James 5

Come now, ye rich ( αγε νυν ο πλουσιο ). Exclamatory interjection as in 4:13. Direct address to the rich as a class as in 1Ti 6:17. Apparently here James has in mind the rich as a class, whether believer, as in 1:10f., or unbeliever, as in 2:1f.,6. The plea here is not directly for reform, but a warning of certain judgment (5:1-6) and for Christians "a certain grim comfort in the hardships of poverty" (Ropes) in 5:7-11.

Weep and howl ( κλαυσατε ολολυζοντες ). "Burst into weeping (ingressive aorist active imperative of  κλαιω as in 4:9), howling with grief" (present active participle of the old onomatopoetic verb  ολολυζω, here only in N.T., like Latin ululare, with which compare  αλαλαζω in Mt 5:38.

For your miseries ( επ ταις ταλαιπωριαις υμων ). Old word from  ταλαιπωρος (Ro 7:24) and like  ταλαιπωρεω in Jas 4:9 (from  τλαω to endure and  πωρος a callus).

That are coming upon you ( ταις επερχομεναις ). Present middle participle of the old compound  επερχομα to come upon, used here in futuristic prophetic sense.

Riches ( ο πλουτος ). Masculine singular, but occasionally neuter  το πλουτος in nominative and accusative (2Co 8:2). Apparently  πλεοτος fulness (from  πλεος full,  πιμπλημ to fill). "Wealth."

Are corrupted ( σεσηπεν ). Second perfect active indicative of  σηπω (root  σαπ as in  σαπρος, rotten), to corrupt, to destroy, here intransitive "has rotted." Only here in N.T. On the worthlessness of mere wealth see Mt 6:19,24.

Were moth-eaten ( σητοβρωτα γεγονεν ). "Have become (second perfect indicative of  γινομα, singular number, though  ιματια, neuter plural, treated collectively) moth-eaten" ( σητοβρωτα, late and rare compound from  σης, moth, Mt 6:19f. and  βρωτος, verbal adjective of  βιβρωσκω to eat Joh 6:13. This compound found only here, Job 13:28, Sibyll. Orac. Proem. 64). Rich robes as heirlooms, but moth-eaten. Vivid picture. Witness the 250 "lost millionaires" in the United States in 1931 as compared with 1929. Riches have wings.

Are rusted ( κατιωτα ). Perfect passive indicative (singular for  χρυσος and  αργυρος are grouped as one) of  κατιοω, late verb (from  ιος, rust) with perfective sense of  κατα, to rust through (down to the bottom), found only here, Sir. 12:11, Epictetus (Diss. 4, 6, 14).

Rust ( ιος ). Poison in Jas 3:8; Ro 3:13 (only N.T. examples of old word). Silver does corrode and gold will tarnish. Dioscorides (V.91) tells about gold being rusted by chemicals. Modern chemists can even transmute metals as the alchemists claimed.

For a testimony ( εις μαρτυριον ). Common idiom as in Mt 8:4 (use of  εις with accusative in predicate).

Against you ( υμιν ). Dative of disadvantage as in Mr 6:11 ( εις μαρτυριον αυτοις ) where in the parallel passage (Lu 9:5) we have  εις μαρτυριον επ' αυτους. "To you" will make sense, as in Mt 8:4; 10:18, but "against" is the idea here as in Lu 21:13.

Shall eat ( φαγετα ). Future middle (late form from  εφαγον ) of defective verb  εσθιω, to eat.

Your flesh ( τας σαρκας ). The plural is used for the fleshy parts of the body like pieces of flesh (Re 17:16; 19:18,21). Rust eats like a canker, like cancer in the body.

As fire ( ως πυρ ). Editors differ here whether to connect this phrase with  φαγετα, just before (as Mayor), for fire eats up more rapidly than rust, or with the following, as Westcott and Hort and Ropes, that is the eternal fire of Gehenna which awaits them (Mt 25:41; Mr 9:44). This interpretation makes a more vivid picture for  εθησαυρισατε (ye have laid up, first aorist active indicative of  θησαυριζω, Mt 6:19 and see Pr 16:27), but it is more natural to take it with  φαγετα.

