Originally posted by ivanhoe
I advise you to reread the context in which it is written. I'm sure you'll find the answer. (If you're really interested of course.)
Context, of course. Genesis 20:5: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me,
6 and showing lovingkindness unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
Deuteronmy 4:24: For Jehovah thy God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.
OT monster God is a typical god of ancient peoples; petty, unjust, xenophobic - reflecting a extravagant version of the people who created him like Zeus. Also ancient peoples, including the Israelites, generally did not believe in the exclusitivity of their gods, the OT is chock full of references to other gods. Thus, God's jealousy in the OT is a perfectly natural one for such a created god, although he's a particulary nasty version (punishing grandkids+ of people who won't worship him seems a bit excessive even for a primitive god).