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Question 79: Which is the Tenth Commandment?

Answer: The Tenth Commandment is, "thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."

Dear Neighbor,

The following two question ask what is required and what is forbidden in the tenth commandment but what is the tenth commandment? The tenth commandment is very often shortened, “You shall not covet.” What does it mean to covet?

The Oxford American Dictionary says that the word covet is a verb, which means to “yearn to possess or have something.” Therefore, shortening the commandment can be misleading. To covet, crave, set your heart on, want, wish for, long for, dream of, aspire to, hanker for, hunger for, thirst for, ache for, etc. is not in itself the commandment. The commandment specifies that which belongs to ones neighbor.

Jesus said, (Matthew 5:6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” To hunger and thirst for righteousness is good.

This commandment regards the heart because it is in the heart (not blood pumping organ) that a person covets. Jesus spoke about this commandment and connected it to the previous four commandments. I look forward to thinking about what the tenth commandment requires and forbids.

Michael Peek
Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake

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