The Letter from James

Chapter 5

Wicked rich men are to fear God's vengeance, 1-6. We ought to be patient in afflictions after the example of the prophets and Job, 7-11; to forbear swearing, 12; to pray in adversity, to sing in prosperity, 13; to acknowledge mutually our many sins, to pray for one another, 14-18; and to restore a straying brother to the truth, 19, 20.

1 Come now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered, and their rust shall be a testimony against you and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have amassed treasure for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped your fields, which is by you kept back by fraud, cries. And the cries of those who have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously and in pleasure on the earth. You have nourished your hearts as in "a day of slaughter." 6 You have condemned and killed the just, and he does not resist you.

7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient for it until it receives the early and the latter rain. 8 Be also patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draws near. 9 Do not grudge against one another, brothers, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge stands before the door. 10 My brothers, take the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord for an example of suffering affliction and of patience. 11 Behold, we count those happy who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the outcome from the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and full of tender mercy.

12 But above all things, my brothers, do not swear, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into condemnation.

13 Is anyone among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man subject to similar passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth its fruit.

19 Brothers, if any one of you should err from the truth, and someone should convert him, 20 Let him know, that he who converts a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will hide a multitude of sins.


Matthew Henry Commentary - James, Chapter 5[➚]


[v.5] - Quoting Jeremiah 12:3 (LXX).

[v.16] - "Confess your sins to one another" - From John Gill's Exposition: "This must be understood of sins committed against one another; which should be acknowledged, and repentance for them declared, in order to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation; and this is necessary at all times, and especially on beds of affliction, and when death and eternity seem near approaching."

[v.17] - Reference, 1st Kings 17:1, 18:1.

[v.18] - Reference, 1st Kings 18:41-46.

[v.20] - Reference, Proverbs 10:12; Psalm 32:1.