God’s Anger Is Good

Bill Mounce | June 4, 2016

Anger in the Old Testament 

Verb: כָּעַס (kāʿas). Kāʿas denotes the idea of provoking one to anger and may be translated “to anger, irritate.” This term commonly conveys the anger of God against his people, usually for idolatry (e.g., 1 Kgs. 14:9, 15; 2 Kgs. 22:17), and it occurs most often in Deuteronomy to Kings. As Moses proclaims, “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and provoking him to anger . . .” (Deut. 4:25). The term is also used to mean “jealousy” (Ps. 78:58). Ezekiel proclaims, “Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry” (16:42).

All parents experience kāʿas when they’re provoked to anger by disobedient children. In the same way, we can provoke God to anger when we’re lured away by sin and modern forms of idolatry. First Kings 16:13 states, “Because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the LORD, the…

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