James 3:18: Wisdom Heavenly and Earthly, Part 6

Verse 18:[1] (Prov. 11:18; Hos. 10:12; Matt. 5:9; Phil. 1:11; Heb. 12:11) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

[The fruit, etc., καρπὸς—ἐν εἰρήνῃ, etc.] He commends heavenly wisdom, in the preceding verses by its qualities, in this verse by its effects. Or, he meets this objection, This wisdom is nevertheless useless. Nay, says he, but rather fruitful (Gataker). There is a twofold Antanaclasis.[2] For he just now made use of the language of καρποῦ/fruit with respect to Works, but now with respect to the Recompense of works; and the language of εἰρήνης/peace he takes up first for prosperous works (for ἐν εἰρήνῃ, in peace, is used in the place of εἰς εἰρήνην, unto peace), then for concord (Grotius). But the fruit (the fruit is twofold, 1. what we bring forth, as in Luke 3:8, 9; 6:43, 44; 8:8; Romans 6:22; etc.: 2. what we reap, that is, the reward, as in Luke 13:6, 7; Romans 1:13: The former is called ἔργον/work, Hebrew 12:11, that is, the good which one does; the latter, καρπὸς ἔργου, the fruit of work, Hebrews 6:7, 8; James 5:7, or the good which one reaps [Gataker]) of righteousness (that is, of that righteous and just wisdom described a little before; which metonymically is called righteousness, because it is its inseparable cause and companion [Vorstius]: He says of righteousness, because it is true wisdom, Job 28:28: Of righteousness, that is, of heavenly wisdom, that is, of piety and charity [Hammond]: Δικαιοσύνη here is generally taken in such a way that it comprehends all things that belong to our duty, as in Matthew 5:20; Acts 10:35; Romans 3:21, 22; Philippians 1:11; and elsewhere [Grotius]: Is here called the fruit of righteousness, either, 1. righteous fruit [Gataker]; or, 2. what is reaped from righteousness, namely, eternal life [Estius], or, the promise of righteousness, as in Philippians 1:22; or, 3. which consists in righteousness, as in Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11, like the trees of righteousness, Isaiah 61:3, which bring forth righteousness like fruit [Gataker]: or, which is righteousness itself; but in such a way that we take righteousness according to our degrees and perfection [Estius]: thus Romans 4:11, the sign of circumcision [Gataker]: or, 4. fruit appropriate for a sincere and honest life [Beza]: What is called fruit is produced in whatever manner, whether as an effect, as in James 3:17, or as a recompense, as here and in Hebrews 12:11 [Hammond]) in peace (this is referred, either, 1. to σπείρεται, it is sown in peace, as in 1 Corinthians 15:43, it is sown in dishonor, glory, weakness, etc. [certain interpreters in Gataker], or, with peace, that is, they, as fruitful and blessed, shall reap, Matthew 5:9 [Beza]; or, rather, 2. to καρπὸς/fruit, as if it was ὁ ἐν εἰρήνῃ, that is, κείμενος, situated in peace [Gataker, Piscator]: or, in peace, that is, in a manner most happy and agreeable, or with a confluence of every sort of blessedness [Hammond]: Εἰρήνη here does not denote peace, or the study of peace, as many take it; but rather prosperity, or felicity, as in Psalm 37:11; 72:3; Luke 7:50; 8:48; etc.: καρπὸς ἐν εἰρήνῃ here is the same as καρπὸς εἰρηνικὸς, peaceable fruit, Hebrews 12:11 [Gataker]) is sown (a comparison with sowing in this matter is common, as in 2 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7, 8: As the Latins say, As you sow, so shall you reap[3] [Grotius]: There is an allusion to Psalm 97:11 [Gataker]) by those making (that is, practicing [Piscator], or, fostering [Estius, Gataker]) peace (Erasmus, Montanus, etc.), or, by those that give themselves to peace (Beza, Piscator, thus Grotius), just like δικαιοσύνην ποιεῖν, to do righteousness, 1 John 2:29; 3:7, and ἐργάζεσθαι, and κατεργάζεσθαι, to work righteousness, James 1:20,[4] that is, to give oneself to righteousness. Just as עלל, to busy oneself, is common among the Hebrews (Grotius): or, by those doing peace, that is, the works of peace, which make for the procuring and enlarging peace (Menochius); or, eager for peace. Thus ποιεῖν ἁμαρτίαν, to do/commit sin, John 8:34; 1 John 3:6-9; and ποιῆσαι ἔλεος, to do mercy, Luke 1:72; 10:37. Thus εῖρηνεύειν, be at peace, Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18 (Gataker). The expression signifies to advance peace with the very highest zeal and effort. Peace here is understood with men, whichis opposed to all contentions, etc., which are mentioned both in what precedes and in what follows (Hammond). The sense of the passage: And the fruit, or recompense promised to the righteous and to righteousness, that is, prosperity and eternal felicity, is here sown; and in the end shall be reaped by all those that study peace (Gataker). Now is the superabounding fruit of righteousness sown by them, which they shall reap in the future age (Menochius). In peace like a seed, to them eternal life springs forth, which is the fruit or recompense of righteousnss; or, righteousness itself, as fruit. The reason for this teaching is that peace fosters charity/love, which abates, or quenches, contentions and quarrels (Estius). The sense is, either, that fruit is sown by the peaceable, which they may afterwards gather; or, it is an anticipation, that is to say, Whoever have true wisdom from God, even if toward neighbors they be kind, mild, gentle, etc., and tolerant of many things in them, yet they are concerned to sow righteousness, and they do not ignore vices; neither do they give support to them, but rather they reprove them gently, and study to correct them, but in peace, that is, with moderation employed, so that unity might remain unharmed, and lest they be executioners, who desire to be held as healers of vice (Calvin).

And the fruit of righteousness; either the fruit we bring forth, which is righteousness itself, Luke 3:8, 9; Romans 6:22; Philippians 1:11; or the fruit we reap, which is the reward of righteousness, viz. eternal life. Righteousness; metonymically here put for the heavenly wisdom before described, whereof it is the inseparable companion, or the effect, Job 28:28. Is sown; either righteousness, as the good fruit, is wrought or exercised, Hosea 10:12, (as wickedness is said to be sown when it is acted, Job 4:8,) or it relates to the reward, which is the fruit, of which righteousness is the seed, Psalm 97:11; and then it implies, either the sureness of that reward, that it is as certain as harvest after seedtime: or the non-enjoyment of it for the present, as they that sow their seed receive not the crop till long after. In peace; either in a mild, peaceable, amicable way; or in peace is as much as with peace, viz. spiritual peace and comfort of conscience. Of them that make peace; that follow after and are studious of peace; and so the words may have a twofold sense: either the meaning is, 1. That they that exercise righteousness must do it in a sweet and peaceable way: in particular, men may reprehend others, so they do it with moderation and gentleness, not as executioners, to torment them, but as physicians, to heal them; as, on the other side, they that are most peaceably disposed, yet must not make peace without sowing righteousness with it, which includes just reprehension, whereby righteousness is promoted. Or, 2. That they who sow righteousness in peace, i.e. join righteousness with their endeavours after peace, shall reap the reward, not only in comfort here, but in glory hereafter.

