Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges - James 5:4 - 5:4

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Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges - James 5:4 - 5:4


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

4. ἰδού: here as frequently in N.T. a vivid transitional particle. The Jews were agriculturists long before they were traders. It would be a natural step, as they grew in wealth, to acquire land in the countries of the Dispersion. It is probable that the land which Barnabas sold was in Cyprus.

ὁ μισθὸς τῶν ἐργατῶν. Comp. Luk 10:7 ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ, and Lev 19:13, where the rule is given: οὐ μὴ κοιμηθήσεται ὁ μισθὸς τοῦ μισθωτοῦ παρὰ σοὶ ἕως πρωί. More fully Deu 24:14-15 οὐκ ἀπαδικήσεις μισθὸν πένητος καὶ ἐνδεοῦς ἐκ τῶν ἀδελφῶν σου ἢ ἐκ τῶν προσηλύτων τῶν ἐν ταῖς πολεσίν σου· αὐθημερὸν ἀποδώσεις τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ· οὐκ ἐπιδύσεται ὁ ἥλιος ἐπʼ αὐτῷ, ὅτι πένης ἐστὶ καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἔχει τὴν ἐλπίδα, καὶ καταβοήσεται κατὰ σοῦ πρὸς Κύριον,. St James’ words enforce this passage from the law, and by a truly poetical touch transfer the cry for justice from the labourer to the wages unjustly withheld. Like the rust on the hoarded metal, the wage kept back by fraud cries for vengeance. For this poetical figure comp. Hab 2:11, Luk 19:40; and for prophetic denunciation of the same violation of the law see Jer 22:13 παρὰ τῷ πλησίον αὐτοῦ ἐργᾶται δωρεάν, καὶ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ ἀποδώσει αὐτῷ and Mic 3:10.

τῶν ἀμησάντων. ἀμᾶν here only in N. T. for the more usual θερίζειν. It is used in the classics in poetry and late prose of (a) reaping, ἤμων ὀξείας δρεπάνας ἐν χερσὶν ἔχοντες Il. XVIII. 551, and in middle of (b) gathering, ταλάροισιν ἀμησάμενος (γάλα) Od. IX. 247. Curtius regards (a) as the root-meaning, connecting it with Latin meto, but see Lid. and Scott sub voc. The tense marks that the wages were due.

τὰς χώρας ὑμῶν, fields, farm lands, χώρα in the singular meaning a farm or estate: οἱ ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ ἐργάται, Xen. Hier. 10:5.

ἀφυστερημένος, still kept back; the perfect part. denotes that the act continues in its effects to the time implied.

ἀφʼ ὑμῶν, according to most editors to be taken with ἀφυστερημένος, but even in that case ἀπό would differ from ὑπό, indicating not the agent but the source of the injustice, ‘on your part’ or ‘by your fraud.’ Comp. Act 2:22 ἀποδεδειγμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, where see Page. Luk 17:25 ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης. In several passages the MSS. vary between ἀπό and ὑπό, as Mar 8:31, Luk 6:18, Act 4:36, Rom 13:1. In Modern Greek ἀπό is regularly used of the agent, and in common speech with the accus., ἀπὸ τὸν θεὸν ἔγειναν τὰ πάντα, Corfe, Mod. Grk Gram. p. 142. Another interpretation, however, connects ἀφʼ ὑμῶν with κράζει, the wage cries from you, with whom it is placed, οὐ μὴ κοιμηθήσεται παρὰ σοί (Hebr. lodge with thee), Levit. loc. cit. For this construction comp. Gen 4:10 φωνὴ αἵματος … βοᾷ … ἐκ τῆς γῆς, Exo 2:23 ἀνέβη ἡ βοὴ αὐτῶν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων.

κράζει, frequently used of the appeal against injustice or of the cry for deliverance: Jdg 4:3 καὶ ἐκέραξαν οἱ υἱοὶ Ἰσραὴλ πρὸς Κύριον, Psa 21:5 πρὸς σὲ ἐκέκραξαν καὶ ἐσώθησαν. Comp. also Isa 5:7 ἔμεινα τοῦ ποιῆσαι κρίσιν ἐποίησε δὲ ἀνομίαν καὶ οὐ δικαιοσύνην ἀλλὰ κραυγήν, ‘he looked … for righteousness but behold a cry’ R.V. In the Hebr. there is a play on the contrasted words ‘righteousness’ and ‘a cry.’

Κυρίου Σαβαώθ, here only in N.T.; in LXX. either untranslated as here, or rendered by Κύριος παντοκράτωρ, 2Sa 5:10; 2Sa 7:27, or κύριος τῶν δυνάμεων, Psa 24:10, Lord of hosts, either as commanding the armies of Israel or as Lord of the heavenly powers.

εἰσελήλυθαν. This aoristic termination of the perfect occurs Luk 9:36, Joh 17:6-7, Act 16:36, and elsewhere in N.T. This approach to uniformity in the forms of the aorist and perfect tenses is one of the marks of the post-classical period. See Simcox, The Language of the N.T., p. 35.