Amplified: Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God], (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
NLT: Christians who are poor should be glad, for God has honored them. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: The brother who is poor may be glad because God has called him to the true riches. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Moreover, let the brother who is in lowly circumstances be glorying in his exalted position. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: And let the brother who is low rejoice in his exaltation,
|BUT THE BROTHER OF HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES IS TO GLORY IN HIS HIGH POSITION: Kauchastho (3SPMM) de o adelphos o tapeinos en to hupsei autou: (James 2:5,6; Deut 15:7,9,11; Ps 62:9; Pr 17:5; 19:1; Lk 1:52) (Glory - Jer 9:23,24; Ro 5:2,3; Phil 3:3) (In high position - James 2:5; 1Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7,8; Lk 9:48; 10:20; Ro 8:17; 2Co 6:10; Php 3:14; 1Pe 2:9; 1Jn 3:1, 2, 3; Re 2:9; 5:9,10; 7:9,10)
But (1161)(de) (term of contrast) is a marker frequently denoting transition or conversion, serving to introduce something else in this case with the implication of some contrast. Some commentators do not feel the conjunction de is adversative in this context. The NIV, KJV, NLT, et al translations do not translate the "but" for this reason.
The brother of humble circumstances - More literally this reads "the brother, the lowly one." One's lowly circumstances has no bearing on once worthiness as a brother in Christ, for both rich and poor are on the same level at the foot of the Cross. As an aside, it is notable that many poor believers were in the early churches (Acts 2:45; 4:35; 1Co 1:26, 27, 28; 2Co 8:1). James well knew how oppressive and disheartening such circumstances could be.
Brother (80) (adelphos from collative a = denoting unity + delphús = womb) is literally one born from same womb and so a male having the same father and mother as reference person. Figuratively, adelphos as in this verse refers to a close associate of a group of persons having well-defined membership, specifically here referring to fellow believers (including sisters!) in Christ who are united by the bond of affection.
Manton writes that...
Humble (external) circumstances (5011) (tapeinos) means literally low lying, low (not high) or not rising far from the ground. The literal use is not found in the NT, all the uses being figurative and referring either to a material ("low social status") or ethical aspect. One needs to examine the context to determine which meaning is favored. In the present passage, the context speaks not so much of the ethical aspect (a "humble" man) but of one's material and/or social condition as lowly or of little value.
There are only 8 uses of tapeinos in the NT - Mt 11:29; Lk. 1:52; Ro 12:16 (refers to material aspect); 2Co 7:6; 10:1; Jas. 1:9; Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5. Notice that James second use emphasizes the ethical aspect of tapeinos...
To be humble or "low lying" in the ethical sense is clearly a "grace" of great value to sinners, but again in the present context the humility refers primarily to the individual's "low lying" circumstances. Note how the next passage contrasts this "low lying" brother's condition with the rich man's circumstances. A similar contrast is found in Proverbs 16...
Thomas Manton feels that...
Wuest writes that tapeinos was used in secular writings with the literal meaning explaining that...
Larry Richards has some excellent comments on tapeinos writing that...
Vincent writes that tapeinos
Trench writing about tapeinos says that...
Glory (2744) (kauchaomai akin to aucheo = boast + euchomai = pray to God <> auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) means to boast over a privilege or possession. The idea is to take pride in something (in a bad sense - Ro 2:23-note, in a good or legitimate sense - Ro 5:2-note, Ro 5:3-note; Ro 5:11-note), in the present context in his high position in the eyes of God.
Glory is placed first in the Greek sentence for emphasis.
Hiebert writes that kauchaomai...
NIDNTT adds that...
High position (5311) (hupsos/hypsos from húpsi = high, aloft) means elevation, altitude, the sky. As used figuratively in James (see below) it speaks of dignity or being exalted (as having a "high" position). Lowly circumstances and yet a lofty position is a paradox, but how so? In his low estate the brother of humble circumstance is in fact in high position in the eyes of Jehovah. The Bible teaches believers to think "other worldly" and "right side up" for the world's way of thinking is "upside down". Those things the world values aren't necessarily (usually) the things that God values.
