|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
A strong desire after the possession of worldly things (Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 5:5; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:9, 10; Matthew 6:20). It assumes sometimes the more aggravated form of avarice, which is the Mark of cold-hearted worldliness.
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) Strong desire.
2. (n.) A strong or inordinate desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good; excessive desire for riches or money; -- in a bad sense.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
kuv'-et-us-nes: Has a variety of shades of meaning determined largely by the nature of the particular word used, or the context, or both. Following are some of the uses:
(1) To gain dishonestly (batsa`), e.g. the King James Version Exodus 18:21 Ezekiel 33:31.
(2) The wish to have more than one possesses, inordinately, of course (pleonexia), e.g. Luke 12:15 1 Thessalonians 2:5.
(3) An inordinate love of money philarguros, the King James Version Luke 16:14 2 Timothy 3:2; philarguria, 1 Timothy 6:10; negative in Hebrews 13:5, the King James Version.
Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes (Ephesians 5:3). In Colossians 3:5 it is "idolatry," while in 1 Corinthians 6:10 it is set forth as excluding a man from heaven. Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin, e.g. departure from the faith (1 Timothy 6:9, 10); lying (2 Kings 5:22-25); theft (Joshua 7:21); domestic trouble (Proverbs 15:27); murder (Ezekiel 22:12); indeed, it leads to "many foolish and hurtful lusts" (1 Timothy 6:9). Covetousness has always been a very serious menace to mankind, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament period. It was one of the first sins that broke out after Israel had entered into the promised land (Achan, Jos 7); and also in the early Christian church immediately after its founding (Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5); hence, so many warnings against it. A careful reading of the Old Testament will reveal the fact that a very great part of the Jewish law-such as its enactments and regulations regarding duties toward the poor, toward servants; concerning gleaning, usury, pledges, gold and silver taken during war-was introduced and intended to counteract the spirit of covetousness.
Eerdmans maintains (Expos, July, 1909) that the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house" (Exodus 20:17), meant to the Israelite that he should not take anything of his neighbor's possessions that were momentarily unprotected by their owner. Compare Exodus 34:23. Thus, it refers to a category of acts that is not covered by the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal." It is an oriental habit of mind from of old that when anyone sees abandoned goods which he thinks desirable, there is not the least objection to taking them, and Exodus 20:17 b is probably an explanation of what is to be understood by "house" in Exodus 20:17 a.
Examples of covetousness: Achan (Joshua 7); Saul (1 Samuel 15:9, 19); Judas (Matthew 26:14, 15); Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11); Balaam (2 Peter 2:15 with Jude 1:11).
Covetousness (22 Occurrences)
Mark 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: (KJV WEY DBY WBS)
Luke 12:15 He said to them, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses." (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Romans 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil habits, secret slanderers, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Romans 7:7 What follows? Is the Law itself a sinful thing? No, indeed; on the contrary, unless I had been taught by the Law, I should have known nothing of sin as sin. For instance, I should not have known what covetousness is, if the Law had not repeatedly said, "Thou shalt not covet." (WEY YLT)
Romans 7:8 Thou shalt not covet;' and the sin having received an opportunity, through the command, did work in me all covetousness -- for apart from law sin is dead. (YLT RSV)
2 Corinthians 9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. (KJV WBS YLT NAS)
Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; (WEB KJV WEY ASV WBS YLT RSV)
Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; (WEB KJV ASV WBS YLT RSV)
1 Thessalonians 2:5 For neither were we at any time found using words of flattery, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness (God is witness), (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (KJV WBS YLT)
2 Peter 2:3 In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old doesn't linger, and their destruction will not slumber. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)
2 Peter 2:14 having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; enticing unstedfast souls; having a heart exercised in covetousness; children of cursing; (ASV DBY YLT)
Exodus 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: (KJV DBY WBS)
Psalms 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. (KJV JPS ASV WBS)
Proverbs 28:16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS)
Isaiah 57:17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I angry, and struck him; I hid my face and was angry; and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS RSV)
Jeremiah 6:13 For from the least of them even to the greatest of them everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS)
Jeremiah 8:10 Therefore will I give their wives to others, and their fields to those who shall possess them: for everyone from the least even to the greatest is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest every one deals falsely. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS)
Jeremiah 22:17 But your eyes and your heart are not but for your covetousness, and for shedding innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it. (WEB KJV JPS ASV WBS)
Jeremiah 51:13 You who dwell on many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, the measure of your covetousness. (WEB KJV JPS ASV WBS)
Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. (KJV JPS WBS)
Habakkuk 2:9 Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil! (KJV WBS)