Beware of covetousness - One of these brothers, no doubt, was guilty of this sin; and our Saviour, as was his custom, took occasion to warn his disciples of its danger.
Covetousness - An unlawful desire of the property of another; also a desire of gain or riches beyond what is necessary for our wants. It is a violation of the tenth commandment Exodus 20:17, and is expressly called idolatry Colossians 3:5. Compare, also, Ephesians 5:3, and Hebrews 13:5.
A man' s life - The word "life" is sometimes taken in the sense of happiness or felicity, and some have supposed this to be the meaning here, and that Jesus meant to say that a man' s comfort does not depend on affluence - that is, on more than is necessary for his daily wants; but this meaning does not suit the parable following, which is designed to show that property will not lengthen out a man' s life, and therefore is not too ardently to be sought, and is of little value. The word "life," therefore, is to be taken "literally."
Consisteth not - Rather, "dependeth" not on his possessions. His possessions will not prolong it. The passage, then, means: Be not anxious about obtaining wealth, for, however much you may obtain, it will not prolong your life. "That" depends on the will of God, and it requires something besides wealth to make us ready to meet him. This sentiment he proceeds to illustrate by a beautiful parable.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Luke 12:15:
1 Thessalonians 4:6
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