What Does Covet Mean in the 10 Commandments?


The Ten Commandments, a central part of the Christian faith, provide a moral code to guide believers in their daily lives. One of the commandments often misunderstood is the tenth, which warns against coveting. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning of covet in the context of the Ten Commandments, and how it applies to our lives today. By better understanding the commandment’s intent, we can strive to live a life more pleasing to God.

Coveting, as mentioned in the Bible, refers to an intense desire for something that belongs to another person. This commandment not only addresses material possessions but also relationships and personal achievements. As we delve deeper into the subject, we will consider the various aspects of coveting and how it can negatively impact our spiritual lives.

Key Takeaways

  • Coveting refers to a strong desire for something that belongs to someone else.
  • The tenth commandment warns against coveting material possessions, relationships, and personal achievements.
  • Coveting can lead to sinful actions and damage relationships.
  • Recognizing and managing covetous desires is essential for spiritual growth.
  • Focusing on gratitude and contentment can help counteract coveting.
What Does Covet Mean in the 10 Commandments?

The Tenth Commandment

In the book of Exodus, we find the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God. The tenth commandment is stated as follows: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17, NKJV). This commandment makes it clear that coveting is an undesirable trait, and we are called to avoid it.

The term “covet” is derived from the Hebrew word “chamad,” which means to desire or delight in something. In the context of the tenth commandment, it refers to an intense longing for something that belongs to someone else. This can include material possessions, relationships, or even personal achievements.

Coveting is not the same as admiring or appreciating something good in another person’s life. It becomes coveting when the desire is so strong that it leads to sinful thoughts or actions. This commandment serves as a reminder that our focus should be on God and His provision, not on what others possess.

The Dangers of Coveting

Coveting can lead to a variety of negative consequences in our lives, both spiritually and relationally. When we fixate on what others have, it can cause feelings of jealousy, resentment, and dissatisfaction. These emotions can harm our relationships with others, as well as our relationship with God.

Furthermore, coveting can lead to sinful actions, as we may be tempted to lie, steal, or deceive in order to obtain the object of our desire. The Bible offers a clear example of this in the story of King David, who coveted Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. His desire for her led him to commit adultery and ultimately arrange Uriah’s death (2 Samuel 11).

By recognizing the dangers of coveting, we can better understand the importance of this commandment and strive to avoid its negative effects.

Recognizing and Managing Covetous Desires

In order to overcome coveting, it is essential to recognize and manage these desires. This starts with self-examination, as we must identify the areas in our lives where we are most vulnerable to covetousness. This can include material possessions, relationships, or personal achievements.

Once we identify these areas, we can take steps to manage our desires by redirecting our focus. Instead of concentrating on what we lack, we should focus on what we already have and appreciate the blessings God has provided. We can also seek His guidance through prayer and studying His Word, asking Him to help us overcome these desires.

Lastly, we can cultivate contentment and gratitude by actively counting our blessings and recognizing that everything we have is a gift from God. By doing so, we can shift our focus away from coveting and towards a more satisfying and spiritually healthy life.

The Role of Gratitude and Contentment

Gratitude and contentment play a crucial role in countering covetous desires. By being thankful for what we have and finding contentment in our current circumstances, we can resist the urge to covet what others possess. This can lead to greater spiritual growth and a deeper relationship with God.

The Apostle Paul speaks to the importance of contentment in Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV), stating, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” By following Paul’s example, we can learn to find satisfaction in all circumstances through Christ.

Cultivating gratitude is another powerful way to combat coveting. By focusing on our blessings and giving thanks to God for His provision, we can shift our attention away from what we lack and toward what we have. This can bring about a greater sense of joy, peace, and spiritual well-being.

Applying the Tenth Commandment to Our Lives

As we strive to live in accordance with the Ten Commandments, it is important to remember that they are not just a set of rules but a reflection of God’s character and His desire for our lives. By obeying these commandments, we demonstrate our love for God and grow in our relationship with Him.

When it comes to the tenth commandment, we must be intentional about recognizing and addressing covetous desires in our lives. This includes identifying areas of vulnerability, seeking God’s guidance, and cultivating gratitude and contentment.

By actively working to combat coveting, we can live a more fulfilling and spiritually healthy life. This, in turn, will draw us closer to God and allow us to experience the abundant life He has promised.


In conclusion, the tenth commandment’s warning against coveting serves as a vital reminder to focus on God and His provision in our lives. Coveting, when left unchecked, can lead to jealousy, resentment, and even sinful actions. By understanding the meaning of coveting and the dangers it poses, we can take steps to recognize and manage these desires.

By cultivating gratitude and contentment, we can counteract coveting and experience a deeper sense of joy and peace in our lives. As we apply the tenth commandment to our lives, we demonstrate our love for God and grow in our relationship with Him. Let us strive to live in obedience to this commandment and experience the spiritual growth and blessings that come from a life focused on God, rather than on what others possess.

The Ten Commandments are an important part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and they provide guidance on how to live a moral life. One of the commandments, “Thou shalt not covet,” has long been a source of confusion for people, as many don’t understand what it means to “covet.” In this article, we’ll explain what exactly the commandment against coveting means and why it’s so important.

Coveting is the strong desire to possess something that belongs to another person. In the Ten Commandments, it’s a word used to refer to a spiritual and moral issue—not a material one. This desire can be directed toward objects, relationships, people or accomplishments. It’s important to note that simply wanting something is not always wrong; it’s when the desire for something causes envy or jealousy that it’s considered to be an act of coveting. It’s also important to recognize that this commandment is not only a restriction, but also a reminder that one should be grateful for what they have instead of obsessing over what they don’t.

Coveting, as it’s explained in the Ten Commandments, goes beyond material objects; it’s about the mindset of desiring something that another person has. That could include a great career, better relationships, or even admiration or approval from others. It’s about recognizing one’s own value, instead of projecting that onto the people or things around them. Cultivating humility and being content with what one has can help to avoid the temptation to covet.

Coveting is a reminder that one should be thankful for what they have, instead of obsessing over what they don’t. Even something as simple as appreciating the winter in the midst of a harsh heatwave, or being thankful for a part-time job during a pandemic, can help to cultivate a sense of contentment and make one more aware of why it’s important to resist the urge to covet. Coveting can also lead to other immoral behaviors like stealing and envy, so understanding its meaning and remembering to be grateful for one’s blessings can help one to lead a more moral and fulfilled life.

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