You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).

Coveting often precedes purchasing, borrowing, stealing, and cheating. The success of free enterprise and capitalism is largely based upon it. God is not opposed to free enterprise or capitalism, but He is opposed to coveting.

This commandment to not covet is very close to the First and Second Commandments:

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 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 fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:3-6).

What is the connection? Look at Colossians 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”


Coveting is idolatry.

*Excerpted from Being Christian. To purchase, visit