The hire ( ο μισθος ). Old word for wages (Mt 20:8).

Labourers ( εργατων ). Any one who works ( εργαζομα ), especially agricultural workers (Mt 9:37).

Who mowed ( των αμησαντων ). Genitive plural of the articular first aorist active participle of  αμαω (from  αμα, together), old verb, to gather together, to reap, here only in N.T.

Fields ( χωρας ). Estates or farms (Lu 12:16).

Which is of you kept back by fraud ( ο αφυστερημενος αφ' υμων ). Perfect passive articular participle of  αφυστερεω, late compound (simplex  υστερεω common as Mt 19:20), to be behindhand from, to fail of, to cause to withdraw, to defraud. Pitiful picture of earned wages kept back by rich Jews, old problem of capital and labour that is with us yet in acute form.

The cries ( α βοα ). Old word from which  βοαω comes (Mt 3:3), here only in N.T. The stolen money "cries out" ( κραζε ), the workers cry out for vengeance.

That reaped ( των θερισαντων ). Genitive plural of the articular participle first aorist active of  θεριζω (old verb from  θερος, summer, Mt 24:32), to reap, to harvest while summer allows (Mt 6:26).

Have entered ( εισεληλυθαν ). Perfect active third person plural indicative of  εισερχομα, old and common compound, to go or come into. This late form is by analogy of the aorist for the usual form in  -ασ.

Of the Lord of Sabaoth ( Κυριου Σαβαωθ ). "Of the Lord of Hosts," quotation from Isa 5:9 as in Ro 9:29, transliterating the Hebrew word for "Hosts," an expression for the omnipotence of God like  Παντοκρατωρ (Re 4:8). God hears the cries of the oppressed workmen even if the employers are deaf.

Ye have lived delicately ( ετρυφησατε ). First aorist (constative, summary) active indicative of  τρυφαω, old verb from  τρυφη (luxurious living as in Lu 7:25, from  θρυπτω, to break down, to enervate), to lead a soft life, only here in N.T.

Taken your pleasure ( εσπαταλησατε ). First aorist (constative) active indicative of  σπαταλαω, late and rare verb to live voluptuously or wantonly (from  σπαταλη, riotous living, wantonness, once as bracelet), in N.T. only here and 1Ti 5:6.

Ye have nourished ( εθρεψατε ). First aorist (constative) active indicative of  τρεφω, old verb, to feed, to fatten (Mt 6:26). They are fattening themselves like sheep or oxen all unconscious of "the day of slaughter" ( εν ημερα σφαγης, definite without the article) ahead of them. For this use of  σφαγης see Ro 8:36 ( προβατα σφαγης, sheep for the slaughter,  σφαγη from  σφαζω, to slay), consummate sarcasm on the folly of sinful rich people.

Ye have condemned ( κατεδικασατε ). First aorist active indicative of  καταδικαζω, old verb (from  καταδικη, condemnation, Ac 25:15). The rich controlled the courts of justice.

Ye have killed the righteous one ( εφονευσατε τον δικαιον ). First aorist active indicative of  φονευω (2:11; 4:2). "The righteous one" ( των δικαιον ) is the generic use of the singular with article for the class. There is probably no direct reference to one individual, though it does picture well the death of Christ and also the coming death of James himself, who was called the Just (Eus. H.E. ii. 23). Stephen (Ac 7:52) directly accuses the Sanhedrin with being betrayers and murderers ( προδοτα κα φονεις ) of the righteous one ( του δικαιου ).

He doth not resist you ( ουκ αντιτασσετα υμιν ). It is possible to treat this as a question. Present middle indicative of  αντιτασσω, for which see Jas 4:6. Without a question the unresisting end of the victim ( τον δικαιον ) is pictured. With a question ( ουκ, expecting an affirmative answer) God or Lord is the subject, with the final judgment in view. There is no way to decide definitely.

