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.

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