COVETOUSNESS: Lesson 3–Laban

COVETOUSNESS: Lesson 3– Laban

Laban, “son of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram” and “brother of Rebekah” lived in the city of Nahor (Gen. 25:20). Appearing first when Abraham’s servant come to look for a wife for Isaac, he heard of the servant’s presence, saw the golden jewelry given to Rebekah, and eagerly invited Abraham’s servant into their home (Gen. 24:29-60). Laban’s eagerness to be hospitable (Gen. 24:31), coming immediately after he took inventory of the gifts given to his sister (Gen. 24:30), is commonly regarded as proof of the same covetousness that is his most obvious character trait throughout the remainder of his life.  Making himself equal to their father, Laban played an important role in the marriage arrangements of Isaac and Rebekah. The stubbornness and greed displayed during this occasion also appear to characterize Laban’s later dealings with Rebekah’s son, Jacob.

Approximately ninety years later, Jacob left home to escape death at the hand of his brother Esau (Gen. 27:43; 28:2). At the well of Haran he met Rachel, Laban’s daughter. Promising her to him in return for seven years of labor, he dealt with Jacob with deception and greed. He cunningly devised a plan to give his eldest daughter Leah to Jacob first and then forced him to work seven more years for Rachel. Seeing that the Lord abundantly blessed Jacob’s work, Laban persuaded him to stay longer than the original fourteen years agreed upon, but the wages he promised were changed ten times within the next six years (Gen. 29-30).

Because relationships between Laban and Jacob became tense (Gen. 31:2), Jacob quietly left with his wives, children, and possessions for which he had labored so long.  Hearing the news three days later, Laban pursued Jacob to get back what he considered to be his own (Gen. 31:30; 36, 43). Eventually, after being warned of God not to say anything good or bad to Jacob (Gen 31:24), Laban and Jacob parted on peaceful terms.  Together they heaped stones for an altar to serve as a mutual testimony that they would have no further dealings with one another. They called upon God as their witness that they would never pass beyond the stones to do harm to one another (Gen. 31:43-55).


QUESTIONS:  If a specific scripture reference is not provided for each question, give one that shows the best possible response.  Feel free to add more than one to prove the right answer.

1. How did Laban hear that the servant of Abraham had come searching for a wife for Isaac?

2. What was Laban’s reaction to the news?

3. How old was Isaac when he took Rebekah for his wife?

4. How many years was Rebekah barren?

5. How old was Jacob when he came to Laban’s house to find a wife?

6. What gives us the distinct impression that Laban was covetous from the beginning (Gen. 24:30-31)?

7. What verse in chapter 24 tells us that Laban had faith the Lord had sent Abraham’s servant to take his sister Rebekah for Isaac’s wife?

8. Another statement in Genesis 30:27 also shows that Laban had faith in the Lord’s work.  How did that “faith” affect his dealings with Jacob?

9. As Laban’s greed grew, how did it affect his relationship with Jacob and his daughters?

10. What reasons did Laban’s own daughters give for wanting to leave their father (Gen. 31:13-16)?

11. Why did Jacob feel the need to leave quietly without telling Laban he was going to his home?  Was he justified?

12. How did Rachel show that evil communication corrupted good morals (1 Cor 15:33; Gen. 31:19)?

13. Give two reasons why Laban chased after Jacob three days later (Gen. 31:33-34; 31:43).

14. What did God tell Laban in a dream before he went to accuse Jacob (Gen. 31:24-25)?  What would Laban’s covetousness have caused him to do to Jacob and thus even to his own daughters?

15. Through the knowledge of God we are given exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [promises] we “might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:3-4).  What is one of the major things we must escape before we can partake of the divine nature of God and inherit the promises?

COVETOUSNESS: LESSON 1–Eve Coveted the Forbidden Fruit


Lesson 1


Gen 2:15-18—And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Gen 2:21-24—And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 

We can easily see in these passages that Adam and Eve were given a specific job to do and that job, although a pleasant one, had restrictions.  Adam and Eve were to dress and keep the garden God had created.  They were given the freedom and the privilege of eating from any tree they chose—except for one.  The LORD showed it to them and very clearly gave the reason for not eating.