Be patient therefore ( μακροθυμησατε ουν ). A direct corollary ( ουν, therefore) from the coming judgment on the wicked rich (5:1-6). First aorist (constative) active imperative of  μακροθυμεω, late compound (Plutarch, LXX) from  μακροθυμος ( μακροσ, θυμος, of long spirit, not losing heart), as in Mt 18:26. The appeal is to the oppressed brethren. Catch your wind for a long race (long-tempered as opposed to short-tempered). See already the exhortation to patience ( υπομονη ) in 1:3f.,12 and repeated in 5:11. They will need both submission ( υπομενω 5:11) and steadfastness ( μακροθυμια 5:10).

Until the coming of the Lord ( εως της παρουσιας ). The second coming of Christ he means, the regular phrase here and in verse 8 for that idea (Mt 24:3,37,39; 1Th 2:19, etc.).

The husbandman ( ο γεωργος ). The worker in the ground ( γη, εργω ) as in Mt 21:33f.

Waiteth for ( εκδεχετα ). Present middle indicative of  εκδεχομα, old verb for eager expectation as in Ac 17:16.

Precious ( τιμιον ). Old adjective from  τιμη (honor, price), dear to the farmer because of his toil for it. See 1Pe 1:19.

Being patient over it ( μακροθυμων επ' αυτω ). Present active participle of  μακροθυμεω just used in the exhortation, picturing the farmer longing and hoping over his precious crop (cf. Lu 18:7 of God).

Until it receive ( εως λαβη ). Temporal clause of the future with  εως and the second aorist active subjunctive of  λαμβανω, vividly describing the farmer's hopes and patience.

The early and latter rain ( προιμον κα οψιμον ). The word for rain ( υετον Ac 14:17) is absent from the best MSS. The adjective  προιμος (from  πρω, early) occurs here only in N.T., though old in the form  προιμος and  πρωις. See De 11:14; Jer 5:24, etc. for these terms for the early rain in October or November for the germination of the grain, and the latter rain ( οψιμον, from  οψε, late, here only in N.T.) in April and May for maturing the grain.

Ye also ( κα υμεις ). As well as the farmers.

Stablish ( στηριξατε ). First aorist active imperative of  στηριζω, old verb, (from  στηριγξ, a support) to make stable, as in Lu 22:32; 1Th 3:13.

Is at hand ( ηγγικεν ). Present perfect active indicative of  εγγιζω, common verb, to draw near (from  εγγυς ), in Jas 4:8, for drawing near. Same form used by John in his preaching (Mt 3:2). In 1Pe 4:7 the same word appears to have an eschatological sense as apparently here. How "near" or "nigh" did James mean? Clearly, it could only be a hope, for Jesus had distinctly said that no one knew when he would return.

Murmur not ( μη στεναζετε ). Prohibition with  μη and the present active imperative of  στεναζω, old verb, to groan. "Stop groaning against one another," as some were already doing in view of their troubles. In view of the hope of the Second Coming lift up your heads.

That ye be not judged ( ινα μη κριθητε ). Negative purpose clause with  ινα μη and the first aorist passive subjunctive of  κρινω. As already indicated (2:12f.; 4:12) and repeated in 5:12. Reminiscence of the words of Jesus in Mt 7:1f.

Standeth before the doors ( προ των θυρων εστηκεν ). Perfect active indicative of  ιστημ, "is standing now." Again like the language of Jesus in Mt 24:33 ( επ θυραις ) and Mr 13:29. Jesus the Judge is pictured as ready to enter for the judgment.

For an example ( υποδειγμα ). Late word for the old  παραδειγμα, from  υποδεικνυμ, to copy under, to teach (Lu 6:47), here for copy to be imitated as in Joh 13:15, as a warning (Heb 4:11). Here predicate accusative with  τους προφητας (the prophets) as the direct object of  λαβετε (second aorist active imperative of  λαμβανω ).

Of suffering ( της κακοπαθιας ). Old word from  κακοπαθης (suffering evil,  κακοπαθεω in verse 13; 2Ti 2:3,9), here only in N.T.

