

1 Cor 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Envy hinders growth in grace

1 Pet 2:1-2 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

The wicked are full of Envy

Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

The wicked live in Envy

Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

Prosperity of the wicked should not excite Envy

Psa 37:35; Psa 73:3; Psa 73:17-20

Psa 37:1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

The wicked will have punishment of Envy

Isa 26:11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

Envy Exemplified

The Envy of Cain

Gen 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Envy of Laban’s sons

Gen 31:1 And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory.

Envy of Joseph’s brethren

Gen 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Envy: Joshua

Num 11:28-29 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

Envy: Aaron and others

Num 12:2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.

Envy of Korah. & company

Num 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

Psa 106:13-18 They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul. They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Envy of Saul

1 Sam 18:8-9 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
And Saul eyed ( the evil eye of envy) David from that day and forward.

Envy of Sanballat & company

Nehemiah 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

Envy of Haman, the Agagite, & the King of the Amalekites

Esther 5:13-14 Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.

1 Sam. 15

Envy of the Edomites

Ezek 35:11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou Nast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee.

Envy of the Princes of Babylon

Dan 6:3-4 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; for as much as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Envy: Chief Priests

Mark 15:10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.

Envy of the Jews

Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Acts 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy,


Mat 6:23, But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (References to evil eyes, Deut.15:9; 28:54,; Prov. 23:6)

Jesus’ answer to the evil eye of envy is found in John 13:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Paul’s answer in nullifying the fear that the evil eye might bring is found in 1 Cor. 13:4:

1 Cor 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

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