Warning to the Rich
1Listen all you who are rich, for it’s time to weep and howl over the misery # 5:1 The Aramaic word can refer to demonic torment. that will overtake you! 2Your riches lie rotting, your fine clothing eaten by moths, 3and your gold and silver are corroded as a witness against you. You have hoarded up treasure for the last days but it will become a fire to burn your flesh. 4Listen! Can’t you hear the cries of the laborers # 5:4 Or “the reapers” (of your fields). over the wages you fraudulently held back from those who worked for you? # 5:4 Or “those who worked in your fields.” The cries for justice of those you’ve cheated have reached the ears of the Lord of armies! # 5:4 Or “Lord Sabaoth.”
5You have indulged yourselves with every luxury and pleasure this world offers, but you’re only stuffing your heart full for a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered good and innocent people # 5:6 Or “the righteous one,” a possible reference to the death of Jesus. who had no power to defend themselves. # 5:6 Or “will not (God) resist you?”
7Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, we must be patient and filled with expectation as we wait for the appearing # 5:7 This is the abstract Greek word parousia which can mean “arrival, presence, becoming manifest, appearing.” Parousia is taken from the present participle pareina a compound word of para (beside) and einai (to be seen, made visible). It has little to do with distance or space, but with becoming visible, such as an uncovering or revealing what is nearby. It is commonly used for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. of the Lord. Think about the farmer who has to patiently wait for the earth’s harvest as it ripens because of the early and latter rains. 8So you also, keep your hopes high and be patient, for the presence of the Lord is drawing closer. # 5:8 Or “near at hand.” The Greek word engizo is taken from the word eggus, which means to take by the hand, to throttle, or to hold the reins. (See Strong’s Concordance, Gr. 1448 and 1451.) 9Since each of you are part of God’s family never complain or grumble about each other # 5:9 Or “don’t blame others” (for your troubles). so that judgment will not come on you, for the true Judge is near and very ready to appear! # 5:9 Or “at the gate.”
10My brothers and sisters, take # 5:10 Or “receive.” the prophets as your mentors. They have prophesied in the name of the Lord # 5:10 That is, by the Lord’s authority. See also v. 14. and it brought them great sufferings, yet they patiently endured. 11We honor them as our heroes # 5:11 Or “we regard them as blessed.” because they remained faithful even while enduring great sufferings. And you have heard of all that Job went through and we can now see that the Lord ultimately treated him with wonderful kindness, revealing how tenderhearted he really is! # 5:11 See Ex. 34:6; Ps. 86:15.
12Above all we must be those who never need to verify our speech as truthful by swearing by the heavens or the earth or any other oath. # 5:12 See Matt. 5:34. But instead we must be so full of integrity that our “Yes” or “No” is convincing enough and we do not stumble into hypocrisy. # 5:12 Some Greek manuscripts read “stumble into hypocrisy,” while others have, “stumble into judgment.”
Prayer for the Sick
13Are there any believers in your fellowship suffering great hardship and distress? Encourage them to pray! # 5:13 See Luke 18:1; 1 Cor. 14:14–15. Are there happy, cheerful ones among you? Encourage them to sing out their praises! # 5:13 Or “pluck the strings of a harp” or “sing a psalm.” 14Are there any sick among you? Then ask the elders of the church to come and pray over the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of our Lord. 15And the prayer of faith # 5:15 Or “the claim of faith.” will heal the sick # 5:15 This is not the Greek usually used for sickness or disease. The word kamno can also mean “those who are weary and worn down,” and in the context could possibly refer to believers who have been arguing with each other, leaving them spiritually weak. and the Lord will raise them up, # 5:15 That is, restore them to health. This could be a subtle hint of a resurrection. and if they have committed sins # 5:15 Or “doer of sin.” There is a clear implication in this passage that the sickness (weakness) referred to is the result of sin. See also 1 Cor. 11:18–32. they will be forgiven. # 5:15 This may be speaking of the church elders who are forgiving the arguing believers and restoring them back into fellowship.
16Confess and acknowledge how you have offended one another # 5:16 As translated from the Aramaic, which uses a word that can be translated “faults” or “folly” or “offenses.” The Critical Greek text is “confess your sins.” and then pray for one another to be instantly healed, # 5:16 Or “restored.” for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer # 5:16 Or “energized prayer,” a prayer within a prayer. of a godly believer!
17Elijah was a man with human frailties, just like all of us, but he prayed and received supernatural answers. # 5:17 Or “he prayed with prayer” (intensity). He actually shut the heavens over the land so there would be no rain for three and a half years! 18Then he prayed again and the skies opened up over the land so that the rain came again and produced the harvest.
19Finally, as members of God’s beloved family, we must go after the one who wanders from the truth and bring him back. 20For the one who restores the sinning believer back to God from the error of his way, gives back to his soul # 5:20 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is similar, meaning “save his soul from death.” life from the dead, and covers over countless sins # 5:20 That is, bring about forgiveness of many sins through restoring the person back to God. To cover sins is a Hebrew concept of atonement. by their demonstration of love!