5. The clauses are connected, λειπόμενοι … λείπεται.
σοφίας, a term far wider in signification than the Greek conception of σοφία. A whole cycle of Hebrew literature is devoted to the praise and definition of Wisdom. According to the author of the Wisdom of Solomon σοφία is the most perfect principle of guidance in human action: λαμπρὰ γὰρ καὶ ἀμάραντός ἐστιν ἡ σοφία (Wis 6:12); it is won by those who seek it: εὐχερῶς θεωρεῖται ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγαπώντων αὐτήν, καὶ εὐρίσκεται ὑπὸ τῶν ζητούντων αὐτήν—an expression closely bearing on this passage. Step by step σοφία leads to union with God: προσοχὴ δὲ νόμων (giving heed to her laws) βεβαίωσις ἀφθαρσίας, ἀφθαρσία δὲ ἐγγὺς εἶναι ποιεῖ θεοῦ· ἐπιθυμία ἄρα σοφίας ἀνάγει ἐπὶ βασιλείαν, Wis 6:19; 20; … τιμήσατε σοφίαν ἵνα εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα βασιλεύσητε. Again ch. Wis 7:25 ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστιν τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμεως … ἀπαύγασμα γάρ ἐστιν φωτὸς ἀϊδίου, καὶ ἕσοπτρον ἀκηλίδωτον τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἐνεργείας. Human wisdom is conceived of as an emanation from the divine wisdom which was with God at the creation of the world, πὰσα σοφία παρὰ κυρίου καὶ μετʼ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, Sir 1:1.
This exalted view of σοφία gives force to the description of the Lord’s growth: καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν τῇ σοφίᾳ, Luk 2:52 : τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφία, Luk 2:40.
αἰτείτω. In the Wisdom of Solomon prayer is indicated as the effectual means of attaining σοφία. διὰ τοῦτο ηὐξάμην καὶ φρόνησις ἐδόθη μοι, ἐπεκαλεσάμην καὶ ἦλθέν μοι πνεῦμα σοφίας, Wis 7:7. Comp. also Sir 51:13 ἐξήτησα σοφίαν προφανῶς ἐν προσευχῇ μου. In St Mat 11:19 (Luk 7:35), ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς, the meaning of σοφία seems to be the plan of divine wisdom which rules and governs all things. For the construction comp. γνώμας λειπομένα σοφᾶς, Soph. El. 474.
In the prominence which St James gives to σοφία we trace the surpassing influence of the Wisdom literature in this age. In a question of completeness or perfection of religions equipment it would be natural to treat of σοφία as the highest religious excellence, without which perfection was inconceivable.
So also St Paul places σοφία at the head of spiritual gifts. 1Co 12:8 ᾦ μὲν γὰρ διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος δίδοται λόγος σοφίας, ἄλλῳ δὲ λόγος γνώσεως κ.τ.λ.
αἰτείτω. αἰτεῖν, Lat. peto, generally, though not always (see Luk 1:63; Joh 4:9), used of requests made by an inferior to a superior. See Mat 7:9 τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἄρτον κ.τ.λ.; Act 3:2 to ὂν ἐτίθουν … τοῦ αἰτεῖν ἐλεημοσύνην; Act 12:20 ᾐτοῦντο εἰρήνην. Hence our Lord never uses αἰτεῖν of His own requests to the Father, but ἐδεήθην (Luk 22:32) and ἐρωτήσω (Joh 16:26). See Trench, N.T. Syn. sub voc. on the important passage Joh 16:23 ἐμὲ οὐκ ἐρωτήσετε οὐδέν … ἄν τι αἰτήσητε τὸν πατέρα δώσει ὑμῖν ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου.
ἁπλῶς, with simplicity, without secondary motive, simpliciter, O.L., rather than affluenter, V. Comp. ὁ μεταδιδοὺς ἐν ἁπλότητι, Rom 12:8; δοξάζοντες τὸν θεὸν ἐπὶ τῇ ὑποταγῇ … καὶ ἁπλότητι τῆς κοινωνίας εἰς αὐτοὺς καὶ εἰς πάντας, 2Co 9:13. In the classics ἁπλοῦς is opposed to what is deceitful, ἁπλᾶ τῆς ἀληθείας ἕπη—ἁπλοῦς ὁ μῦθος, Aesch. Cho. 554; ἁπλοῖ τρόποι opp. to δόλος, At. Plut. 1158.
καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος, not reproaching, for ingratitude. The two elements to be avoided in giving are: (1) secondary motives on the do ut des principle; (2) complaint on account of favours unreturned, τοῖς εὖ παθοῦσιν ὀνειδίσαι τὴν χάριν, Libernus, D. XXXIII. (quoted by Wet stein): Odiosum sane genus hominum beneficia reprobantium, quae meminisse debet is in quem collata sunt, non commemorare qui contulit, Cic. Lael. 20.
From these two human defects divine gifts are absolutely exempt. (1) Interested motive is impossible with God; and (2) man’s ingratitude is no barrier to divine love: ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηρούς, Luk 6:35.