5. ἐτρυφήσατε, ye lived delicately. The force of these aorists should be observed; the whole past is reviewed as on a judgment day. τρυφᾶν, here only in N.T. The strengthened form κατατρυφᾶν is beautifully used Psa 37:4 κατατρύφησον τοῦ κυρίου, and 11 πραεῖς … κατατρυφήσουσιν ἐπὶ πλήθει εἰρήνης. Comp. also Isa 55:2 ἀκούσατέ μου καὶ φάγεσθε ἀγαθά, καὶ ἐντρυφήσει ἐν ἀγαθοῖς ἡ ψυχὴ ὑμῶν, and Eur. Ion 1375 χρόνον γὰρ ὅν μʼ ἐχρῆν ἐν ἀγκάλαις | μητρὸς τρυφῆσαι καί τι τερφθῆναι βίου | ἀπεστερήθην φιλτάτης μητρὸς τροφῆς, Plato Legg. 695 D βασιλικὴ καὶ τρυφῶσα παιδεία.
The whole picture may be compared with the parables of Dives and Lazarus, Luk 16:19 f., and the Rich Fool, Luk 12:16 f.
ἐσπαταλήσατε, ye lived a life of wantonness. Comp. 1Ti 5:6 ἡ δὲ σπαταλῶσα ζῶσα τέθνηκεν, the only other passage where the word occurs in N.T. ὅς κατασπαταλᾷ ἐκ παιδὸς οἰκέτης ἔσται, ἔσχατον δὲ ὀδυνηθήσεται ἐφʼ ἑαυτῷ, Pro 29:21, is a mistranslation of the Hebr. “He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become a son at the last” R.V. ἐν πλησμονῇ ἄρτων καὶ ἐν εὐθηνίᾳ ἐσπατάλων αὔτη (Sodom) καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες αὐτῆς, Eze 16:49, οἱ καθεύδοντες ἐπὶ κλινῶν ἐλεφαντίνων καὶ κατασπαταλῶντες ἐπὶ ταῖς στρωμναῖς αὐτῶν κ.τ.λ. Amo 6:4. The word is well explained Clem. Alex. IV., Strom. p. 450 ὅσα σπαταλῶσα ἐπιθυμεῖ ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν οὐκ ἀρκουμένη τοῖς ἀναγκαίοις περιεργαζομένη δὲ τὴν χλιδήν.
ἐθρέψατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν. καρδία (לֵב) is used in a wide sense in Hebrew psychology. It is the centre or seat of the vital powers generally, here in the lower physical sense of appetite. Comp. Jdg 19:5 στήρισον τὴν καρδίαν σου κλάσματι ἄρτου: Act 14:17 ἐμπιπλῶν τροφῆς καὶ εὐφροσύνης τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν.
ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σφαγῆς. See Jer 12:3 ἅγνισον αὐτοὺς εἰς ἡμέραν σφαγῆς, where the correct rendering of the Hebrew is: “pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter” R.V. (The first clause is not represented in the LXX.) The context in Jeremiah, a protest against the prosperity of the wicked, has a close relation to this passage. St James reminds the evil rich man that the day of retribution is at hand.