Exodus 20:17

Exodus 20:17
Narrative Lectionary


17 “You shall not covetA your neighbor’sB house;C you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,D

Notes on verse 17a

A “covet” = chamad. This is to desire or delight in someone or something. It can also mean something that is precious or coveted. So, it can also refer to lust.
B “neighbor’s” = rea. From raah (to associate with). This is the same as neighbor in Leviticus 19:18 “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is friend, companion, fellow, neighbor. It is someone with whom you associate, whether more or less close.
C “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
D “wife” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.

maleE or female slave,F ox,G donkey,H or anythingI that belongs to your neighbor.”

Notes on verse 17b

E “male” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
F “female slave” = amah. This is female servant or slave, handmaid.
G “ox” = shor. Perhaps from shur (to travel, turn, journey; travelling like a prostitute or a merchant). This is bull, ox, head of cattle, cow.
H “donkey” = chamor. From chamar (to be red, blush). This is a male donkey.
I “anything” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.

Image credit: Art at Rua Francisco Ferrer 238 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Photo by Eugenio Hanson, 2016.

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