November 16, 2008

ThouShall Not Covet


–verb (used with object)
1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.
2. to wish for, esp. eagerly: He won the prize they all coveted.
–verb (used without object)
3. to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

1175–1225; ME coveiten < AF coveiter, OF coveit(i)er < VL *cupidiētāre, v. deriv. of *cupidiētās, for L cupititās cupidity


"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you
shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female
servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your

Exodus 20:17 (NASB)

I was thinking about speaking with people or getting prayer requests in which the person asking for intercession states that they covet our prayers. That language always troubled me a bit in the context of the Decalogue. Looking at the dictionary definition #2 above doesn't sound terrible, but still it has you eagerly wanting what others covet.

So my question is whether I am being overly sensitive to the nuances of language, am I misinterpreting Scripture to apply it to a covetous desire for prayer or does this trouble anyone else in the least?

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