James 4

Lusts; inordinate and covetous desires.

Because ye ask not; that is, of God. The meaning is, that they do not obtain the happiness which they desire, because they seek to effect their ends by contention and violence, instead of relying upon the providence and goodness of God.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses. These terms seem to be used in this case, as indeed they often are in the Scriptures, in a figurative sense, to denote those who are not true to the worship and service of God, but, while they profess to love and serve their Maker, have their hearts really set upon the world.

This passage, including the first clause of the following verse, is very obscure.The origin of the quotation is not to be found in the Old Testament, and none but conjectural explanations of the language, as it stands here, have been offered by commentators.

Resist the devil; the temptations and excitements to sin, represented as offered by Satan.

Your hands; your conduct.—Ye double-minded; ye who hesitate, undecided, between God and the world.

Be afflicted, &c.; that is, in penitence for sin.

Speaketh evil of the law and judgeth the law; violates the law, and assumes the office of judge under it. The sacred writers often use the same terms in a modified sense in the second clause of a sentence which had been used appropriately and naturally in the first, in order to preserve a sort of parallelism or symmetry of expression. Thus the phrases speaketh evil of, and judgeth, are repeated in the second clause, in this case, although used in a modified sense.

Ye ought to say, &c.; that is, they ought habitually to feel their dependence upon God. The direction refers to the proper sentiment to be felt in the heart, and not particularly to the expression of it in language.

Rejoice in your boastings; feel confident in your own powers.

The 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.

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