[1] Greek: καρπὸς δὲ τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἐν εἰρήνῃ σπείρεται τοῖς ποιοῦσιν εἰρήνην.

[2] That is, the repetition of a word, but with different senses.

[3] Cicero’s De Oratore 2:65

[4] The overwhelming majority of Byzantine manuscripts read κατεργάζεται; codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus, ἐργάζεται:  but the meaning is not much affected.

James 3:17: Wisdom Heavenly and Earthly, Part 5

Verse 17:[1] But (1 Cor. 2:6, 7) the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality (or, without wrangling[2]), (Rom. 12:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2:1; 1 John 3:18) and without hypocrisy.

[The wisdom that is from above (that is, given by God above nature [Grotius, similarly Estius], true and heavenly, that is, which characterizes good masters/teachers [Estius])] That is, the knowledge of divine things. This, says he, if it not only forms the intellect, but also affects the will, brings with itself all virtues as attendants (Estius).

But the wisdom that is from above; true wisdom, which is of God, opposed to that which descendeth not from above, verse 15.

[In the first place indeed modest, ἁγνή] Chaste (Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Piscator, Menochius). Pure (Beza, Piscator, Estius, Menochius, Grotius, etc.). Namely, from those worldly envies (Grotius), or, from the enticements of the flesh and senses (Estius); from lust (Menochius, Hammond), and from whatever purity of depraved doctrine, wickedness, or vice (Menochius). It is opposed either to sensual wisdom (Estius), or to hypocrisy and ambition (Calvin). He here enumerates seven properties of true wisdom (Estius). Now, he sets purity, or sanctity, in the first place, because this has regard both to God and to ourselves; those which follow have regard to others. Charity/love begins from itself. He teaches that piety is to be placed before peace. He mentions this, because there is also a fraternity in evils, peace among the impure, a foolish and ruinous ease, of which sort was that of Eli, 1 Samuel 2 (Gataker).

[Peaceable] That is, loving peace (Menochius), abhorring contentions (Estius, similarly Menochius, Calvin). This is a great part of wisdom. A fool neither knows the goodness of peace, Proverbs 17:1, nor foresees the results of contentions, Proverbs 17:14, or understand to avoid the occasions of contentions, which are innumerable, etc. (Gataker).

Is first pure; either excluding mixture, and then it is opposed to hypocritical; or rather excluding filthiness, and then it is opposed to sensual, verse 15, and implies freedom from the defilement of sin and error, it being the property of true wisdom to make men adhere both to truth and holiness. Then peaceable; disposeth men to peace, both as to the making and keeping it, in opposition to strife and contention, which is the fruit of the earthly wisdom. Peaceableness, which relates to man, is set after purity, which respects God in the first place, to intimate, that purity must have the preference to peace. Our peace with men must always be with a salvo to our respects to God and holiness.

[Modest (thus Grotius out of the Syriac), ἐπιεικής] Equal (Erasmus, Vatablus, Beza, Calvin, Estius). Humane (Erasmus). Moderate (Piscator, Menochius). Putting, as far as possible, a better construction upon all things. See 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5; Philippians 4:5;[3] 1 Timothy 3:3;[4] Titus 3:2[5] (Grotius). Yielding one’s own right for the sake of peace (Piscator). This is opposed to ἀκριβοδικαίῳ, one precise with respect to his rights (Gataker, Beza, Vorstius), or austerity, which tolerates nothing in one’s brethren (Calvin); likewise to πληκτῇ, a pugnacious person, and to αἰσχροκερδεῖ, an avarious person, 1 Timothy 3:3. With this is joined πραότης/meekness in 2 Corinthians 10:1[6] (Gataker). Good natures, or kind, gentle, or humble. For the wisdom of the world makes men supercilious, morose, and difficult (Menochius). This is the virtue by which one bears the infirmities of others, and judges benevolently of their faults; and readily pardons injuries, and does not rigidly exact debts and obligations: by which he grants to each his rights, but he himself yields his rights for the sake of charity and peace (Gataker).

Gentle; or equal, or moderate, Philippians 4:5; 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 3:2. It implies that gentleness (as we translate it) whereby we bear with others’ infirmities, forgive injuries, interpret all things for the best, recede from our own right for peace sake; and is opposed to that austerity and rigidness in our practices and censures, which will bear with nothing in weak, dissenting, or offending brethren.

[Compliant, εὐπειθής] Persuadable (Valla). Easy to persuade (Valla, Estius). Tractable (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Vatablus, Calvin). Well persuadable (Montanus). Obliging (Menochius), which concedes to reason (Estius), which easily yields (Menochius): Obsequious (Castalio, Grotius out of the Syriac, thus Tremellius, Beza, Gataker out of Stephanus[7]). Philo[8] and Galen[9] make use of this word in this way (Grotius). Affable (Calvin). It is opposed to αὐθαδείᾳ/self-willed[10] (Beza). To pride and malice (Calvin). Readily yielding to one advising right conduct (Piscator). Εὐπειθὴς is the same as ταχυπειθὴς, soon persuaded, in Theocritus, —ἐγὼ δὲ τις οὐ ταχυπειθὴς, but I am not soon persuaded by them.[11] To this is opposed ἀπειθὴς, willful, refractory, in Xenophon;[12] and δυσπειθὴς, one who is convinced with difficulty, who scarcely yields: which Xenophon uses of ill-trained hunting dogs,[13] as in the former of horses, etc.: and also δυσπειστὸς καὶ οὐ εὐμετάπειστος , one opinionated and not easily persuaded, who is ἰσχυρογνώμων, stiff in his opinions, and ἐμμενετικὸς τῇ δόξῃ, disposed to abide by his views, Aristotle’s Ethics 7:9. This is the virtue by which one willingly admits the admonitions of others, and he, having been thoroughly instructed in better things by good and wise men, readily recedes from his own opinion and is moved from whatever evil practice; and in doubtful matters he readily believes that which is best; and without reluctance he forgives injuries inflicted on himself. This also is not the least part of wisdom, which certainly teaches us to prefer conscience to reputation, to yield to right reason, to return from a byway to the right way at the admonition of any, to moderate passions, and to preserve the mean, both between excessive ease and severity, and between persuadability and inconstancy, between charity and credulity. Against this virtue sin those who are implacable, Romans 1:31, and think of themselves arrogantly, Proverbs 12:1; 13:1, and are suspicious, 1 Corinthians 13, pertinacious in evil, tenacious in their purpose, and altogether given to their own will, according to that saying, let the things that once pleased me remain to me, etc.[14] (Gataker).

Easy to be entreated; easily persuadable. True wisdom makes men yield to good admonitions, good counsel, good reason. This is opposed to implacableness, Romans 1:31; pride, and obstinacy in evil, Proverbs 12:1; 13:1.

