James 5:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

New Living Translation
For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the LORD of Heaven's Armies.

English Standard Version
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

Berean Study Bible
Look, the wages you withheld from the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.

Berean Literal Bible
Behold, the wage of the workmen having harvested your fields, having been kept back by you, cries out, and the cries of those having harvested have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts.

New American Standard Bible
Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

King James Bible
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.

International Standard Version
Look! The wages that you kept back from the workers who harvested your fields are shouting out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies.

NET Bible
Look, the pay you have held back from the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

New Heart English Bible
Look, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Behold, the payment of the laborers which you swindled, who have reaped your land, cries out, and the cry of the reapers has entered the ears of THE LORD JEHOVAH of Hosts.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The wages you refused to pay the people who harvested your fields shout [to God] against you. The Lord of Armies has heard the cries of those who gather the crops.

New American Standard 1977
Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped your fields (which you have kept back by fraud) cries out; and the cries of those who have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of the hosts.

King James 2000 Bible
Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them who have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts.

American King James Version
Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

American Standard Version
Behold, the hire of the laborers who mowed your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth out: and the cries of them that reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Behold the hire of the labourers, who have reaped down your fields, which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth: and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold, the wages of your labourers, who have harvested your fields, wrongfully kept back by you, cry, and the cries of those that have reaped are entered into the ears of [the] Lord of sabaoth.

English Revised Version
Behold, the hire of the labourers who mowed your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth out: and the cries of them that reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped your fields, which is by you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them who have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

Weymouth New Testament
I tell you that the pay of the labourers who have gathered in your crops--pay which you are keeping back--is calling out against you; and the outcries of those who have been your reapers have entered into the ears of the Lord of the armies of Heaven.

World English Bible
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies.

Young's Literal Translation
lo, the reward of the workmen, of those who in-gathered your fields, which hath been fraudulently kept back by you -- doth cry out, and the exclamations of those who did reap into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth have entered;
Study Bible
Warning to the Rich
3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and consume your flesh like fire. You have hoarded treasure in the last days. 4Look, the wages you withheld from the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in the day of slaughter.…
Cross References
Exodus 2:23
Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.

Exodus 22:23
"If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry;

Leviticus 19:13
You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning.

Deuteronomy 15:9
"Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.

Deuteronomy 24:15
"You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you.

Job 24:10
"They cause the poor to go about naked without clothing, And they take away the sheaves from the hungry.

Job 31:38
"If my land cries out against me, And its furrows weep together;

Job 31:39
If I have eaten its fruit without money, Or have caused its owners to lose their lives,

Job 34:28
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, And that He might hear the cry of the afflicted--

Isaiah 5:9
In my ears the LORD of hosts has sworn, "Surely, many houses shall become desolate, Even great and fine ones, without occupants.
Treasury of Scripture

Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

the hire.

Leviticus 19:13 You shall not defraud your neighbor, neither rob him…

Deuteronomy 24:14,15 You shall not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether …

Job 24:10,11 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the …

Job 31:38,39 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain…

Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and …

Jeremiah 22:13 Woe to him that builds his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers …

Habakkuk 2:11 For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the …

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness …

Colossians 4:1 Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal; knowing …

the cries.

Genesis 4:10 And he said, What have you done? the voice of your brother's blood …

Exodus 2:23,24 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: …

Exodus 3:9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come to me…

Exodus 22:22-24,27 You shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child…

Deuteronomy 24:15 At his day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go …

Job 34:28 So that they cause the cry of the poor to come to him, and he hears …

Psalm 9:12 When he makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them: he forgets …

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night to …

Lord.

Romans 9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us …

Isaiah 1:9 Except the LORD of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we …

(4) Behold, the hire of the labourers.--Not merely the wrong of the poor, but the wages kept back from him by the niggardly master, contrary to the merciful Jewish law (Leviticus 19:13), which permitted no delay in payment whatever (comp. Jeremiah 22:13; Malachi 3:5). And the indignant remonstrance of the text is "a swift witness" also against the like-minded of this generation--whose God is self, whose religion political economy, and whose one great object in life is to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest: as if for these ignoble purposes the Lord God had given them a brain and a soul.

The hire of the labourers . . . kept back by fraud, crieth (out).--A question has arisen concerning the right position of the word translated "of," or from you, in this clause; whether the withholden dues appeal "from the wronger to God," or as the Authorised version has it above, "the hire of the labourers of you kept back by fraud." The balance of opinion seems to be with the latter.

