James 5:10: Exhortation to Patience, Part 4

Verse 10:[1] (Matt. 5:12; Heb. 11:35, etc.) Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

[An example, etc., ὑπόδειγμα—τῆς κακοπαθείας, etc.] Take ye…for an example (to which ye ought to conform yourselves, as in John 13:15 [Grotius]) of affliction (or, of labor/toil [Vulgate, Grotius], of vexation [Grotius out of the Glossa, Gataker out of Stephanus, Beza], or, of bearing evils [Gataker, thus Vorstius]: Here the adjective in composition[2] declares, not an adjunct, but the object [Vorstius]: Κακοπαθεῖν is to be vexed with evils, as in verse 13[3] and 2 Timothy 2:9:[4] Hence κακοπάθεια, Malachi 1:13;[5] 2 Maccabees 2:26, 27:[6] It is used by Cebes[7] and others: Concerning these evils that the Prophets endured, see Hebrews 11:35, etc. [Grotius]), and of patience (concerning μακροθυμίᾳ see on verse 4[8] and Colossians 1:11[9] [Gataker]: here is a patience that is constant in adversity, as in Hebrews 6:12[10] [Grotius]), the prophets, who have spoken (namely, to the people, whether foretelling future things, or recalled them from their sins to God and His true worship [Estius]) in the name (that is, by the mandate [Piscator, Estius, Gataker, Grotius]) of the Lord (Piscator, etc.), that is, of God (Estius, Grotius). For, although Κυρίος/Lord in the New Testament is wont to be used of Christ, nevertheless, when there is treatment of matters of the Old Testament, after the manner of the Septuagint Translators it is wont to be put in the place of יְהוָה/Jehovah, which is read אֲדֹנָי/Adonai/ Lord, as in Matthew 1:22; 2:15; 3:3; Acts 2:21; 3:22; 15:17; and elsewhere (Grotius). He adds this so that he might indicate that they had suffered on account of righteousness, etc. (Estius).

Take, my brethren, the prophets; as being most eminent among God’s people, and leaders of them; he intimates that it is an honour to suffer among the best. Who have spoken in the name of the Lord; by his command and authority, and so were employed in the highest services in the church, and thereby appeared to be approved of God, and most dear to him. For an example of suffering affliction: as much as God honoured and loved them, yet they were not exempted from afflictions, but were maligned, traduced, and persecuted by men, 1 Kings 18:13; 19:14; 2 Kings 6:31; Amos 7:10; Hebrews 11; and therefore when they suffered such hard things, it is no shame for you to suffer the like, Matthew 5:12. And of patience; as the example of their sufferings should prevent your discouragement, so the example of their patience should provoke your imitation; God having set them forth as examples of both, that if you suffer the same things, you may suffer with the same minds.

[1] Greek: ὑπόδειγμα λάβετε τῆς κακοπαθείας, ἀδελφοί μου, καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας, τοὺς προφήτας οἳ ἐλάλησαν τῷ ὀνόματι Κυρίου.

[2] Κακοπάθεια is a composite of κακός/bad and πάθη/suffering.

[3] James 5:13:  “Is any among you afflicted (κακοπαθεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν)? let him pray.  Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”

[4] 2 Timothy 2:9:  “Wherein I suffer trouble (κακοπαθῶ), as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

[5] Malachi 1:13a:  “Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it (הִנֵּ֙ה מַתְּלָאָ֜ה; ταῦτα ἐκ κακοπαθείας ἐστίν, in the Septuagint)! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts…”

[6] 2 Maccabees 2:26, 27:  “Therefore to us, that have taken upon us this painful labour (τὴν κακοπάθειαν) of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching; even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a banquet, and seeketh the benefit of others: yet for the pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this great pains (τὴν κακοπάθειαν)…”

[7] Cebes of Thebes (c. 430-c. 350 BC) was a Greek philosopher and disciple of Socrates.  He is one of the speakers in Plato’s Phædo.  None of his own works survive, with the possible exception of the Tabula; but it is a matter of some controversy whether the Tabula ought to be attributed to Cebes.

[8] See also James 5:7, 8:  “Be patient (μακροθυμήσατε) therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience (μακροθυμῶν) for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  Be ye also patient (μακροθυμήσατε καὶ ὑμεῖς); stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

[9] Colossians 1:11:  “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering (μακροθυμίαν) with joyfulness…”

[10] Hebrews 6:12:  “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience (μακροθυμίας) inherit the promises.”

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