[Full of, etc., μεστὴ ἐλέους, etc.] Full of mercy (by which we are inclined to succor the needy and wretched [Estius]; by which another’s misery is a matter of concern to us, and near to our hearts; by which empathize with, or pity, others, whether afflicted, or sinners [Gataker]: He opposes this to those inhuman [Calvin, thus Beza], and inexorable [Calvin]: Others: Full of beneficence: for we said that ἔλεος is thus taken by us elsewhere, and in James 2:13[15] [Grotius]) and good fruits (Beza, Piscator, etc.). Works he here calls fruits (Grotius, similarly Estius, Menochius, Gataker), as in Matthew 3:8; 7:16, 17; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9 (Grotius), that is, external, which proceed from mercy; of which sort are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, etc. (Estius, similarly Calvin). Mercy is the root, the fruit of which is the liberality of the hand, etc. This also is part of wisdom, both, because it renders us both similar and agreeable to the most wise and excellent God; and, because we do not know what evils will be able to befall us; and because he who serves another, generally does good to himself. It also belongs to wisdom to teach both what and to whom largess is to be granted, so that we sow with the hand, not with the whole sack, as it is said, and so that we might not exhaust the fount of liberality with immoderate generosity, etc. (Gataker).

Full of mercy; a grace whereby we pity others that are afflicted, or that offend, and is opposed to inhumanity and inexorableness. And good fruits; beneficence, liberality, and all other offices of humanity, which proceed from mercy.

[Not, etc., ἀδιάκριτος] Not judging (Vulgate). That is, neither judging another’s words or deed, nor arrogantly or disdainfully looking down upon them (Menochius). Not (or, nothing [Tigurinus, Erasmus, Vatablus]) adjudicating (Montanus, Tigurinus), or discerning (Erasmus, Vatablus). Without inquiry (Calvin), or, arbitration (Beza), or, adjudication (Calvin, Erasmus, Illyricus, Pagnine), that is, excessively anxious and scrupulous inquiry, which sort is generally in hypocrites; who, while they inquire very exactly into the words and deeds of their brethren, construe everything in an unfavorable manner (Calvin). Which does not distinguish men according to the flesh. See James 2:4. The Syriac, ודלא פלגותא, without discrimination, namely, unrighteous (Grotius). Not having respect of persons, by honoring the rich and despising the poor: which vice he reprehends in the preceding chapter. A comparison with James 2:4 makes this sense probable (Estius). Which does not differentiate between one’s neighbors based on respect of persons (Piscator, similarly Gataker). He reprehends προσωποληψίαν, respect of persons, and other reflections that carry the soul off into bypaths, as it were, from promptly and swiftly yielding in simplicity to the will of God, and the example of Abraham (Beza). Without discord (Tremellius). Without hesitation (the Syriac [according to Boder.], Hammond). Without hesitation of faith (Æthiopic), that is, who constantly adheres to Christ, whatever temptations might attempt to seduce him. This is aptly added, so that it might be set over against the inconstancy of the Gnostics, who, with persecution pressing, were abjuring Christ. Διακρίνεσθαι signifies to hesitate, or to doubt, which we related on James 2:4[16] (Hammond). Not doubting. For, as ἀπρόκριτος is opposed to prejudgment, so ἀδιάκριτος excludes doubting (Strigelius). Διακρίνειν is taken variously: sometimes it signifies to dispute, as in Acts 11:2;[17] Jude 9.[18] Thus Romans 14:1.[19] Sometimes it signifies to hesitate/doubt, as in Acts 10:20;[20] 11:12; Romans 4:20;[21] 14:23;[22] sometimes it signifies the same thing as κρίνειν, to judge, or to pass judgment, as in 1 Corinthians 6:5;[23] 14:29;[24] sometimes, to discern, between cause and cause, between person and person, as in Acts 15:9;[25] 1 Corinthians 4:7;[26] 11:29.[27] Thus διάκρισις in 1 Corinthians 12:5;[28] Hebrews 5:14[29] (Gataker). In one Codex we read εὐδιάκριτος, rightly discerning, or, adjudicating (Beza). Which virtue is indeed required in Christians, Romans 2:18; Philippians 1:10; Hebrews 5:14 (Gataker).

Without partiality; or, without judging, i.e. either a curious inquiring into the faults of others, to find matter for censures, which many times infers wrangling, as our margin renders it; or a discerning between person and person, upon carnal accounts, which is partiality, as it is here translated, and James 2:4.

[Without, etc., ἀνυπόκριτος] He previously condemned hypocrisy, when he said pure, yet he repeats it again more clearly at the end; or, so that he might signify that we are for that reason morose, because we spare ourselves excessively, and connive at our own vices (Calvin); or, because hypocrisy corrupts, but sincerity perfects, all the rest. The rest, like purity, peace, equity, etc., are able to be counterfeited, etc. (Gataker). Not feigned (Montanus, similarly Beza, Piscator). Feigning nothing (Erasmus, Vatablus); he understands here dissimulation out of regard for men rather than God (Gataker). Not having, as it is the custom of Ambition, one thing shut up in the breast, another thing ready on the tongue, as that expression is in Sallust.[30] See Romans 12:9;[31] 2 Corinthians 6:6;[32] 1 Timothy 1:5;[33] 2 Timothy 1:5;[34] etc. (Grotius).

And without hypocrisy; or, counterfeiting, as they do that judge others, being guilty of the same things, or as bad, themselves: or hypocrisy may be here added, to show that sincerity is the perfection of all the rest before named; purity, peace, and gentleness, etc., may be counterfeit; hypocrisy spoils all; and therefore the wisdom that is from above is sincere, and without hypocrisy.

[1] Greek: ἡ δὲ ἄνωθεν σοφία πρῶτον μὲν ἁγνή ἐστιν, ἔπειτα εἰρηνική, ἐπιεικής, εὐπειθής, μεστὴ ἐλέους καὶ καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν, ἀδιάκριτος καὶ ἀνυπόκριτος.

[2] Greek: ἀδιάκριτος.

[3] Philippians 4:5:  “Let your moderation (ἐπιεικὲς) be known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand.”

[4] 1 Timothy 3:3:  “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre (μὴ πλήκτην, μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ); but patient (ἐπιεικῆ), not a brawler, not covetous…”

[5] Titus 3:2:  “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle (ἐπιεικεῖς), shewing all meekness unto all men.”

[6] 2 Corinthians 10:1:  “Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness (διὰ τῆς πρᾳότητος καὶ ἐπιεικείας) of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you…”

[7] Henri Estienne, or Henricus Stephanus (c. 1530-1598), was the eldest son of Robert Estienne, who had printed several famous editions of the Greek New Testament.  Henri continued in the family printing business, editing, collating, and preparing many classical works for the press.  His most famous work is his Thesaurus Linguæ Graecæ, which was a standard work in Greek lexicography until the nineteenth century.

[8] On the Virtues 15.

[9] Opera 6:3.

[10] For example, Titus 1:7:  “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed (αὐθάδη), not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre…”

[11] Idyll 7:38.  Theocritus was a Greek poet of the third century BC.

[12] On the Art of Horsemanship 3:6.

[13] Memorabilia 4:1:3.

[14] Seneca’s De Vita Beata 8.

[15] James 2:13:  “For he shall have merciless (ἀνίλεως) judgment, that hath shewed no mercy (ἔλεος); and mercy (ἔλεος) rejoiceth against judgment.”