The brother of lowly circumstances does not need to become disheartened by his present material poverty, for he is the possessor of spiritual riches that more than counter his material poverty.
Hiebert - A vivid example of this power of Christianity to transform one's evaluation of life may be seen in the story of the Cornish miner-preacher Billy Bray (1794-1868) (click brief biography; alternate site). Although often hungry and ill-clad, he was a forceful and colorful who constantly exulted in his high position as a son of the King.
The Disciple's Study Bible rightly observes that...
The Amplified Version adds a phrase which serves as a mini-commentary...
Manton - That is, in his sublimity. This may be understood in two ways: (1) More generally, that he is a brother or a member of Christ, and the honor of the spiritual state is often contrasted with the misery and obscurity of afflictions. Thus Revelation 2:9 says, “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!”—poor outwardly, but rich spiritually. (2) More particularly, it may refer to the honor of afflictions, that we are thought worthy to suffer for anything where
Amplified: And the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown his human frailty], because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
NLT: And those who are rich should be glad, for God has humbled them. They will fade away like a flower in the field. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: The rich may be glad that God has shown him his spiritual poverty. For the rich man, as such, will wither away as surely as summer flowers. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But the one who is wealthy, let him be glorying in his humiliation, because as the flower of the grass he shall come to an end (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and the rich in his becoming low, because as a flower of grass he shall pass away;
|AND THE RICH MAN IS TO GLORY IN HIS HUMILIATION, BECAUSE LIKE FLOWERING GRASS HE WILL PASS AWAY: o de plousios en te tapeinosei autou, hoti os anthos chortou pareleusetai. (3SFMI): (Is 57:15; 66:2; Mt 5:3; Php 3:8; 1Ti 6:17) (Jas 4:14; Job 14:2; Ps 37:2,35,36; 90:5,6; 102:11; 103:15; Is 40:6; Mt 6:30; 1Co 7:31; 1Pe 1:24; 1Jn 2:17)
Note the four verbs applying to the comparison to flowers - pass away, withers, falls off, destroyed. This a vivid simile which should cause anyone who is rich to pause and ponder the picture presented (see terms of comparison = simile).
Given the fact that James did not repeat the word "brother" has led some to conclude this rich man is not Christian, while other hold that both the rich and poor are Christians, a view held by the able commentator D Edmond Hiebert
Rich (4145) (ploúsios from ploutos = wealth, abundance, riches) defines that which exists in a large amount with implication of its being valuable. This is the description of one who does not need to work for a living. In short this adjective means rich well-to-do, or wealthy in most of the NT uses. (Related dictionary topic - Riches)
The related adverb is plousíōs (4146) which means richly or abundantly and is used 4 times in the NT Col. 3:16-note (Let the word of Christ richly dwell [present imperative = as your lifestyle!] within you [not on your coffee table!]); 1Ti 6:17 (see below); Titus 3:6-note (describes the Holy Spirit Whom the Father "poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ"); 2Pe 1:11-note (describes the entrance into the Lord's eternal kingdom which every Christian should diligently strive to attain [2Pe 1:10-note] - one that is "abundantly supplied").
TDNT - This group (ploutos = wealth, plousios = wealthy, plouteo = to be rich; ploutizo = to make rich) is connected with a root meaning “to flow,” which is connected to “to fill.” The basic sense, then, is “fullness of goods,” and ploútos may mean either material wealth or spiritual wealth (of wisdom etc.). (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)
Plousios is used in a figurative sense of God being "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4-note), which conveys the wonderful truth that He has mercy in abundance (not giving us what we deserve and to which He adds grace, which is giving us what we do not deserve!)
James 2:5 uses plousios figuratively to describe the (materially) poor person who is (spiritually) "rich in faith",
The lost (unbelieving, unregenerate, unsaved) world (and sadly too often even the saved) has a misconception that to be materially "rich" is desirable, not realizing that being "rich" is a major impediment to receiving the free gift of eternal life (Mt 19:23, 24, Mk 10:25). Paul was pointed in his warning about riches telling his young disciple Timothy...
