The Letter of Jacob

Chapter 5

Blaine Robison, M.A.

 Published 3 February 2014; Revised 12 November 2018

Chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. All other Scripture quotations are from the NASB Updated Edition (1995), unless otherwise indicated. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.

Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited and resources consulted may be found at the end of the commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important Jewish sources include:

The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here.

Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75-99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.

Citations for Mishnah-Talmud tractates are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); found at Click here for Talmud Abbreviations.

Citations for Philo of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50) are from The Works of Philo Judaeus, compiled by Peter Kirby, found online at Early Jewish Writings.

Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic writings and message I use the terms Jacob (James), Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).

Please see the Introduction for background information on the letter.

Midrash 7: On Judgment, 5:1-12

1 Come now, rich ones, weep, wailing over the miseries coming upon you.

This verse begins in the same manner as 4:13. Stern believes the first 6 verses here continues the thought of 4:13-17, but Jacob addresses a very different issue. Verses 1-12 may summarize a Sabbath message that could have led to the unjust decision of the Sanhedrin to put Jacob to death.

Come: Grk. age, pres. imp. of agō (to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take). The verb is used as an interjection in address to one or more persons; come. now: Grk. nun, adv., a term of time in the present, now, sometimes emphatically meaning "just now." In ancient literature the phrase "age nun" was often used in comedy and with an imperative verb following meant "come then" (BAG 8). Jacob uses the phrase in the sense of a person not being close enough in a spatial sense to hear properly and he beckons the person closer. Some versions attempt to convey this sense with: "Listen," "Listen to me," "Look here," "Now listen," and "Pay attention." The KJV has the awkward translation of "Go to now" and the CJB treats the verb inexplicably as a conjunction with "Next."

rich ones: pl. of Grk. ho plousios, one possessing in abundance, rich or wealthy. The noun is masculine, so some versions insert "men" after "rich." Against this translation is that the word for "men" is not in the verse. weep: Grk. klaiō, aor. imp., to express grief or sorrow aloud (not a silent dropping of tears). In the LXX klaiō is used mostly to translate Heb. bakah, weep, cry aloud (DNTT, II, 416). Bakah expresses profound grief (1Sam 1:7; Lam 1:16), and also deep sorrow in mourning for the dead (Gen 50:1). The Hebraic usage expresses dependence on God, by addressing one's cries or complaints to him in prayer (e.g., Judg 15:18; 16:28). A further feature in the Tanakh is a corporate lamentation accompanied by a general fast (Judg 20:23, 26; Ps 74; 79; 80).

wailing: Grk. ololuzō, pres. part., to cry with a loud voice in joy or pain, of loud outcrying in doleful circumstances, howl, lament, bewail. This verb occurs only here in the Besekh. In the LXX ololuzō occurs 21 times, all in the Prophets, generally for Heb. yalal, to howl, make a howling as an indication of deep distress, such as Moab lamenting judgment received (Isa 15:2-3; Jer 48:20, 31). Most of the occurrences of ololuzō serve as a prophecy of lamentation that will occur as a result of judgment (e.g., Philistia, Isa 14:31; Moab, Isa 16:7; Tyre, Isa 23:1, 6, 14; rebellious Israelites, Isa 65:14; Ezek 21:12; Hos 7:14; Amos 8:3; Zech 11:2). Given the use of "mourn and weep" in 4:9 as idiomatic for repentance, Jacob likely intends that meaning here. over: Grk. epi, prep., with the root meaning of "upon," used primarily as a marker of position or location; 'on, upon, over.'

the miseries: pl. of Grk. ho talaipōria, misery as an emotional response to trouble or distress. coming upon: Grk. eperchomai, pres. mid. part., to come on or upon, in the sense of an event or circumstance making its appearance with the element of peril. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. Jacob's warning is similar to the admonition of Isaiah, "Wail [LXX ololuzō] for the day of ADONAI is near! It will come as destruction from Shaddai" (Isa 13:6 TLV). Jacob could well be alluding to Yeshua's weeping over Jerusalem, knowing the coming destruction (Luke 19:43-44), and his call to others to weep for the same reason (Luke 23:28-31). In Greek culture people might have wailed against bad things happening as fate, but among Hebrew people prophecies of judgment implied the possibility of averting catastrophe by repentance.

2 Your wealth has rotted, and your garments have become moth-eaten.

Your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. wealth: Grk. ploutos, wealth in a material sense, but also used figuratively of abundant supply. has rotted: Grk. sēpō, perf., cause to rot or decay. Mounce adds cause to putrify, corrupt. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. In the LXX sēpō occurs six times, in the book of Job for the patriarch's physical deterioration (Job 16:7-8; 19:20; 33:21), in Psalm 38:5 for festering wounds and in Ezekiel 17:9 for fruit rotting. Since wealth in ancient times often consisted of agricultural products, then Jacob may be alluding to crop failures.

and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. See my note on the significance of conjunctions in the Besekh.

your: Grk. humeis. garments: pl. of Grk. himation, a covering for the body, generally referring to clothing or apparel, but in the apostolic narratives it means an outer garment worn over an undergarment (Grk. chitōn, Matt 5:40). In the LXX himation rendered the Heb. beged, meaning both the outer garment and the clothes as a whole (DNTT 1:316). In the Tanakh beged meant garment, clothing, raiment, or robe of any kind, from the filthy clothing of the leper to the holy robes of the High Priest, the simplest covering of the poor as well as the costly raiment of the rich and noble (BDB 94). For Yeshua and the apostles the beged was a simple rectangular cloak or robe, typically made of wool, that was worn daily. In the first century, as now, clothing reflected the wealth of the wearer.

have become: Grk. ginomai, perf., to transfer from one state or condition; thus the verb may mean (1) come into being by birth or natural process; (2) exist through application of will or effort; or (3) undergo a state of existence, change or development. The last meaning applies here. moth-eaten: Grk. sētobrōtos, adj., moth-eaten, from sēs, a moth, and brōtos, given for food. The term occurs in the LXX of Job 13:28 where Job likens the decaying of the body to a moth eating a garment. In the Tanakh the moth (Heb. ash) is a waster or consumer (BDB 1108). For Job the moth is a symbol of life's fragility (Job 4:19) and then he proceeds to liken a wicked man to a moth.

"He builds his house like a moth's [Heb. ash], like a booth that a watchman makes. 19 He goes to bed rich, but will do so no more; he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone." (Job 27:18-19 ESV)

Conversely Scripture likens God to a moth and His judgment on the wicked to garments being moth-eaten (Ps 39:11; Isa 50:8-9; 51:7-8; Hos 5:11-12). The destructiveness of a moth illustrates that not all of God's judgments occur in a crisis instant. Sometimes God simply erodes man's accumulated wealth over time. Jacob thus engages in irony. What man worked so hard to obtain God has taken away by means of a lowly animal.

3 Your gold and silver have rusted; and their rust will be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.

Your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. gold: Grk. ho chrusos, the precious metal known as gold or an object made of gold or decorated with gold. Gold was widely used in personal adornment, idols, and coinage. and: Grk. kai, conj. silver: Grk. ho arguros, the precious metal known as silver. Silver was a commodity and a medium of currency in commerce. have rusted: Grk. katioō, perf. pass., subject to deterioration; become rusty, tarnished, corroded. Ordinarily gold and silver do not break down with corrosion as iron does, but precious metals can acquire a discoloration. Jacob is probably talking about the metal losing its luster. The NIRV translates as "lost their brightness."

and: Grk. kai. their: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun used to distinguish a person or thing from or contrast it with another, or to give him (it) emphatic prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here in a possessive sense. rust: Grk. ios, poison, venom or rust. Again, precious metals do not rust, which is a term of oxidation of iron compounds. So, Jacob uses the term in a figurative sense. NIRV translates as "dullness." The NLT has "Your gold and silver have become worthless." However, the meaning of "poison" could also be apropos.

will be: Grk. eimi, fut., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). for: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to direction and limit and here emphasizing result; in, into, for. a testimony: Grk. marturion, that which serves to corroborate or attest, a testimony or witness. In the LXX marturion renders four different Hebrew words, and represents a physical act that testified or served as a witness of a covenant (Gen 21:30; 31:44) or the contents of the ark of the covenant (Ex 16:34) and the ark itself (Ex 25:10) that served as a continual reminder of God's provision. Here the "rust" testifies of human folly and divine judgment.

against you: Grk. humeis. and: Grk. kai. will eat: Grk. esthiō, fut. mid., to consume food. your: Grk. humeis. flesh: Grk. sarx, "flesh," has both literal and figurative uses in Scripture: (1) the tissue that covers the skeleton of a human or animal; (2) the whole body viewed as a substance; (3) human or mortal nature, with its limitations; (4) theologically human desire that stands in opposition to the Spirit; and (6) the genitals with or without a suggestion of sinfulness connected with it (BAG). In the LXX sarx renders Heb. basar, which has the same range of meaning (DNTT 1:672).

as: Grk. hōs, adv., used here in a comparative sense; just like, similar to. fire: Grk. pur, fire, both in the literal sense of combustible materials burning, and figuratively of eschatological punishment. You have laid up treasure: Grk. thēsaurizō, aor., 2p-pl., put aside as a future resource; store, store up, deposit. The verb indicates that treasure is built up or accumulated for the day of future recompense (HELPS). in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in," "within" or "among." the last: Grk. eschatos, coming at the end or after all others. In the apostolic narratives the term generally has an everyday usage of people (Matt 20:8), place (Luke 14:9) or things (Matt 5:26), but the term is also used in reference to time (John 11:24). In the LXX eschatos occurs some 150 times to translate formations of the Heb. root achar (after, behind, latter, last, end) (DNTT 2:55).

days: pl. of Grk. hēmera normally refers to the daylight hours, but also to the timeframe within which something takes place. The expression "last days" (Heb. acharit-hayamim, "end of days") occurs a number of times in the Tanakh (Gen 49:1; Num 24:14; Deut 4:30; 31:29; Isa 2:2; Jer 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Ezek 38:16; Dan 2:28; 10:14; Hos 3:5; Mic 4:1) and five times in the Besekh (Acts 2:17; Heb 1:2; 2Tim 3:1; 2Pet 3:3). Eschatological time is generally a time of judgment and saving activity of the God of Israel. Jacob's meaning of "last days" may be the same as in Hebrews 1:2 which defines the last days as beginning with the advent of Yeshua.