[16] James 2:4:  “Are ye not then partial (καὶ οὐ διεκρίθητε) in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”

[17] Acts 11:2:  “And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended (διεκρίνοντο) with him…”

[18] Jude 9:  “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending (διακρινόμενος) with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

[19] Romans 14:1:  “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations (διακρίσεις).”

[20] Acts 10:20:  “Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting (διακρινόμενος) nothing:  for I have sent them.”  So also Acts 11:12.

[21] Romans 4:20:  “He staggered (διεκρίθη) not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…”

[22] Romans 14:23:  “And he that doubteth (διακρινόμενος) is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith:  for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

[23] 1 Corinthians 6:5:  “I speak to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge (διακρῖναι) between his brethren?”

[24] Corinthians 14:29:  “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge (διακρινέτωσαν).”

[25] Acts 15:9:  “And put no difference (οὐδὲν διέκρινε) between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

[26] 1 Corinthians 4:7:  “For who maketh thee to differ (τίς γάρ σε διακρίνει) from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”

[27] 1 Corinthians 11:29:  “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning (διακρίνων) the Lord’s body.”

[28] 1 Corinthians 12:5:  “And there are differences (διαιρέσεις) of administrations, but the same Lord.”

[29] Hebrews 5:14:  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised for distinguishing (πρὸς διάκρισιν) both good and evil.”

[30] Bellum Catilinæ 10.

[31] Romans 12:9a:  “Let love be without dissimulation (ἀνυπόκριτος).”

[32] 2 Corinthians 6:6:  “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned (ἀνυποκρίτῳ)…”

[33] 1 Timothy 1:5:  “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (ἀνυποκρίτου)…”

[34] 2 Timothy 1:5a:  “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned (ἀνυποκρίτου) faith that is in thee…”

James 3:16: Wisdom Heavenly and Earthly, Part 4

Verse 16:[1] For (1 Cor. 3:3; Gal. 5:20) where envying and strife is, there is confusion (Gr. tumult, or, unquietness[2]) and every evil work.

[For where envy, etc.] He names those vices which are especially apparent, as in verse 14 (Grotius). He proves his claim here from the evil fruits, etc. (Gataker).

For where envying and strife is; the usual companions of this devilish wisdom.

[There, etc., ἐκεῖ ἀκαταστασία] There is commotion (Montanus, Piscator), or, tumult (Erasmus, Illyricus, Vatablus, Grotius, Estius, Menochius). It is similar to stife, which sort is wont to be of men vehemently and haughtily contending with one another (Estius): or, perturbation (Erasmus in Estius, Calvin, thus Tremellius, the Æthiopic), that is, an agitated order of things, while through ambition each one grasps at greater things before others (Estius out of Erasmus): or, strife (Erasmus, Vatablus, Grotius, Pagnine), as in Luke 21:9;[3] 2 Corinthians 6:5[4] (Grotius): or, inconstancy (Vulgate, Arabic, Erasmus, Tigurinus, Castalio, thus Gataker), as in Luke 21:9; 1 Corinthians 14:33;[5] 2 Corinthians 12:20[6] (Gataker). But he meant here to express something weightier than Lightness, namely, that one spiteful and critical, as if he were beside himself, does all things confusedly and incorrectly. It is an argument from opposites: Wisdom requires a well composed state of mind: but emulation disturbs that, so that in a certain measure it causes a commotion with itself, and without measure it boils over unto others (Calvin).

There is confusion; or, inconsistency, viz. both with man’s self and others; envy makes him unquiet in himself, and troublesome to others, by causing contentions and seditions among them, and breaking their peace, as well as his own.

[And every depraved work] Hyperbole.[7] For he wishes to say that from emulation, and the bitter contention that follows it, a great many evils arise (Grotius). That is to say, Where those are, all other vices easily sprout and grow also (Estius).

And every evil work; all manner of wickedness is ushered in by this confusion and sedition.

[1] Greek: ὅπου γὰρ ζῆλος καὶ ἐρίθεια, ἐκεῖ ἀκαταστασία καὶ πᾶν φαῦλον πρᾶγμα.

[2] Greek: ἀκαταστασία.

[3] Luke 21:9: “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions (ἀκαταστασίας), be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.”

[4] 2 Corinthians 6:5: “In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults (ἀκαταστασίαις), in labours, in watchings, in fastings…”

[5] 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion (ἀκαταστασίας), but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

[6] 2 Corinthians 12:20: “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults (ἀκαταστασίαι)…”

[7] That is, a rhetorical overstatement.

James 3:15: Wisdom Heavenly and Earthly, Part 3

Verse 15:[1] (Jam. 1:17; Phil. 3:19) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual (or, natural;[2] Jude 19[3]), devilish.

[For not is this (which those wicked masters/teachers were peddling [Estius]: with which they were swelling, while they were being so exacting in searching out the faults of others [Calvin]) wisdom (that is, it is not true wisdom [Grotius, Estius], but false [Estius]) descending from above (or, from the heavenlies [Piscator], from heaven [Menochius, thus Piscator], from the Father of men, James 1:17 [Menochius])] That is, what sort the Holy Spirit works. See John 15:26 (Grotius). He denies that to be true wisdom, which those ambitious and corrupt men were peddling; since it was joined with depraved lusts, etc. (Estius). Now, by wisdom here he understands, either, 1. that which is common to all Christians, that is, that righteousness which embraces all virtues (the majority of interpreters in Estius): or, 2. that of masters/teachers, which pertains to the intellect, and does not necessarily affect the will; which is in men ambitious, avaricious, etc., which in many is commonly mixed and corrupted with perverse opinions, suited to carnal sense (Estius). Others: He confirms what he said against envy and contention, etc., that is to say, to whatever degree this may appear to you and to the world to be wisdom, yet it is not true wisdom, because it is not from God, from whom is all wisdom (Gataker).

[But is earthly] That is, arising from the earth, John 3:31 (Gataker). Suited to souls bent toward the earth (Grotius); seeking earthly wealth (Menochius, similarly Estius). Compare Philippians 3:19 (Grotius, Gataker).

This wisdom, which they pretended so much to, who so criticized on other men’s actions, and inveighed against them, and which was accompanied with strife and envy. Descendeth not from above; i.e. from God the author of wisdom, from whom, though every good and perfect gift descends, James 1:17, and even knowledge and skill in natural things, Isaiah 28:26, 29; yet this wisdom, being sinful, is not from him, because it is earthly, of the earth, of no higher original than from the first Adam, who was of the earth, and earthly, 1 Corinthians 15:47; and likewise because it is employed, and fixeth men’s minds, on earthly things.

[Animal, ψυχική] As in 1 Corinthians 2:14[4] (Piscator). Human, or earthly (Zegers, Erasmus): or, conceived by the power of the unrenewed soul (Piscator): from nature, not from God (Grotius): serving the lusts of the flesh (Estius, similarly Menochius, certain interpreters in Erasmus), after the likeness of brutes, as the word is derived from animals[5] (certain interpreters in Erasmus): wisdom of the flesh or carnal (Drusius), from the cogitations of the soul (Grotius out of the Syriac). By this men are wise in this world, 1 Corinthians 3:18: they are called ψυχικοί, who do not have the Spirit of God, Jude 19 (Grotius).

