Warning to the Rich
1 Come now, you rich! Weep and cry aloudtn Or “wail”; Grk “crying aloud.” over the miseries that are coming on you.
2 Your riches have rotted and your clothing has become moth-eaten.
3 Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have hoarded treasure!tn Or “hoarded up treasure for the last days”; Grk “in the last days.”
4 Look, the pay you have held back from the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5 You have lived indulgently and luxuriously on the earth. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.sn James’ point seems to be that instead of seeking deliverance from condemnation, they have defied God’s law (fattened your hearts) and made themselves more likely objects of his judgment (in a day of slaughter).
6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person, although he does not resist you.tn Literally a series of verbs without connectives, “you have condemned, you have murdered…he does not resist.”
Patience in Suffering
7 So be patient, brothers and sisters,tn Grk “brothers”; this phrase occurs again three times in the paragraph. See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2. until the Lord’s return.tn Or “advent”; or “coming” (also in v. 8). Think of how the farmer waitstn Grk “Behold! The farmer waits.” for the precious fruit of the ground and is patienttn Grk “being patient.” for it until it receives the early and late rains.
8 You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near.
9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters,tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2. so that you may not be judged. See, the judge stands before the gates!sn The term gates is used metaphorically here. The physical referent would be the entrances to the city, but the author uses the term to emphasize the imminence of the judge’s approach.
10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters,tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2. take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name.
11 Think of how we regardtn Grk “Behold! We regard…” as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.sn An allusion to Exod 34:6; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 102:13; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2.
12 And above all, my brothers and sisters,tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2. do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall into judgment.
Prayer for the Sick
13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises.
14 Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anointtn Grk “anointing.” him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up – and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.tn Grk “it will be forgiven him.”
16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.tn Or “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful”; Grk “is very powerful in its working.”
17 Elijah was a human beingtn Although it is certainly true that Elijah was a “man,” here ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") has been translated as “human being” because the emphasis in context is not on Elijah’s masculine gender, but on the common humanity he shared with the author and the readers. like us, and he prayed earnestlytn Grk “he prayed with prayer” (using a Hebrew idiom to show intensity). that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months!
18 Thentn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events. he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.
19 My brothers and sisters,tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2. if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back,
20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering pathtn Grk “from the error of his way” (using the same root as the verb “to wander, to err” in the first part of the verse). will save that person’stn Grk “his soul”; the referent (the sinner mentioned at the beginning of the verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity. soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.