I Coveted Them

“When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty weight, then I coveted them, and took them” (Joshua 7:21).

The sin of covetousness is emphatically spoken against in the tenth commandment, “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 10:17). Here, Achan simply set aside God’s command, became covetous and took what really belonged to God. “And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing . . . but all the silver and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD” (Joshua 6:18,19). In Achan’s case, and ours, his covetousness began with the eyes (“When I saw”), went deeply into his mind and heart (“then I coveted them”), and ended up in his hands (“took them”). The end result of Achan’s covetousness was death.

The apostle Paul was extremely careful in this area. He reminded the Ephesian elders, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel” (Acts 20:33). He had “learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Others did not learn that lesson. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10). But, God has promised to supply our need. Thus, if God, in His omniscience, sees that we need silver and gold, He can easily provide it. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:8).

Down through the ages mankind has fallen into two categories: (1) “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous” (II Timothy 3:2), or (2) “Men of truth, hating covetousness” (Exodus 18:21). Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). NPS