To covet is first to desire, yearn for, crave, want, wish for, long for, hunger after/for, thirst for; and second, to covet means the inordinate, culpable desire to possess what belongs to another or that to which one has no right.Oxford English Dictionary
  Covetousness is a strong or inordinate desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good; usually in a bad sense, and applied to an inordinate desire of wealth or avarice.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Synonyms for covetousness include jealousy,hatred, resentment, envy, greed, greediness, avarice, acquisitiveness, rapacity, desire, avariciousness,rapaciousness, appetite.— Dictionary

“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.”—1 Timothy 6:10

The covetous soul is greedy, and for such, life’s glass is forever half empty. Coveting, a chief feature of the impulsive appetitive soul, is a misuse of the love principle under its subordinate desire principle; to covet is often the basis for murder and certainly theft and fraud of every kind. Cain, the farmer, coveted the praise his brother received for his offering of the choicest lamb of his flock: He soon murdered his brother in jealous anger. Coveting is both a soul taint and a sin. Thou shalt not covet is last of the Ten Commandments: 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.—Exodus 20:17

Edna Lister on Coveting

Only grief results from covetousness.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1938.

To want is to covet or to crave. Greedy craving is an unconscious creature expression—imagine a bear robbing a beehive! Coveting moves from a passive to an active, positive desire. Yet coveting is an action of self-will that inevitably brings a reaction of the law of force. Coveting causes grasping, taking and having to pay later. The law always collects payment for substance willfully misused as force.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

Unalterable law holds the gains for which you have sacrificed self against another’s covetousness. No one may take what is rightfully yours.—Edna Lister, July 15, 1945.

Thou shalt not covet.—Exodus 20:17. Few people understand what covetousness means. When you begrudge praise for an eager one, or are half-hearted about his enthusiasm, you reveal your jealousy, envy, covetousness, hard-heartedness and stinginess of soul. You covet praise when you say, He’s fine, but.—Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

Anyone who covets promotion automatically disqualifies himself from the running.—Edna Lister, Revelation: The Beast with Ten Horns, June 3, 1958.

Coveting is desire turned downward. Anyone who covets is in danger of losing all. Make each day a day of judgment of self. Measure yourself against the Light, never against your neighbor. When you compare your life to that of anyone else on earth, you covet, which provides the basis for self-pity, martyrdom and repudiation of personal responsibility. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.—Matthew 6:33.

Ask to be filled with Light and anything of the Spirit that you covet shall be added unto you. Covet only God’s good. Work for it, obey and become law and all these things shall be added unto you.—Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

Whatever you covet, you stand to lose.—Edna Lister, November 2, 1959.

Everything you desire, covet or create are your spiritual sheep.—Edna Lister, The Good Shepherd, November 1, 1964.

Selfish desire is covetousness.—Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971.

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A Story that Illustrate Coveting

Fratricide: And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
  And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
  And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.—Genesis 4:1-16

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> New Testament on Coveting

That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.—Mark 7:20‑23

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

Covet earnestly the best gifts [of the Spirit].—1 Corinthians 12:31

[You] must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.—1 Timothy 3:2‑6

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.—James 4:1-3
  Wars and fights come from your desires for pleasure that war in you [inner conflict]. You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.—James 4:1-3 (NKJV).

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Old Testament on Coveting

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.—Exodus 20:17

Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s.—Deuteronomy 5:21

For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, and blesses the covetous [greedy], whom the Lord abhors.—Psalm 10:3

Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.—Psalm 119:36

The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all the day long.—Proverbs 21:25-26

He that hates covetousness shall prolong his days.—Proverbs 28:16

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Coveting in Other Sacred Writings

Nothing is more wicked than a covetous man: for he puts his own soul on sale.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 10:9

A covetous man’s eye is not satisfied with his portion.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 14:9

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of covet: Old French coveitier, from covitie, desire, from Latin cupidites, from Latin cupidus, desirous, from cupere, to desire.

Coveting is a soul taint.

Coveting is a sin.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV). Dictionary. 2024

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

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