Does the commandment on coveting treat women as property? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Let’s suppose there was a translation of the Bible made that took the passages that were general and yet used the male to speak to the people. Instead, this translation used she and her and spoke of a husband instead of a wife. Now let’s suppose we went to the Ten Commandments in this Bible. What would we see?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s husband, nor her male servant nor her female servant, nor her ox, nor her donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Would I read this and think that if I was married, that this would mean that I am my wife’s property. No. I would take it to mean that my wife has a husband and I am that husband and no other woman is to covet me. It’s not really offensive at all.
But so many people who come at the Bible with an axe to grind want to make everything in there offensive. Therefore, the Bible apparently lists a woman as property. After all, it mentions a man’s wife and then it mentions other things that he owns. Thus, the conclusion is that a wife is just another thing that a man owns.
Why should anyone think this? We can often go to a man and ask him about his wife or ask a woman about her husband. Would the same apply if we spoke of their kids or of their pets?
Why is this coveting condemned? Coveting is condemned because it leads to envy, and envy is a breeding ground for many other sins. I want what someone else has. Now the right response to this is to say “Therefore, I’m going to work hard and do what it takes to get what they have.” Of course, you can’t get their wife, but you can get a wife.
The rabbis did take coveting seriously. Coveting was said to be the sin that led to the fall of man. If Paul knew about this, that would explain why he spoke of not coveting in Romans 7. (Also, I don’t think Paul is giving his personal testimony. I think he’s speaking in the person of Adam.) Because Adam and Eve saw something that they wanted and wanted on their own terms, humanity fell. (Remember, advertising is the world’s oldest profession truly. See this fruit? You need it to be happy!)
So really, I don’t see anything here, but I did want to include it in the case of being thorough. Instead, internet atheists need to find something really worthwhile to deal with. Perhaps instead of critiquing the commandment so much, they could consider it seriously. They might think it’s a stretch to say that coveting leads to the fall of man, but what damage does it do to society to covet today? Wouldn’t that be a better area to focus on?
(And I affirm the virgin birth)