Yechiel Lichtenstein (1827-1912), Messianic Jewish commentator, remarks,

"This is an ironical way of writing, 'You have heaped treasure for a time when it will deteriorate.' So it will be in the end of days (ketz-hayamim). [In contrast,] Ya'akov says that his hope is … that the Lord will speedily return—as in v. 8, 'the Lord’s return is near.' " (Commentary to the New Testament, ad loc., quoted in Stern 740)

4 Behold, the wages of the workmen having harvested your fields, having been kept back by you, cries out: and the cries of those having reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp., demonstrative interjection (derived from eidon, "to see"), that arouses the attention of hearers or readers. The Greek verb, like its corresponding Heb. word hinneh (SH-2009, e.g., Gen 1:29), serves to enliven divine monologues and narratives, particularly as a call to closer consideration and contemplation of something, to introduce something new or to emphasize the size or importance of something; (you) see, look, behold (BAG). The interjection is equivalent to "look at this!" the wages: Grk. misthos, reciprocation for performance, typically as payment for labor; pay, wages. of the workmen: pl. of Grk. ergatēs, one engaged in work both of persons engaged in physical labor for pay (Matt 9:37; 20:1; Acts 19:25) and spiritual workers or leaders (Matt 10:10; 2Cor 11:13; Php 3:2; 2Tim 2:15). Jacob could be speaking literally non-payment of wages or figuratively of oppression of spiritual workers of Yeshua.

having harvested: Grk. amaō, aor. part., reap, cut grain, mow, harvest. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. fields: pl. of Grk. chōra, an area under a proprietor, landed property; here of an area devoted to agriculture; fields. having been kept back: Grk. apostereō, perf. pass. part., to take away what rightfully belongs to another; steal, rob, defraud, deprive, hold back from. The verb is used of the violating the eighth commandment (Mark 10:19), depriving workers of wages legally owed. In the LXX apostereō renders Heb. ashaq ("to oppress, wrong, extort," BDB 798) for oppressing workers (Deut 24:14; Mal 3:5). The verb also occurs in Sirach for oppressing workers (4:1; 34:21) and failing to pay a debt (29:6). Sirach describes non-payment of wages as the equivalent of shedding blood (34:22).

by: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation ("away from"), but used here to express agency; by. you: Grk. humeis. cries out: Grk. krazō, pres., may mean (1) to utter a loud cry; scream, cry out or (2) express something with a vigorous voice, including a prophetic message. and the cries: pl. of Grk. boē, loud cry, shout. of those having reaped: pl. of Grk. ho therizō, aor. part., bring in a crop; reap, harvest. The verb is used also figuratively for a spiritual harvest (John 4:36-38; 1Cor 9:11; 2Cor 9:6), which may also be in view here. Depriving workers of wages they have earned is a terrible injustice. The first mention is that of Jacob who complained that his father-in-law had cheated him and changed his wages ten times (Gen 31:7).

The Torah mandated that "The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning" (Lev 19:13; also Deut 24:15). Jeremiah condemned the social injustice in his day by saying, ""Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice, who uses his neighbor's services without pay and does not give him his wages" (Jer 22:13). Malachi echoed God's anger against oppression of workers in the payment of wages (Mal 3:5). When God hears cries of injustice from His people, He does not ignore it (Gen 4:10; Ex 2:23; 3:7; Deut 26:7; Neh 9:27-28).

However, Jacob could be speaking figuratively of injustice done to disciples of Yeshua, as Yeshua had warned them (Matt 10:16-17; 24:9; John 15:20). Active persecution of the Yeshua's followers began with the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:58-59) and continued with Saul (Acts 9:23). The book of Acts records numerous incidents of open hostility by Judean leaders against Messianic Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 4:1-3; 5:17-18, 40; 6:9-12; 7:54-59; 8:1-3; 9:29; 12:2-3; 21:27; 22:22; 23:1-22). have entered: Grk. eiserchomai, perf., to go in, to enter, most frequently of a geographical location, but here of entry into a manufactured structure. into: Grk. eis, prep. See the previous verse.

the ears: pl. of Grk. ous, the organ of hearing, the ear, as well as the faculty of understanding or perception. Jacob speaks idiomatically of having the "ear of the Sovereign." The phrase "entered into the ears" is a uniquely Hebraic idiomatic expression. of the Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' and therefore owner or master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times. In the overwhelming majority of instances (over 6,000 times), kurios replaces the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHVH. In addition, kurios translates the divine title Adonai ("Lord") (DNTT 2:511).

of Sabaoth: Grk. Sabaōth, reference to armies or hosts, thus "Lord of armies." The special title occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Rom 9:29). In the LXX Sabaōth transliterates the Heb. Tsva'ot, which is derived from tsava (army, war, warfare, BDB 838). The divine title occurs over 200 times in the Tanakh usually in combination with YHVH ("LORD" in Christian Bibles). ADONAI-Tsva'ot "sits above the cherubim" (1Sam 4:4), is the God of the "armies of Israel" (1Sam 17:45) and often furthered identified as the "God of Israel" (2Sam 7:27; +39t.). Tsva'ot is also a term that refers to a host or army of angels (1Kgs 22:19; 2Chr 18:18; Ps 103:21; 148:2; Isa 24:21; Dan 8:10; cf. Luke 2:13; Rev 19:14), as well as the stars in the heavens (Deut 4:19; Neh 9:6; cf. Acts 7:42).

Yeshua is depicted as having the command of a large army of angels. In Matthew 26:53 he says that the Father has placed 12 legions of angels at his disposal. A Roman legion equaled about 6,000 troops, so Yeshua could call on a personal security force of 72,000 angels. This number is only a small percentage of the myriads of angels in heaven (Rev 5:11). At his trial Yeshua prophesied that his accusers "You will see the Son of Adam sitting at the right hand of Power [Ps 110:1], and coming with the clouds of heaven [Dan 7:13]" (MW). While "clouds" in Daniel 7:13 is normally associated with the atmospheric phenomena, the fig. use of clouds for angels fits the prophecy better. Paul uses "cloud" as fig. of angels when he says "a cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1; cf. 1Tim 5:21). The Besekh concurs that when Yeshua returns he will be accompanied by angels (Matt 25:31; John 1:51; 2Th 1:7; Rev 19:14). When Yeshua returns with his angels he will mete out justice to those who have wronged his people (2Th 1:5-9). See my article The Host of Heaven.

5 You have lived self-indulgently on the earth, and have lived luxuriously; you have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter.

You have lived self-indulgently: Grk. truphaō, aor., 2p-pl., lead a life of luxury or self-indulgence, revel, carouse. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. on: Grk. epi, prep. the earth: Grk. can mean soil, land as contrasted with the sea, the planet earth in contrast to heaven, the population of the earth and a country or region. The LXX uses more than 2,000 times and translates the Heb. word erets (DNTT 1:517). In the Tanakh erets designates the same categories of meaning as (BDB 75). and: Grk. kai, conj. have lived luxuriously: Grk. spatalaō, aor., 2p-pl., to live luxuriously or voluptuously, in indulgence. Danker has behave with reckless self-interest; be self-indulgent. you have nourished: Grk. trephō, aor., 2p-pl., feed, nourish, provide with food.

your hearts: pl. of Grk. kardia, the organ in the chest and fig. of the center of personhood, character, cognition, emotion and volition. in: Grk. en, prep. a day: Grk. hēmera. See verse 3 above. of slaughter: Grk. sphagē, violent killing, slaughter. The term occurs only two other times in the Besekh (Acts 8:32; Rom 8:36), both of which refer to the slaughter of sheep. Considering the next verse the "day of slaughter" could be an allusion to Nisan 15 on which Yeshua was crucified. On that day the Jewish leaders were more concerned about being able to eat their festival meal than putting to death an innocent man (John 18:28).

6 You condemned, you murdered the Righteous One; he did not resist you.

You condemned: Grk. katadikazō, aor., 2p-pl., to find guilty, condemn; from dikē, "sit in judgment." Jacob states as an historical fact the result of a legal proceeding. Several judicial proceedings are described in the Besekh: those of the man born blind (John 9:13), Yeshua (Mark 14:55), Peter and John (Acts 4:1-3), Stephen (Acts 6:12) and Paul (Acts 22:30). Yeshua warned his disciples that they would be hauled before various courts because of their loyalty to him (Matt 10:17).

you murdered: Grk. phoneuō, aor., 2p-pl., the unlawful taking of human life, prohibited by the sixth commandment (Ex 20:13), although murder was known to be wrong long before Moses was born (Gen 4:11-12; 6:5-7; 9:3-6). The translation of "kill" in many versions is misleading. Both Greek and Hebrew have two words for taking a human life. The word for intentional murder or assassination in Hebrew is ratzach (BDB 953) and in Greek phoneuō. For accidental killing, manslaughter, killing in war or court-ordered execution the Hebrew word is harag (BDB 246) and the Greek word is apokteinō. Relevant to Jacob's statement here is that Yeshua prophesied that his death would come about as a result of a court-ordered execution (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33) and Stephen later accused Jewish leaders of being murderers of Yeshua (Acts 7:52). Jacob makes the same claim here, a charge that would not set well with the Sanhedrin.

the righteous one: Grk. ho dikaios, adj., being in accord with standards for acceptable or anticipated behavior, upright or just. In the LXX dikaios renders Heb. tsaddiq ('just or righteous' BDB 843). In Scripture a just man is one who is blameless or innocent of wrongdoing, one who follows the ethical and moral demands of Torah. Who is "the righteous one?" The most likely candidate is Yeshua. The prophecy of the Suffering Servant calls him the "Righteous One (Isa 53:11). Other apostles used this exalted title of Yeshua in addressing Jewish leaders.

Peter: "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you." (Acts 3:14)

Stephen: "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become." (Acts 7:52)

Paul: "The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth." (Acts 22:14)

he did not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; not. resist: Grk. antitassō, pres. mid., 3p-sing., set opposite to, range in battle against. The verb is derived from a military image. If the first two verbs, being in the aorist or past tense allude to Yeshua, why does Jacob end the verse with a present tense verb that suggests that Yeshua is still not resisting? In Greek the present tense may be used to indicate a past event with vividness, called "aoristic present." Some versions obscure the specific historical setting by incorrectly translating the verb as third person plural and making the verse apply to righteous people in general (CJB, ERV, EXB, GNB, GW, MSG, NCV, NIRV, NLT, NLV, NOG, PNT, TLB, WE).

7 Therefore, be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it should receive the early and latter rain.

therefore: Grk. oun, an inferential conj., which is used here to indicate a conclusion connected with data immediately preceding, 'so, therefore, consequently, then. be patient: Grk. makrothumeō, aor. imp., 2p-pl., wait patiently for something (BAG). The word is derived from makros ("long, far distance") and thumos ("passion, anger"). Idiomatically the verb means "put your anger far away." The verb probably implies frustration over injustice that has not been punished. The emotional response is like that of the cry of the martyrs in the sixth seal revealed to John, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Rev 6:10) However, Jacob exhorts his audience to wait for God's justice (cf. 1Pet 2:23).

brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos, voc., lit. "of the same womb," and in secular Greek meant "brother." In the LXX adelphos renders Heb. ach (SH-251), a male sibling (Gen 4:2; 20:5), a male relative of the same tribe (Gen 13:8; Num 16:10) or the people of Israel (Ex 2:11; 4:18). In the apostolic narratives adelphos primarily refers to blood siblings or fellow Israelites (Matt 4:18; 5:22-24; Mark 3:22; Acts 1:14; 3:22; 7:13). The plural noun is often used in the apostolic letters to address members of the congregation, which can be taken literally as references to the Jewish constituency of the congregation, and in the Diaspora fig. of God-fearing Gentiles who had become disciples.

until: Grk. heōs, prep., a particle marking a limit, here conjunctive effect; till, until. the coming: Grk. parousia (from pareimi, "be present, have come"), presence, arrival, coming or advent. As for the LXX parousia translates no Hebrew words and occurs only in three Apocryphal books (Judith 10:18; 2Macc 8:12; 15:21; 3Macc 3:17). Josephus used parousia only for the presence of God in the Shekinah (Ant. III, 5:3; 8:5; 14:4; IX, 4:3; XVIII, 8:6). However, Philo (20 BC−AD 50), the Jewish philosopher, used parousia in an eschatological sense. Citing Numbers 24:7 Philo says, "a man will come forth [parousia], says the word of God, leading a host and warring furiously, who will subdue great and populous nations" (On Rewards and Punishments 16:95).

