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.”

According to Scripture:

 Exodus 20:17

[..]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.”

According to Luther’s Catechism:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.

What does this mean?–Answer.

We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor’s wife, servants, or cattle, but urge them to stay and [diligently] do their duty.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  Four parts

I. The Disorder of Covetous Desires

2535 The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have, e.g., the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves; but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.

II. The Desires of the Spirit

2541 The economy of law and grace turns men’s hearts away from avarice and envy. It initiates them into desire for the Sovereign Good; it instructs them in the desires of the Holy Spirit who satisfies man’s heart.
The God of the promises always warned man against seduction by what from the beginning has seemed “good for food . . . a delight to the eyes . . . to be desired to make one wise.”329

III. Poverty of Heart

2547 The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods.340 “Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”341 Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow.342 Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.

IV. “I Want to See God”

2548 Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. “The promise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude…. In Scripture, to see is to possess…. Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.”343


After looking at this commandment, I have a really hard time separating it from the previous one. After looking over the ten commandments in whole, I have a hard time seeing ten commandments, but rather only nine. I am not going to attempt to figure out this dilema of mine because I do not see it being important to my salvation.

Two things stand out to me when looking at this half of the verse, coveting relationships, and coveting things that make our appearance look better. From my last post we know what it means to covet things, and the dangers of it, however we still do it. I want to look at why coveting relationships, and things that make our appearances better can be foolish.

Relationships

At one point or another, we have been guilty of this, especially those of us that are single. We get a strong desire(coveting) to  form a relationship with somebody. This desire can get so strong that we simply covet having a relationship, and will take anyone that we can get. At which we may find us with someone that is not beneficial for us. We like to ask God for a relationship. Have we ever thought to to say to God “Thank you for keeping me single. Thank you for protecting me for what I am not ready for. Thanks for giving me the time to grow in you, so that when I have a partner, I may be strong and point them to you.” God has you single for a reason and in His timing He will bring you to a relationship. In the meantime be thankful for you relationship with Christ, as well as all your relationships with family and friends.

Whether you are seeking a relationship because you are single, or you are just seeking a friendship relationship, do not let the desires of the relationship surpass your desire for your relationship with Christ. Besides Christ knows where you are at, and you are there for a reason. Whether it is to learn, come to closer to God, or whatever know that you are there for a reason. The realtionship you seek, may not be the relationship you need. Know God is with you.

Our Appearance

The second form of covet I see in this commandment, is that of trying to improve our appearance to others. We want to look good to impress others. Essentially we are attempting to be someone we are not, to gain others attention. If we think about that, that’s scary. What if we actually succeed in impressing others by this form of fashion? Now we have to keep it up. If we don’t we will fail in impressing them. I am unsure which is worse. Is it that we have forced ourselves to be someone we are not? Or is it the physiological feeling that if we don’t meet this expectation that we have placed ourselves at, that we view ourselves as failures? Both of these are very dangerous. Like relationships, we need to accept what we have and be thankful for it. Remember that if we don’t have something we want, maybe that is God protecting us from something that is going to hinder our relationship with Him. Also know, there is nothing wrong with desiring something, as long as the desire does not become more important than God.

Be true to yourselves. Accept who you are. Accept the blessings God has given you. Accept the blessing of what God hasn’t given you.

Ten Commandments:

  1. Thou Shalt Have No Other gods
  2. Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord, Thy God, in vain.
  3. Remember the Sabbath Day by Keeping it Holy
  4. Honor Your Father and Mother
  5. Thou shalt not kill.
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  7. Thou shalt not steal.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.

Memory Verse of the Week:

Ecclesiastics 7:18

It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all [extremes].


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3 thoughts on “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.”

  1. wow! this is very powerful and inspiring~~thank you for sharing.
    however, as I browse on your 10 commandments and compared it to list on Bible~~ there’s a little difference.
    I don’t see the 2nd commandment, and the 10th commandment was spit into two.

    Here’s the 10 commandments as written in the Bible…Exodus 20:3-17

    1st- 3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

    2nd – 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    3rd -7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

    4th- 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    5th -12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

    6th -13 “You shall not murder.

    7th -14 “You shall not commit adultery.

    8th -15 “You shall not steal.

    9th -16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
    10th -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.”

    1. Thank you ver much! Yeah I know, and that is the case. I have been raised a Lutheran. Lutherans and Catholics have a different order of the ten commandments than the rest of Christianity. I think I may know why, and I am not sure I agree with it. However, for this series, I kept the commandments in the same order in which I was raised. I figure the order we put the ten commandments in, isn’t what is going to save us, so for simplicity I kept it to this order. Which combines the first to commandments together, but separates the tenth commandment into two.

      Sorry about the confusion.

      God’s blessings and peace to you!

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