Do Not Covet

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

(Exodus 20:17)

If you remember from yesterday’s post, we learned that your neighbour basically means everyone.  So there are no loopholes in this one either.

This one is pretty self explanatory, once you learn the meaning of the word covet.  Keep reading

To covet means to want something that belongs to someone else.  Not just a similar version of whatever it is…but the exact same something so that they can’t have it.

The odds of people having Donkeys for transportation in the Western world today are slim, but we do have cars.

If you see your neighbor’s car and decide that you will save up your money to buy a similar one.  That is not coveting.  If you steal his in the middle of the night and he can’t go to work in the morning.  That is coveting.

If you see your neighbour’s wife and notice that she is a great person.  That is not coveting.

If you see your neighbour’s wife and convince her to sleep with you while your wife is away picking up your kids from school at 2:00 in the afternoon.  That is coveting.

Coveting can cause you to break many other commandments while you’re at it, depending on the actions you take to get what you’ve coveted.

To continue with the example, you’ve stolen your neighbour’s wife (breaking #8) so that he cannot have access to her as he should.  For all he knows she’s at home…not horsing around with you.  Not to mention that you’re supposed to be at work…you lied to your boss about being sick.  You lied to your wife about being at work.  Your neighbour’s wife lied to her husband about going running with her friend Layla  That’s breaking #9 …you already agreed to break #7 by sleeping with her.  If you kill her to hide the evidence, that’s breaking #6.  That is also a stupid thing to do because her husband will find out.  These things don’t hide.  He knows she was perfectly healthy after he went to work in the morning.  He might just kill you when he finds out, whether she’s alive or not.

God put this commandment in place  so that his people then and now would avoid a plethora of  unnecessary, unpleasant situations.  He doesn’t want to ruin our fun.  He wants to keep us from the harm these situations can cause.

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