Parousia occurs 24 times in the Besekh, most in the writings of Paul. The word is used occasionally in the ordinary sense of someone's physical presence at a place (1Cor 16:17; 2Cor 7:6-7; 10:10; Php 1:26). Being a noun the emphasis of parousia is not on the traveling from one place to another, but the arrival, the presence after having come. The principal use of the term in the Besekh is to describe the personal, visible return from heaven of Yeshua, the Messiah, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the Kingdom of God (Thayer). Both Paul and Peter link the Parousia and the Day of the Lord (2Th 2:1-2; 2Pet 3:4, 10). For more discussion on all the events associated with the Parousia, see my web article The Rapture.

of the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 4 above. The title is a reference to Yeshua. The expression "Parousia of the Lord" also occurs in four other verses (1Th 3:13; 4:15; 2Th 2:1; 2Pet 3:4). Behold: Grk. idou. See verse 4 above. Jacob then illustrates that patience can be seen in a particular vocation. the farmer: Grk. geōrgos means either (1) a farmer or tenant farmer or in particular (2) a vine-dresser or viticulturist. The term applied to those who had made a contract with the landlord to farm land in return for part of its produce. The duties of a farmer included monitoring and controlling pests and diseases, monitoring fruit development, pruning when necessary, harvesting and selling the produce. awaits: Grk. ekdechomai, pres. mid., to wait for. the precious: Grk. timios, highly valued or esteemed; valuable, precious in a commercial association.

fruit: Grk. karpos, the edible product of a plant grown for agricultural purposes. of the earth: Grk. can mean soil (as in receiving seed), the ground, land as contrasted with the sea, the earth in contrast to heaven and a region of the earth defined by boundary, culture or language. The LXX uses more than 2,000 times and translates the Heb. word erets with the same range of meaning (DNTT 1:517). Stern suggests that "fruit of the earth" is an allusion to the b'rakhah ("blessing") said before eating berries or vegetables, "Blessed are you, ADONAI our God, creator of the fruit of the ground" (Ber. 6:1). being patient: Grk. makrothumeō, pres. part. over: Grk. epi, prep., on, upon, over. it: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 3 above. The antecedent of the pronoun is "earth."

until: Grk. heōs. it should receive: Grk. lambanō, aor. subj., to take or to receive, referring to the transit of a person or thing from a position or entity to another. The verb is third person singular and probably neuter, meaning the ground receives (ASV, CJB, ESV, HCSB, MW, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NRSV, OJB, RSV, TLV). Some versions translate as masculine "he receives," referring to the farmer (DRA, KJ21, KJV, NIRV, NLT, TEV). the early: Grk. proimos, early, referring to early or fall/winter rain, usually staring early in October. and latter rain: Grk. opsimos, late or spring rain, of rain coming before harvest and subsequent to autumnal rain after the dry season. In the Hebrew Bible the early and latter rains are called respectively, yoreh and malkosh (Stern). The reference is to the climatic pattern in Israel, where the bulk of the rainfall comes between November and March. Substantial rains in October (the yoreh) and April (the malkosh) are rare, but they are of great benefit to crops.

8 Be patient and establish your hearts: because the presence of the Lord has drawn near.

Be patient: Grk. makrothumeō, aor. imp., 2p-pl. See the previous verse. Jacob repeats the command of the previous verse, which is necessary because patience is the hardest virtue to maintain. and: Grk. kai, conj. establish: Grk. stērizō, aor. imp., 2p-pl., cause to be inwardly firm or committed; strengthen, confirm, ground well. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. hearts: pl. of Grk. kardia. See verse 5 above. because: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, whether (1) defining a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introducing a direct quotation and functioning as quotation marks; or (4) indicating causality with an inferential aspect; for, because, inasmuch as. The fourth usage applies here.

the presence: Grk. parousia. See the previous verse. of the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 4 above. The title is used here of Yeshua. has drawn near: Grk. engizō, perf., come or draw near, approach. The perfect tense reflects action completed in past time with continuing result in the present. The perfect tense does imply a process, but views that process as having reached its consummation and existing in a finished state (DM 200). In the LXX engizō translates forms of qarab ("to come near, approach," BDB 897). In the spatial sense engizō is frequently found in phrases which describe approach to worship centers and participation in worship (e.g., Ex 3:5; Lev 21:21, 23; Eccl 4:17; Isa 29:13; Ezek 40:46). In Qumran literature "come near" became a technical term for entrance into the community. In Rabbinic Judaism engizō is a technical expression for the recruiting of a proselyte (DNTT 2:53-54).

What Jacob emphasizes is not our drawing near to Yeshua, but his drawing near to us. Most versions interpret the verbal execution of "the Parousia of the Lord" as an eschatological event, some quite specific. The NCV has, "the Lord is coming soon" and the MSG has "the Master could arrive at any time." The event hasn't happened but it's on its way. However, the Greek text does not support this translation. Some versions do recognize the completed nature of the perfect tense (BIB, DLNT, LITV, Marshall, MW, OJB). If Jacob had intended to say "the Lord is coming soon" he would have more likely have used erchomai ("to come"), the typical word used for Yeshua's transit from heaven to earth for his glorious return (Matt 24:30, 42, 44; 25:31; Acts 1:11; 1Th 5:2; 2Th 1:10; 2:3; Judah 1:14; Rev 1:7; 16:15; 22:12).

Jacob engages in a kind of word play. He is saying that Yeshua is with us right now as he promised to be until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). His real presence means that we can trust God for justice and be assured that Yeshua's Second Coming is as good as accomplished.

9 Do not grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you may not be judged: behold, the Judge stands before the doors.

Do not: Grk. , lit. "not," a particle of qualified negation, suggesting a cautious mode of statement, often occurring in declarations of a tentative nature or matters of opinion. differs from the other standard negative particle, , in that is objective, dealing only with facts and makes a strong negation or prohibition, while is subjective, involving will and thought (DM 265f). The difference might be illustrated with ou meaning "You shall NOT" and meaning "You really shouldn't." grumble: Grk. stenazō, pres. imp., 2p-pl., make a deep inarticulate moaning sound; groan, sigh, but used here fig. of complaining against someone. Mounce has "to give vent to querulous or censorious feelings." Jacob implies, "You know how God reacts to grumbling."

brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos, voc. See verse 7 above. against: Grk. kata, prep., lit. "down," but here used fig. in a hostile sense; against (BAG). one another: Grk. allēlōn, a reciprocal pronoun that emphasizes impact on relationships, such as the community of faith; each other, one another. Grumbling was a significant failing of the Israelites against Moses and Joshua (Ex 15:24; 16:2; 17:3; Num 14:2; 16:41; Josh 9:18; Ps 106:25). Given Israelite history Jacob probably implies the contemporary grumbling is also directed against congregational leaders. so that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed, in order that, so that, that. you may not: Grk. . be judged: Grk. krinō, aor. pass. subj., to subject to scrutiny and evaluation of behavior, to judge, often in the context of a legal proceeding.

In the LXX krinō is used mainly to translate three Heb. words: dîn, rîb and shaphat (DNTT 2:363). Dîn means not only to judge in a legal sense, but also to punish and obtain justice for someone (Deut 32:36; 2Sam 19:9). Rîb means to quarrel, to carry on a lawsuit (Gen 26:21; Judg 8:1; 21:22; 1Sam 24:16). Shaphat means to act as a judge in a legal sense, but also to govern (Gen 19:9; Ex 2:14). Jacob may be referring to God's eschatological judgment, of which there are two - the judgment of the Messiah at his second coming (Matt 25:31-32; 2Cor 5:10) and after the millennium (Rev 20:11-15). However, the judgment could be more immediate, since man's behavior is always under the scrutiny of God (cf. John 16:8; 1Cor 11:32; 2Tim 4:1; Heb 4:12).

Behold: Grk. idou. See verse 4 above. the Judge: Grk. kritēs, judge, generally in reference to an official office of one presiding over a court. The term here refers to Yeshua, to whom the Father has delegated the authority to judge (John 5:22, 30; Rom 2:16; 2Cor 5:10; 2Tim 4:1). stands: Grk. histēmi, perf., may mean (1) to cause to be in a position or place; set, place, make stand; or (2) be in an upright position; stand. before: Grk. pro, prep., before, in front of. the doors: pl. of Grk. thura, a device for opening and closing an entranceway; door. In the LXX thura often translates petah (opening, doorway, gate) and deleth (house-door, temple-door, gate) (DNTT 2:30).

The plural form here is not unusual. In classical writings the plural can be used of one door (Philo, On Drunkenness 49; Josephus, Against Apion 2:8) (BAG). The plural form also occurs in several other verses (John 20:19, 26; Acts 5:23; 16:26, 27; 21:30). The description here is likely of a door with two leaves (e.g., the temple door, Ezek 41:24), such as French doors. Jacob likely intends a figurative meaning as the "doorway" to the next life, as Paul says, "it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Heb 9:27). Yeshua, the Judge, waits for us on the other side of that door.

10 Take an example , brothers, of suffering affliction and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Take: Grk. lambanō, aor. imp. See verse 8 above. an example: Grk. hupodeigma, something that serves as an indicator or directive for personal moral decision; example, pattern, type. brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos, voc. See verse 7 above. of suffering affliction: Grk. kakopatheia, endurance of suffering; perseverance. HELPS says the noun means to experience affliction that seems bad (miserable) from an earthly perspective but in actuality is sent by God to accomplish His greater (eternal) purpose. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. and: Grk. kai, conj. of patience: Grk. makrothumia, capacity for restraint in face of what is provocative; patience, forbearance.

the prophets: pl. of Grk. prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet. In ancient Greek culture the word-group always had a religious meaning and referred to one who predicts or tells beforehand (DNTT 3:76). In the LXX prophētēs translates Heb. nabi (SH-5030), spokesman, speaker, prophet, first in Genesis 20:7 for Abraham. Other persons given this title include Aaron, Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah, and Elisha. The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of Hebrew prophets. The Hebrew prophets were a diverse group with different personalities, vocations and manner of ministry, but they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21). The literary works of the prophets in the Tanakh are authoritative Scripture (Matt 5:17-19; Luke 24:44-45; 2Tim 3:16-17).

who: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. spoke: Grk. laleō, aor., to make a statement, whether in a private or public communication; speak, talk, tell. in: Grk. en, prep. the name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone. In Hebrew literature it carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. Doing something "in the name" implies authority or permission for the action and representative of the one giving authority. of the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 4 above. In Bible times a prophet was not a vocation. A prophet was someone who received a message from God and spoke on His behalf and at His direction, sometimes foretelling, but most often "forth-telling."

The prophets provided four types of messages: (1) they warned Israel and Judah of the sins that lead to judgment; (2) they announced in advance various disasters and consequences for specific sins; (3) they taught the people about how to avoid judgment and turn back to him; and (4) they gave hope for the future when Israel and Judah would be restored and revived. The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of Hebrew prophets. Some declared "thus says the ADONAI." Some gave advice to kings. Some proclaimed a message in startling symbolic actions. Some were gentle, some were fiery, some were confrontational, some worshipful, some full of joy, others full of sadness. But, they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21).

