James 5:9
Grudge not one against another, brothers, lest you be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Grudge not.—Say in preference, Murmur not. “Grudge” has curiously changed its meaning from an outward murmur to an inward feeling. It has unfortunately been retained both here and in 1Peter 4:9. See also Psalm 59:15, specially the Prayer Book version, “They will . . . grudge if they be not satisfied”—i.e., complain and murmur.

Lest ye . . .—It is not “lest ye be condemned,” but lest ye be judged, repeating the exact words of the original in Matthew 7:1.

Behold, the judge standeth before the door.—Compare this scene with that depicted in Revelation 3:20. In the one Christ lingers mercifully outside the door that “loves its hinge”; fain would He enter and abide. In the other He sounds a note of alarm; men are “waked in the night, not girding their loins for a journey, but in vague wonder at uncertain noise, who may turn again to their slumber,” or in wistful listening wait in vain for the voice of mercy which shall plead with them no more for ever (Ruskin).

One of the mocking questions put to St. James by his enemies, as they hurried him to death, was, “Which is the door of Jesus?” And failing to receive an answer to their mind, they said, “Let us stone this James the Just!” which they did, after they had cast him over the Temple wall.

5:7-11 Consider him that waits for a crop of corn; and will not you wait for a crown of glory? If you should be called to wait longer than the husbandman, is not there something more worth waiting for? In every sense the coming of the Lord drew nigh, and all his people's losses, hardships, and sufferings, would be repaid. Men count time long, because they measure it by their own lives; but all time is as nothing to God; it is as a moment. To short-lived creatures a few years seem an age; but Scripture, measuring all things by the existence of God, reckons thousands of years but so many days. God brought about things in Job's case, so as plainly to prove that he is very pitiful and of tender mercy. This did not appear during his troubles, but was seen in the event, and believers now will find a happy end to their trials. Let us serve our God, and bear our trials, as those who believe that the end will crown all. Our eternal happiness is safe if we trust to him: all else is mere vanity, which soon will be done with for ever.Grudge not one against another - Margin, "groan, grieve." The Greek word (στενάζω stenazō) means, "to sigh, to groan," as of persons in distress, Romans 8:23; and then to sigh or groan through impatience, fretfulness, ill-humor; and hence "to murmur, to find fault, to complain." The exact idea here is, not that of grudging in the sense of dissatisfaction with what others possess, or of being envious; it is that of being fretful and impatient - or, to use a common word which more exactly expresses the sense that of grumbling. This may arise from many causes; either because others have advantages which we have not, and we are discontented and unhappy, as if it were wrong in them to have such enjoyments; or because we, without reason, suppose they intend to slight and neglect us; or because we are ready to take offence at any little thing, and to "pick a quarrel" with them. There are some persons who are always grumbling. They have a sour, dissatisfied, discontented temper; they see no excellence in other persons; they are displeased that others are more prospered, honored, and beloved than they are themselves; they are always complaining of what others do, not because they are injured, but because others seem to them to be weak and foolish; they seem to feel that it becomes them to complain if everything is not done precisely as in their estimation it should be. It is needless to say that this spirit - the offspring of pride - will make any man lead a wretched life; and equally needless to say that it is wholly contrary to the spirit of the gospel. Compare Luke 3:14; Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5.

Lest ye be condemned - That is, for judging others with this spirit - for this spirit is in fact judging them. Compare the notes at Matthew 7:1.

Behold, the judge standeth before the door - The Lord Jesus, who is soon to come to judge the world. See James 5:8. He is, as it were, even now approaching the door - so near that he can hear all that you say.

9. Grudge not—rather "Murmur not"; "grumble not." The Greek is literally, "groan": a half-suppressed murmur of impatience and harsh judgment, not uttered aloud or freely. Having exhorted them to patience in bearing wrongs from the wicked, he now exhorts them to a forbearing spirit as to the offenses given by brethren. Christians, who bear the former patiently, sometimes are impatient at the latter, though much less grievous.

lest … condemned—The best manuscript authorities read, "judged." James refers to Mt 7:1, "Judge not lest ye be judged." To "murmur against one another" is virtually to judge, and so to become liable to be judged.

judge … before the door—referring to Mt 24:33. The Greek is the same in both passages, and so ought to be translated here as there, "doors," plural. The phrase means "near at hand" (Ge 4:7), which in the oldest interpretations [Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem] is explained, "thy sin is reserved unto the judgment of the world to come." Compare "the everlasting doors" (Ps 24:7, whence He shall come forth). The Lord's coming to destroy Jerusalem is primarily referred to; and ultimately, His coming again visibly to judgment.