Instruct (present imperative = Paul command is in essence "Timothy keep preaching this sermon!") those who are rich (plousios) in this present world not to be conceited (high minded, arrogant = this mindset so often characterizes the materially rich) or to fix their hope (This is the deceptive danger of material riches) on the uncertainty of riches (ploutos - related word which describes the the deceitfulness of riches = Mt 13:22, Mk 4:19), but on God, Who richly (related adverb = plousíōs  = abundantly) supplies us with all things to enjoy (apolausis = a noun that describes the adherence of one's mind and/or affection to an object - in this context "the things above", "the things of eternal value"). (1Ti 6:17).
James issues a solemn warning call to those who are materially rich in this present world...
Jesus described the sad state of the church at Laodicea who was deceived by her riches...
‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Re 3:17-note).
Jesus gave the correct estimate of the giving, when He describe the giving of large sums of money by the "rich people" (Mk 12:41), explaining to His disciples that the poor widow's two copper coins were a far greater contribution because that was not from her surplus (like the rich people) but was all she owned (Mk 10:42, 43, 44)! Are you as convicted as I am?
Jesus used the story of the rich man to explain the truth about Hades (OT = Sheol), the rich man ending up in the "hot" side of Hades and the poor man in the "cool" side (Read Lk 16:19-31 and draw a schematic diagram of Hades - Clue = place two rectangles side by side with a space between and label the compartments Jesus describes).
Paul explains how believers are made rich in the spiritual sense, a wealth that endures throughout eternity...
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich (related verb = plouteo). (2Co 8:9, cp the church at Smyrna which was materially poor but spiritual rich - Rev 2:9-note)
Plousios - 28x in 28v in NAS - Mt 19:23, 24; 27:57; Mark 10:25; 12:41; Luke 6:24; 12:16; 14:12; 16:1, 19, 21, 22; 18:23, 25; 19:2; 21:1; 2Cor 8:9; Eph 2:4-note; 1Ti 6:17; Jas 1:10, Jas 1:11; 2:5, 6; 5:1; Rev 2:9-note; Re 3:17-note; Re 6:15-note; Re 13:16-note. NAS = people(1), rich(19), rich man(7), rich man's(1), rich people(1).
Plousios - 31x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen 13:2; Ruth 3:10; 1Sa 2:10; 2Sa 12:1f, 4; Esther 1:20; Job 27:19; Ps 10:8; 34:10; 45:11; 49:2; Pr 10:15; 14:20; 18:11; 19:22; 22:2, 7, 16; 23:4; 28:6, 11; Eccl 10:6, 20; Isa 5:14; 32:9, 13; 33:20; 53:9; Jer 9:23; 24:1
Augustine - He is a great man who is not lifted up because of his greatness.
Manton comments that the rich man...
This may either be taken generally to mean the rich, whether godly or ungodly, or more specifically for the ungodly person who trusts in riches.
Manton writes that the rich man...
includes the noble, the honorable, those who have outward excellence, and especially those who remain untouched by persecution. Some observe that James does not say “the rich brother,” as before, the brother in humble circumstances , but only generally the one who is rich . Few of that rank give their names to Christ. But this may be too fanciful an interpretation...
Riches are not altogether inconsistent with Christianity. But usually riches are a great snare. It is difficult to enjoy the world without being entangled in its pleasures. The moon is never eclipsed except when it is full, and it is usually in our fullness that we go wrong. That is why our Saviour says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mt 19:24). This is a Jewish proverb indicating an impossibility. Rich men should often think of this. A camel can go through a needle’s eye just as easily as you can enter into the kingdom of God. It would be a rare miracle of nature for a camel or an elephant to pass through a needle’s eye; and it is as rare a miracle of grace for a rich man to find Christ. They least of all perceive spiritual excellences. The heathen Plato says almost the same as Christ, that it is impossible for someone to be eminently rich and eminently good. The way of grace is usually so narrow that there is no room for those who want to enter with their great burdens of riches and honor.
