Wise Men: The Heart of Herod - Thou Shalt Not Covet

Deuteronomy 5:21 says: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

To covet means “to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another”. King Herod coveted the crown, so much so that when he heard that the King of the Jews was born, he sought to kill him. He went so far as to order the execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem.

Herod acted on his covetousness to an extreme, but did not succeed in fulfilling his desire. The Wise Men, having been warned in a dream, returned home by a different route. Joseph, also warned in a dream, took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt. The King who Herod sought to destroy was protected.

Herod died not long after. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus reported that Herod the Great died of a painful and debilitating disease that caused breathing problems, convulsions, rotting of his body, and worms. It was then that an angel again visited Joseph in a dream, telling him to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus.

Though most of us don’t take it to the extreme of Herod, everyone covets. Whether it turns into uncontrolled ambition or remains a bitter jealousy, covetousness is a sin. God helps us keep things in the proper perspective when we appreciate what He has given us, build relationships rather than monuments to ourselves, and focus on him above all else.

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. ~1 Timothy 6: 6-8