Grudge not; Greek: Groan not; the sense may be, either: Envy not one another, (or, as we translate it: Grudge not), it being the nature of envy to groan at other men’s good; or, Groan not by way of accusation or complaint to God against others, desiring him to avenge your quarrels, as if you were too good to suffer injuries, or God were unjnst or forgetful of righting you.

One against another; brother against brother, Christian against Christian: they were injured not only by rich worldlings and open oppressors, but by their fellow professors, and gave one another mutual cause of sighing and groaning.

Lest ye be condemned; lest God punish you all; there being none of you but have given others cause of grief and complaint, as well as others have given you, Matthew 7:1.

Behold, the Judge standeth before the door; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge of you all, is at hand, {Philippians 4:5} in a readiness either to bring those evils upon you which you wish may fall upon others, or to give you your reward, if through patient continuance in well doing you seek for it, Romans 2:7. The like phrase we have, Matthew 24:33 Mark 13:29; or it may allude to Genesis 4:7. Grudge not one against another, brethren,.... On account of any happiness, temporal or spiritual, which another enjoys; do not inwardly repine at it; or secretly sigh and groan in an envious manner at it, though nothing may be said, as the word used signifies; much less complain of, accuse, and condemn one another, or meditate and seek revenge:

lest ye be condemned; hereafter, at the bar of Christ, by the Judge of the whole earth, who is privy to the secret murmurings and grumblings, and the envious sighs and groans of men; see Matthew 7:1

behold the judge standeth before the door; there is another that judgeth, who is the Lord, and he is at hand; he is just at the door; a little while and he will come, and not tarry; which may refer not to Christ's coming to destroy Jerusalem, but to his second coming to judgment, which will be quickly; for the Gospel times are the last times; there will be no other age; at the end of this, Christ will come.

{4} {d} Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: {5} behold, the judge standeth before the door.

(4) He commends Christian patience, for that which others through impatience use to accuse one another, the faithful on the other hand, do not complain though they receive injury.

(d) By grudging he means a certain inward complaining which indicates impatience.

(5) The conclusion: The Lord is at the door and will defend his own and avenge his enemies, and therefore we do not need to trouble ourselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jam 5:9. To the preceding exhortation a new one is added: μὴ στενάζετε, ἀδελφοί, κατʼ ἀλλήλων, since with impatience in affliction a sinful irritability of the sufferers toward each other is easily conjoined. στενάζειν κατά is to be understood neither of invidia alienis bonis ingemiscente (Grotius), nor of impatientia mutuis lamentationibus augenda; it rather denotes the gemitus accusatorius (Estius, Calvin, and others), without, however, necessarily supposing a provocatio ultionis divinae malorumque imprecatio (Theile, and similarly Calvin, Morus, Gebser, Hottinger, Lange, and others) united with it. Augusti incorrectly renders it: “Give no occasion to one another for sighing.”

From κατʼ ἀλλήλων it does not follow that the πλούσιοι (Jam 5:1 ff.) belong to the Christian church (against de Wette and Wiesinger); the reference here is rather to the conduct of Christians toward each other under the oppressions to which they were exposed by the πλούσιοι.[231]

Since στενάζειν κατά involves the judging of our brother, and is opposed to that love of which Paul says: μακροθυμεῖ, χρηστεύεται, … οὐ παροξύνεται, οὐ λογίζεται τὸ κακόνπάντα ὑπομένει, James adds the admonition ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε (comp. Matthew 7:1), and then, for the purpose of strengthening the warning, points to the nearness of the Judge. The κριτής is none other than the Lord, whose παρουσία is at hand. As His nearness should comfort Christians in their distress, so it, should likewise restrain them from the renunciation of love to one another (comp. chap. Jam 2:13). Incorrectly Theile: non tam, qui impatientius ferentes certo puniat (quamquam nec hoc abesse potest), quam: qui vos ulciscatur, ut igitur ne opus quidem sit ista tam periculosa impatientia (so also de Wette); for ὁ κριτής evidently points back to ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε.[232]

On πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν ἕστηκεν] i.e. he stands already before the door, on the point of entering, see Matthew 24:33; Mark 13:29 (Acts 5:23).