But you will say, what do you want Christians to do then? Throw away their estates? I answer, no. There are two passages that qualify our Lord’s saying. One is: “With God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). Difficulties on the way to heaven bring us to despair of ourselves, not of God. God can so loosen the heart from the world that riches are no impediment. The other passage is Mark 10:23, 24: “Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is [for those who trust riches— NIV footnote] to enter the kingdom of God!’” It is not having riches but trusting in them that poses the danger. Riches are not a hindrance to Christianity, but our abuse of them is. To sum up, it is impossible to trust in riches and enter into the kingdom of God; and it is nearly impossible for us to have riches and not to trust in them.
Humiliation (5014)(tapeinosis is the noun derived from adjective tapeinos; cp the related derivative tapeinophrosune) means low, not high, not rising far from the ground. James says the rich man is to boast about his condition as lowly or of low degree. He is to have proper opinion of passing, temporal wealth as that which is base, common, and of little value. The idea of this self abasement is to assume an unpretentious state or recognition of one's low estate. To paraphrase Thayer, the rich man is to boast in spiritual abasement, which leads him to perceive and even "to lament his (moral) littleness and guilt".
Spurgeon pithily phrased it this way...
Humility is to make a right assessment of oneself....Do not be proud of race, face, or grace.
Hiebert sums up this section writing that...
It would seem that here to be "made low" is to find something of incomparably greater value than his wealth, something that by its greatness makes him feel small, so that disillusioned in his old ground of glorying, he attains a basis for a better glory.'
The attitude of both the poor and the rich brother is the result of the spiritual wisdom each has attained. The results look in opposite directions. As the poor brother forgets all his earthly poverty, so the rich brother forgets all his earthly riches. By faith in Christ the two are equals. The rich brother has come to realize that at the cross he stands on a level with the poor brother. Both have been given a new status in Christ, and it is their true ground for glorying. The command to the poor brother is tersely stated, but the command to the rich brother receives strong amplification. James states a reason for the command to the rich brother (v. l0b), illustrates it from the fate of the field flower (v. 11a), and applies it to the end of the rich (v. lib).
Because (3754) (hoti) has a number of meanings in the NT but in this context is used by James as a marker of causality. James explains the reason why the rich man should have a lowly mind in the midst of flourishing and plenty. And note that James does not say his riches pass away like a flower, but that the rich man himself will pass away.
Manton- Even if we had security over our possessions, we would not have security over our lives. We pass away and they pass away with a turn of providence as the flower of the field fades.
Like flowering grass - This clearly speaks of the brevity and uncertainty of life (cp Job 14:2; Ps 90:5, 6; 102:11; 103:15; Is 51:12, 1Pe 1:24). Obviously this statement would apply to the life of the poor man but here his focus is to awaken the conscience of the rich man, who because he has "plenty" of earth's riches, is prone to forget that these are passing riches and can never be the basis for one's eternal security. Isaiah records a passage that speaks to the transitory nature of life in general, whereas James applies it specifically to the rich...
Isa 40:6 A voice says, "Call out." Then he answered, "What shall I call out?" All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
Like (5613) (os) is a term of comparison meaning even as, in the same manner as, etc. A proper understanding of terms of comparison is important for accurate interpretation of Scripture. While the Spirit clearly inspires these comparisons, one has to remember that He does not give us license to devise a plethora of imaginative interpretations. For more discussion see the topic terms of comparison - simile.
Flowering (438) (anthos - English "anthology" is literally "flower gathering" from anthos = flower + logia = collecting) refers specifically to the flower of a grape blossom and is a picture of something that does not last.
There are 23 uses of anthos in the Scripture, 3 in the NT (Jas 1:10, 1; 1 Pet 1:24) and 20 in the Septuagint (Ex 28:14; 30:23; Nu 17:8; Job 14:2; 15:30, 33; Ps 103:15; Song 2:1, 12; Isa 5:24; 11:1; 18:5; 28:1, 4; 40:6, 7; 61:11; Ezek 19:10; Da 11:7; Zeph 2:2)
Grass (5528) (chortos) refers to small green plants and in the NT contexts primarily signifies green grass as one would find in a field or meadow.