Gen 3:1-6—Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Appealing to Eve’s desire to be better and to her weakness in desiring a shortcut to get it, Satan subtly pointed out to Eve the advantages of disobeying the Creator of all to gain something for herself.  He turned her attention away from her responsibility to serve and obey her Creator to things that she could get.  Notice what Satan said would be the benefits and what Eve ultimately concluded.

In direct contradiction to the LORD, Satan said, “You shall NOT surely die.” Using the same word with a different meaning, Satan turned Eve’s attention away from God’s statement that she would die spiritually in the day she sinned by disobeying His command.  Or, he could have simply contradicted God’s statement.  He could also have indicated that God meant physical death—that she would not die physically the day she ate of it.  In any case, Eve lacked faith and believed Satan’s word above God’s word.  Eve was thus deceived.  She no longer believed that she would die.

Then Satan attributed an evil motive to the Lord by saying, “God knows you will become like gods, knowing good and evil.”

By this means, Satan subtly turned Eve’s attention to God’s wisdom with the hope she could get it by simply eating some fruit.  Every person wants to be wise, so Satan appealed to a natural desire in all men.  Satan’s words were at least partially correct.  Eve was not deceived by this statement for she did learn what good and evil was.  False teachers, like Satan, many times quote scripture and speak the truth, but only with the distinct intention of turning souls to their false doctrines.  We should not be deceived into believing that just because a teacher gives some parts of truth that everything he teaches is truth. Like Satan, false teachers may impart much good for they are Satan’s ministers and follow his pattern to tell enough truth to turn God’s children to evil.

Being a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), Satan first caused Eve to covet the ability to be as gods with the knowledge of good and evil.  In doing this, she appeared to forget the warning about death coming to her the day she ate.  Possibly Eve did not know what spiritual death was.  If she believed God spoke about physical death, she had to reject God’s truth and believe Satan’s lie.  In either case she was certainly deceived by Satan’s half truths and lies. Her response was consider her own personal desires and judgment rather than to trust her Creator.. 

It was good for food.

It was pleasant to the eyes.

It was desired to make one wise.

Benevolent lady that she was, she shared the coveted fruit with her husband who obviously let her lead him into rejecting the command of God.  Thus, sin came into the world because Eve coveted wisdom, beauty and food.  Eve’s covetousness led to Adam’s and her spiritual death by sin (Rom 7:7-9).  We see the LORD’s view of what took place in the Garden of Eden through His words in 1 Timothy 2:13-15. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

No mention is made of the incident after Genesis 3:24 until Paul, in defense of his apostleship in 2 Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  Paul was concerned that the Corinthians had left the pathway (job they had been given to do) to follow after “another Jesus” and “another gospel.”


1. What/who caused Eve to covet the forbidden fruit?  How was this brought about?

2. Was Eve exonerated because she was enticed and lied to (Gen. 3:16)?

3. What did the Lord do to punish Adam and Eve for their sin (Gen. 3:14-24)?

4. What happened to the young prophet who believed an old prophet’s lie (1 Kings 13:1-34)?  

5. What should the young prophet have said when the old prophet contradicted what God had told him?  What should Eve have said to Satan?

6. Notice Satan’s twist of the words “surely die” in Genesis 3:4.  Did Satan give Eve the right understanding of God’s promise of death (1 Tim. 2:14)?

7. Which kind of death was Paul speaking of in Romans 7:7-9?

8. Which kind of death came to Eve in the Garden of Eden and how do you know (Rom. 7:7-9; 8:2)?

9. Decisions bring consequences.  Tell what decision(s) Eve made and what the consequences were.

10. Research Question:  Study about two kinds of death spoken of in the scriptures.  Explain which one comes as the result of sin.  What is the “second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8) ?”


We all know that discipline of unrighteous members should be carried out within the body of Christ. There are certain things that a man may do which not only make him repugnant to God but which also would corrupt the body of Christ, the church. We will often hear of members being “disfellowshipped for bringing reproach on the church” (covers all, huh?), teaching false doctrine or for such things as unscriptural marriages, but how many do you know of that have ever been disciplined for covetousness? Would any of us recognize a covetous person if we saw one?

“Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:10-13).

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph. 5:3-5).

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

During this course, we will consider several examples from scripture which show how covetousness affected the work and ultimately the destiny of specific men and women. We will study these accounts to find out how we compare and how we can avoid being caught up in the same traps. Take a quick look at the various names to see how many you recognize from your previous studies.


