James 5The meaning is, that now, after receiving the plain instructions which James had given above, if any still persisted in the sin which he had condemned, they would be doubly guilty.
In ancient times, wealth often consisted of great accumulations of perishable property.
Cankered; tarnished and rusted.—Ye have heaped treasure together; that is, a treasure of wrath. While they had been toiling to accumulate worldly possessions, they had been really preparing for themselves stores of remorse and suffering to come, by their deeds of oppression.
The Lord of Sabaoth; the Lord of hosts.
Nourished your hearts; nourished yourselves,—that is, given yourselves up to luxuries and pleasures.—As in a day of slaughter; as in preparation for a day of slaughter. The meaning is, that they have abandoned themselves to every gratification, like an animal fattening for the slaughter.
Condemned and killed; that is, deprived them of the means of subsistence by their injustice and oppression.—The just; the innocent,—those who had never injured them.—He doth not resist you; being helpless and defenceless in his poverty.
Be patient therefore; that is, in enduring the oppression above described.
Stablish your hearts; be resolute and of good courage.—The coming of the Lord; the time when God shall call the oppressor to account for his sins, and vindicate the rights of the oppressed.
Grudge not; do not exercise or express morose and envious feelings —Standeth before the door; is near at hand. The meaning is, that as the time is soon coming when all the injuries which Christians may sustain will be amply redressed, they ought not to urge their complaints and agitate their controversies now.
The end of the Lord; meaning, probably, the end or result to which the Lord brings the sufferings of his people.
This language is very similar to that used by our Savior, as recorded Matt. 5:34-37.—Let your yea be yea, &c.; that is, in your conversation, use the forms of simple affirmation or denial.
Anointing him with oil. Whether the anointing here prescribed was intended as a rite, or as a remedy, does not appear. The oil obtained from the olive was much in use among the ancient Jews, both as an article of food, and as a medical remedy; and was also employed in many civil and religious ceremonies. The good Samaritan Is represented as employing it in the case of the wounded traveller, and the twelve, when sent out upon their original mission, anointed with oil the sick whom they were called upon to cure. (Mark 6:13.) The ceremony of extreme unction, as practised by the Catholic church, rests upon the authority of this passage. That ceremony, however, is performed as the last act of preparation for death, when all hope of recovery is gone; but, in the directions here given, the anointing, whether prescribed as a medical remedy or as a religious rite, is plainly employed as a means of restoration to health, as appears from the following verse.
Confess your faults; that is, such sins as those referred to in the close of the last verse, which may be considered as the cause of the divine displeasure manifested in the visitation of disease.
Elias. For an account of this case, see 1 Kings 17: 18:—Subject to like passions, &c.; that is, though a prophet, he was still merely a man, sharing with us the ordinary frailties, and imperfections of humanity.—Three years and six months; represented as three years in the original account. (1 Kings 18:1.) See Luke 4:25.
Shall hide; shall cause to be hidden. The sins which he repents of and forsakes shall be forgiven, and blotted out of remembrance forever.
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