Sensual; this may be understood either, 1. According to the reading in the text, the word here used being so rendered, Jude 19, agreeable to 1 Thessalonians 5:23,[6] where soul, from whence the word is derived, is opposed to spirit, and taken for the sensitive powers, which men have in common with brutes, in distinction from the intellectual, which go under the name of spirit, and are proper to men: mere reason, without the Divine grace, being apt to degenerate into brutishness, and easily brought to serve the ends of sensual appetite, this wisdom may well be called sensual. Or, 2. According to Jude 19, natural, in opposition to spiritual. The natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14, where the same word, in the Greek, is used as here) is one that lives under the conduct of his own carnal reason, not enlightened, nor regenerated by the Spirit of God; a man of soul, (as the word imports,) or that hath no better, no higher principle in him than his own soul. Accordingly, this wisdom here mentioned, is such as proceeds merely from a man’s own soul, in its natural state, destitute of the light and grace of God’s Spirit, and therefore may be termed natural.

[Diabolical] Or, Satanic (the Arabic in Grotius), inspired by evil spirits (Piscator): The Syriac: from the destroyer: for thus they call the Devil (Grotius): serving ambition and pride (Estius, similarly Menochius), which is properly diabolical (Estius). For the Devil is wont to involve himself in earthly concerns, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2 (Grotius). To this threefold wisdom is opposed wisdom spiritual, heavenly, and divine (Drusius), to which that division in 1 John 2:15 corresponds (Estius).

Devilish; because it is of the devil, or such as is in him, and makes men like him, who is a proud spirit, and envious, a liar and slanderer, John 8:44, and who observes men’s faults, not to amend them, but accuse them for them.

[1] Greek: οὐκ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ σοφία ἄνωθεν κατερχομένη, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπίγειος, ψυχική, δαιμονιώδης.

[2] Greek: ψυχική.

[3] Jude 19: “These be they who separate themselves, sensual (ψυχικοί), having not the Spirit.”

[4] 1 Corinthians 2:14: “But the natural (ψυχικὸς) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

[5] Ψυχή/soul is related to the verb ψύχω, to breath or blow. In Latin, anima, from which animals receive their name, signifies breath; animals are being which have received the breath of life.

[6] 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul (τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ) and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

James 3:14: Wisdom Heavenly and Earthly, Part 2

Verse 14:[1] But if ye have (Rom. 13:13) bitter envying and strife in your hearts, (Rom. 2:17, 23) glory not, and lie not against the truth.

[But if, etc., εἰ δὲ ζῆλον πικρὸν ἔχετε καὶ ἐρίθειαν, etc.] But if envy (or, rivalry [Erasmus, Tigurinus], zeal [Vulgate]) bitter (thus he calls that envy, which Paul calls bitterness in Ephesians 4:31 [Estius], because it bears with it wrath and rancor [Menochius], and it is bitter against the neighbor [Estius]) ye have, and irritation (or, contention [Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, thus the Vulgate, etc.], that is, a zeal, and ardor of spirit, inclined to contention [Menochius]: These vices it elicits, because it is wont to arise from ambition and vainglory [Estius]: You have ζῆλον/zeal/envy and ἐρίθειαν/strife/contention as things closely related in 2 Corinthians 12:20[2] and in Galatians 5:20,[3] in which places consult what things have been said: And he agreeably adds that epithet, πικρὸν/bitter, so that he might more manifestly show whither those similitudes in verses 11 and 12 tend [Grotius]: Otherwise they might be taken in a good sense, ζῆλος/zeal for fervor of spirit, as in John 2:17;[4] 2 Corinthians 7:7;[5] Colossians 4:13;[6] and ἐρεθίζειν, to provoke, in 2 Corinthians 9:2:[7] There is also a zeal ignorant, Romans 10:2, and malignant, Wisdom of Solomon 1[8] [Gataker]) in your heart (Pagnine, Beza, Piscator), that is, lying hidden in your soul (Estius).

Bitter envying; Greek, zeal, which he calls bitter, partly to distinguish it from that zeal which is good, whereas this he speaks of is evil, and though it pretends to be zeal, yet is really no other than envy; and partly because it commonly proceeds from an imbittered spirit, and tends to the imbittering it more. Strife; the usual effect of bitter zeal, or envy. In your hearts; the fountain whence it proceeds; or strife in the heart implies a heart propense and inclined to strife.

[Do not, etc., μὴ κατακαυχᾶσθε, etc.] In a manuscript it is καυχᾶσθε, do not be pleased with yourselves[9] (Grotius). Do not glory (or, do not be puffed up [Tremellius out of the Syriac], or, do not boast of yourselves [Castalio], that is, by arrogating to yourselves the title of wiseman [Grotius, similarly Piscator]: or, contra-glory [Estius]) and lie (or, and do not lie [Estius], and do not be deceitful [Beza, Piscator]) against the truth (Montanus, etc.). Which ought to be referred to both preceding words (Estius, similarly Piscator, Gataker): Glory not against the truth, and lie not against it (Estius); that is, against the truth of the word of God, or falsely (Gataker). The sense: If ye be such, do not boast yourselves and call yourselves wise. For this would be to glory and lie against the truth (Estius). Now, there is in that, καὶ ψεύδεσθε κατὰ τῆς ἀληθείας , and lie not against the truth, a Pleonasm,[10] of which sort is found in Romans 9:1; 1 John 1:6 (Grotius).

Glory not; glory not of your zeal, or rather of your wisdom, as if you were so well able to reprehend others, but rather be humbled; what you make the matter of your glorying, being really just cause of shame. And lie not against the truth; viz. by professing yourselves wise, or zealous, when ye are really neither.

[1] Greek: εἰ δὲ ζῆλον πικρὸν ἔχετε καὶ ἐρίθειαν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν, μὴ κατακαυχᾶσθε καὶ ψεύδεσθε κατὰ τῆς ἀληθείας.

[2] 2 Corinthians 12:20: “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings (ζῆλοι), wraths, strifes (ἐριθεῖαι), backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults…”

[3] Galatians 5:20: “Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations (ζῆλοι), wrath, strife (ἐριθεῖαι), seditions, heresies…”

[4] John 2:17: “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal (ὁ ζῆλος) of thine house hath eaten me up.”

[5] 2 Corinthians 7:7: “And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me (τὸν ὑμῶν ζῆλον ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ); so that I rejoiced the more.”

[6] Colossians 4:13: “For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal (ζῆλον) for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.”

[7] 2 Corinthians 9:2: “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked (ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος ἠρέθισε) very many.”

[8] Wisdom of Solomon 1:12: “Seek not death in the error of your life (μὴ ζηλοῦτε θάνατον ἐν πλάνῃ ζωῆς ὑμῶν): and pull not upon yourselves destruction with the works of your hands.”

[9] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[10] That is, a use of more words than necessary to convey the sense.

James 3:13: Wisdom Heavenly and Earthly, Part 1

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Verse 13:[1] (Gal. 6:4) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation (Jam. 2:18) his works (Jam. 1:21) with meekness of wisdom.

