Vincent Word Studies - James 1:15 - 1:15

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Vincent Word Studies - James 1:15 - 1:15


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The lust

Note the article, omitted in A. V. The peculiar lust of his own.

Hath conceived (συλλαβοῦσα)

Lit., having conceived.

Bringeth forth (τίκτει)

Metaphor of the mother. Rev., beareth.

When it is finished (ἀποτελεσθεῖσα)

Better, Rev., when it is full grown. Not when the course of a sinful life is completed; but when sin has reached its full development.

Bringeth forth (ἀποκύει)

A different verb from the preceding, bringeth forth. Rev. has rendered τίκτει, beareth, in order to avoid the repetition of bringeth forth. The verb is used by James only, here and at Jam 1:18. The image is interpreted in two ways. Either (1) Sin, figured as female, is already pregnant with death, and, when full grown, bringeth forth death (so Rev., and the majority of commentators). “The harlot, Lust, draws away and entices the man. The guilty union is committed by the will embracing the temptress: the consequence is that she beareth sin....Then the sin, that particular sin, when grown up, herself, as if all along pregnant with it, bringeth forth death” (Alford). Or (2) Sin, figured as male, when it has reached maturity, becomes the begetter of death. So the Vulgate, generat, and Wyc., gendereth. I am inclined to prefer this, since the other seems somewhat forced. It has the high endorsement of Bishop Lightfoot. There is a suggestive parallel passage in the “Agamemnon” of Aeschylus, 751-771:

“There is a saying old,

Uttered in ancient days,

That human bliss, full grown,

Genders, and dies not childless:

And, for the coming race,

Springs woe insatiate from prosperity.

But I alone

Cherish within my breast another thought.

The impious deed

Begets a numerous brood alike in kind;

While households ruled by right inflexible

Blossom with offspring fair. Insolence old

In men depraved begetteth insolence,

Which springs afresh from time to time

As comes the day of doom, and fresh creates

In Ate's dismal halls

Fierce wrath from light,

Unhallowed Daring, fiend invincible,

Unconquered, with its parents' likeness stamped.”

The magnificent passage in Milton's “Paradise Lost,” ii., 760-801, is elaborated from these verses of James.