|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:11-17 Our lips must be governed by the law of kindness, as well as truth and justice. Christians are brethren. And to break God's commands, is to speak evil of them, and to judge them, as if they laid too great a restraint upon us. We have the law of God, which is a rule to all; let us not presume to set up our own notions and opinions as a rule to those about us, and let us be careful that we be not condemned of the Lord. Go to now, is a call to any one to consider his conduct as being wrong. How apt worldly and contriving men are to leave God out of their plans! How vain it is to look for any thing good without God's blessing and guidance! The frailty, shortness, and uncertainty of life, ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all projects for futurity. We can fix the hour and minute of the sun's rising and setting to-morrow, but we cannot fix the certain time of a vapour being scattered. So short, unreal, and fading is human life, and all the prosperity or enjoyment that attends it; though bliss or woe for ever must be according to our conduct during this fleeting moment. We are always to depend on the will of God. Our times are not in our own hands, but at the disposal of God. Our heads may be filled with cares and contrivances for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Providence often throws our plans into confusion. All we design, and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God. It is foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of worldly things and aspiring projects; it will bring great disappointment, and will prove destruction in the end. Omissions are sins which will be brought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned. Oh that we were as careful not to omit prayer, and not to neglect to meditate and examine our consciences, as we are not to commit gross outward vices against light!
Verse 16. - But now. As is actually the case, "ye glory in your vauntings." ἈλαζονείΑ: only here and in 1 John 2:16; in the LXX., in 2 Macc. 9:8 and Wisd. 5:8. It is a favorite word with St. Clement of Rome. On its meaning and distinction from ὑπερηφανία and other kindred words, see Trench on ' Synonyms,' p. 95; and cf. Westcott on the 'Epistles of St. John,' p. 64. The vice of the ἀλάζων "centers in self and is consummated in his absolute self-exaltation, while the ὑπερήφανος shows his character by his overweening treatment of others. The ἀλάζων sins most against truth; the ὑπερήφανος sins most against love." This extract will serve to show the fitness of ἀλαζονεία rather than ὑπερηφανία in the passage before us. The verse should be rendered, as in R.V., "But now ye glory (καυχᾶσθε) in your vauntings: all such glorying (καύχησις) is evil." Καύχησις is the act, not the matter (καύχημα), of glorying.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But now ye rejoice in your boastings,.... Of tomorrow, and of the continuance of life, and of going to such a place, and abiding there for such a time, and of trading and trafficking with great success, to the obtaining of much gain and riches; see Proverbs 27:1
all such rejoicing is evil; wicked and atheistical, as expressing a neglect of and independence on Providence; arrogating and ascribing too much to themselves, their power and will, as if they had their lives and fortunes in their own hands, and at their own dispose, when all depend upon the will of God. The Syriac version renders it, "all such rejoicing is from evil"; from an evil heart, and from the evil one, Satan.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. now—as it is.
rejoice in … boastings—"ye boast in arrogant presumptions," namely, vain confident fancies that the future is certain to you (Jas 4:13).
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