James 2:3
And you have respect to him that wears the gay clothing, and say to him, Sit you here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand you there, or sit here under my footstool:
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And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing - If you show him superior attention on account of his rich and gay apparel, giving him a seat by himself, and treating others with neglect or contempt. Religion does not forbid proper respect to rank, to office, to age, or to distinguished talents and services, though even in such cases it does not require that we should feel that such persons have any peculiar claims to salvation, or that they are not on a level with all others, as sinners before God; it does not forbid that a man who has the means of procuring for himself an eligible pew in a church should be permitted to do so; but it requires that men shall be regarded and treated according to their moral worth, and not according to their external adorning; that all shall be considered as in fact on a level before God, and entitled to the privileges which grow out of the worship of the Creator. A stranger coming into any place of worship, no matter what his rank, dress, or complexion, should be treated with respect, and everything should be done that can be to win his heart to the service of God.

And say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place - Margin, as in Greek, "well" or "seemly;" that is, in an honorable place near the pulpit; or in some elevated place where he would be conspicuous. The meaning is, you treat him with distinguished marks of respect on the first appearance, merely from the indications that he is a rich man, without knowing any thing about his character.

And say to the poor, Stand thou there - Without even the civility of offering him a seat at all. This may be presumed not often to occur in a Christian church; yet it practically does sometimes, when no disposition is evinced to furnish a stranger with a seat.

Or sit here under my footstool - Perhaps some seats in the places of worship were raised, so that even the footstool would be elevated above a lower seat. The meaning is, that he would be treated as if he were not worth the least attention.

Sit here under my footstool - Thus evidently prejudging the cause, and giving the poor man to see that he was to expect no impartial administration of justice in his cause. And ye have respect to him that wears the gay clothing,.... Take notice of him, and show favour to him, to the neglect and contempt of the other. This is an instance of respect of persons condemned and dissuaded from:

and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; the best place; whether it be in a religious assembly, or in a civil court of judicature:

and say to the poor, stand thou there; or in a lower and meaner place:

or sit thou here under my footstool; this also was contrary to the Jewish canons (t), that one should sit, and another stand, while their cause was trying; the law runs thus:

"one shall not sit, and another stand, but both shall stand; but if the sanhedrim, or court, please to let them sit, they sit; but one does not sit above, and the other below; but one by the side of the other.''

(t) Maimon. ib. sect. 3. vid. T. Bab. Shebuot, fol. 30. 1.

And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a {b} good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

(b) In a worshipful and honourable place.

3. have respect to him, &c.—though ye know not who he is, when perhaps he may be a heathen. It was the office of the deacons to direct to a seat the members of the congregation [Clement of Rome, Apostolical Constitutions, 2.57, 58].

unto him—not in the best manuscripts. Thus "thou" becomes more demonstratively emphatic.

there—at a distance from where the good seats are.

here—near the speaker.

under my footstool—not literally so; but on the ground, down by my footstool. The poor man must either stand, or if he sits, sit in a degrading position. The speaker has a footstool as well as a good seat.

in...: or, well, or, seemly2:1-13 Those who profess faith in Christ as the Lord of glory, must not respect persons on account of mere outward circumstances and appearances, in a manner not agreeing with their profession of being disciples of the lowly Jesus. St. James does not here encourage rudeness or disorder: civil respect must be paid; but never such as to influence the proceedings of Christians in disposing of the offices of the church of Christ, or in passing the censures of the church, or in any matter of religion. Questioning ourselves is of great use in every part of the holy life. Let us be more frequent in this, and in every thing take occasion to discourse with our souls. As places of worship cannot be built or maintained without expense, it may be proper that those who contribute thereto should be accommodated accordingly; but were all persons more spiritually-minded, the poor would be treated with more attention that usually is the case in worshipping congregations. A lowly state is most favourable for inward peace and for growth in holiness. God would give to all believers riches and honours of this world, if these would do them good, seeing that he has chosen them to be rich in faith, and made them heirs of his kingdom, which he promised to bestow on all who love him. Consider how often riches lead to vice and mischief, and what great reproaches are thrown upon God and religion, by men of wealth, power, and worldly greatness; and it will make this sin appear very sinful and foolish. The Scripture gives as a law, to love our neighbour as ourselves. This law is a royal law, it comes from the King of kings; and if Christians act unjustly, they are convicted by the law as transgressors. To think that our good deeds will atone for our bad deeds, plainly puts us upon looking for another atonement. According to the covenant of works, one breach of any one command brings a man under condemnation, from which no obedience, past, present, or future, can deliver him. This shows us the happiness of those that are in Christ. We may serve him without slavish fear. God's restraints are not a bondage, but our own corruptions are so. The doom passed upon impenitent sinners at last, will be judgment without mercy. But God deems it his glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned at his tribunal; and his grace teaches those who partake of his mercy, to copy it in their conduct. 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing. Show respect not to the character but to the clothes, by giving one a welcome and a good seat, while the other is treated contemptuously, allowed to stand or to sit in a very uncomfortable place. Does not this describe the spirit of half the churches of our time?


Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; …

in a good place. or well, or, seemly. to the. See on ver.

James 2:6 But you have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and …

Isaiah 65:5 Which say, Stand by yourself, come not near to me; for I am holier …

Luke 7:44-46 And he turned to the woman, and said to Simon, See you this woman? …

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he …

Ye have respect (ἐπιβλέψητε)

Lit., ye look upon, with the idea of respectful consideration; ye regard. Compare Luke 1:48; Luke 9:38.

In a good place (καλῶς)

Lit., honorably; in a seat of honor.


Not literally underneath, but down on the ground beside. Compare Matthew 23:6, on the fondness of the Jews for the chief places in the synagogue.

2:3 Ye look upon him - With respect.
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