[Who, etc., τίς σοφὸς καὶ ἐπιστήμων, etc.] In the beginning of the chapter, he pled against ambitious Teachers, on occasion of whom he discusses many things concerning the vices of the tongue. He returns now his intended course, and teaches of what character Teachers ought to be (Estius). Others: Hitherto the disease of the tongue; here follows the remedy (Gataker). It is the question of one preparing to instruct, which sort is found in James 2:20 (Piscator), or rather, which sort is found in Psalm 25:12[2] and 34:12.[3] Τίς is the same as ἐίτις, if there be a man, 1 Peter 3:10 (Gataker). Who is wise and experienced, etc. (Montanus), or, understanding (Castalio), learned (Arabic, thus Tremellius out of the Syriac), furnished with knowledge (Erasmus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, Estius, etc.). Thus we have σοφίαν/wisdom and σύνεσιν/ understanding in Colossians 1:9; see Hosea 14:9:[4] but σοφὸς appears to be used of one who knows many things, ἐπιστήμων of one who also has τὸν τρόπον τῆς παιδείας, the temper for education, who is able to instruct others (Grotius). The sense: Is there not one among you who desires to be considered wise? that is, if anyone be wise, etc., let him show, etc. (Piscator, similarly Gataker). He touches upon the Gnostics (Hammond), or, those that thought proudly of themselves, and caught at the reputation of learning and wisdom; and that because they were reflecting negatively upon others with harsh censures, and were bearing no injuries. He demonstrates, therefore, that those completely miss the mark, and that wisdom does not consist in these things; but in gentleness, although this be viewed as foolishness by the world (Gataker).

[Let him show, etc., δειξάτω, etc.] Let him demonstrate (or, let him produce, as in John 10:32[5] [Grotius]) out of a good conversation (that is, out of his very life and manners [Menochius, similarly Estius], not out of words, but deeds; neither out of some good actions performed sometimes and by intervals, but out of a constant course and tenor of life [Gataker]: Ἀναστροφὴ/ conversation/conduct is here in the same sene as in Galatains 1:13;[6] Ephesians 4:22;[7] 1 Timothy 4:12;[8] Hebrews 13:7:[9] The Preposition ἐκ, out of, here signifies the Occasion [Grotius]) their works (that is, good works, especially beneficence toward one’s neighbors [Estius]) with (or, in [Montanus, Tremellius]) mildness, or gentleness, of wisdom (Beza, Piscator, thus Erasmus, Pagnine, Montanus, Castalio, etc.), or, gentle wisdom (Tremellius out of the Syriac, Vatablus, Beza, Grotius), by Hypallage,[10] that is, mild, placid, and moderate (Beza); which gently listens, responds, admonishes, rebukes, and teaches (Menochius): which he sets over against the arrogant and rude tempers described in the preceding verses, and rash judges (Beza). Thus, …the gentle wisdom of Lælius.[11] The sense: In life together let him produce works that testify to his gentle wisdom. Hence the thought is not much different than that in Proverbs 11:2[12] (Grotius). He uses σοφίας, of wisdom, that is, σοφῆς/wise, for there is also a gentleness that is foolish, carnal, or affected (Gataker). It belongs to gentleness to moderate anger, and not easily to be moved by the injuries of adversaries or scorners: which virtue is required in a Doctor/ Teacher, 2 Timothy 2:25 (Estius).

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? i.e. if there be a wise man, etc. See Psalm 25:12, and 1 Peter 3:10, where what David speaks by way of interrogation, Peter explains by way of assertion. The apostle having shown the disease of the tongue, comes now to remove the cause, viz. men’s opinion of their own wisdom; (they censure others, because they take themselves to be wiser than others;) and to point out the remedy, godly meekness, which is the truest wisdom. By wisdom and knowledge the same thing may be meant; or if they be taken for several things, (as sometimes there may be great knowledge where there is but little wisdom,) yet these masterly censors he speaks of pretended to both, and were so rigid toward others because so well conceited of themselves: the sense is, You pretend to be wise and knowing, but if you would approve yourselves as such indeed, show out of a good conversation, etc. His works; let him show as the testimony of his wisdom, not his words in hard censures, but his works, viz. good ones, and those not done now and then, or on the by, but in the constant course and tenor of his life; or show his works to be good, by their being not casual, but constant, and his ordinary practice in his whole conversation. With meekness of wisdom; i.e. meek and gentle wisdom, which can bear, and answer, and teach, and admonish, and rebuke mildly and sweetly, with longsuffering, as well as doctrine, 2 Timothy 4:2: and then it notes the quality of this wisdom, or such meekness as proceeds from wisdom, or is joined with it, there being some which is foolish, affected, carnal, viz. that which is opposed to zeal; whereas true meekness is only opposed to fierceness and rashness: and thus it notes the cause of meekness.

[1] Greek: Τίς σοφὸς καὶ ἐπιστήμων ἐν ὑμῖν; δειξάτω ἐκ τῆς καλῆς ἀναστροφῆς τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ ἐν πρᾳΰτητι σοφίας.

[2] Psalm 25:12: “What (τίς, in the Septuagint) man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.”

[3] Psalm 34:12: “What (τίς, in the Septuagint) man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?”

[4] Hosea 14:9: “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things (מִ֤י חָכָם֙ וְיָ֣בֵֽן אֵ֔לֶּה; τίς σοφὸς καὶ συνήσει ταῦτα, in the Septuagint)? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”

[5] John 10:32: “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed (ἔδειξα) you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?”

[6] Galatians 1:13: “For ye have heard of my conversation (ἀναστροφήν) in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it…”

[7] Ephesians 4:22: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation (ἀναστροφήν) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…”

[8] 1 Timothy 4:12: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (ἐν ἀναστροφῇ), in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

[9] Hebrews 13:7: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (τῆς ἀναστροφῆς).”

[10] That is, an abnormal, unexpected word order.

[11] Horace’s Satires 2:1. Gaius Lælius Sapiens (born c. 188 BC) was a Roman statesman, remembered for his friendship with the Roman general, Scipio the Younger, and Terence. He was respected for his oratorical abilities and his wisdom.

[12] Proverbs 11:2: “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly (צְנוּעִים/modest/humble) is wisdom.”

James 3:12: Government of the Tongue, Part 10

Verse 12:[1] Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

[Can the fig tree bear grapes, etc.] There is a similar sentence in Matthew 7:16 and in Emperor Marcus Antonius (Grotius) [see Grotius]. He teaches us, in imitation of nature, to love simplicity in speech; not to put out diverse things that are not consistent, much less contrary, of which sort are blessing and cursing (Estius).

Can the tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? The same tree cannot ordinarily bring forth fruit of different kinds, (on the same branch, whatever it may on different, by ingrafting,) much less contrary natures: see Matthew 7:16-18.