In line with Yeshua's teaching (Matt 5:17) the apostles assert the continuing importance and authority of the Hebrew prophets (Acts 3:18-24; 13:40; 28:23; Rom 16:26; Eph 2:20; Heb 1:1; 1Pet 1:10; 2Pet 3:2; Rev 10:7), which contrasts sharply with the later development in Rabbinic Judaism to replace the prophetic word with the teaching of the Sages (Baba Bathra 12a; cf. John 8:53). Jacob calls his brethren to be patient because the great men and women of God demonstrated the same virtue. The Hebrew prophets often endured harsh treatment and even death for their bold and uncompromising messages for God. The prophets suffered in a variety of ways.

Yeshua described two injustices against prophets: they were insulted and defamed (Matt 5:11-12) and murdered (Matt 23:35-37). Paul lists more examples of mistreatment of the Hebrew prophets in his Hall of Heroes narrative in Hebrews 11:32-38.

● put in lions den: Daniel (Dan 6:1–29)

● thrown into the fire: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Dan 3:1–30)

● pursued by the sword: Elijah and Elisha (1Kgs 19:2-4, 2Kgs 6:31-33)

● mocked and scourged: Yeshua (Mark 15:15, 20)

● imprisoned: Joseph (Gen 37:23-24; 39:20); Samson (Judg 16:21–25); Hanani (2Chron 16:7-10); Micaiah (1Kgs 22:24-28); Jeremiah (Jer 37:15); and Yochanan the Immerser (Mark 6:17)

● put to death by stoning: Zechariah (2Chron 24:20-21; Matt 23:35–37)

● put to death by sawing in two: Isaiah, so Yebamoth 49b; Ascension of Isaiah 1:9; 5:2

● put to death with the sword: Uriah (Jer 26:20–23); and Yochanan the Immerser (Mark 6:27)

● reduced to poverty, ill-treated and forced to find sanctuary in wilderness areas: Elisha and Elijah (1Kgs 19:13, 2Kgs 2:14)

It may well be that Jacob's readers were suffering or had suffered, perhaps as Paul described in his letter:

"But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one." (Heb 10:32-34)

Jacob's entreaty to be patient (verse 7 and 8 above) concurs with Paul's exhortation, "Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Heb 10:35).

11 Behold, we count blessed the ones having endured: you have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the outcome of the Lord, that the Lord is compassionate, and merciful.

Behold: Grk. idou. See verse 4 above. we count blessed: Grk. makarizō, pres., 1p-pl., to consider favored; bless, pronounce fortunate. the ones having endured: Grk. ho hupomenō, pl. aor. part., be steadfast in the face of difficulty; endure. The verb points backward to the prophets mentioned in the previous verse. you have heard: Grk. akouō, aor., 2p-pl., may mean (1) to hear, with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said; (2) hear with comprehension, understand; (3) receive information aurally, hear, hear about; or (4) a legal term of hearing a case. The third meaning dominates here. In the LXX akouō consistently stands for Heb. shama, which not only means to apprehend, but also to accept and to act upon what has been apprehended (DNTT 2:173). The verb probably alludes to the education of the Jewish audience and learning the Bible stories in the family circle and in synagogue.

of the steadfastness: Grk. hupomonē, capacity for resolute continuance in the course of action; endurance, perseverance, steadfastness. Some versions translate the word as "patience," but this is hardly accurate. of Job: Grk. Iōb, which transliterates the Heb. Iyyov, the central character in the book of Job. The meaning of the name is unknown. Job was a very wealthy man (Job 1:3) who lived in the time of the patriarchs. Job was most likely a descendant of Shem, because he "feared" Elohim, the God of Noah and Shem, and worshipped God with "burnt offerings" (Job 1:1, 5), as did other patriarchs (Gen 8:20; 22:13; 31:54; 46:1). Job resided in Uz, which corresponds to the later territory of Edom (Jer 25:20; Lam 4:21) and was highly regarded (Job 1:3).

Job's family included one regrettable wife, and seven sons and three daughters (twice, Job 1:2; 42:13). Job is characterized as a blameless and humble man (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3) and compared with Noah and Daniel (Ezek 14:14), making him one of Israel's greatest ancestors. Job endured attacks on his prosperity, his family, his physical health, his mental health and his spiritual health. His life was made even more miserable by the defamation of three so-called friends who accused him of having sinned and repeatedly called on him to repent. Through all of this Job insisted on his integrity (Job 31:6) and in the end God upheld Job's character (Job 42:7-8). (For more study on Job see my article The Book of Job.)

and: Grk. kai, conj. you have seen: Grk. horaō, aor., 2p-pl., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience something or to have extraordinary mental or inward perception. The verb alludes to witnessing God's great work of atonement. the outcome: Grk. telos, a point in time that marks culmination. In Classical Greek telos originally referred to the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins; later the goal, the end (DNTT 2:60). In the LXX telos is often used to translate the Heb. qets (SH-7093), end, most often used of time, whether definite (e.g., Gen 8:6; 2Sam 15:7; 2Kgs 18:3) or indefinite (e.g., Gen 4:3; 1Kgs 17:7) (BDB 893). It's also used 15 times for Heb. netsach (forever, enduring, perpetuity, six of which are in Job (6:9; 14:20; 20:7, 28; 23:3, 7).

of the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 4 above. Jacob hints that the endurance of Job can be understood by the end of the story. Most Bible scholars make the mistake of trying to deduce the purpose of the book of Job from the beginning of the story. So, the scholarly question is "Why do the righteous suffer?" or even "How do we reconcile the suffering of a just person with the existence of a just God?" (Kaiser 131) Stern says inaccurately "Job’s troubles began when God chose to answer Satan’s challenge by permitting him to touch Job’s possessions and person, except that he could not take Job’s life (Job 1–2)." In reality God started the cosmic test by asking Satan a question, "Have you considered my servant Job" (Job 1:8). God asked the question because He had a plan for Job.

The book of Job never engages in a philosophical discussion on suffering that is debated ad infinitum among Christians. The story of Job must be understood from its ending. God blessed Job with twice as much as he had at the story's beginning. Examining what God did reveals God's purpose. God wanted to heap even more blessing on Job, but knew that if He did Job might be tempted to pride. Job knew that his great wealth was not gained by his own ingenuity and he was afraid that one day he would lose it all (cf. Job 3:25; 31:25). Job was a humble man and God wanted to keep him that way. From this book the disciple of Yeshua may learn that God "is the Lord who will always be there in all his omnipotence and mercy, despite how the circumstances appear at the moment" (Kaiser 65).

The problem people have with suffering arises from our inherent attitude that we deserve a life of pleasure rather than pain, and to be treated considerately and fairly, and that a good and caring God should absolutely arrange this. Job repeatedly pleas for God's attention, but when God finally answers He basically says, "Who do you think you are?" (Job 38:2) God's dramatic and confrontational monologue in chapters 38−41, given in a personal revelation to Job (Job 42:5), emphasizes God's care and control over a complex and dynamic ecosystem. In the mind of Bible characters God has sovereign control and authority over both blessing and misfortune. Life and death are in the hands of God (1Sam 2:6). Bible characters never speak of God allowing bad things. God is always in control of His creation; it does not control Him. Thus, if God allows Satan to pick on Job, He is still making a choice. From Job's point of view, not initially privy to the heavenly debate, God had made a target of him (Job 6:4; 7:20; 16:12). Regardless of his emotional reaction to suffering, when God revealed Himself Job repented his foolishness (Job 42:8).

that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 8 above. the Lord: Grk. kurios. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. compassionate: Grk. polusplagchnos, adj. (from polus, much, many, and splagchnon, inward parts, [heart, kidneys, lungs, etc.]), with empathy in one's very inner being; compassionate. This adjective occurs only here in the Besekh and not at all in the LXX. However, splagchnon does occur 15 times in the LXX, two in the Tanakh (Prov 14:10; 26:22) and the rest in the Apocrypha (2Macc. & 4Macc.), both for the intestines and fig. of compassion of a mother's love (DNTT 2:599).

and: Grk. kai. merciful: Grk. oiktirmōn, adj. (from the verb oiktirō, have compassion, show pity or mercy), tender concern for one in trying circumstances; compassionate, merciful. The word occurs in only two verses in the Besekh (also Luke 6:36, where God is described with this characteristic). The word occurs 15 times in the LXX for Heb. words derived from rechem ("womb"): rachum ("compassionate," Ex 34:6, +11t), racham ("compassion," 2Chr 30:9); and rachamani ("compassionate," Lam 4:10), but also for Heb. chanan (Ps 109:12, "show favor, be gracious") (DNTT 2:598; ABP). The word appears most frequently in the Psalms (78:38; 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; 145:8). What a wonderful God we serve!

12 And, above all things, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven, nor the earth, nor any other oath: but let your yes be yes, and your no be no; so that you might not fall under judgment.

And: Grk. de, conj., used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also" (BAG). The third meaning applies here. Jacob continues his list of exhortations that began in verse 7. above: Grk. pro, prep. indicating precedence; ahead, before, above. all things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. indicating comprehensiveness as qualified by the context; all, entire, whole. my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person; the genitive case is lit. "of me." Jacob uses the pronoun to give special emphasis to the relationship. brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos, voc. See verse 7 above. Jacob addresses the members of his congregation and other Messianic Jews who will hear this letter read.

do not: Grk. , adv. See verse 9 above. swear: Grk. omnuō, pres. imp., to take an oath affirming veracity of what one says; swear. The present tense combined with the negative particle commands people to stop a practice in progress. In the LXX omnuō translates Heb. shaba (SH-7650), to swear, take an oath, charge by an oath. The Hebrew word for swear is identical to the feminine form of the word for "seven" (Heb. sheba) and there is evidence in ancient literature that it was not uncommon to seal an agreement by the number "seven." A relationship is suggested between the two words where Abraham sealed an oath to Abimelech by giving seven ewe lambs as a witness (Gen 21:22-34), and Abraham named the well where he and Abimelech met "Beersheba" or "Well-of-the-seven-oath" (Gen 21:31). Thus, the literal meaning of the Hebrew word "swear" is to "seven oneself, or bind oneself by seven things" (BDB 989).

Jacob's instruction echoes other writers. Solomon said, "It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay" (Eccl 5:5). Sirach 23:9, "Do not accustom your mouth to swearing oaths, and do not habitually use the name of the Holy One." Philo of Alexandria similarly recommended avoiding oaths entirely (Decalogue 84). Josephus says this virtue characterized the Essenes:

"They are eminent for fidelity, and are the ministers of peace; whatsoever they say also is firmer than an oath; but swearing is avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury for they say that he who cannot be believed without [swearing by] God is already condemned." (Wars, II, 8:6)

Yeshua issued a similar prohibition (Matt 5:34). Why should anyone swear and use oaths? Paul answers, "For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute" (Heb 6:16). The Torah makes it clear that vows are not mandatory, but if made God expects vows to be fulfilled (Num 30:2; Deut 23:21-23). In the Tanakh the Patriarchs made solemn oaths, e.g., Abraham (Gen 14:22; 24:9) and Jacob (Gen 28:20-22; 31:53; 47:31). God himself swore on important occasions (Gen 22:16) and made solemn promises with respect to covenantal blessings (Gen 24:7; 26:3; Ex 6:8; 32:13; 33:1; Deut 1:8; 4:31; 6:10; 28:9).

