Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges - James 5:7 - 5:7

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Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges - James 5:7 - 5:7

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7. The death of the righteous martyr raises once more the thought of μακροθυμία, this time with hopes of the παρουσία. The Book of Enoch again has a parallel: ‘Wait with patient hope; for formerly you have been disgraced with evil and with affliction, but now shall you shine like the luminaries of heaven. You shall be seen and the gates of heaven shall be opened to you. Your cries have cried for judgment and it has appeared to you,’ ch. civ.

οὖν. Therefore, because this grievous persecution is directed against you.

ἕως τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου. The recognised expression for the advent or presence of Christ. In the gospels the use of παρουσία is confined to our Lord’s discourse in Matthew 24. In St Paul’s epistles it occurs six times, in 1 and 2 Thess., and in 1Co 15:23 (in 1Co 1:8 the true reading is ἡμέρᾳ), it occurs in 2 Pet. three times, namely Jam 1:16, Jam 3:4; Jam 3:12, and 1Jn 2:28. There is no LXX. authority for the word.

Another Pauline word for the appearing of Christ is ἐπιφάνεια, 2Th 2:8, and five times in the Pastoral Epistles.

The whole expression ἕως τῆς παρ. not only marks the limit—the terminus ad quem—but also suggests a reason for long-suffering.

ὁ γεωργός. The metaphor suggests patience, toil, co-operation (κοινωνία εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, Php 1:5), faith, reward. ὡς ὁ ἀροτριῶν καὶ πρόσελθε αὐτῇ (σοφία) καὶ ἀνάμενε τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς, Sir 6:19.

τὸν τίμιον καρπὸν τῆς γῆς indicates the naturalness of the development till the end comes. The ripening of events, the parable of the Fig Tree, Mat 21:19-22, of the Seed growing secretly, the Tares, the grain of Mustard Seed, the Hidden Leaven, Mar 4:26, Mat 13:24-35, teach the same lesson.

ἕως λάβῃ. For the omission of ἄν in this construction see Mar 14:32, Luk 15:4 ἕως εὔρῃ αὐτό, Luk 22:34 ἕως τρίς με ἀπαρνήσῃ εἰδέναι, 2Th 2:7 and Rev 6:11; Rev 20:5. When ἕως is followed by οὗ or ὅτου the sequence of the subjunctive is frequent. The construction is used of an event conceived as possible, but uncertain in regard to the time of its occurrence. See Winer, p. 387, Green, p. 166.

(ὑετὸν) πρόϊμον καὶ ὄψιμον. See Deu 11:14; Jer 5:24; Joe 2:23; Hos 6:3. In Hebrew the former rain is lit. ‘sprinkling,’ יורֶה, the latter lit. ‘gathered,’ מֵלִקוֹשׁ, from the gathering of the harvest. The former rain begins as a rule at the end of October or beginning of November, lasting often through January and February. By that time the ground is softened and ploughing made possible. The latter rains, on which the growth of the crop depends, fall in March and April. In 1885 the rainfall in Palestine was Jan. 7:79 in.; Feb. 2:90 in.; March 5:47 in.; April 6:52 in.; from May to Nov. less than 1 in.; in Dec. 6–27 in., Pal. Expl. F. Quart. St., April, 1894. The fertility of Palestine is wholly dependent on the rainfall. “Its uncertainty caused it to be a special subject of prayer. At the present day Moslems, Christians and Jews unite in fasts, processions and prayers for the ‘showers that water the earth,’ ” Thomson, The Land and the Book, p. 91. As contrasted with Egypt, which is ‘watered with the foot,’ Palestine is a land that ‘drinketh water of the rain of heaven.’ Hence ‘rain in due season’ is the promised reward of faithfulness in Israel, Deu 11:10-14.