He will pass away (3928) (parerchomai from pará = near ~ proximity + érchomai = come, go) means literally to pass by as of persons (Mt 8:28), of things (Mt 26:39, 42) or of time, to be no longer available for use (Mt 14:15, Mk 14:35, Acts 27:9, 1Pe 4:3). James uses parerchomai metaphorically to mean to pass away and so to perish (cp similar uses in Mt. 5:18; 24:34, 35; Mk 13:30, 31; Lk 16:17; 21:32, 33; 2Co 5:17; Jas 1:10; 2Pe 3:10)
David uses a similar simile describing the fate of evil men...
James later speaks of our life as a vapor...
The true riches -Ephesians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:3; 1 Peter 2:7
God gives -1 Samuel 2:7; Ecclesiastes 5:19
To God belongs this world’s riches -Haggai 2:8
God gives power to obtain -Deuteronomy 8:18
The blessing of the Lord brings -Proverbs 10:22
Give worldly power -Proverbs 22:7
Temporary -Proverbs 27:24
Uncertain -1 Timothy 6:17
Unsatisfying -Ecclesiastes 4:8; 5:10
Corruptible -James 5:2; 1 Peter 1:18
Fleeting -Proverbs 23:5; Revelation 18:16,17
Deceitful -Matthew 13:22
Liable to be stolen -Matthew 6:19
Perishable -Jeremiah 48:36
Thick clay -Habakkuk 2:6
Often an obstruction to the reception of the gospel -Mark 10:23-25
Deceitfulness of, chokes the word -Matthew 13:22
The love of, the root of all evil -1 Timothy 6:10
OFTEN LEAD TO
Pride -Ezekiel 28:5; Hosea 12:8
Forgetting God -Deuteronomy 8:13,14
Denying God -Proverbs 30:8,9
Forsaking God -Deuteronomy 32:15
Rebelling against God -Nehemiah 9:25,26
Rejecting Christ -Matthew 19:22; 10:22
Self-sufficiency -Proverbs 28:11
Anxiety -Ecclesiastes 5:12
An overbearing spirit -Proverbs 18:23
Violence -Micah 6:12
Oppression -James 2:6
Fraud -James 5:4
Sensual indulgence -Luke 16:19; James 5:5
Life consists not in abundance of -Luke 12:15
Be not over-anxious for -Proverbs 30:8
Labour not for -Proverbs 23:4
THEY WHO COVET
Fall into temptation and a snare -1 Timothy 6:9
Fall into hurtful lusts -1 Timothy 6:9
Err from the faith -1 Timothy 6:10
Use unlawful means to acquire -Proverbs 28:20
Bring trouble on themselves -1 Timothy 6:10
Bring trouble on their families -Proverbs 15:27
Profit not in the day of wrath -Proverbs 11:4
Cannot secure prosperity -James 1:11
Cannot redeem the soul -Psalms 49:6-9; 1 Peter 1:18
Cannot deliver in the day of God’s wrath -Zephaniah 1:18; Revelation 6:15-17
THEY WHO POSSESS, SHOULD
Ascribe them to God -1 Chronicles 29:12
Not trust in them -Job 31:24; 1 Timothy 6:17
Not set the heart on them -Psalms 62:10
Not boast of obtaining them -Deuteronomy 8:17
Not glory in them -Jeremiah 9:23
Not hoard them up -Matthew 6:19
Devote them to God’s service -1 Chronicles 29:3; Mark 12:42-44
Give of them to the poor -Matthew 19:21; 1 John 3:17
Use them in promoting the salvation of others -Luke 16:9
Be liberal in all things -1 Timothy 6:18
Esteem it a privilege to be allowed to give -1 Chronicles 29:14
Not to be high-minded -1 Timothy 6:17
When converted, rejoice in being humbled -James 1:9,10
Heavenly treasures superior to -Matthew 6:19,20
Of the wicked laid up for the just -Proverbs 13:22
Often increase in -Psalms 73:12
Often spend their day in -Job 21:13
Swallow down -Job 20:15
Trust in the abundance of -Psalms 52:7
Heap up -Job 27:16; Psalms 39:6; Ecclesiastes 2:26
