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.”

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