Of patience ( μακροθυμιας ). Like  μακροθυμεω in 5:7. See both  μακροθυμια and  υπομονη in 2Co 4:6; Col 1:11 (the one restraint from retaliating, the other not easily succumbing).

In the name of ( εν τω ονοματ ). As in Jer 20:9. With the authority of the Lord (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 198).

We call blessed ( μακαριζομεν ). Old word (present active indicative of  μακαριζω ), from  μακαριος (happy), in N.T. only here and Lu 1:48. "We felicitate." As in 1:3,12; Da 12:12.

Ye have heard ( ηκουσατε ). First aorist (constative) active indicative of  ακουω. As in Mt 5:21,27,33,38,43. Ropes suggests in the synagogues.

Of Job ( Ιωβ ). Job did complain, but he refused to renounce God (Job 1:21; 2:10; 13:15; 16:19; 19:25f.). He had become a stock illustration of loyal endurance.

Ye have seen ( ειδετε ). Second aorist (constative) active indicative of  οραω. In Job's case.

The end of the Lord ( το τελος κυριου ). The conclusion wrought by the Lord in Job's case (Job 42:12).

Full of pity ( πολυσπλαγχνος ). Late and rare compound ( πολυσ, σπλαγχνον ), only here in N.T. It occurs also in Hermas (Sim. v. 7. 4; Mand. iv, 3). "Very kind."

Merciful ( οικτιρμων ). Late and rare adjective (from  οικτειρω to pity), in N.T. only here and Lu 6:36.

Above all things ( προ παντων ). No connection with what immediately precedes. Probably an allusion to the words of Jesus (Mt 5:34-37). It is not out of place here. See the same phrase in 1Pe 4:8. Robinson (Ephesians, p. 279) cites like examples from the papyri at the close of letters. Here it means "But especially" (Ropes).

Swear not ( μη ομνυετε ). Prohibition of the habit (or to quit doing it if guilty) with  μη and the present active imperative of  ομνυω. The various oaths (profanity) forbidden ( μητε, thrice) are in the accusative case after  ομνυετε, according to rule ( ουρανον, γην, ορκον ). The Jews were wont to split hairs in their use of profanity, and by avoiding God's name imagine that they were not really guilty of this sin, just as professing Christians today use "pious oaths" which violate the prohibition of Jesus.

Let be ( ητω ). Imperative active third singular of  ειμ, late form (1Co 16:22) for  εστω. "Your yea be yea" (and no more). A different form from that in Mt 5:37.

That ye fall not under judgment ( ινα μη υπο κρισιν πεσητε ). Negative purpose with  ινα μη and the second aorist active subjunctive of  πιπτω, to fall. See  ινα μη κριθητε in verse 9.  Κρισις (from  κρινω ) is the act of judging rather than the judgment rendered ( κριμα Jas 3:1).

Is any suffering? ( κακοπαθε τισ; ). See verse 10 for  κακοπαθια. The verb in N.T. occurs only here and in 2Ti 2:3,9; 4:5. The lively interrogative is common in the diatribe and suits the style of James.

Among you ( εν υμιν ). As in 3:13.

Let him pray ( προσευχεσθω ). Present middle imperative, "let him keep on praying" (instead of cursing as in verse 12).

Is any cheerful ( ευθυμει; ). Present active indicative of  ευθυμεω, old verb from  ευθυμος (Ac 27:36), in N.T. only here and Ac 27:22,25.

Let him sing praise ( ψαλλετω ). Present active imperative of  ψαλλω, originally to twang a chord as on a harp, to sing praise to God whether with instrument or without, in N.T. only here, 1Co 14:15; Ro 15:9; Eph 5:19. "Let him keep on making melody."

Is any among you sick? ( ασθενε τις εν υμιν; ). Present active indicative of  ασθενεω, old verb, to be weak (without strength), often in N.T. (Mt 10:8).

