envy

The Greek that is translated as “envy” in most English translations is, according to Nida (1952, p. 134), translated into Tzeltal and Tabasco Chontal in the following manner:

“Envy is bred of covetousness and self-centeredness. The Tzeltals, who recognize a covetous man as having a ‘small heart,’ say that an envious person has ‘a greedy heart.’ ‘Small hearts’ and ‘greedy hearts’ go together, and the soul shrinks in direct proportion to its greediness. The envious person is never satisfied, for he can never keep step with his own insatiable ego.

“The Chontal Indians, living in the low, swampy delta land of Tabasco in southern Mexico, regard envy in a more subtle way. They say of the man who is envious of his neighbor, ‘He did not want to see his neighbor.’ This describes the end result of envy. People cannot bear to see others enjoying the privileges which they insist should be their own. The envious man has acquired such a self-directed stare that he cannot take his eyes off self to see another’s enjoyment.”