1.Eve, in desiring the forbidden fruit
2.Lot, in choosing the plain of the Jordan

a.In giving Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife
b.In deceiving Jacob when he served him seven years for Rachel
c.In deceiving Jacob in wages

a.Coveted food
b.Gave away his birthright
5.Pharaoh and the Egyptians
a.Coveted slaves (human bodies to serve them)
b.Coveted their property during the famine

6. Ahab coveted the vineyard that belonged to Naboth

7.Gehazi, the servant of Elisha coveted clothing and money (2 Kings 5)

8.Ahaz in coveting an altar of a heathen (conquered) nation (2 Kings 16:9-20)
a.Required Urijah to build one like it before the temple in Jerusalem
b.Worshipped at the new altar every evening

9. Balaam, in loving the wages of unrighteousness

10.Achan, in hiding the treasure

11.Eli’s sons, in taking the flesh of the sacrifice

12.Samuel’s sons, in taking bribes

13.Saul, in sparing, Agag and the booty

14.David coveted Bathsheba

15.Solomon (Deut. 17:15-17)
a.Brought 666 talents of gold to Jerusalem each year
b.Married 700 wives
c.Brought horses from Egypt

16.Romans coveted land and nations
a.Harsh treatment of those they conquered
b.Required service from Jews and others

17.The man whose brother would not divide the inheritance (Luke 12:13-15)

a.Coveted the money in the bag (treasury)
b.Coveted the price of the alabaster box of ointment
c.Coveted bribe money to betray Jesus

19.Rich fool (Luke 12: )

20.Pharisees (Luke 16:14)
a.Coveted the people’s allegiance
b.Coveted the money disciples gave to Jesus
c.Coveted power over the crowds that followed Jesus
d.Coveted the material Jesus said was mammon

21.Paul died spiritually because of covetousness (Rom. 7:7 [Strong’s to set the heart upon; as in Acts 20:23])

22.Simon the sorcerer coveted the power to give the gifts

23.Ananias and Sapphira ().

24.False teachers (2 Cor.  ;2 Pet. 2:3)
a.Coveted the money from the churches
b.Coveted the praise of men
c.Coveted the power over souls

Some obviously coveted money, while others coveted food, clothing, treasures, idols or simply the praise of men.


  1. Looking at the list of names we plan to study, see if you can add any other accounts of men or women who lost their souls because of the covetousness.
  2. Where does any form of the word covet first appear in scripture, either Old Testament or New? To do a search, type the word covet with a star after it (e.g. covet*) so all forms of the word will show in the search. WORD STUDY: COVET, COVETOUS, COVETOUSNESS, COVETED, etc. ***See also GREED, GREEDY, GREEDILY, etc.
    Online sources for word studies:

  3. Is there ever a good kind of covetousness (1 Cor. 12:31; 1 Cor. 14:39; 1 Tim. 3:1)?
  4. What sin caused Paul to die spiritually (Rom. 7:7)?
  5. Is it right to delight in increase (Job 31:25; Eccl. 5:10-11)?
  6. Why could the Pharisees not accept Jesus’ teaching about not loving the world (Luke 16:14)?
  7. With what does God equate covetousness (Col. 3:5)?
  8. What is a primary motive of false teachers for making converts (2 Pet. 2:3)?
  9. What does God think of those who give their hearts to coveting (2 Pet. 2:14)?
  10. Would Judas have done all the evil he did if he had not been covetous (John 12:6)?
  11. Why do young children often quarrel with each other? Do they understand what they are doing when they wish for something someone else has? How should parents handle those situations?
  12. What is a major reason people charge too much on a credit card?


“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (Prov. 10:4-5).

Even on a literal level, we see that the son of the husbandman is expected to enter into labor with others, and to reap where they have sown. For him to sleep when the harvest lies ready for the sickle is the most extreme laziness and indeed a great shame to his father.

A similar passage dealing with the harvest of souls is found in 1 Corinthians. Paul says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:6-9).

We all have a job to do, and certainly we do not want to be a shame to our Heavenly Father—the husbandman of souls. Our part may be to water or to glean where others have sewn, but the Lord will still require that “harvest” at our hand. Remember that the fields are white unto harvest and we must not deal with a slack hand (John 4:35). Why? Because “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).


