Misuse of Riches
1 Come [quickly] now, you rich [who lack true faith and hoard and misuse your resources], weep and howl over the miseries [the woes, the judgments] that are coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted and is ruined and your [fine] clothes have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. You have stored up your treasure in the last days [when it will do you no good]. 4 Look! The wages that you have [fraudulently] withheld from the laborers who have mowed your fields are crying out [against you for vengeance]; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of (a)the Lord of Sabaoth.(A) 5 On the earth you have lived luxuriously and abandoned yourselves to soft living and led a life of wanton pleasure [self-indulgence, self-gratification]; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and have put to death the righteous man; he offers you no resistance.
7 So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits [expectantly] for the precious harvest from the land, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains. 8 You too, be patient; strengthen your hearts [keep them energized and firmly committed to God], because the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain against one another, believers, so that you will not be judged [for it]. Look! The Judge is standing (b)right at the door. 10 As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers and representatives]. 11 You know we call those blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] who were steadfast and endured [difficult circumstances]. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome [how He richly blessed Job]. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.(B)
12 But above all, my fellow believers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be [a truthful] yes, and your no be [a truthful] no, so that you may not fall under judgment.(C)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? He must pray. Is anyone joyful? He is to sing praises [to God]. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He must call for the elders (spiritual leaders) of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with (c)oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed (d)intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.(D) 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual].(E)
19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you strays from the truth and falls into error and [another] one turns him back [to God], 20 let the [latter] one know that the one who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will save that one’s soul from death and cover a multitude of sins [that is, obtain the pardon of the many sins committed by the one who has been restored].
a. James 5:4: The Lord of Hosts; Sovereign God; Lord of the armies of heaven and earth.
b. James 5:9: Lit before.
c. James 5:14: The oil symbolizes the presence of God.
d. James 5:17: Lit with prayer, an idiom of emphasis derived from Hebrew.