We read in Mtt 5: 27-28:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The Ninth Commandment states:

Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's spouse.

Now, adultery is the illicit relationship between two people, both having separate marital status. Going by Jesus's words in Mtt 5: 28, the Sixth Commandment has the wider connotation of treating lustful look at the neighbor's spouse , as adultery in one's heart. That in a way makes the Ninth Commandment a subset of the Sixth. Is it therefore, possible that by coveting'the Ninth Commandment refers not only to lustful wish but a proactive effort to capture' the other man's wife, as was done by David in the case of Bathsheba ? My question, therefore is: According to Catholic Church, what are the wider connotations of the Ninth Commandment ?

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    It would be best to refer to the commandments directly, because the numbering is frequently disputed.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 2, 2021 at 9:46
  • I can't give a Catholic viewpoint, but from the Jewish position (one Jesus and his listeners would be familiar with), the word "covet" doesn't mean the same as the modern English word. It's more like "extortion" or "undue pressure". In Judaism, only actions, not unfollowed thoughts, are sins. ¶ See Don't covet? Don't steal? What exactly is …? - Mi Yodeya, which explains why coveting "is different to both stealing and adultery" in Judaism. Sep 2, 2021 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


Simply by Christian principles (as you said Jesus himself elevates the Decalogue, saying it's sin not just to commit adultery, but also to look with lust). This is compatible with what Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 "What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”. The CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Chruch), reads on the Decalogue, on the ninth commandment:

2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.300 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.

2515 Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. the apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit."301 Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins

You can read even more about this (and others) on the CCC, it's freely available here. Also my Source about the ninth commandment

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