[So, etc., οὕτως οὐδεμία πηγὴ ἁλυκὸν, etc.] Ἀνακόλουθον/ anacoluthon,[2] that is, καθάπερ συκῆ οὐ ποιεῖ, etc., just as a fig tree does not bear, etc., οὕτως οὐδεμία, etc., so also no, etc. (Cameron). So no fountain salty and sweet, etc. (Piscator). This he had already said: for under the name πικροῦ, of bitter,[3] is comprehended also the salty: May Doris[4] blend no bitter wave with thine.[5] So also the Greek Poet concerning Alpheios,[6] —Καὶ ἄνθεα πικρὰ θαλάσσης, and the bitter foam of the sea (Grotius). And, in the Odyssey 5, Ulysses, emerging from the sea, spit out ἅλμην πικρὴν, halmen pikren, bitter brine. And in Eustathius, on Odyssey 4, anyone surnamed Halmion was thus marked by bitter brine. And Plato in Phædrus and Athenæus in Banquet of the Learned[7] 3 say salty words instead of bitter words. And indeed the bitter and the salty are of neighboring tastes, as Plato notes in Suidas (Bochart’s[8] Sacred Geography “Canaan” 1:79:610). Wherefore a manuscript rightly reads here, οὔτε ἁλυκὸν γλυκὺ ποιῆσαι ὕδωρ, neither does salty water bring forth fresh,[9] that is, just as, I believe, the Latin Translator has written, neither is salty (water is understood, just as when we say in Latin Calidam/warm or Frigidam/cold [Beza]) able to make sweet water (Grotius, similarly Beza). The Sea does not bring forth of itself sweet waters (Grotius). The Syriac also favors the Latin reading, which thus translates it, so neither are briny waters able to be made sweet (Estius, similarly Beza).

So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh; or, neither can a salt fountain yield fresh water; but the scope is still the same as in our reading. The apostle argues from what is impossible, or monstrous, in naturals, to what is absurd in manners: q.d. It is as absurd in religion, for the tongue of a regenerate man, which is used to bless God, to take a liberty at other times to curse man, as it would be strange in nature for the same tree, on the same branch, to bear fruits of different kinds; or the same fountain at the same place to send forth bitter water and sweet.

[1] Greek: μὴ δύναται, ἀδελφοί μου, συκῆ ἐλαίας ποιῆσαι, ἢ ἄμπελος σῦκα; οὕτως οὐδεμία πηγὴ ἁλυκὸν καὶ γλυκὺ ποιῆσαι ὕδωρ.

[2] That is, a construction that breaks grammatical sequence.

[3] Verse 11.

[4] In Greek mythology, Doris was a sea-nymph, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.

[5] Virgil’s Eclogue 10.

[6] In Greek mythology, Alpheios was a river-god, son of Oceanus and Tethys.

[7] Athenæus of Naucratis (late first-early second century AD) wrote Deipnosophistæ (or Banquet of the Learned), a dialogue in which the characters discuss a wide range of topics including food.

[8] Samuel Bochart (1599-1667) was a French pastor and scholar with a wide variety of interests, including philology, theology, geography, and zoology. He was on familiar terms with many of the greatest men of his age.

[9] Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus.

James 3:10, 11: Government of the Tongue, Part 9

Verse 10:[1] Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

[Out of that (or, the same [Beza, Piscator]) mouth proceeds, etc., ἐξέρχεται, etc.] Emanates, etc. (the Arabic in Grotius). Contraries proceed, etc. (Estius). Just as, in the writing of Æsop, by the same breathe he was warming and cooling[2] (Grotius).

Out of the same mouth, etc.: He repeats here, by way of exaggeration, what he had said verse 9, to show how exceedingly absurd it is that two such contrary actions should proceed from the same agent.

[This (which I have just said concerning the use of the tongue unto contraries [Menochius]) ought not (Litotes[3] [Menochius]) to be so] It is fitting that a good man be consistent in good (Grotius).

These things ought not so to be; there is a meiosis[4] in the words; he means, things should be quite contrary. See the like expression, 1 Timothy 5:13; Titus 1:11.


Verse 11:[5] Doth a fountain send forth at the same place (or, hole[6]) sweet water and bitter?

[Doth, etc., μήτι—ἐκ τῆς αὐτῆς ὀπῆς βρύει, etc.] He argues from that which is impossible according to nature to that which is incongruent in manners (Estius). Does a fountain from the same hole (or, aperture: For from nearby apertures it sometimes happens that from one sweet water flows, from another bitter or salty, as Natural Philosophers note (Grotius); and Casaubon, in Ephemerides,[7] testifies, thus writing, In that place is an extraordinary fountain of salty and sweet water: for from the same source salty and sweet waters spring, but they πηδεύουσι, are carried, in different directions [and are, therefore, not ἐκ αὐτῆς ὀπῆς, from the same aperture]: He also understands that this is not done at the same time: Pliny, in his Natural History 2, writes otherwise, Among the Troglodytes[8] is a spring called fountain of the Sun, sweet, and very cold around noon; then gradually warming, by midnight it is pervaded with heat and bitterness [Casaubon in Critici Sacri]) pour forth (or, send forth [Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Vatablus], flow, or flow forth [Arabic, Pagnine, Castalio, Grotius, Montanus, Vulgate, thus the Æthiopic, Tremellius out of the Syriac], or, gush [Grotius out of the Glossa], send forth with a gush [Erasmus], send forth by gushing [Zegers]) sweet and bitter? (Beza, Piscator), understanding, water (Erasmus, Zegers, Beza, Piscator, etc.). This certainly or absolutely does not happen, or it is classified among παράδοξα/paradoxes (James Cappel).

Doth a fountain, etc.: Ordinarily and naturally; if any such be, it is looked upon as uncouth and prodigious.

[1] Greek: ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ στόματος ἐξέρχεται εὐλογία καὶ κατάρα. οὐ χρή, ἀδελφοί μου, ταῦτα οὕτω γίνεσθαι.

[2] In the fable of the man and the satyr, the satyr rejects the man, warming his hands and cooling his food with his breath, because his mouth blows hot and cold.

[3] That is, a rhetorical understatement.

[4] That is, a rhetorical understatement.

[5] Greek: μήτι ἡ πηγὴ ἐκ τῆς αὐτῆς ὀπῆς βρύει τὸ γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ πικρόν;

[6] Greek: ὀπῆς.

[7] Casaubon’s diary.

[8] The Troglodytes were inhabitants of Troglodytica, which was on the shore of the Arabian Gulf, sharing borders with both Egypt and Ethiopia.

James 3:9: Government of the Tongue, Part 8

Verse 9:[1] Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, (Gen. 1:26; 5:1; 9:6) which are made after the similitude of God.

