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1 Goe to now, yee rich men, weepe and howle for your miseries that shall come vpon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments motheaten:

3 Your gold and siluer is cankered, and the rust of them shall bee a witnesse against you, and shall eate your flesh as it were fire: ye haue heaped treasure together for the last dayes.

4 Beholde, the hire of the labourers which haue reaped downe your fieldes, which is of you kept backe by fraud, cryeth: and the cryes of them which haue reaped, are entred into the eares of the Lord of Sabaoth.

5 Yee haue liued in pleasure on the earth, and bene wanton: ye haue nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter:

6 Yee haue condemned, and killed the iust, and he doth not resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, vnto the comming of the Lord: behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, vntill hee receiue the early and latter raine.

8 Be yee also patient; stablish your hearts: for the comming of the Lorde draweth nigh.

9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Iudge standeth before the doore.

10 Take, my brethren, the Prophets, who haue spoken in the Name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

11 Beholde, wee count them happie which endure. Ye haue heard of the patience of Iob, and haue seene the end of the Lord: that the Lord is very pitifull and of tender mercie.

12 But aboue all things, my brethren, sweare not, neither by heauen, neither by the earth, neither by any other othe: but let your yea, be yea, and your nay, nay: lest yee fall into condemnation.

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing Psalmes.

14 Is any sicke among you? let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray ouer him, anointing him with oyle in the Name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of Faith shall saue the sicke, and the Lord shall raise him vp: and if hee haue committed sinnes, they shall be forgiuen him.

16 Confesse your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that yee may bee healed: the effectuall feruent prayer of a righteous man auaileth much.

17 Elias was a man subiect to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not raine: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three yeeres and sixe monethes.

18 And hee prayed againe, and the heauen gaue raine, and the earth brought foorth her fruit.

19 Brethren, if any of you doe erre from the trueth, and one conuert him,

20 Let him know, that hee which conuerteth the sinner from the errour of his way, shall saue a soule from death, and shall hide a multitude of sinnes.

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Commentary for James 5

The judgments of God denounced against rich unbelievers. (1-6) Exhortation to patience and meekness under tribulations. (7-11) Cautions against rash swearing Prayer recommended in afflictive and prosperous circumstances, Christians to confess their faults to each other. (12-18) The happiness of being the means of the conversion of a sinner. (19,20)1-6 Public troubles are most grievous to those who live in pleasure, and are secure and sensual, though all ranks suffer deeply at such times. All idolized treasures will soon perish, except as they will rise up in judgment against their possessors. Take heed of defrauding and oppressing; and avoid the very appearance of it. God does not forbid us to use lawful pleasures; but to live in pleasure, especially sinful pleasure, is a provoking sin. Is it no harm for people to unfit themselves for minding the concerns of their souls, by indulging bodily appetites? The just may be condemned and killed; but when such suffer by oppressors, this is marked by God. Above all their other crimes, the Jews had condemned and crucified that Just One who had come among them, even Jesus Christ the righteous.

7-11 Consider him that waits for a crop of corn; and will not you wait for a crown of glory? If you should be called to wait longer than the husbandman, is not there something more worth waiting for? In every sense the coming of the Lord drew nigh, and all his people's losses, hardships, and sufferings, would be repaid. Men count time long, because they measure it by their own lives; but all time is as nothing to God; it is as a moment. To short-lived creatures a few years seem an age; but Scripture, measuring all things by the existence of God, reckons thousands of years but so many days. God brought about things in Job's case, so as plainly to prove that he is very pitiful and of tender mercy. This did not appear during his troubles, but was seen in the event, and believers now will find a happy end to their trials. Let us serve our God, and bear our trials, as those who believe that the end will crown all. Our eternal happiness is safe if we trust to him: all else is mere vanity, which soon will be done with for ever.

