5 Examples of Coveting in the Bible
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5 Examples of Coveting in the Bible


The Bible teaches us to avoid the sin of covetousness, as it can lead to an array of other sins. When we covet, we desire something that belongs to someone else, whether it is material possessions, relationships, or status. God wants us to focus on contentment and trust in His provision for our lives. By examining instances of coveting in the Bible, we can learn from the mistakes of others and better understand how to avoid falling into this trap ourselves.

In this blog post, we will explore five examples of coveting in the Bible, analyzing the situations and consequences of each. We’ll use the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible for our citations. Let’s begin by taking a look at some key takeaways.

Key Takeaways

  1. Coveting can lead to other sins, such as theft, adultery, and murder.
  2. The Bible offers numerous examples of individuals who struggled with coveting.
  3. Learning from these examples can help us avoid falling into the same trap.
  4. Scripture provides guidance on how to resist the temptation to covet.
  5. Trusting in God’s promises and seeking His guidance can help us live a life free from covetous desires.

Achan’s Coveting of the Spoils of Jericho (Joshua 7:20-21)

In the battle of Jericho, God commanded the Israelites not to take any of the spoils from the city. However, Achan disobeyed God’s command and took some of the forbidden items.

When confronted, Achan confessed his sin: “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them” (Joshua 7:20-21, NKJV). Achan’s coveting led to Israel’s temporary defeat, his own death, and the death of his family.

The story of Achan serves as a warning against disobedience and greed. It is essential to follow God’s commands and not let our desires lead us into sin.

King David Coveting Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5)

King David’s desire for Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, is a well-known story of coveting in the Bible. David spotted Bathsheba bathing on a rooftop and became infatuated with her beauty.

Despite knowing she was married, David’s covetous heart led him to commit adultery with Bathsheba: “Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house” (2 Samuel 11:4, NKJV). David’s coveting eventually led him to have Uriah killed in battle to cover up his sin.

This story teaches us the danger of allowing our desires to control our actions, and it highlights the importance of resisting temptation to protect our relationships with God and others.

The Rich Young Ruler Coveting His Wealth (Matthew 19:16-22)

The rich young ruler approached Jesus, asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments, but the young ruler wanted to know which ones were most important.

Jesus mentioned several commandments, including “You shall not covet.” The rich young ruler claimed to have kept all these commandments from his youth. However, when Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, the young man became sorrowful and went away, as he could not bear to part with his wealth. His coveting of his possessions prevented him from following Jesus wholeheartedly.

This example demonstrates the danger of prioritizing material wealth over spiritual growth. It also emphasizes the importance of being willing to let go of worldly possessions in order to follow Christ fully.

Gehazi Coveting Naaman’s Gifts (2 Kings 5:20-27)

Gehazi, the servant of the prophet Elisha, witnessed the healing of Naaman, a Syrian commander who suffered from leprosy. Naaman offered gifts to Elisha in gratitude, but Elisha refused to accept them.

Gehazi, however, coveted the gifts and decided to deceive Naaman. He told Naaman that Elisha had changed his mind and wanted some of the gifts for two young prophets. Naaman willingly gave Gehazi the requested items, not knowing the truth.

When Gehazi returned, Elisha confronted him about his deceit and covetousness. As a result, Elisha declared, “The leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever” (2 Kings 5:27, NKJV). Gehazi’s coveting led to severe consequences for him and his family.

The story of Gehazi highlights the consequences of dishonesty and greed, and it serves as a reminder to always act with integrity and resist the temptation to covet what belongs to others.

Ananias and Sapphira Coveting Their Possessions (Acts 5:1-11)

Ananias and Sapphira, members of the early Christian church, sold a piece of property and decided to give a portion of the proceeds to the church. However, they lied about the amount they received and kept back some of the money for themselves.

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, confronted Ananias about his deception and covetousness, saying, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” (Acts 5:3, NKJV). Ananias and Sapphira both died as a result of their deceit and covetous hearts.

This account serves as a warning against dishonesty and greed in the context of Christian community. It emphasizes the importance of transparency and sincerity in our actions and reminds us to avoid coveting our possessions.

How to Resist the Temptation to Covet

To resist the temptation to covet, we must first recognize the dangers of covetousness and its consequences. By studying the examples in the Bible, we can see how coveting leads to destructive behaviors and outcomes.

Next, we must cultivate a heart of gratitude and contentment. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11, NKJV). We can practice gratitude by thanking God for the blessings He has provided and focusing on the good things in our lives.

Additionally, we can resist the temptation to covet by seeking God’s help through prayer. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13, NKJV). When we humbly ask for God’s guidance and strength, He will help us overcome our desires for things that do not belong to us.


In conclusion, these examples of coveting in the Bible demonstrate the dangerous consequences of this sin. Coveting can lead to further sin, destruction of relationships, and even death. God wants us to find contentment in what we have and trust in His provision for our lives.

As Christians, we must guard our hearts against covetousness, and instead focus on cultivating gratitude, generosity, and contentment. By learning from the biblical examples of coveting and its consequences, we can better understand the importance of relying on God’s provision and living a life free from the burden of covetous desires.

Let us always remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV). By trusting in God’s promises and seeking His guidance, we can overcome the temptation to covet and live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Furthermore, we should also encourage one another in our faith communities to resist the temptation to covet. By openly discussing the dangers of covetousness and sharing our struggles, we can support each other in our efforts to live lives of contentment and gratitude. Accountability and fellowship with other believers are essential components of resisting the temptation to covet.

Finally, let us remember that, as Christians, our ultimate treasure is not found in material possessions or earthly relationships, but in our relationship with Jesus Christ. He has promised us eternal life, an inheritance that can never be taken away. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4, NKJV).

By keeping our focus on our eternal inheritance and the promises of God, we can maintain a proper perspective on the fleeting and temporary nature of earthly possessions and desires. This perspective will help us to resist the temptation to covet and to live lives characterized by contentment, gratitude, and generosity.

In closing, the examples of coveting in the Bible serve as powerful reminders of the dangers and consequences of this sin. Let us learn from these stories and strive to live lives free from covetousness, trusting in God’s provision and finding our ultimate satisfaction in our relationship with Jesus Christ. May we be known as a people who are content with what we have, grateful for God’s blessings, and generous toward others, bringing glory to God in all that we do.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.