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.”

In Central Mazahua is is translated as “jealous of each other, their fellow people” and in Sayula Popoluca as “hate those who have something.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (Mark 15:10)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 15:10:

  • Uma: “Pilatus said like that, for he know that Yesus wasn’t really guilty; the leading priests had handed Yesus over to him just out of their envy / jealousy.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “The reason that he asked them like that was because he knew that Isa had been handed over to him by the leaders of the priests, because they were jealous of Isa.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “The reason Pilate said this is because he knew that the reason the chief priests had accused Jesus was that they were jealous of him.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “He inquired that, because he knew that the leaders of the priests had handed-over Jesus to him on-account-of their jealousy.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Pilato spoke like that for he realized that envy was what had led the chiefs of the priests to bring Jesus to him.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)