James 5:9: Exhortation to Patience, Part 3

Verse 9:[1] (Jam. 4:11) Grudge not (or, groan, or, grieve not[2]) one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge (Matt. 24:33; 1 Cor. 4:5) standeth before the door.

[Do not, etc., μὴ στενάζετε κατ᾽ ἀλλήλων, etc.] Do not groan (or, sigh [Beza]) one against another, brethren (Pagnine, Piscator, Tremellius out of the Syriac, Estius, thus Erasmus, Illyricus, Vulgate). It is the same as in James 4:11. Envy not one another (Grotius, thus Hammond). For it is μετωνυμία/ Metonymy. For Envy is wont to groan at the goods of others. But is that saying in Genesis 4:6 regarded, Why art thou wroth? (Grotius). An internal complaint, not entirely bursting forth, he calls a groan (Estius). He understands an accusatory groan (Estius out of Calvin, Gataker out of Catharinus), when one in his heart and with a sigh (which he does not dare to do with free voice) accuses and condemns his neighbor, whom he feels to be troublesome to himself (Estius); and concerning him he complains in the presence of God, and asks for vengeance against him (Calvin, thus Gataker). In which matter there are multiple sins: impatience; and the usurpation of the judgment concerning the neighbor (Estius); and it is the effect of pride and φιλαυτίας/self-love, as if it were intolerable for us to suffer anything; and it is an indication of a lack of charity, Luke 9:54. It also imputes to God injustice, or negligence, as if He were ignorant of what ought to be done and when: finally, it is repugnant to Christ’s precept, Mark 11:25, and example, Luke 23:34 (Gataker). He urges patience, not only in bearing the injuries of the wicked, but also in covering and bearing with a patient and placid spirit the offenses and infirmities of brethren, lest they condemn them before themselves or by their own judgment. There is a similar precept in Luke 6:37 (Estius). Such is the argument: Injuries are to be patiently borne by you, even from those that are within the Church; much more those inflicted upon you by the impious Rich (Dickson). Others: The sense: In injuries and pressures do not be overly grieved, do not show impatience, do not be angry at each other, etc. (Menochius, similarly Lyra and Lorinus in Gataker). It is the same as if he had said, μὴ καταστενάζετε ἀλλήλων, groan not one against, or over, another; or, do not mutually grieve yourselves. Κατὰ with the Genitive is over (Knatchbull).

Grudge not; Greek: Groan not; the sense may be, either, Envy not one another, (or, as we translate it: Grudge not,) it being the nature of envy to groan at other men’s good; or, Groan not by way of accusation or complaint to God against others, desiring him to avenge your quarrels, as if you were too good to suffer injuries, or God were unjust or forgetful of righting you. One against another; brother against brother, Christian against Christian: they were injured not only by rich worldlings and open oppressors, but by their fellow professors, and gave one another mutual cause of sighing and groaning.

[Lest ye be condemned] That is, punished by God, like Cain (Grotius), with a punishment either temporal, or eternal (Estius). Lest the vengeance, which ye longed for with respect to others, fall upon you, according to Matthew 7:1 (Gataker, thus Calvin); lest all be accused and condemned. For there is no one that does not injure or offend any, and furnish material for groaning (Calvin).

Lest ye be condemned; lest God punish you all; there being none of you but have given others cause of grief and complaint, as well as others have given you, Matthew 7:1.

[The Judge (namely, Christ [Estius]) before the door, etc.] As in Matthew 24:33; Mark 13:29. Thus Plutarch, πυρετοῦ περὶ θύρας ὄντος, fever being at the door[3] (Gataker). [The sense:] He is near (Estius, thus Menochius), who shall fulfill these imprecations (Calvin). The sense is the same as in Genesis 4:7, sin lies at the doors. This also has regard to the now imminent punishments of the Jewish nation (Grotius).

Behold, the Judge standeth before the door; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge of you all, is at hand, (Philippians 4:5,) in a readiness either to bring those evils upon you which you wish may fall upon others, or to give you your reward, if through patient continuance in well doing you seek for it, Romans 2:7. The like phrase we have, Matthew 24:33; Mark 13:29; or it may allude to Genesis 4:7.

[1] Greek: μὴ στενάζετε κατ᾽ ἀλλήλων, ἀδελφοί, ἵνα μὴ κατακριθῆτε· ἰδού, ὁ κριτὴς πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν ἕστηκεν.

[2] Greek: μὴ στενάζετε.

[3] Parallel Lives “Demetrius” 19.

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