Keep, to their hurt -Ecclesiastes 5:13
Boast themselves in -Psalms 49:6; 52:7
Profit not by -Proverbs 11:4; 13:7; Ecclesiastes 5:11
Have trouble with -Proverbs 15:6; 1 Timothy 6:9,10
Must leave, to others -Psalms 49:10
Vanity of heaping up -Psalms 39:6; Ecclesiastes 5:10,11
Guilt of trusting in -Job 31:24,28; Ezekiel 28:4,5,8
Guilt of rejoicing in -Job 31:25,28
DENUNCIATIONS AGAINST THOSE WHO
Get, by vanity -Proverbs 13:11; 21:6
Get, unlawfully -Jeremiah 17:11
Increase, by oppression -Proverbs 22:16; Habakkuk 2:6-8; Micah 2:2,3
Hoard up -Ecclesiastes 5:13,14; James 5:3
Trust in -Proverbs 11:28
Receive their consolation -Luke 6:24
Abuse -James 5:1,5
Spend, upon their appetite -Job 20:15-17
Folly and danger of trusting to-Illustrated -Luke 12:16-21
Danger of misusing-Illustrated -Luke 16:19-25
Examples of saints possessing
Abram -Genesis 13:2
Lot -Genesis 13:5,6
Isaac -Genesis 26:13,14
Jacob -Genesis 32:5,10
Joseph -Genesis 45:8,13
Boaz -Ruth 2:1
Barzillai -2 Samuel 19:32
Shunammite -2 Kings 4:8
David -1 Chronicles 29:28
Jehoshaphat -2 Chronicles 17:5
Hezekiah -2 Chronicles 32:27-29
Job -Job 1:3
Joseph of Arimathea -Matthew 27:57
Zacchaeus -Luke 19:2
Dorcas -Acts 9:36
Examples of those truly rich
Mt 5:8; 8:10; 13:45,46; Lk 10:42; Jn 1:45; Php 3:8; James 2:5; 1Pe 2:7; Re 3:18
Examples of wicked men possessing
Laban -Genesis 30:30
Esau -Genesis 36:7
Nabal -1 Samuel 25:2
Haman -Esther 5:11
Ammonites -Jeremiah 49:4
People of Tyre -Ezekiel 28:5
Young man -Matthew 19:22
James 1:11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: aneteilen (3SAAI) gar o elios sun to kausoni kai exeranen (3SAAI) ton chorton, kai to anthos autou exepesen (3SAAI) kai e euprepeia tou prosopou autou apoleto; (3SAMI) outos kai o plousios en tais poreiais autou maranthesetai. (3SFPI)
Amplified: For the sun comes up with a scorching heat and parches the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away. Even so will the rich man wither and die in the midst of his pursuits. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
NLT: The hot sun rises and dries up the grass; the flower withers, and its beauty fades away. So also, wealthy people will fade away with all of their achievements. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: One day the sunrise brings a scorching wind; the grass withers at once and so do all the flowers - all that lovely sight is destroyed. Just as surely will the rich man and all his extravagant ways fall into the blight of decay. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for the sun arises with its scorching heat and the grass withers and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed. So shall also the wealthy person fade away together with his undertakings. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for the sun did rise with the burning heat, and did wither the grass, and the flower of it fell, and the grace of its appearance did perish, so also the rich in his way shall fade away!
|FOR THE SUN RISES WITH A SCORCHING WIND AND WITHERS THE GRASS: aneteilen (3SAAI) gar o helios sun to kausoni kai exeranen (3SAAI) ton chorton: (Is 49:10; Jonah 4:7,8; Mt 13:6; Mk 4:6)
For (gar) is a term of explanation, which should alway prompt a pause to ponder and ask what is being explained, etc?
