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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(James: Chapter 5)

5:1 {Come now, ye rich} (age nun hoi plousioi). 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} (klausate ololuzontes). "Burst into weeping (ingressive aorist active imperative of klai“ as in 4:9), howling with grief" (present active participle of the old onomatopoetic verb ololuz“, here only in N.T., like Latin "ululare", with which compare alalaz“ in Mt 5:38).
{For your miseries} (epi tais talaip“riais hum“n). Old word from talaip“ros (Ro 7:24) and like talaip“re“ in Jas 4:9 (from tla“ to endure and p“ros a callus).
{That are coming upon you} (tais eperchomenais). Present middle participle of the old compound eperchomai to come upon, used here in futuristic prophetic sense.

5:2 {Riches} (ho ploutos). Masculine singular, but occasionally neuter to ploutos in nominative and accusative (2Co 8:2). Apparently pleotos fulness (from pleos full, pimplˆmi to fill). "Wealth."
{Are corrupted} (sesˆpen). Second perfect active indicative of sˆp“ (root sap as in sapros, 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} (sˆtobr“ta gegonen). "Have become (second perfect indicative of ginomai, singular number, though himatia, neuter plural, treated collectively) moth-eaten" (sˆtobr“ta, late and rare compound from sˆs, moth, Mt 6:19f. and br“tos, verbal adjective of bibr“sk“ 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.

5:3 {Are rusted} (kati“tai). Perfect passive indicative (singular for chrusos and arguros are grouped as one) of katio“, late verb (from ios, rust) with perfective sense of kata, to rust through (down to the bottom), found only here, Sir. 12:11, Epictetus ("Diss". 4, 6, 14).
{Rust} (ios). 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} (eis marturion). Common idiom as in Mt 8:4 (use of eis with accusative in predicate).
{Against you} (humin). Dative of disadvantage as in Mr 6:11 (eis marturion autois) where in the parallel passage (Lu 9:5) we have eis marturion ep' autous. "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} (phagetai). Future middle (late form from ephagon) of defective verb esthi“, to eat.
{Your flesh} (tas sarkas). 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} (h“s pur). Editors differ here whether to connect this phrase with phagetai, 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 ethˆsaurisate (ye have laid up, first aorist active indicative of thˆsauriz“, Mt 6:19 and see Pr 16:27), but it is more natural to take it with phagetai.

5:4 {The hire} (ho misthos). Old word for wages (Mt 20:8). {Labourers} (ergat“n). Any one who works (ergazomai), especially agricultural workers (Mt 9:37).
{Who mowed} (t“n amˆsant“n). Genitive plural of the articular first aorist active participle of ama“ (from hama, together), old verb, to gather together, to reap, here only in N.T.
{Fields} (ch“ras). Estates or farms (Lu 12:16).
{Which is of you kept back by fraud} (ho aphusterˆmenos aph' hum“n). Perfect passive articular participle of aphustere“, late compound (simplex hustere“ 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} (hai boai). Old word from which boa“ comes (Mt 3:3), here only in N.T. The stolen money "cries out" (krazei), the workers cry out for vengeance.
{That reaped} (t“n therisant“n). Genitive plural of the articular participle first aorist active of theriz“ (old verb from theros, summer, Mt 24:32), to reap, to harvest while summer allows (Mt 6:26). {Have entered} (eiselˆluthan). Perfect active third person plural indicative of eiserchomai, old and common compound, to go or come into. This late form is by analogy of the aorist for the usual form in -asi.
{Of the Lord of Sabaoth} (Kuriou Saba“th). "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 Pantokrat“r (Re 4:8). God hears the cries of the oppressed workmen even if the employers are deaf.

5:5 {Ye have lived delicately} (etruphˆsate). First aorist (constative, summary) active indicative of trupha“, old verb from truphˆ (luxurious living as in Lu 7:25, from thrupt“, to break down, to enervate), to lead a soft life, only here in N.T.
{Taken your pleasure} (espatalˆsate). First aorist (constative) active indicative of spatala“, late and rare verb to live voluptuously or wantonly (from spatalˆ, riotous living, wantonness, once as bracelet), in N.T. only here and 1Ti 5:6. {Ye have nourished} (ethrepsate). First aorist (constative) active indicative of treph“, old verb, to feed, to fatten (Mt 6:26). They are fattening themselves like sheep or oxen all unconscious of "the day of slaughter" (en hˆmerƒi sphagˆs, definite without the article) ahead of them. For this use of sphagˆs see Ro 8:36 (probata sphagˆs, sheep for the slaughter, sphagˆ from sphaz“, to slay), consummate sarcasm on the folly of sinful rich people.

5:6 {Ye have condemned} (katedikasate). First aorist active indicative of katadikaz“, old verb (from katadikˆ, condemnation, Ac 25:15). The rich controlled the courts of justice.
{Ye have killed the righteous one} (ephoneusate ton dikaion). First aorist active indicative of phoneu“ (2:11; 4:2). "The righteous one" (t“n dikaion) 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 (prodotai kai phoneis) of the righteous one (tou dikaiou). {He doth not resist you} (ouk antitassetai humin). It is possible to treat this as a question. Present middle indicative of antitass“, for which see Jas 4:6. Without a question the unresisting end of the victim (ton dikaion) is pictured. With a question (ouk, expecting an affirmative answer) God or Lord is the subject, with the final judgment in view. There is no way to decide definitely.