[231] Hornejus: Quos ad manifestas et gravissimas improborum injurias fortiter ferendas incitarat, eos nunc hortatur, ut etiam in minoribus illis offensis, quae inter pios ipsos saepe subnascuntur, vel condonandis vel dissimulandis promti sint. Contingit enim, ut qui hostium et improborum maximas saepe contumelias et injurias aequo animo tolerant, fratrum tamen offensas multo leviores non facile ferant.

[232] Wiesinger, indeed, recognises that the statement is added as a warning; but yet he thinks that the chief idea is: “Ye may with perfect calmness leave the judgment to Him” (so also Lange).Jam 5:9. μὴ στενάζετε: “A strengthened expression for μὴ καταλαλεῖτε Jam 4:11” (Carr); it refers to the inward feeling of grudge against another. The word shows that it is not only the righteous who are addressed in this section.—ὁ κριτὴς πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν ἕστηκεν: Cf. Revelation 3:20. For the idea of the Judge standing at the door see Matthew 24:33, … γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις, Matthew 25:10 ff. (the parable of the Ten Virgins). In its origin the idea is antique; cf. the following from the Mishna (Ab. iv. 16): “This world is as if it were a vestibule to the future world; prepare thyself in the vestibule, that thou mayest enter the reception-room”; this saying is one of Jacob of Korsha’s who lived in the second century A.D.—ἕστηκεν: for the tense see above.9. Grudge not one against another …] Better, perhaps, complain not. The primary meaning of the verb is “to groan.” To indulge in such complaints was to assume the office of the Judge, whose presence they ought to think of as not far off, even “at the door,” and so brought with it the condemnation which He himself had pronounced (Matthew 7:1). The standing before the door presents a point of comparison with Revelation 3:20.Jam 5:9. Μὴ στενάζετε, do not groan) through impatience.—ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε, that ye be not judged) by the Judge at His coming. Groans are in jurious, both to those by whom, and those against whom, they are uttered: see App. Crit. Ed. ii.[70]—ὁ Κριτὴς, the Judge) that is, Christ, whose office they usurp, who unbecomingly groan, and anticipate the time of judgment. If Baumgarten shall show by any mark that the article was not read by Stephanus, I shall affirm that the article did not fall out by accident at the beginning of the line.[71]—ΘΥΡῶΝ, the doors) A very close approach: Matthew 24:33.—ἕστηκεν, has placed Himself) stands, always hearing everything.

[70] AB Vulg. and all the Versions read κριθῆτε; Rec. Text, with very inferior authority, κατακριθῆτε.—E.

[71] AB read the . But Stephens’ Rec. Text omits it, which perhaps was not “by accident,” as Beng. thinks, since some few cursive, and therefore inferior, MSS. omit it.—E.Verse 9. - Grudge not, brethren; better, with R.V., murmur not - a meaning which "grudge" had in the seventeenth century; cf. Psalm 59:15 (Prayer-book version), "They will run here and there for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied." What is the connection of this verse with the preceding? "Murmuring" implies sitting in judgment upon others, which has been expressly forbidden by the Lord himself. It is also the opposite to that μακροθυμία to which St. James has been exhorting his readers. Lest ye be condemned; rather, that ye be not judged. Ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε, as in Matthew 7:1. Κατακριθῆτε of the Received Text has absolutely no authority, nor has the omission of the article before κριτής in the following clause. Behold, the Judge, etc. The nearness of the judgment is expressed by saying that the Judge is actually standing "before the doors (πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν)." So also our Lord, in his great discourse on the judgment, says (Matthew 24:33), "When ye see all these things, know that he is nigh, even at the doors (ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις);" and comp. Revelation 3:20, where he says, "Behold, I stand at the door (ἕστηκα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν), and knock." Grudge not (μὴ στενάζετε)

Better, as Rev., murmur not. The verb means to sigh or groan.

Standeth before the doors

In the act of entering.

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