The early disciples understood Yeshua as not prohibiting all vows (Acts 18:5; 21:23). Yeshua did not object to being putting under oath at his trial (Matt 26:63). Paul put himself under oath on various occasions (Acts 18:5; 2Cor 1:23; Gal 1:20). The prohibition of Yeshua and Jacob has to do with voluntary oaths used to add assurance to one’s word. So, Jacob is not saying that all oath-making is wrong, only certain types as he proceeds to define.

neither: Grk. mēte, conj. used as a negative foreclosing a conceived option in continuation after a preceding negative and rendered as "neither…nor," or "either…or." by heaven: Grk. ouranos, the area above the earth that encompasses the sky, interstellar space and associated phenomena or the transcendent dwelling-place of God. In the LXX ouranos translates the Heb. word hashamayim (“the heavens”), which corresponds to the same range of meaning (DNTT 2:191). Yeshua adds to the prohibition by saying that heaven is the throne of God (Matt 5:34). "Heaven" is often associated with the location where God sits on a throne (1Kgs 22:19; 2Kgs 19:15; Ps 2:4; 11:4). Paul spoke of this place as the "third heaven" (2Cor 12:2-4). Among Jews "heaven" was often used as a circumlocution for the Name of God, which can be seen in the expression "Kingdom of Heaven" that occurs frequently and exclusively in the book of Matthew. nor: Grk. mēte.

the earth: Grk. , See verse 5 above. Jacob probably alludes to Yeshua's prohibition against swearing by the earth, since it is God's footstool (Matt 5:35). nor: Grk. mēte. any: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun to indicate non-specification; anyone, someone, one, a certain one. other: Grk. allos, adj., used to distinguish from one or more other entities; one, other (of two), another. oath: Grk. horkos, an oath. Yeshua lists two more kinds of oaths, by Jerusalem and by one's head (Matt 5:35-36). In the LXX horkos corresponds to the Heb. shevuah, oath (Ex 22:10) and occasionally to alah, curse, act of cursing (Prov 29:24) (DNTT 3:739). (The rabbinic elaboration of the laws pertaining to oaths is found in the Talmud Tractates Shevuoth and Nedarim.) Here Jacob uses the term for making an oath as assurance that a promise to do something will be performed (e.g., Gen 28:20-22; 31:13; Lev 5:4; Deut 7:8; Ps 105:9; 1Kgs 2:43).

We might ask what makes these categories of oath-making bad. They illustrate misuse of swearing. First, there is frivolous swearing, or taking an oath where none was necessary or proper. For example, rabbis ruled that to use an oath to affirm "That is an olive tree" was sinful and wrong. A second misuse of oath-making is evasive swearing. Jews divided oaths into two classes: those absolutely binding and those which were not. In Pharisaic Judaism an oath which contained the name of God was absolutely binding, but an oath which succeeded in avoiding the name of God was held not to be binding. The principle is that if God’s name was used, God became a partner in the transaction; whereas if God’s name was not used, He had nothing to do with the transaction (Barclay 1:159).

The result was that if a man swore by the name of God in any form, he would rigidly keep that oath; but if he swore by heaven or by earth or by Jerusalem, he felt quite free to break that oath. They also swore by the Covenant, by the service of the Temple, or by the Temple itself. But perhaps the usual mode of swearing, which is attributed even to the Almighty, is “By thy life.” Yeshua twice refers to and condemns the practice of evasive swearing (Matt 5:33-37; 23:16-22). Yeshua asserts that no man can keep God out of any transaction. Life cannot be divided into rooms in which God does not live or is uninvolved. There cannot be one standard at home, another at work and another within the Body of Messiah.

but: Grk. de. This time the conjunction indicates a sharp contrast with the preceding statement. let your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. yes: Grk. nai, a particle of affirmation, agreement, or strong assertion; yes, indeed, certainly. be: Grk. eimi, pres. yes: Grk. nai. and: Grk. kai, conj. your no: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 6 above. be no: Grk. ou. The Talmud concurs, "Let your 'no' and 'yes' both be righteous [i.e., straightforward]" (Baba Metzia 49a). A man’s character should make an oath unnecessary. so that: Grk. hina, conj. you might not: Grk. , adv. See verse 9 above. fall: Grk. piptō, aor. subj., 2p-pl., to drop from a relatively high position to one lower; fall, fall down; here used fig. of a moral or spiritual failure.

under: Grk. hupo, prep. used to indicate a position that is relatively lower; below, under. judgment: Grk. krisis, judgment. The term has four possible applications: (1) of scrutiny of conduct; (2) of a local court responsible for administration of justice; (3) of saving help; (4) of responsible or right decision. In this verse the term refers to divine scrutiny and determination of correction or punishment for violating the prohibition. Jacob does not mean the judgment of the Day of the Lord, but in a contemporary sense the displeasure of God for violating divine instruction. Stern adds that this verse follows on the ideas of 4:13–17; if we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we dare not take an oath, because it is such a serious commitment.

Midrash 8: On Restoration, 5:13-20

13 Is anyone among you suffering hardship? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

Jacob's final message offers pastoral guidance for community life, especially the ministry of prayer. The mention of prayer occurs seven times in the final message. In this message Jacob is not artificially dividing his readers into groups or personality types as modern psychological theorists are inclined to do, but rather focusing on the needs of people and the seasons of life. The exhortation in this verse functions more like an Hebraic parallelism and reflects the character of the Psalter. The same writer in the Psalms sometimes expresses great distress and other times expresses great joy. Life can be a roller coaster of emotion.

Is anyone: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See the previous verse. among: Grk. en, prep. See verse 3 above. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. suffering hardship: Grk. kakopatheō, pres., to suffer hardship or misfortune. Mounce adds to be afflicted, troubled or dejected. The verb is comprehensive in scope. Jacob began his letter speaking of trials, and having spoken of various afflictions and adversities, including the hardship of the poor, he continues the same theme: in affliction, do not grumble at others, but pray (Adamson). Let him pray: Grk. proseuchomai, pres. mid. imp., to petition deity for some personal desire. The present tense emphasizes to start and keep on praying. In the LXX proseuchomai renders Heb. palal, to intervene or interpose, i.e., judge. The verb has a variety of meanings, including arbitrate, judge, intercede and pray. The context of prayer in the Tanakh is addressing the Sovereign Judge of all people and thus prayer by its nature requires self-examination. The verb refers to petitioning God for his help with respect to a personal need or the needs of others.

There is no command to pray in the Torah. Nevertheless people have prayed to God since the beginning (Gen 4:26). Not counting the Psalms, the Tanakh records many incidents of individual prayer, particularly of notable personalities (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Hannah, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Jonah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezra, and Nehemiah). Most of the time God granted the petition, although He did say “no” to David on at least two occasions (2Sam 7:1-5; 12:16-18). In the apostolic writings prayer is treated as a divine expectation, if not an obligation of every disciple (Luke 18:1; Eph 6:18; Phil 4:6; Col 4:2; 1Thess 5:17; 1Tim 2:1; Judah 1:20). Devout Jews, living at Jerusalem, went to the temple to pray every day (Luke 18:10; Acts 3:1). The reason was simple. God's presence was in the Holy of Holies in the temple (Ex 25:8).

Jews who lived at a distance too far for a daily journey or in the Diaspora went to a synagogue and faced Jerusalem. However, the daily prayers could be offered at home and in that case people opened their windows "toward Jerusalem" and prayed "toward" the place of God's presence (cf. 1Kgs 8:29-30, 38, 42, 44, 48; Ps 5:7; Dan 6:10). Nevertheless, Yeshua repeatedly emphasized that the Father resides in heaven (Matt 5:16, 45; 6:1; 12:50; 16:17; 23:9) and taught his disciples by instruction and modeling to direct their prayers heavenward (Matt 6:6, 9; 26:39, 42). Yeshua anticipated the day when the temple would no longer exist (John 4:21). Since the temple still stood at the time of this letter then Jacob would expect that Messianic Jews would continue to pray according to their established customs.

The exhortation to pray is in line with the mention of Job in verse 11 above. Jacob could have even said, "pray like Job." Job continued to petition God until God finally answered (Job 19:7; 30:20; 31:35; 38:1). Yeshua gave a parallel illustration of a widow who petitioned a judge for justice as an example of persistence (Luke 18:1). God is the source of everything we need and we know that He cares for his people (1Pet 5:7). No matter what the hardship, misfortune or suffering a person may experience God sees the need and will hear and respond to the heartfelt petition of the one in need. For more information on prayer see my PowerPoint presentation Principles of Effective Prayer.

Is anyone: Grk. tis. cheerful: Grk. euthumeō, pres., to be cheerful, to take heart, to be in good spirits. Let him sing praise: Grk. psallō, pres. imp., originally meant to play on strings, then to sing with an accompaniment (Eph 5:19), as well as to sing in a celebratory manner without regard to an instrument. In the LXX psallō renders Heb. zamar, 47 times ("to make music in praise of God"), first occurring in Judges 5:3 of the song of Deborah and Barak. Psallō also translates Heb. nagan, 15 times ("touch or play a stringed instrument"), first occurring in 1 Samuel 16:16 of David playing for King Saul. The verb occurs 44 times in the Psalms alone. No doubt for Jacob the use of the verb psallō alludes to singing from the Psalter.

14 Is anyone sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the congregation; and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Jacob now addresses a particular kind of suffering that needs the response of God's people. Is anyone: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See verse 12 above. sick: Grk. astheneō, pres., to experience weakness in body, be sick. In other words the malady is such that the individual is not able to leave his bed or home to seek medical help. The verb covers a wide range of physical problems, but the focus on the body does not exclude the emotional condition (e.g., clinical depression) that might have contributed to the problem or resulted from it. among: Grk. en, prep. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. Visiting the sick, often with a helpful gift, was a common charitable act among Jews. The Talmud records,

"The Holy One, blessed be He, visited the sick, for it is written: 'And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre,' so do you also visit the sick (Sotah 14a).

The occasion was apparently when Abraham was recovering from circumcision. By Jewish interpretation since God visited the sick, then the righteous person will follow God's example (Deut 13:4). When Yeshua sent out His disciples a part of their mission statement was to "heal the sick" (Matt 10:8; Luke 10:9). At the Messianic judgment Yeshua will apply this standard to the sheep and goats (Matt 25:36, 43). However, in this context, Jacob advises the sick person not to wait for a visit, but to send for help from congregational leadership.

Let him call for: Grk. proskaleō, aor. mid. imp., call to one's presence; call for, invite, summon. the elders: pl. of Grk. presbuteros is related to presbus, which means "an old man," and thus means someone ranked as superior in age. As a plural noun in this context the term would mean those having ruling authority, or official responsibility. Prior to A.D. 70 the term was used for officers in a synagogue, for members of local councils in individual cities, and for members of a group in the Sanhedrin (BAG).