[In, etc., ἐν αὐτῇ εὐλογοῦμεν τὸν Θεὸν, etc.] Εὐλογεῖν, to bless, with an Accusative is common, as in the Greek of Psalm 66:8;[2] Luke 2:28;[3] etc. (Grotius). By it (ἐν/in, in the place of διὰ/by [Piscator, Grotius]) we bless (that is, we praise [Estius]) God (in a manuscript it is τὸν Κύριον, the Lord,[4] that is, Christ [Grotius]), even the Father (that is, God, who is the Father [Menochius, Piscator], our Father [Piscator], either, of all [Menochius], or, both to them and to us [Gataker]; whom we call Father [Estius]: here the καὶ/and is ἐξηγητικὸν/exegetical [Grotius, Piscator], as in James 1:27[5] [Grotius]), and by it we curse men. Καταρᾶσθαι, אָרַר, is properly to vow with imprecations; but it is taken for cursing in whatever manner, as we said on Matthew 5:44.[6] This agrees beautifully with the saying of Æsop, that the Tongue is both the best and the worst. Concerning both aspects Plutarch discourses in περὶ ἀκοῆς, Concerning Hearing.[7] And the Hebrews, Life and death are in the power of the tongue[8] (Grotius). He shows the evil of the tongue from its absurd and prodigious deformity, inasmuch as we make the tongue an organ of contrary actions. Now, we curse men, either, by imprecating evils, or, by insults or detractions, etc. (Estius). But why does he not say, we curse God also? Response: He left that unmentioned, not only because he was not obliged to do it, but also because in that age it did not even come into the thought of man. But this age abuses God with horrible curses. And Princes ignore this shameful matter, most ungrateful to so great a Benefactor, etc. (Clario[9]).

Therewith bless we God; pray, and speak well of God. Even the Father; of Christ, and in him of all true believers. And therewith curse we men; rail on, revile, speak evil of, as well as wish evil to.

[Which after, etc., τοὺς καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν Θεοῦ γεγονότας] In a manuscript, it is γεγενημένους,[10] that is, πεποιημένους, having been made, Genesis 1:26, 27,[11] in which place see what things have been said (Grotius).

[Which after the similitude, etc.] Or, which is the same thing, the image, etc. Now, God is to be praised, as in all His works, so also in this one especially, in which His image especially shines, that is, in man (Estius). Therefore, God will not leave an injury inflicted upon His image unpunished, as that which especially comes back upon Himself (Estius, similarly Tirinus).

Which are made after the similitude of God; either, 1. Saints in whom God’s image is anew restored; or rather, 2. Men more generally, who, though they have lost that spiritual knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness in which that image of God, after which man was created, principally consists; yet still have some relics of his image continuing in them. This is added to aggravate the sin; speaking evil of men made after God’s image, is speaking evil of God obliquely, and by reflection.

[1] Greek: ἐν αὐτῇ εὐλογοῦμεν τὸν Θεὸν καὶ πατέρα, καὶ ἐν αὐτῇ καταρώμεθα τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν Θεοῦ γεγονότας·

[2] Psalm 66:8: “O bless our God, ye people (בָּרְכ֖וּ עַמִּ֥ים׀ אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ; εὐλογεῖτε ἔθνη τὸν θεὸν ἡμῶν, in the Septuagint), and make the voice of his praise to be heard…”

[3] Luke 2:28: “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God (εὐλόγησε τὸν Θεόν), and said…”

[4] Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus.

[5] James 1:27a: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father (παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ, before God, even the Father) is this…”

[6] Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you (εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς), do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…”

[7] Moralia 1:3.

[8] Proverbs 18:21.

[9] Isidore Clario (1495-1555) was a Benedictine monk. He served as the Prior of the Monastery of St. Peter in Modena, in northern Italy (1537) and as the Bishop of Foligno, in central Italy (1547). He was present at the Council of Trent. His Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum is included in Critici Sacri.

[10] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[11] Genesis 1:26a, 27: “And God said, Let us make (נַעֲשֶׂה; ποιήσωμεν, in the Septuagint) man in our image, after our likeness…. So God created (וַיִּבְרָ֙א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀; καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς, in the Septuagint) man in his own image, in the image of God created he (בָּרָא; ἐποίησεν, in the Septuagint) him; male and female created he (בָּרָא; ἐποίησεν, in the Septuagint) them.”

James 3:8: Government of the Tongue, Part 7

Verse 8:[1] But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, (Ps. 140:3) full of deadly poison.

[But the tongue can no man tame] Tongue understand as, either, 1. one’s own (certain interpreters in Estius, Gataker): no one, that is, few (Cameron), almost no one. It is Hyperbole, of which sort is found in Isaiah 64:7; Micah 7:2 (Gataker). Or, no one, in such a way that he does not sometimes slip (Gataker, other interpreters in Estius); or, no one of himself and in his own strength, without the grace of God (Estius and Gataker out of Augustine). Or rather, 2. another’s (Estius, Grotius); which inflicts a wound, both inevitable and incurable: that is to say, There is not one that could restrain another’s tongue from detractions, indignities, quarreling, lies, etc. (Estius).

But the tongue; not only other men’s tongues, but his own. Can no man tame; no man of himself, and without the assistance of Divine grace, can bring his tongue into subjection, and keep it in order; nor can any man, by the assistance of any grace promised in this life, so keep it, as that it shall never at all offend.

[A restless, etc., ἀκατάσχετον κακόν] Supply ἐστὶ, it is, which the following member shows (Grotius). It is an evil irrepressible (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Vatablus), or, unruly (Castalio), which is not able to be restrained (Grotius), which thou art not able restrain (Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, similarly Tremellius, Arabic), without it bursting through broken bars, and proceeding unto the hurt of men, although nature has opposed to it the twofold fence of the lips and of the teeth (Estius).

It is an unruly evil; or, which cannot be restrained, and kept within bounds: wild beasts are kept in by grates and bars, but this by no restraint.

[Full of deadly venom (thus Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, etc.)] The language of θανατηφόρου/death-bearing is found in the writings of the Greek Poets,[2] and in the Greek of Numbers 18:22[3] and Job 33:23;[4] θανάσιμον/deadly, in Mark 16:18, is the same. In the same sense we have the cruel venom of asps, Deuteronomy 32:33. A false charge is like a poisoned dart, said Cicero[5] (Grotius). Formerly venenum/poison/drug was a neutral word; today it is taken for the worse (Drusius). The sense: It is also ready to inflict most grievous and lethal injuries on others (Estius): The reputation of the neighbor, one’s own, and of the hearer, the very soul, and often also the bodies of many, it kills through the hatreds, quarrels, and wars that it kindles (Menochius).

Full of deadly poison; the wickedness of the tongue is compared to poison, in respect of the mischief it doth to others. It seems to allude to those kinds of serpents which have poison under their tongues, Psalm 140:3, with which they kill those they bite. The poison of the tongue is no less deadly, it murders men’s reputations by the slanders it utters, their souls by the lusts and passions it stirs up in them, and many times their bodies too by the contentions and quarrels it raiseth against men.

[1] Greek: τὴν δὲ γλῶσσαν οὐδεὶς δύναται ἀνθρώπων δαμάσαι· ἀκατάσχετον κακόν, μεστὴ ἰοῦ θανατηφόρου.

[2] For example, Æschylus’ Libation Bearers 369; Sophocles’ Œdipus Tyrannus 181.

[3] Numbers 18:22: “Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die (לָשֵׂ֥את חֵ֖טְא לָמֽוּת׃; λαβεῖν ἁμαρτίαν θανατηφόρον, to bear a deadly sin, in the Septuagint).”

[4] Job 33:23: “If there be a messenger (מַלְאָךְ; χίλιοι ἄγγελοι θανατηφόροι, a thousand death-bearing angels, in the Septuagint) with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness…”

[5] Pro Publio Quinctio 2.