Let him call for ( προσκαλεσασθω ). First aorist (ingressive) middle imperative of  προσκαλεω. Note change of tense (aorist) and middle (indirect) voice. Care for the sick is urged in 1Th 5:14 ("help the sick"). Note the plural here, "elders of the church, as in Ac 20:17; 15:6,22; 21:18; Php 1:1 (bishops).

Let them pray over him ( προσευξασθωσαν επ' αυτον ). First aorist middle imperative of  προσευχομα. Prayer for the sick is clearly enjoined.

Anointing him with oil ( αλειψαντες ελαιω ). First aorist active participle of  αλειφω, old verb, to anoint, and the instrumental case of  ελαιον (oil). The aorist participle can be either simultaneous or antecedent with  προσευξασθωσαν (pray). See the same use of  αλειφω ελαιω in Mr 6:13. The use of olive oil was one of the best remedial agencies known to the ancients. They used it internally and externally. Some physicians prescribe it today. It is clear both in Mr 6:13 and here that medicinal value is attached to the use of the oil and emphasis is placed on the worth of prayer. There is nothing here of the pagan magic or of the later practice of "extreme unction" (after the eighth century). It is by no means certain that  αλειφω here and in Mr 6:13 means "anoint" in a ceremonial fashion rather than "rub" as it commonly does in medical treatises. Trench (N.T. Synonyms) says: " Αλειφειν is the mundane and profane,  χριειν the sacred and religious, word." At bottom in James we have God and medicine, God and the doctor, and that is precisely where we are today. The best physicians believe in God and want the help of prayer.

The prayer of faith ( η ευχη της πιστεως ). Cf. 1:6 for prayer marked by faith.

Shall save ( σωσε ). Future active of  σωζω, to make well. As in Mt 9:21f.; Mr 6:56. No reference here to salvation of the soul. The medicine does not heal the sick, but it helps nature (God) do it. The doctor cooperates with God in nature.

The sick ( τον καμνοντα ). Present active articular participle of  καμνω, old verb, to grow weary (Heb 12:3), to be sick (here), only N.T. examples.

The Lord shall raise him up ( εγερε αυτον ο κυριος ). Future active of  εγειρω. Precious promise, but not for a professional "faith-healer" who scoffs at medicine and makes merchandise out of prayer.

And if he have committed sins ( καν αμαρτιας η πεποιηκως ). Periphrastic perfect active subjunctive (unusual idiom) with  κα εαν (crasis  καν ) in condition of third class. Supposing that he has committed sins as many sick people have (Mr 2:5ff.; Joh 5:14; 9:2f.; 1Co 11:30).

It shall be forgiven him ( αφεθησετα αυτω ). Future passive of  αφιημ (impersonal passive as in Mt 7:2,7; Ro 10:10). Not in any magical way, not because his sickness has been healed, not without change of heart and turning to God through Christ. Much is assumed here that is not expressed.

Confess therefore your sins one to another ( εξομολογεισθε ουν αλληλοις τας αμαρτιας ). Present middle (indirect) of  εξομολογεω. Confession of sin to God is already assumed. But public confession of certain sins to one another in the meetings is greatly helpful in many ways. This is not confessing to one man like a priest in place of the public confession. One may confess to the pastor without confessing to God or to the church, with little benefit to anybody.

Pray for one another ( προσευχεσθε υπερ αλληλων ). Present middle imperative. Keep this up.

That ye may be healed ( οπως ιαθητε ). Purpose clause with  οπως and the first aorist passive subjunctive of  ιαομα. Probably of bodily healing (verse 14), though  ιαομα is used also of healing of the soul (Mt 13:15; 1Pe 2:24; Heb 12:13) as Mayor takes it here.

Availeth much ( πολυ ισχυε ). "Has much force." Present active indicative of  ισχυω (from  ισχυς, strength).

In its working ( ενεργουμενη ). Probably the present middle participle of  ενεργεω as Paul apparently uses it in Ga 5:6; 2Co 4:12; 2Th 2:7, meaning "when it works." The passive is possible, as is the usual idiom elsewhere. Mayor argues strongly for the passive here, "when it is exercised" (Ropes).