In the LXX presbuteros renders Heb. zaqen (old, aged; and in the plural "elders," BDB 278). Presbuteroi first occurs in Exodus 19:7 to identify the leaders of Israel. Elders are identified in the Tanakh as having authority over tribes, over cities, over regions in the Land and over the nation itself. In apostolic times each synagogue had a panel of elders who assisted the president of the synagogue with various administrative and ministry duties (Moseley 8-10). This organizational structure strongly influenced the appointment of elders in Messianic congregations (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). The elder was a lay office and like the first deacons were chosen based on having a good reputation, being full of the Spirit and full of wisdom (Acts 6:3).

of the congregation: Grk. ekklēsia means assembly, gathering, meeting, or congregation. This is the third use of the term in Acts. The first use was in regards to the assembly of Yeshua's disciples in Jerusalem (5:11) and the second use was in regards to the nation of Israel in the wilderness (8:38). In Greek culture ekklēsia referred to a political body or a public meeting of citizens (Acts 19:32, 39, 41), but it primarily occurs in the Besekh for a religious body. In the LXX ekklēsia renders the Heb. qahal (DNTT 1:292-295), which means assembly, convocation, or congregation (BDB 874). In the Tanakh qahal denotes the people of God in a corporate sense, often in the context of being gathered for worship or instruction (Deut 4:10; 31:30; Ps 35:18).

Christian versions almost unanimously translate ekklēsia in this verse as "church," although a few have "congregation" (JUB, NMB), including Messianic Jewish versions (CJB, OJB). TLV has "community." The word "church" is clearly an ecclesiastical term of Christianity. I prefer to translate ekklēsia with "congregation," since its definition incorporates both organic and organizational characteristics and is more neutral in tone than "church." See the Additional Note below regarding the Christian interpretation of ekklēsia.

and: Grk. kai, conj. let them pray: Grk. proseuchomai, aor. mid. imp., 3p-pl., here of intercession. See the note on the previous verse. over: Grk. epi, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The instruction depicts the elders standing in relation to the sick bed. The assumption is that the elders would have the compassion to respond to human need, the spiritual wisdom to determine the relevance of sin to the malady, and the willingness to pray for healing while trusting in the sovereign care of God. The "praying over" is presumptively accompanied by laying on of hands, a practice of Yeshua and the apostles (cf. Matt 9:18; Mark 5:23; 6:5; 7:32; 8:23; 16:18; Luke 4:40; Acts 4:30; 9:17; 28:8).

having anointed: Grk. aleiphō, aor. part., to apply a substance in a smearing or rubbing action; anoint. The aorist participle assumes that the anointing precedes the prayer. him with oil: Grk. elaion, oil of the olive. The first use of the word is in Genesis 28:18 where Jacob the patriarch anointed a stone with oil was an act which symbolized his promise that if God would bless him with safety and supplies, he would return to God a tenth and build a place of worship. Later the Levites and priests would be anointed with oil when they were commissioned for service. Abundance of olive oil was one of God’s promises to Israel (Deut 8:8). In the Besekh anointing with oil was for cosmetic purposes (Matt 6:17) and for blessing a guest in one's home (Luke 7:46).

In addition, the twelve apostles anointed the sick with oil for healing in their initial ministry trip (Mark 6:13). There is no record of Yeshua anointing the sick with oil but he did anoint the blind man's eyes with clay (John 9:11). In the circumstance of anointing for healing, the use of the oil is not so much medicinal as symbolic of God's blessing and protection (DNTT 2:712). In this instruction there is no assumption of any mystical properties in the oil as occurred in pagan culture (Adamson). The medicinal use of olive oil on an open wound was a widespread practice (Isa 1:6, Luke 10:34) and in the context of this instruction might stand for seeking help from medical professionals, which should not be refused (cf. Mark 2:17).

in: Grk. en, prep. the name: Grk. onoma. See verse 10 above. of the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 4 above. Disciples are always to pray in the name of the Lord (John 14:5, 12-14). Praying "in the name" is not a magical formula and does not imply that the intercessor has received a special revelation from God that the person will be healed. Praying "in the name" is both recognizing that healing ministry for the sick originates from Yeshua's instruction (Matt 10:18) and asserting his authority for submission of the petition to the Father. Praying for healing is always in the will of God. Seeking help from medical practitioners is also appropriate, since they are part of God's plan for healing. Since it's God's will to heal, it would be foolish to ignore a treatment plan from a doctor or other medical practitioner that would help heal the body. Who am I to dictate to God how and when He heals?

Additional Note: The Christian Interpretation of Ekklēsia

The word "church" is not Jewish even though sometimes Christian commentators or ministers will refer to "the Jewish church" in the context of Acts. King James in his instructions to the translators of the 1611 KJV mandated the use of "church" to maintain the ecclesiastical language of Christianity. The English word "church" from its roots in Old English denotes a public place of worship for Christians or Christians collectively, which itself devolved from Greek terms used of houses of Christian worship since c. 300 A.D. ( In the apostolic writings the doctrine of the ekklēsia is more about a living body whose members serve one another. Interestingly Jacob, the half-brother of Yeshua, uses sunagōgē or synagogue in his letter to describe the gathering of disciples (Jas 2:2; cf. Acts 22:19; 26:11). In fact, congregations in the apostolic era mirrored the synagogue in organization (Moseley 8-11).

Even though "church" is not an accurate translation of ekklēsia, the decision to use it created a permanent wedge between Christianity and its Jewish roots. The Christian reader of the apostolic writings should be cautious about reading modern church organization, whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or the 57 varieties of Protestantism, into first century settings. In the apostolic writings ekklēsia is never treated as an institution, a building, a specific polity or even a specific size of group as the English word "church" can mean. Everywhere in the apostolic writings ekklēsia refers to either the entire Body of the Messiah, the sum total of the Jewish and Gentile believers in a particular city, or the disciples meeting together in someone's home. Most importantly, the term emphasizes a spiritual bond based on common trust in the God of Israel and his Messiah (Stern 54).

By etymology ekklēsia can mean "called-out ones," which refers to a corporate entity in the context of a covenantal relationship. In the Tanakh we find that the nation of Israel was called (Heb. qara, SH-7121) out from Egypt (Hos 11:1), referring to the nation's deliverance from bondage. Under the New Covenant the Body of Messiah is the result of "calling." Members of congregations in the apostolic era were referred to as "called" in order to identify them as followers of Yeshua separated from the world (Rom 1:6; 1Cor 1:2; Jude 1:1; cf. Rev 17:14). Unfortunately among some Christian interpreters "called out ones" is used in a replacement theology sense, of being called out of Israel or out of Judaism, which is certainly not the meaning intended by Yeshua or the apostles.

15 and the prayer of faithfulness will heal the one ailing, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he might be one having committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

and: Grk. kai, conj. the prayer: Grk. euchē (from euchomai, to pray or vow) may mean (1) a vow or (2) a prayer in the sense of a petition to God. The second meaning applies here. In Classical Greek the noun was used for a prayer, a vow and a wish (LSJ). In the LXX euchē mostly renders Heb. neder (SH-5088), a vow or oath made to God (Gen 28:20; 31:13; Lev 7:13), but also Heb tephillah (SH-8605), prayer (Job 16:17; Prov 15:8, 29). Tephillah is normally translated in the LXX with proseuchē (DNTT 2:863). However, euchē as a vow would be considered a prayer based on the example of Hannah who prayed for a child and vowed to dedicate that child to God (1Sam 1:10-11). Jacob does not identify the one praying, but the conjunction "and" would connect to the elders in the previous verse. On the other hand, the prayer might be that of the sick person.

of faithfulness: Grk. pistis, incorporates two primary facets of meaning, first that which causes trust and faith, i.e., faithfulness or reliability, and second, trust or confidence in an active sense (BAG). In the LXX pistis is used twice to render Heb. emun 'faithfulness' (SH-529; BDB 53; Deut 32:20; Prov 13:17), but over 20 times renders Heb. emunah, firmness, steadfastness, or fidelity (SH-530; BDB 53), mainly of men's faithfulness (1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; Jer 5:1; 7:28; 9:3; Hos 2:20), but also of God's faithfulness (Ps 33:4; Lam 3:23; Hab 2:4). Pistis also translates Heb. aman (SH-539), to confirm, to support (Jer 15:18); amanah (SH-548), fixed support (Neh 9:38; 11:23; SS 4:8); and emet (SH-571), firmness, faithfulness, or truth (Prov 14:22; Jer 28:9; 33:6). The LXX usage demonstrates that the intended meaning of pistis is faithfulness. The apostles build on this meaning and represent pistis as composed of two key elements, confidence or trust (Heb 11:6; cf. Heb 4:2) and constancy or obedience (cf. Eph 2:8-10).

Those praying must pray in faithfulness (Mark 11:24; Heb 11:6). The prayer of faithfulness is not based upon a special revelation that the sick person will be healed. The prayer of faithfulness has several elements: (1) The intercessor expresses belief in God’s omnipotent power to do the impossible (Heb 11:6). (2) The intercessor trusts in God's goodness and sovereign care (Ps 130:5; Matt 8:5-10; Mark 5:28, 34; Rom 8:28). (3) The intercessor expects God to answer (Isa 58:9; Jacob 1:6). (4) The intercessor submits to God’s sovereign will (Rom 1:10; Jacob 4:15). And (5) the intercessor remains faithful to God while waiting. These same principles apply if the prayer of faithfulness is offered by the sick person.

will heal: Grk. sōzō (from saos, 'free from harm'), fut., to deliver, or rescue from a hazardous condition, often in the sense of bodily harm (Matt 14:30), as well from spiritual peril (Matt 24:13). In the LXX sōzō translates no less than 15 different Hebrew verbs, but primarily yasha (SH-3467), to deliver or save (e.g., 1Sam 23:5). The verbs are used in relation to various external threats and bodily peril, especially enemies (DNTT 3:206). Two important principles may be noted in the Tanakh. First, deliverance may involve human agency (e.g., Gideon, Jdg 7:2). Second, regardless of human agency deliverance comes ultimately from God Himself (Ps 18:2; 44:3). By God's power and name foes are vanquished and evil is defeated.

The verb sōzō is used in various passages to refer to healing (Matt 9:21, 22; Mark 5:23, 28, 34; 6:56; Luke 6:9; 8:36, 48, 50; 17:19; 18:42; John 11:12; Acts 4:9; 14:9), although Bible versions are divided over translation here. Some versions have "save," but most versions render the verb with "heal" or words to that effect. The next verb clearly indicates that Jacob is referring to physical deliverance in a medical sense from whatever is causing the illness of verse 14. the one ailing: Grk. ho kamnō, pres. part., may mean (1) to be weary with the focus on distress in the face of circumstances, Heb 12:3; or (2) to be physically ill, which applies here.

and: Grk. kai. the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 4 above. will raise him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. up: Grk. egeirō, fut., to rise or raise, is used with a variety of meanings: (1) to arouse from sleep, to awake; (2) to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life; (3) to cause to rise or raise, from a seat or bed; or (4) to raise up, produce, cause to appear, such as appear before the public or a judge. The third meaning applies here. Jacob's phrase "the Lord will raise him up" may allude to Yeshua's promise "I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40, 44, 54). More likely, the verb means that the sick person will be able to get up from his sick bed and resume normal activities.

and if: Grk. kan, conj., expresses a contingency setting the stage for consideration of an additional possibility; and if, and should, and suppose, and in the event. he might be one: Grk. eimi, pres. subj., 3p-sing. See verse 3 above. having committed: Grk. poieō, perf. part., a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX poieō renders chiefly Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7), and used of a wide range of human and divine activity.

sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia, refers to a behavioral action, as well as its result, every departure from the way of righteousness, both human and divine. In Greek culture hamartia meant to miss, to miss the mark, to lose, not share in something, be mistaken. A mistake is the result of ignorance. Hamartia essentially meant to fail and could mean anything from stupidity to law-breaking, anything that offends against the right, that does not conform to the dominant ethic, to the respect due to social order and to the polis (DNTT 3:577). In the LXX hamartia translates a whole range of Hebrew words for guilt and sin, particularly Heb. chata (lapse, sin). In the Tanakh a sin is an offense against the religious and moral law of God. In ancient Israel sin was tantamount to rejecting God's covenant.