5:7 {Be patient therefore} (makrothumˆsate oun). A direct corollary (oun, therefore) from the coming judgment on the wicked rich (5:1-6). First aorist (constative) active imperative of makrothume“, late compound (Plutarch, LXX) from makrothumos (makros, thumos, 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 (hupomonˆ) in 1:3f.,12 and repeated in 5:11. They will need both submission (hupomen“ 5:11) and steadfastness (makrothumia 5:10).
{Until the coming of the Lord} (he“s tˆs parousias). 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} (ho ge“rgos). The worker in the ground (gˆ, erg“) as in Mt 21:33f.
{Waiteth for} (ekdechetai). Present middle indicative of ekdechomai, old verb for eager expectation as in Ac 17:16.
{Precious} (timion). Old adjective from timˆ (honor, price), dear to the farmer because of his toil for it. See 1Pe 1:19.
{Being patient over it} (makrothum“n ep' aut“i). Present active participle of makrothume“ just used in the exhortation, picturing the farmer longing and hoping over his precious crop (cf. Lu 18:7 of God). {Until it receive} (he“s labˆi). Temporal clause of the future with he“s and the second aorist active subjunctive of lamban“, vividly describing the farmer's hopes and patience. {The early and latter rain} (pro‹mon kai opsimon). The word for rain (hueton Ac 14:17) is absent from the best MSS. The adjective pro‹mos (from pr“‹, early) occurs here only in N.T., though old in the form pro‹mos and pr“‹s. 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 (opsimon, from opse, late, here only in N.T.) in April and May for maturing the grain.

5:8 {Ye also} (kai humeis). As well as the farmers.
{Stablish} (stˆrixate). First aorist active imperative of stˆriz“, old verb, (from stˆrigx, a support) to make stable, as in Lu 22:32; 1Th 3:13.
{Is at hand} (ˆggiken). Present perfect active indicative of eggiz“, common verb, to draw near (from eggus), 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.

5:9 {Murmur not} (mˆ stenazete). Prohibition with and the present active imperative of stenaz“, 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} (hina mˆ krithˆte). Negative purpose clause with hina mˆ and the first aorist passive subjunctive of krin“. 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} (pro t“n thur“n hestˆken). Perfect active indicative of histˆmi, "is standing now." Again like the language of Jesus in Mt 24:33 (epi thurais) and Mr 13:29. Jesus the Judge is pictured as ready to enter for the judgment.

5:10 {For an example} (hupodeigma). Late word for the old paradeigma, from hupodeiknumi, 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 tous prophˆtas (the prophets) as the direct object of labete (second aorist active imperative of lamban“).
{Of suffering} (tˆs kakopathias). Old word from kakopathˆs (suffering evil, kakopathe“ in verse 13; 2Ti 2:3,9), here only in N.T.
{Of patience} (makrothumias). Like makrothume“ in 5:7. See both makrothumia and hupomonˆ in 2Co 4:6; Col 1:11 (the one restraint from retaliating, the other not easily succumbing).
{In the name of} (en t“i onomati). As in Jer 20:9. With the authority of the Lord (Deissmann, "Bible Studies", p. 198).

5:11 {We call blessed} (makarizomen). Old word (present active indicative of makariz“), from makarios (happy), in N.T. only here and Lu 1:48. "We felicitate." As in 1:3,12; Da 12:12. {Ye have heard} (ˆkousate). First aorist (constative) active indicative of akou“. As in Mt 5:21,27,33,38,43. Ropes suggests in the synagogues.
{Of Job} (I“b). 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} (eidete). Second aorist (constative) active indicative of hora“. In Job's case.
{The end of the Lord} (to telos kuriou). The conclusion wrought by the Lord in Job's case (Job 42:12).
{Full of pity} (polusplagchnos). Late and rare compound (polus, splagchnon), only here in N.T. It occurs also in Hermas ("Sim". v. 7. 4; "Mand". iv, 3). "Very kind." {Merciful} (oiktirm“n). Late and rare adjective (from oikteir“ to pity), in N.T. only here and Lu 6:36.

5:12 {Above all things} (pro pant“n). 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} (mˆ omnuete). Prohibition of the habit (or to quit doing it if guilty) with and the present active imperative of omnu“. The various oaths (profanity) forbidden (mˆte, thrice) are in the accusative case after omnuete, according to rule (ouranon, gˆn, horkon). 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} (ˆt“). Imperative active third singular of eimi, late form (1Co 16:22) for est“. "Your yea be yea" (and no more). A different form from that in Mt 5:37.
{That ye fall not under judgment} (hina mˆ hupo krisin pesˆte). Negative purpose with hina mˆ and the second aorist active subjunctive of pipt“, to fall. See hina mˆ krithˆte in verse 9. Krisis (from krin“) is the act of judging rather than the judgment rendered (krima Jas 3:1).

