20:17 “You shall not covet 1 your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 2
34:24 For I will drive out 3 the nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one will covet 4 your land when you go up 5 to appear before the Lord your God three times 6 in the year.
1 tn The verb חָמַד (khamad) focuses not on an external act but on an internal mental activity behind the act, the motivation for it. The word can be used in a very good sense (Ps 19:10; 68:16), but it has a bad connotation in contexts where the object desired is off limits. This command is aimed at curtailing the greedy desire for something belonging to a neighbor, a desire that leads to the taking of it or the attempt to take it. It was used in the story of the Garden of Eden for the tree that was desired.
2 sn See further G. Wittenburg, “The Tenth Commandment in the Old Testament,” Journal for Theology in South Africa 21 (1978): 3-17: and E. W. Nicholson, “The Decalogue as the Direct Address of God,” VT 27 (1977): 422-33.
3 tn The verb is a Hiphil imperfect of יָרַשׁ (yarash), which means “to possess.” In the causative stem it can mean “dispossess” or “drive out.”
4 sn The verb “covet” means more than desire; it means that some action will be taken to try to acquire the land that is being coveted. It is one thing to envy someone for their land; it is another to be consumed by the desire that stops at nothing to get it (it, not something like it).
5 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct with a preposition and a suffixed subject to form the temporal clause.
6 tn The expression “three times” is an adverbial accusative of time.