Hamartia is not displaying the imperfections that separate humanity from divinity, but violating the clear instructions of God. Hamartia is the dominant word for sin in the Besekh. The degree of intentionality is not a factor in defining sinful behavior, only whether the express requirements or prohibitions of Torah commandments have been violated. Religious people may erect their own codes for determining prohibited behavior, but God's judgment is based strictly on the commandments He gave to mankind as recorded in Scripture. It is noteworthy that Jacob does not make the mistake of Job's friends and assume that sickness necessarily proceeds from sin. However, the possibility is not ruled out.

they will be forgiven: Grk. aphiēmi, fut. pass., 3p-sing., to release from obligation, cancel, forgive, used in relation to monetary debts and offenses. The future tense is not the distant future, but an immediate consequence of confession and repentance (Luke 17:3-4; 24:47; 1Jn 1:9). The verb is singular, but treats the previous plural of "sins" as an aggregate. Some versions recognize this plurality in unity with "they" (CEB, KJV, NASB, NIRV, NIV, NMB, TPT, YLT). In addition, the passive voice indicates that the forgiveness is being received from God. him: Grk. autos; the sick person.

A Talmudic saying reverses the order of healing and forgiveness, "A sick man does not recover from his sickness until all his sins are forgiven him, as it is written, Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases" (Nedarim 41a; Ps 103:3). However, David did not intend a strict sequence. Iniquity could be considered a disease of the soul. Nevertheless, the forgiveness of sins is far more important than physical healing. The frail human body is temporary, but the spirit lasts forever.

16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man, being made effective, accomplishes much.

Therefore: Grk. oun, conj. See verse 7 above. confess: Grk. exomologeō, pres. mid. imp., to confess or admit, here in regard to wrongdoing, in awareness that the wrongdoing is not unnoticed. The verb occurs 10 times in the Besekh and only three of those besides Jacob involves confessing some kind of conduct displeasing to God (Matt 3:6; Mark 1:5; Acts 19:18). your sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia, lit. "the sins." See the previous verse. to one another: pl. of Grk. allēlōn, a reciprocal pronoun. See verse 9 above. Roman Catholics find scriptural ground here for their sacrament of confession to a priest, but the plural nature of the pronoun would suggest an equality, not a hierarchy. In addition, there was no office of priest in first century congregations.

In contrast to the previous verse in which confession is made to God for forgiveness, Jacob's instruction may fulfill the exhortation of Yeshua for confronting and confessing sin between a victim and an offender (e.g., Matt 5:23-24; 18:15). If sin was a factor in the illness, then chances are the sin was against another person. Noteworthy is the fact that Jacob does not say to confess to the congregation. and: Grk. kai, conj. pray: Grk. euchomai, pres. mid. imp., may mean (1) to pray for, in regard to a petition to God; or (2) to wish or long for. The first meaning applies here. for: Grk. huper, prep., lit. "over, above," used to express a stance of concern or interest relating to someone, here emphasizing a supportive aspect; for the advantage of, in behalf of, in the interest of. one another: Grk. allēlōn. In a scenario of reconciliation prayer would naturally follow confession.

so that: Grk. hopōs, adv., conj. used to indicate purpose, objective or an end in view; in order that, so that. you may be healed: Grk. iaomai, aor. pass. subj., 2p-pl., heal or cure, of curing bodily ailments (Matt 8:8; Luke 9:2) and exorcism (Acts 10:38), but also fig. of deliverance from ills of many kinds, including spiritual restoration (Matt 13:15; John 12:40) and emotional healing (Luke 4:18) (BAG). In the LXX iaomai stands frequently for Heb. rapha, to heal, cure (DNTT 2:167). Rapha has the same range of meaning, whether physical, spiritual or emotional, including healing national hurts in Isaiah 53:5 (BDB 950). Scripture claims that God is the source of all healing, "I, ADONAI, am your healer" (Ex 15:26). God is the Source of life (Gen 1:27; Deut 32:39; 1Sam 2:6; 2Kgs 5:7; Rev 1:18) and the Sustainer of life (Gen 1:29; 9:3; Ps 104; Matt 5:45; 6:26; Heb 1:3).

In spite of the curse of decay, God’s punishment of sin, shortened lives, and death, God heals. David asserted that God heals all our diseases (Ps 103:2). David merely stated a fact, because living to 70 or 80 can only be achieved by God's power. If God withheld His healing grace we would die from the very first sickness. There is no cure for the common cold virus, yet we recover from it. Thus, no physical problem gets healed without God’s help, and if God didn’t want to heal there would be no population on the earth. All healings from God demonstrate that He is a God of mercies (Ps 103:13). For more discussion on the subject of healing, including consideration of why some people are not healed, see my web article Divine Healing.

The supplication: Grk. deēsis, prayer, petition, entreaty, supplication and in the Besekh always of a request to the God of Israel for meeting a need (e.g., Eph 6:18). In the LXX deēsis is used to translate several Heb. words but with the essential meaning of supplication or earnest prayer (even begging or crying out) for oneself or intercession for another (e.g., 1Kgs 8:28; 9:3; Ps 6:9; 17:1; 28:2; 31:22; 34:17; 39:12; 55:1; 61:1). Deēsis occurs 18 times in the Besekh and is the word used of Zechariah's prayer for a son (Luke 1:13), Anna's intercession in the Temple (Luke 2:37), Paul's intercession for Israel's salvation (Rom 10:1), Paul's unceasing prayer for Timothy (2Tim 1:3), and Yeshua's many intercessions during his time on earth (Heb 5:7). The translation of "prayer" of many versions diminishes the emotional content of Jacob's statement.

of a righteous one: Grk. dikaios, adj., being in accord with Torah standards for acceptable behavior; upright or just. Mounce adds righteous, equitable, innocent or pious to the range of meaning. The adjective is masculine but the application includes both men and women. being made effective: Grk. energeō, pres. mid. part., may mean (1) be vigorous in pursuit of an object; be active, work, operate; or (2) bring about; work, produce, effect. Many Bible versions translate the verb as an adjective, such as "effective," "fervent," "continual," "earnest," "active," and "insistent." The present participle could be translated as "the one pursuing" or "the one being persistent." In fact, persistence is important to receiving answers to prayer (Gen 18:27; 25:21; Isa 62:7; Matt 7:7-8; Mark 11:24; Luke 18:1).

accomplishes: Grk. ischuō, pres., have capacity for accomplishing; have power or strength, be able. Danker translates here as "bears much weight." much: Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope; great, much. Jacob echoes the words of Peter, "For the eyes of ADONAI are on the righteous and His ears toward their supplication" (1Pet 3:12; quoting Ps 34:25; BR).

Textual Note: There is considerable difference in translation of the last sentence of the verse. The Greek word order is polu [much] ischuei [accomplishes] deēsis [supplication] dikaiou [righteous] energoumenē [being active] without definite articles or prepositions. Marshall gives the lit. translation as "much is strong a petition of a righteous man being made effective."

17 Elijah was a man of like nature to us, and he prayed a prayer for it not to rain; and it did not rain upon the land three years and six months.

Elijah: Grk. Ēlias, which represents the Heb. Eliyah ("My God is Yah"), the ninth century B.C. prophet from Tishbe of Gilead in the Northern Kingdom. The prophet's name first occurs as Eliyahu (1Kgs 17:1) and thereafter 62 times, but also as Eliyah (2Kgs 1:3 and thereafter 4 times) (BDB 45). The LXX transliterates the name uniformly as Ēlias, and thus this form is followed in the Greek text of the Besekh. The English spelling of the prophet's name has an interesting history. The early English versions from 1395 to 1729 all render the name in the Besekh literally as "Elias." It was John Wesley in his 1755 translation of the New Testament who introduced "Elijah." The KJV-1768 version retained "Elias," but "Elijah" endured and was incorporated by succeeding English versions.

Known for his unorthodox dress and lifestyle, Elijah prophesied in the 9th century BC during reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah. He is probably best remembered for his confrontation of 450 prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel (1Kgs 18:20-40). The contest demonstrated the awesome power of the God of Israel and afterwards Elijah ordered that the prophets of Baal be slain. As a result Jezebel planned revenge on Elijah, so he retreated to Beersheba in Judah (1Kgs 19:1-8). An angel provided a meal for him and in the strength of that meal he went for forty days and nights until he arrived at Mount Horeb. There he observed the power of the wind, earthquake, and fire. Finally ADONAI spoke and directed him to anoint a new king over Aram and Israel and then to anoint Elisha as his replacement (1Kgs 19:15-16).

Elijah's ministry did not end at that time. He later offered significant prophecies, including that Ahab's sons would all be destroyed (1Kgs 21:22), that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs (1Kgs 21:23), and that Ahaziah would die of his illness (2Kgs 1:4). Elijah also conducted a school of prophets (2Kgs 2:3-7). Elijah did not die, but was taken to heaven in a whirlwind, not a chariot as commonly supposed (2Kgs 2:11). Before he left he prophesied that if Elisha witnessed his miraculous departure he would receive a double portion of his spirit (2Kgs 2:10). Being transported to heaven meant that Elijah did not die. Thus in the sovereign plan of God he would have an eschatological relationship with the Messiah, because Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return before the great Day of ADONAI (Mal 4:5).

Yochanan the Immerser was described as one who be a forerunner of the Messiah in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). When questioned by Judean leaders Yochanan personally denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21). Some considered Yeshua to be Elijah (Matt 16:14). Elijah appeared along with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration with Yeshua to discuss the coming events in Jerusalem (Luke 9:30-31). Here Peter foolishly suggested that three sukkot be built, one each for Yeshua, Moses, and Elijah (Luke 9:33). Later when the disciples questioned Yeshua about Malachi's prophecy he confirmed that Elijah would eventually come (Matt 17:11). The two witnesses referred to in Revelation 11:6 are not identified by name, but their ability to prevent rain leads many to conclude one of those witnesses is Elijah.

was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. a man: Grk. anthrōpos, human being, man or mankind. In the LXX anthrōpos renders three Hebrew words: (1) adam, SH-444, used for a human male or generically for humans as a contrast to animals (e.g., Gen 1:26, 27); (2) ish, SH-376, an adult male or husband (Gen 2:23, 24); and (3) enosh, SH-582, a man or mankind, often signifying the aspect of weakness and mortality (Job 5:17; Ps 8:4-5). of like nature: Grk. homoiopathēs, sharing feeling or circumstance; with the same nature as, like. to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Jacob makes the point that even though Elijah was one of the greatest figures in Israelite history, he put his robe on the same way every other Israelite man did. He was capable of great highs, but also great lows, such as fear of Jezebel (1Kgs 19:3) and having a pity party (1Kgs 19:10).

and: Grk. kai, conj. he prayed: Grk. proseuchomai, aor. mid. See verse 13 above. a prayer: Grk. proseuchē, a prayer or petition to the God of Israel. Elijah was a man of prayer (1Kgs 17:20-21; 18:36-37; 19:4). for it not: Grk. . See verse 9 above. to rain: Grk. brechō, aor. inf., to cause to become wet, here of the atmospheric phenomenon of precipitation. and: Grk. kai. it did not: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 6 above. rain: Grk. brechō, aor. upon: Grk. epi, prep. the land: Grk. . See verse 5 above. I translated as "land" as a reference to erets Yisrael, because of the territory affected by the miracle. three: Grk. treis, the cardinal number three. years: pl. of Grk. eniautos, a year, a period of twelve months.

and: Grk. kai. six: Grk. hex, the cardinal number six. months: pl. of Grk. mēn, month, most likely determined by the lunar cycle. Jacob mentions the first miracle that Elijah performed, prophesied a drought that would last three years (1Kgs 17:1). The Tanakh narrative does not contain any mention of Elijah praying to stop the rain, but an aggadah in the Talmud does: "Eliyahu prayed and received the keys to the rain and stopped the heavens" (Sanhedrin 113a). The assumption of prayer probably grew out of the idiomatic phrase "the God of Israel before whom I stand" (1Kgs 17:1), implying a position of intercession. During this time he stayed with a widow in Zarephath (1Kgs 17:8-15).