5:13 {Is any suffering?} (kakopathei tis;). See verse 10 for kakopathia. 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} (en humin). As in 3:13.
{Let him pray} (proseuchesth“). Present middle imperative, "let him keep on praying" (instead of cursing as in verse 12).
{Is any cheerful} (euthumei;). Present active indicative of euthume“, old verb from euthumos (Ac 27:36), in N.T. only here and Ac 27:22,25.
{Let him sing praise} (psallet“). Present active imperative of psall“, 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."

5:14 {Is any among you sick?} (asthenei tis en humin;). Present active indicative of asthene“, old verb, to be weak (without strength), often in N.T. (Mt 10:8).
{Let him call for} (proskalesasth“). First aorist (ingressive) middle imperative of proskale“. 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} (proseuxasth“san ep' auton). First aorist middle imperative of proseuchomai. Prayer for the sick is clearly enjoined.
{Anointing him with oil} (aleipsantes elai“i). First aorist active participle of aleiph“, old verb, to anoint, and the instrumental case of elaion (oil). The aorist participle can be either simultaneous or antecedent with proseuxasth“san (pray). See the same use of aleiph“ elai“i 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 aleiph“ 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: "Aleiphein is the mundane and profane, chriein 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.

5:15 {The prayer of faith} (hˆ euchˆ tˆs piste“s). Cf. 1:6 for prayer marked by faith.
{Shall save} (s“sei). Future active of s“z“, 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} (ton kamnonta). Present active articular participle of kamn“, old verb, to grow weary (Heb 12:3), to be sick (here), only N.T. examples.
{The Lord shall raise him up} (egerei auton ho kurios). Future active of egeir“. 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} (kan hamartias ˆi pepoiˆk“s). Periphrastic perfect active subjunctive (unusual idiom) with kai ean (crasis kan) 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} (aphethˆsetai aut“i). Future passive of aphiˆmi (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.

5:16 {Confess therefore your sins one to another} (exomologeisthe oun allˆlois tas hamartias). Present middle (indirect) of exomologe“. 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} (proseuchesthe huper allˆl“n). Present middle imperative. Keep this up.
{That ye may be healed} (hop“s iathˆte). Purpose clause with hop“s and the first aorist passive subjunctive of iaomai. Probably of bodily healing (verse 14), though iaomai is used also of healing of the soul (Mt 13:15; 1Pe 2:24; Heb 12:13) as Mayor takes it here. {Availeth much} (polu ischuei). "Has much force." Present active indicative of ischu“ (from ischus, strength).
{In its working} (energoumenˆ). Probably the present middle participle of energe“ 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).

5:17 {Of like passions with us} (homoiopathˆs hˆmin). Associative-instrumental case hˆmin as with homoios. This old compound adjective (homoios, pasch“), suffering the like with another, in N.T. only here and Ac 14:15.
{He prayed fervently} (proseuchˆi prosˆuxato). First aorist middle indicative of proseuchomai and the instrumental case proseuchˆi (cognate substantive), after idiom for intensity in classical Greek, like pheugein phugˆi, 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} (tou mˆ brexai). Genitive of the articular infinitive (brexai, first aorist active of brech“, old verb, to moisten, Lu 7:38, to rain, Mt 5:45) with negative 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} (eniautous treis kai mˆnas hex). Accusative of extent of time.

5:18 {Gave rain} (hueton ed“ken). 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 ebrexen of verse 17. Hueton is old word for rain (from hu“, to rain), genuine here, but not in verse 7.
{Brought forth} (eblastˆsen). First aorist active of blastan“, old verb, to sprout (intransitive as Mr 4:27), here as occasionally in later Greek transitive with accusative karpon.

5:19 {If any one among you do err} (ean tis en humin planˆthˆi). Third-class condition (supposed case) with ean and the first aorist passive subjunctive of plana“, old verb, to go astray, to wander (Mt 18:12), figuratively (Heb 5:2).
{From the truth} (apo tˆs alˆtheias). 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} (kai epistrepsˆi tis auton). Continuation of the third-class condition with the first aorist active subjunctive of epistreph“, old verb, to turn (transitive here as in Lu 1:16f., but intransitive often as Ac 9:35).

5:20 {Let him know} (gin“sket“). Present active imperative third person singular of gin“sk“, but Westcott and Hort read gin“skete (know ye) after B. In either case it is the conclusion of the condition in verse 19.
{He which converteth} (ho epistrepsas). First aorist active articular participle of epistreph“ of verse 19.
{From the error} (ek planˆs). "Out of the wandering" of verse 19 (planˆ, from which plana“ is made). See 1Jo 4:6 for contrast between "truth" and "error."
{A soul from death} (psuchˆn ek thanatou). The soul of the sinner (hamart“lon) won back to Christ, not the soul of the man winning him. A few MSS. have autou added (his soul), which leaves it ambiguous, but autou is not genuine. It is ultimate and final salvation here meant by the future (s“sei).
{Shall cover a multitude of sins} (kalupsei plˆthos hamarti“n). Future active of kalupt“, 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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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(James: Chapter 5)

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