1. Physically, what must anyone do to reap a harvest?

2. Spiritually, what must someone do in order to reap a spiritual harvest?

3. In whose vineyard have we been called to work (1 Cor. 3:9)?

4. According to Mat. 13:18-23, what does one sow in order to reap a good harvest?

5. What did Paul do in order to reap a great harvest in Corinth (1 Cor. 3:5-8)?

6. What would have happened to Paul if he had not sown the seed (1 Cor. 9:16-17)?

7. Does it matter what the sower and the reaper think as they sow and reap (1 Cor. 9:16-17)?

8. Does it matter how hard or how wisely a person works to get a harvest (1 Cor. 3:8, 10)?

9. What did Apollos do in order to reap a great harvest in Corinth (1 Cor. 3:5-8)?

10. How many does the Lord expect to be involved in sowing the seed (Heb. 5:12)?

11. What kind of son or daughter are we if we do not sow in the spring and reap in the harvest?

12. When do we receive a reward for what we have sown and reaped (Luke 14:13-14)?

13. Who is blessed with the greatest reward, the sower or the reaper (1 Cor. 3:5-8)?

14. Does it matter who reaps or who sows (John 4:36-37)?

15. Are we required to sow what we reap in order to gain a reward (John 4:36-38)?


Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Prov. 6:6-8).

Here in the tropics, we have every imaginable kind of ant. I am told that in Japan alone there are 262 different species, and it is estimated that there are about 20,000 different species of ants in the world. Each species has its own unique characteristics so that the whole subject of ants is mind boggling. These various types range from the tiny sugar eating ant in most American kitchens to the huge flesh-eating army ants in the jungles of South America.Fire Ant

If you watch ants for any length of time you will see that they really communicate with each other and very effectively too. Scouts return and communicate with nest mates by touching each other with their antennae, and they also, leave scent trails for others to follow. Young workers can be trained by older workers. “Nurses” feed larvae predigested food and help pupae emerge from silken cocoons.

This month, during the hottest season, tiny brown ants have invaded our kitchen and practically carried us away. As soon as I cook something, they are there to carry off whatever I might spill or drop. Even stew in a covered stainless steel pot attracted them within a few minutes, and they were literally swarming over the lid and sides trying to gain entrance. By carefully following the trail, we were able to block the hole so that they could not come again to annoy us, but that had tbe done over and over again. Each day, we left some bait to attract them and then diligently followed their trail to eradicate the colony.

What lesson can be learned from these tiny, diligent workers?

  • They are faithful and persistent in the execution of their duties.
  • They share and cooperate with each other and work for the benefit of the colony.
  • They often fight the enemy for the general good of the group.
  • They work without an overseer while it is “yet day.”

Can we as Christian women behave like these tiny creatures? The inspired writer of Proverbs says so. We should not be slothful in business or in our duties tour physical families. We also must not be slothful in our duties tour spiritual family. We need to consider these creatures of God and be wise.

“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:

  • The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
  • The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
  • The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
  • The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces” (Prov. 30:24-28).

Ants are only mentioned twice in the Bible, yet notice the admonition given about this amazing creature. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer… … Gtthe ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Prov. 30:25; 6:6).

What is it that the Lord would have us learn from these creatures He has made? Notice two specific qualities as well as the resulting evaluation.

1. The ant is a creature that is not strong.

Do we sometimes feel weak and inadequate for the job we have been given? Are we seeing what God sees in our lives? We must heed the admonition Paul gave the Philippians when he said,

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith tbe content. I know both how tbe abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:11-13).

The Lord has told us that He is our deliverer, and that we need not trust in ourselves or man. Through the prophets, He has given us many such admonitions:

  • In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me (Psa. 56:11).
  • It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man (Psa. 118:8).
  • Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help (Psa. 146:3).
  • The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whos0 putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe (Prov. 29:25).

2. She prepares her meat (food) in summer.

  • “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (Prov. 10:4-5).
  • “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Prov. 12:24).
  • “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious (Prov. 12:27).
  • “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Prov. 13:4).
  • “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men (Prov. 22:29).

3. She is wise and we should be like her.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matt. 7:24-27).

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:45-46).

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-17).