12-18 The sin of swearing is condemned; but how many make light of common profane swearing! Such swearing expressly throws contempt upon God's name and authority. This sin brings neither gain, nor pleasure, nor reputation, but is showing enmity to God without occasion and without advantage It shows a man to be an enemy to God, however he pretends to call himself by his name, or sometimes joins in acts of worship. But the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. In a day of affliction nothing is more seasonable than prayer. The spirit is then most humble, and the heart is broken and tender. It is necessary to exercise faith and hope under afflictions; and prayer is the appointed means for obtaining and increasing these graces. Observe, that the saving of the sick is not ascribed to the anointing with oil, but to prayer. In a time of sickness it is not cold and formal prayer that is effectual, but the prayer of faith. The great thing we should beg of God for ourselves and others in the time of sickness is, the pardon of sin. Let nothing be done to encourage any to delay, under the mistaken fancy that a confession, a prayer, a minister's absolution and exhortation, or the sacrament, will set all right at last, where the duties of a godly life have been disregarded. To acknowledge our faults to each other, will tend greatly to peace and brotherly love. And when a righteous person, a true believer, justified in Christ, and by his grace walking before God in holy obedience, presents an effectual fervent prayer, wrought in his heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, raising holy affections and believing expectations and so leading earnestly to plead the promises of God at his mercy-seat, it avails much. The power of prayer is proved from the history of Elijah. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. It is not enough to say a prayer, but we must pray in prayer. Thoughts must be fixed, desires must be firm and ardent, and graces exercised. This instance of the power of prayer, encourages every Christian to be earnest in prayer. God never says to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek my face in vain. Where there may not be so much of miracle in God's answering our prayers, yet there may be as much of grace.

19,20 It is no mark of a wise or holy man, to boast of being free from error, or to refuse to acknowledge an error. And there is some doctrinal mistake at the bottom of every practical mistake. There is no one habitually bad, but upon some bad principle. This is conversion; to turn a sinner from the error of his ways, not merely from one party to another, or from one notion and way of thinking to another. There is no way effectually and finally to hide sin, but forsaking it. Many sins are hindered in the party converted; many also may be so in others whom he may influence. The salvation of one soul is of infinitely greater importance than preserving the lives of multitudes, or promoting the welfare of a whole people. Let us in our several stations keep these things in mind, sparing no pains in God's service, and the event will prove that our labour is not in vain in the Lord. For six thousand years He has been multiplying pardons, and yet his free grace is not tired nor grown weary. Certainly Divine mercy is an ocean that is ever full and ever flowing. May the Lord give us a part in this abundant mercy, through the blood of Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for James 5

  • Steve morrow
    JAMES 5:19 BRETHREN IF ANY OF YOU ERR FROM THE TRUTH AND ONE CONVERT HIM --5:20-- let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins --- JAMES 4:17 THEREFORE TO HIM THAT KNOWETH TO DO GOOD AND DOETH IT NOT TO HIM IT IS SIN ---
  • Dc
    Romans Ch 10:9 is as close as it gets to accepting Jesus as savior. Many denominations use this scripture as backup for their "sinners prayer." However you are correct in that to be truly saved is to repent, and be converted. Acts Ch 3:9 that you may hear the voice of the Lord. That you may hear the Truth, and the cure to the deception the devil has sowed on mankind with his lies. Ephesians 6:12
  • MARY STEINEBACH
    I LOVE JAMES. IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS. HUBERT, I DON'T WISH TO ANTAGONIZE YOU BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. DOES IT HAVE TO BE IN THE BIBLE TO BE RIGHT? IS NOT ACCEPTING JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR NOT A GOOD THING? I DO AGREE PEOPLE OFTEN SAY THINGS AS GOSPEL THAT ARE NOT IN THE BIBLE BUT IN THIS CASE I THINK IT IS A GOOD THING.
  • Hubert Guillotte
    So many people say to accept the Lord as your personal savior,,, but I don't see that scripture in the Bible, but I do see where the man that had the keys to the kingdom, to repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. If it's in the Bible let's say it if it's not in the Bible let's don't say it
  • Steve morrow
    JAMES 5:19 BRETHREN IF ANY OF YOU DO ERR FROM THE TRUTH AND ONE CONVERT HIM --5:20-- let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins 1 TIMOTHY 4:16 take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine continue in them for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee
  • James patterson
    Its the precious and powerful Truth. We had a 15 year old girl who is a relative of mine who attended our church and she since birth had seizures and the doctors could not figure out the cause or how to stop them. We took her up front one Sunday anointed her with oil and prayed over her and since that day (praise God ) she has never had another one . James 5:14 says to do this. Its 6 yrs later.

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