Of like passions with us ( ομοιοπαθης ημιν ). Associative-instrumental case  ημιν as with  ομοιος. This old compound adjective ( ομοιοσ, πασχω ), suffering the like with another, in N.T. only here and Ac 14:15.

He prayed fervently ( προσευχη προσηυξατο ). First aorist middle indicative of  προσευχομα and the instrumental case  προσευχη (cognate substantive), after idiom for intensity in classical Greek, like  φευγειν φυγη, to flee with all speed (figura etymologica), but particularly frequent in the LXX (Ge 2:17; 31:30) in imitation of the Hebrew infinitive absolute. So Lu 22:15; Joh 3:29; Ac 4:17.

That it might not rain ( του μη βρεξα ). Genitive of the articular infinitive ( βρεξα, first aorist active of  βρεχω, old verb, to moisten, Lu 7:38, to rain, Mt 5:45) with negative  μη used either for direct purpose, for an object clause as here and Ac 3:12; 15:20, or even for result.

For three years and six months ( ενιαυτους τρεις κα μηνας εξ ). Accusative of extent of time.

Gave rain ( υετον εδωκεν ). This idiom is in the LXX of God as here of heaven (1Sa 12:17; 1Ki 18:1) and also in Ac 14:17 instead of  εβρεξεν of verse 17.  Hυετον is old word for rain (from  υω, to rain), genuine here, but not in verse 7.

Brought forth ( εβλαστησεν ). First aorist active of  βλαστανω, old verb, to sprout (intransitive as Mr 4:27), here as occasionally in later Greek transitive with accusative  καρπον.

If any one among you do err ( εαν τις εν υμιν πλανηθη ). Third-class condition (supposed case) with  εαν and the first aorist passive subjunctive of  πλαναω, old verb, to go astray, to wander (Mt 18:12), figuratively (Heb 5:2).

From the truth ( απο της αληθειας ). For truth see 1:18; 3:14; Joh 8:32; 1Jo 1:6; 3:18f. It was easy then, and is now, to be led astray from Christ, who is the Truth.

And one convert him ( κα επιστρεψη τις αυτον ). Continuation of the third-class condition with the first aorist active subjunctive of  επιστρεφω, old verb, to turn (transitive here as in Lu 1:16f., but intransitive often as Ac 9:35).

Let him know ( γινωσκετω ). Present active imperative third person singular of  γινωσκω, but Westcott and Hort read  γινωσκετε (know ye) after B. In either case it is the conclusion of the condition in verse 19.

He which converteth ( ο επιστρεψας ). First aorist active articular participle of  επιστρεφω of verse 19.

From the error ( εκ πλανης ). "Out of the wandering" of verse 19 ( πλανη, from which  πλαναω is made). See 1Jo 4:6 for contrast between "truth" and "error."

A soul from death ( ψυχην εκ θανατου ). The soul of the sinner ( αμαρτωλον ) won back to Christ, not the soul of the man winning him. A few MSS. have  αυτου added (his soul), which leaves it ambiguous, but  αυτου is not genuine. It is ultimate and final salvation here meant by the future ( σωσε ).

Shall cover a multitude of sins ( καλυψε πληθος αμαρτιων ). Future active of  καλυπτω, old verb, to hide, to veil. But whose sins (those of the converter or the converted)? The Roman Catholics (also Mayor and Ropes) take it of the sins of the converter, who thus saves himself by saving others. The language here will allow that, but not New Testament teaching in general. It is apparently a proverbial saying which Resch considers one of the unwritten sayings of Christ (Clem. Al. Paed. iii. 12). It occurs also in 1Pe 4:8, where it clearly means the sins of others covered by love as a veil thrown over them. The saying appears also in Pr 10:12: "Hatred stirs up strife, but love hides all transgressions"--that is "love refuses to see faults" (Mayor admits). That is undoubtedly the meaning in 1Pe 4:8; Jas 5:20.

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