James continues the explanation of his simile begun in the previous verse in his description of the state of the man who has earthly wealth. Here James vividly paints the picture of the transitory nature of the rich man's life.
Sun (2246) (helios from héle = shining, the splendor of the sun) is the star round which the earth orbits.
Rises (393)(anatello from aná = up + téllo = set out for a goal) means to arise as of things in the natural creation, here describing the rising of the sun.
There are 7 uses of anatello in the NT (Mt 4:16, 5:45 Mk 16:2, Lk 12:54, He 7:14, Jas 1:11, 2Pe1:19)
Scorching wind (2742) (kausoni from kaío = burn) of intense heat, fervent or scorching heat as of the sun
Withers (3583) (exeraneo from xeros = dry) literally means to dry up (cp Mk 5:29), to be parched, to cause to wither or shriveled (cp Jn 15:6).
AND ITS FLOWER FALLS OFF AND THE BEAUTY OF ITS APPEARANCE IS DESTROYED: kai to anthos autou exepesen (3SAAI) kai e euprepeia tou prosopou autou apoleto (3SAMI):
Falls off (1601) (ekpipto from ek = from + pípto = to fall) literally means to fall out or down from and here is used literally of withered blossoms falling off the stem. Figuratively it means to fall away and to to fail, to drift or be blown off course and run aground (Acts 27:17) or to be without effect or to be in vain.
Beauty (2143)(euprepeia from eu = good, well + prepo = be fitting) describes a state of beauty or fine appearance with the implication of being attractive and well-suited.
This is the only NT use of euprepeia but there are 10 uses in the Septuagint (LXX) -- 2Sa 15:25; Job 36:11; Ps 26:8; 50:2; 93:1; 104:1; Pr 31:25; Jer 23:9; Lam 1:6; Ezek 16:14
Appearance (4383) (prosopon from pros = toward + ops = the eye) is literally the part round the eye, the face, in a secondary sense the look, the countenance.
Destroyed (622) (apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy <> root of apollyon [Re 9:11] = destroyer) means to destroy utterly but not to caused to cease to exist. Apollumi then has the basic meaning of describing that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose. In short, the beauty of the flowers offered no security against the adverse elements. The fate of the flowers pictured the fate of the physical life of all (here the rich) men.
William Barclay -
SO TOO THE RICH MAN IN THE MIDST OF HIS PURSUITS WILL FADE AWAY: houtos kai o plousios en tais poreiais autou maranthesetai. (3SFPI): (Jas 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Job 21:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; Psalms 37:35,36; 49:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14; 73:18, 19, 20; Eccl 5:15; Is 28:1,4; 40:7,8; Lk 12:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Lk 16:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25; 1Co 7:31; 1Pe 1:4; 5:4)
So too (houtos kai) - Literally "thusly also". "In the same way" as the flower's fate was sealed, so too was that of the rich man.
The rich man (4145) (plousios from ploutos = wealth, abundance, riches) defines that which exists in a large amount with implication of its being valuable. God is "plentifully supplied", overabounding, without measure, very rich and wealthy in regard to His mercy.
In the midst of his pursuits (4197) (poreia from poreúomai = to go) is literally "in his goings". The phrase takes on the meaning of purpose, pursuit or undertaking. Kindred ideas are that of a journey (Lk 13:22 of Jesus on a journey to Jerusalem), a business activity or pursuit of business or wealth.
Will fade away (3133) (maraino) means to disappear gradually, die out, fade, disappear, wither. It is used literally of plants losing their vitality. James has the figurative meaning describing a person as wasting away, ending up with nothing, losing out. Thayer says it gives the meaning equivalent to having a miserable end.
Hiebert remarks that this conclusion "is a strong reminder to the wealthy that permanence is not to be found in the material things of this world."
Pastor Steven Cole has an excellent exposition of Jas 1:9, 10, 11 in his sermon entitled Perspective for Perseverance...