The 9th & 10th Commandments forbid anyone, even though it may look acceptable in the eyes of the world, to covet or scheme to take from his neighbour what belongs to him, such as his wife, servants, house, fields, meadows, or cattle. While the 7th Commandment prohibits seizing or withholding another’s possessions to which you have no right, here it is also forbidden to entice anything away from your neighbour, even though in the eyes of the world you could do it honourably, without accusation or blame for fraudulent dealing (Concordia 405:296).
Such is nature that we all begrudge another’s having as much as we have. Everyone acquires all he can and lets others look out for themselves. Yet we all pretend to be upright. We know how to put up a fine front to conceal our rascality. We think up artful dodges and sly tricks (better and better ones are devised daily) under the guise of justice. We brazenly dare to boast of it, and insist that it should be called not rascality but shrewdness and business acumen. In this we are abetted by jurists and lawyers who twist and stretch the law to suit their purpose, straining words and using them for pretexts, without regard for equity or for our neighbours’ plight (405:297-299).
These commands not to covet, are addressed not to those whom the world considers wicked rouges, but precisely to the most upright – to people who wish to be commended as honest and virtuous because they have not offended against the preceding commandments (405:300)