James 5:11: Exhortation to Patience, Part 5

Verse 11:[1] Behold, (Ps. 94:12; Matt. 5:10, 11; 10:22) we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of (Job 1:21, 22; 2:10) the patience of Job, and have seen (Job 42:16, etc.) the end of the Lord; that (Num. 14:18; Ps. 103:8) the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

[We beatify (or, we call blessed [Valla, Erasmus, Vatablus, thus Beza, Piscator], or we commend [Beza, Grotius, Piscator], as in Luke 1:48[2] [Piscator]: μακαρίζειν, אֵשֵּׁר, to count blessed, Genesis 30:12, 13;[3] Numbers 24:17;[4] Job 29:11:[5] Hence μακαρισμὸς, declaration of blessing, Romans 4:6, 9[6] [Grotius]) those that endured (thus Grotius out of the Syriac), τοὺς ὑπομένοντας] Those that endure (Erasmus), or, bear affliction (Piscator), or, are bearing (Beza). A manuscript has ὑπομείναντας, have endured,[7] which is more correct. [The sense:] We yet praise the constancy of those that endured such evils; μακάριος ὁ ὑπομένων, blessed is he that endureth, Daniel 12:12[8] (Grotius).

We count them happy which endure; we ourselves count them happy that endure, and therefore should be patient, and not count ourselves miserable if we endure too. Which endure; viz. patiently and constantly, Matthew 5:10, 11.

[The endurance (or, patience [Erasmus, Vatablus, etc.]) of Job] A man that was born and lived outside of Israel (Estius); With his children and goods lost, his entire body in the most grievous pains, and his friends calumniating him. For this history is true, but delivered Poetically (Grotius). It is a history of an actual event, not an argument fabricated for the sake of exhortation, or doctrine, as it is done in comedies and tragedies, as the Anabaptists maintain, together with some ancient Hebrews. For feigned examples do not admonish in earnest. See also Ezekiel 14:14 (Estius). Question: Why does he commend the patience of Job, who showed many signs of impatience? Response: Because, although he sometimes was wavering and in upheaval, yet he always returned to this, that he entrusted himself completely to God, and offered himself to Him to be restrained and governed (Calvin).

Ye have heard of the patience of Job; for which he was as eminent as for his sufferings; and though some signs of impatience be showed, yet his patience and submission to God being prevalent, and most remarkable to him, that only is taken notice of, and his failings overlooked.

[And the end[9] (that is, the conclusion, cheerful or happy [Estius, Piscator]: Synecdoche of genus [Piscator]) of the Lord (that is, either, 1. of Christ, who His own passion, which is here called the end, like ἔξοδος/decease/ departure/exodus, Luke 9:31, endured with the utmost patience [Estius out of Augustine and Bede]: Now, of the faithful there yet survived those that had been witnesses of the passion of Christ [Estius]: Or, 2. of Job [Gataker, Estius]: It is here a Genitive of Cause [Grotius], of the efficient [Piscator, Gataker], like the grace of God, Acts 11:23; that is, the end or conclusion, not which God had [Gataker], but which God gave to him [Grotius, thus Beza, Piscator, Menochius out of the Syriac]; good and firm health, a great many and flourishing children, fame, and honors, and riches [Grotius]) ye have seen] Namely, with the eyes of your mind (Estius); ye know by reading (Grotius); ye have certainly been taught concerning this matter (Gataker): or, ye have heard, as in Exodus 20:18, it saw the voices[10] (Drusius).

And have seen the end of the Lord: Job’s patience is heard of, but God’s end seen: seeing being a clearer way of perception than hearing, is put in this latter clause, because God’s bounty and recompence was more evident than Job’s patience. The end of the Lord; the good issue God gave to all Job’s sufferings, in restoring him to his former state, and doubling his prosperity.

[That, etc., ὅτι πολύσπλαγχνός—καὶ οἰκτίρμων] The former appears to be referred to the Affection, as also σπλάγχνα/bowels in Luke 1:78;[11] the other to Acts agreeing with the affection. The sense is the same in Exodus 34:6; 2 Samuel 24:14 (Grotius). For He is very pitiful, etc. (Piscator, etc.). Therefore, just as He was a liberator and restorer to him, so also shall He be to us (Estius).

That the Lord is very pitiful; full of bowels, Greek; the bowels being the seat of compassion, (in which we feel a stirring when strong affections are working in us,) are frequently put to signify the most tender and movable affections, such as mothers have toward their children, Genesis 43:30;[12] 1 Kings 3:26;[13] Isaiah 63:15;[14] Colossians 3:12:[15] this seems to note the affection itself, or God’s readiness to show mercy, Luke 1:78. And of tender mercy: this may imply acts of mercy suitable to a merciful nature, the former mercy within, and this mercy breaking out.

[1] Greek: ἰδού, μακαρίζομεν τοὺς ὑπομένοντας· τὴν ὑπομονὴν Ἰὼβ ἠκούσατε, καὶ τὸ τέλος Κυρίου εἴδετε, ὅτι πολύσπλαγχνός ἐστιν ὁ Κύριος καὶ οἰκτίρμων.

[2] Luke 1:48:  “For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:  for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed (ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν μακαριοῦσί με πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί).”

[3] Genesis 30:13:  “And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed (כִּ֥י אִשְּׁר֖וּנִי בָּנ֑וֹת; ὅτι μακαρίζουσίν με αἱ γυναῖκες, in the Septuagint):  and she called his name Asher (אָשֵׁר).”

[4] Numbers 24:17a:  “I shall see him, but not now:  I shall behold him (אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ, from שׁוּר, to behold; μακαρίζω, in the Septuagint), but not nigh:  there shall come a Star out of Jacob…”

[5] Job 29:11:  “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me (וַתְּאַשְּׁרֵנִי; καὶ ἐμακάρισέν με, in the Septuagint); and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me…”

[6] Romans 4:6-9:  “Even as David also describeth the blessedness (λέγει τὸν μακαρισμὸν) of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed (μακάριοι) are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed (μακάριος) is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then (ὁ μακαρισμὸς οὖν οὗτος) upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”

[7] In the Aorist, rather than the Present, Tense.  Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus.

[8] Daniel 12:12:  “Blessed is he that waiteth (אַשְׁרֵ֥י הַֽמְחַכֶּ֖ה; μακάριος ὁ ὑπομένων, in Theodotion), and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”

[9] Greek: καὶ τὸ τέλος.

[10] Exodus 20:18:  “And all the people saw the thunderings (רֹאִ֙ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת), and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking:  and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.”

[11] Luke 1:78:  “Through the tender mercy (σπλάγχνα ἐλέους, bowels of mercy) of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us…”

[12] Genesis 43:30:  “And Joseph made haste; for his bowels (רַחֲמָיו; τὰ ἔντερα αὐτοῦ, in the Septuagint) did yearn upon his brother:  and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.”

[13] 1 Kings 3:26a:  “Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels (רַחֲמֶיהָ) yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it.”

[14] Isaiah 63:15:  “Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory:  where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies (הֲמ֥וֹן מֵעֶ֛יךָ וְֽרַחֲמֶ֖יךָ) toward me? are they restrained?”

[15] Colossians 3:12:  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμῶν), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”

Leave a Comment