18 And he prayed again; and heaven gave rain, and the land produced its fruit.

And: Grk. kai, conj. he prayed: Grk. proseuchomai, aor. mid. ind. See the note on verse 13 above. again: Grk. palin, adv., refers to an additional occurrence; again, once more. and: Grk. kai. heaven: Grk. ho ouranos. See verse 12 above. The term serves here as a circumlocution for God who answered the prayer. gave: Grk. didōmi, aor., to give, often as a result of generosity and here certainly of God. rain: Grk. huetos, rain. and: Grk. kai. the land: Grk. Grk. . See verse 5 above and the previous verse. produced: Grk. blastanō, aor., to cause to come out a growth, produce or, to come out as something growing, sprout. its: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. fruit: Grk. karpos, most frequently an agricultural term, here of the produce of plants. The restoration of rain is reported in 1Kings 18:41–45.

The restoration of rain followed Elijah's victory on Mount Carmel, for which he prayed (1Kgs 18:36). It could be that this is the prayer to which Jacob alludes, and if the consequence of his prayer was the resumption of rain, then it's reasonable to suppose that prayer brought about its cessation. Besides the two miracles listed here Elijah's achievements included performing five other astounding miracles: (1) multiplication of flour and oil (1Kgs 17:14); (2) raising the son of the widow of Zarephath (1Kgs 17:22). (3) calling fire from heaven on the altar on Mount Carmel (1Kgs 18:38); (4) calling fire from heaven upon a band of 50 soldiers sent by King Ahaziah (twice 2Kgs 2:10, 12); and (5) parting of the Jordan (2Kgs 2:8).

19 My brothers, if any among you should stray from the truth, and someone should turn him back;

The last two verses of the letter may seem to introduce a new subject, but it is a logical conclusion to the teaching of this Midrash.

My: Grk. egō. See verse 12 above. brothers: pl. of Greek adelphos, voc. See verse 7 above. Jacob once again emphasizes the strong relationship with his readers. if: Grk. ean, conj. that serves as a conditional particle and produces an aspect of tentativeness by introducing a possible circumstance that determines the realization of some other circumstance. If x happens, then y will follow. anyone: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See verse 12 above. among: Grk. en, prep. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. should stray: Grk. planaō, aor. pass. subj., to cause to go astray; in the passive voice to stray or wander. from: Grk. apo, prep. the truth: Grk. alētheia, that which is really so, truth, especially as opposed to deception.

For the apostles the truth is the way of life consistent with Torah (Matt 22:16), since truth is something one does (John 3:21). Straying could mean breaking Torah commandments. The truth is also the teaching of Scripture and the straying could be adopting false doctrines. Jacob could be personifying truth as figurative of Yeshua who proclaimed "I am the truth" (John 14:6). and: Grk. kai, conj. someone: Grk. tis. should turn him back: Grk. epistrephō, aor. subj., to change the mode of thinking; turn about, turn around, redirect, turn. The subjunctive mood emphasizes what is possible. Yeshua and the apostles called for confrontation of sinning congregational members, more than once if necessary (Matt 18:15-17; Luke 17:3; Gal 6:1; 2Thess 3:15; Titus 3:10; 1John 5:16). There is certainly no guarantee of success and restoring the backslider is one of the greatest challenges of spiritual ministry in the Body of Messiah.

20 let him know, that the One having turned back a sinner from the error of his way will deliver his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

let him know: Grk. ginōskō, pres. imp., has a variety of meanings, including (1) know, come to know; (2) learn of, ascertain, find out; (3) understand, comprehend; (4) perceive, notice, or realize, any of which would have application here. The antecedent for the verb is the "someone" in the previous verse. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 8 above. the One: Grk. ho, demonstrative pronoun and definite article. The translation of most Bible versions favors the restorer being the "someone" of the previous verse, but the presence of the pronoun "ho" with the verb following also favors God being the restorer. A few versions translate the pronoun with "the one," though lower case (LEB, MW, NET, OJB, TLV). Among Jews "the One" was a circumlocution for God (cf. Ps 3:3; 37:24; Isa 40:26; 45:7; 49:7; Amos 9:5-6; John 1:33; 6:46; 7:18; 12:45; 15:21; Acts 10:42; Rom 5:17; 2Cor 4:6).

having turned back: Grk. epistrephō, aor. part. See the previous verse. A participle is a verbal adjective and here emphasizes character or purpose as defined by the action. a sinner: Grk. hamartōlos, adj., one who fails to meet religious or legal standards; sinful, sinner; also an outsider relative to the “in-group.” In the LXX hamartōlos usually renders Heb. rasha, wicked, criminal (BDB 957; 2Chron 19:2; Ps 3:7; 7:9; 9:16; 10:3; 11:2; 28:3; 32:10; 34:21; 36:11; 37:10), but also Heb. chatta, sinful, sinners (BDB 308; Gen 13:13; Num 16:38; 32:14; Ps 1:1; Isa 1:28; Amos 9:10) (DNTT 3:577). Generally in the Tanakh a "sinner" was someone who willfully violated Torah commandments, and which tended toward habitual practice.

Among the Pharisees, the ultimate "in-group," the category of "sinner" had a broader meaning and included persons of low reputation, Sabbath violators and tax collectors because they worked for the Roman government (Matt 9:10-11; Luke 19:7). Indeed, habitual violation of traditions Pharisees considered important was enough to label a person as a "sinner." Eventually Yeshua was labeled a sinner because he healed on the Sabbath (John 9:16, 24). However, Yeshua and the apostles generally use hamartōlos in the sense of one who lives outside the constraints of Torah commandments and intentionally violates God's will (Matt 26:45; Mark 8:38; Rom 5:8). Jacob uses the term here of someone who has taken the path away from God.

from: Grk. ek, prep. used to denote separation or derivation; from, out of. the error: Grk. planē, wandering or roaming from the standard route, fig. veering away from what is true or right; deviation, error. of his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. way: Grk. hodos, with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. It can also refer to the act of traveling; journey, way, trip. Then, hodos is used fig. of conduct or a way of life. In the LXX hodos renders Heb. derek with the same range of meaning (DNTT 3:937). Here Jacob speaks of the decision-making that has led the backslider into the "way" of sin. The "error of his way" refers to the failure to follow God's instruction as found in the Torah or apostolic instruction, not someone's personal conviction.

will deliver: Grk. sōzō, fut. See verse 15 above. Jacob speaks of a spiritual deliverance. God saves people who confess and repent of their wrongdoing (Rom 10:9; 2Cor 7:10; 1Jn 1:9). his: Grk. autos. soul: Grk. psuchē, that which animates the physical life or the seat and center of the inner life of man in its many and varied aspects; life, self, soul (BAG). Psuchē corresponds to the Heb. nephesh, "breath," and designates that which makes man or beast, into a living being. In Hebrew thought a person is a soul-body. Thus, "soul” does not refer to a non-physical part of a human being, but rather to the whole person. A human being does not have a soul; he is a soul (e.g., Acts 2:41; 7:14; 27:37; 1Pet 3:20). from: Grk. ek. death: Grk. thanatos, the cessation of life, usually in the natural physical sense of death, but here used as a metaphor of spiritual death or even eternal death.

and: Grk. kai. will cover: Grk. kaluptō, fut., to cover or conceal, usually in a physical cense of concealing from view. In the LXX kaluptō renders Heb. kasa (SH-3680), cover, clothe, or conceal, in both lit. and fig. senses (BDB 491; DNTT 2:211). The word is used of God's covering of sin in forgiveness (Ps 32:1; 85:2-3; Prov 10:12). a multitude: Grk. plēthos, relatively large number of any kind, here with the focus on greatness of quantity. of sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia. See the note verse 15 above. Jacob may be alluding to the maxim that "Love covers [Grk. kaluptō] a multitude of sins" (Prov 10:12; 1Pet 4:8). The saying does not mean that the sinning is being excused, but suggests a couple of truths.

First, Yeshua's atonement provides mercy for all sins that a person might commit, including intentional sins. Under Torah there was no atonement for 36 specific sins and any sin committed "with a high hand," i.e., deliberately. Yeshua's atonement is universal in effect. Second, restoration of a backslidden person will prevent even more sins. There is a rabbinic saying, "All who bring a single creature under the wings of the Shekhinah, they credit it to him as if he had formed him, shaped him, and brought him into the world" (Tos. Horayot 2:7, quoted in Gruber-Notes 227).

However, Jacob is not attributing "Savior" status to a person who persuades a backslider to return to God, but rather he is a partner with God in spiritual restoration. The God of Israel is the only Savior (Isa 43:3, 11; 45:21; 60:16; Luke 1:47; Titus 1:3; Jude 1:25). Yet God's salvation is mediated through Yeshua (John 4:42; 1Tim 2:3-5), so that Yeshua can also be called Savior (John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Eph 5:23; Php 3:20; Titus 1:4; 2Pet 1:1; 1Jn 4:14). Indeed, "Messiah Yeshua came into the world to save sinners" (1Tim 1:15 TLV). When a disciple acts to bring a lost sheep back to the fold, then he is doing what Yeshua would do. As Yeshua said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt 5:9).

Works Cited

ABP: Charles Van der Pool, The Apostolic Bible Polyglot (An interlinear LXX, with Strong's numbers and English translation). The Apostolic Press, 2006.

Adamson: James Adamson, The Epistle of James. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1976. (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)

BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Barclay: William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series. Revised Ed., 16 Vols. The Westminster Press, 1975-76.

BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. London: Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.

BIB: Biblos Interlinear Bible,, 2011-2013.

DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.

Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 3 Vols., ed. Colin Brown, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.

GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25 Text]

Gruber-Notes: Daniel Gruber, The Messianic Writings. Elijah Publishing, 2011. Translation and Annotations by the author.

HEB: Hebrew-English Bible. The Bible Society in Israel and The Israel Association for the Dissemination of Biblical Writings, 2012.

HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at

Kaiser: Walter C. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Zondervan, 2008.

LSJ: Henry George Liddell (1811-1898) and Robert Scott (1811-1887), A Greek-English Lexicon. rev. ed. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online.

Marshall: Alfred Marshall, NASB-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English. Zondervan Pub. House, 1986.

Moseley: Ron Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. Lederer Books, 1996.

Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.

Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper & Brothers, 1889. online.

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