Are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.--"A sublime and awful picture" is in the mind of the Apostle. The Lord of Hosts, the name by which He is called, especially by the last of the prophets, Malachi, is seated as a judge on His throne, to hear the right; the charge is laid, the guilty called, the witnesses are heard: the cries of the wronged have entered into His ears:--

"The Lord of the Vineyard beholdeth afar;

The arm of His fury is bared to the war:

The day of His terrible wrath is at hand."

It is the reflection of our own Bede that St. James thus speaks (comp. Romans 9:29) of the Lord of Sabaoth, or armies, to terrify those who suppose that the poor have no helpers. (Comp. Psalm 72:12.) God's majestic title is proclaimed, we may believe, by an Hebrew to Hebrews, for a warning against their darling sin of covetousness, and in hope that the vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-4) would move them to consider who and what the Lord of Hosts, of angels, of cherubim, of seraphim, might be "when He maketh inquisition for blood," forgetting not the complaint of the poor" (Psalm 9:12).

Verse 4 accounts for the miseries that are coming upon them. Their sins are the cause. The language is modeled upon the Old Testament, and the special sin denounced is one that is expressly forbidden in the Law (see Deuteronomy 24:14, 15, "Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy. At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it: for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee;" cf. Malachi 3:5, "I will be a swift witness... against those that oppress the hireling in his wages (LXX., ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀποστεροῦντας μισθὸν μισθωτοῦ)" Later allusions to the same sin are found in Tobit 4:14; Ecclus. 34:22. Which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth. For ἀπεστερημένος of the Received Text, read ἀφυστερημένος (א, B). It is possible to join the words ἀφ ὑμῶν with κράζει, but it is more natural to take them as the A.V. with ἀφυστερημένος. Reaped... reaped (ἀμησάντων... θερισάντων); R.V., "mowed... reaped." But it would seem that the words should have been reversed, as, judging by Old Testament usage, ἀμάω is always used of corn (Leviticus 25:11; Deuteronomy 24:19; Isaiah 17:5; Isaiah 37:30; Micah 6:15); while θερίζειν is the wider word, including all "harvesting," and used of χόρτος in Psalm 128. (127.) 7; Jeremiah 9:22. Into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. These words are adopted from Isaiah 5:9, Κύριος Σαβαώθ, a Grecized form of the Hebrew יהוה צבאות, frequent in the LXX. Found in the New Testament only here and Romans 9:29 (in a quotation); elsewhere, e.g. in the Apocalypse, it is represented by παντοκράτωρ (Revelation 1:8, etc.); so also in 2 Corinthians 6:18 (equivalent to 2 Samuel 7:8). Behold the hire of the labourers, which have reaped down your fields,.... The wages agreed for by the day, with the labourers in their fields, particularly their reapers; which one instance serves for many others; and is the rather mentioned, because reaping is a laborious work, and those who are employed in it have nothing to live upon but their hand labour; and especially because they are made use of in cutting down the corn when it is fully ripe, and in great plenty; wherefore, to detain their just wages from them argues great inhumanity and wickedness; and yet this was what was done by rich men:

which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; unto God for vengeance, as the blood of Abel did; and shows that such an evil, however privately and fraudulently it may be done, will be made public, and is a crying one:

and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth; that is, the Lord of hosts; of angels, and of men; of the host of heaven, and of the inhabitants of the earth; of Jews and Gentiles, and of rich and poor; and who has power to vindicate the cause of the latter against their rich oppressors, and will do it; his ears are open to their cries, he takes notice of them, and regards them, and will take vengeance on those that injure them. The reference is to Deuteronomy 24:15. 4. Behold—calling attention to their coming doom as no vain threat.

labourers—literally "workmen."

of you kept back—So English Version rightly. Not as Alford, "crieth out from you." The "keeping back of the hire" was, on the part OF the rich, virtually an act of "fraud," because the poor laborers were not immediately paid. The phrase is therefore not, "kept back by you," but "of you"; the latter implying virtual, rather than overt, fraud. James refers to De 24:14, 15, "At this day … give his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it, lest he CRY against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee." Many sins "cry" to heaven for vengeance which men tacitly take no account of, as unchastity and injustice [Bengel]. Sins peculiarly offensive to God are said to "cry" to Him. The rich ought to have given freely to the poor; their not doing so was sin. A still greater sin was their not paying their debts. Their greatest sin was not paying them to the poor, whose wages is their all.

cries of them—a double cry; both that of the hire abstractly, and that of the laborers hired.

the Lord of sabaoth—here only in the New Testament. In Ro 9:29 it is a quotation. It is suited to the Jewish tone of the Epistle. It reminds the rich who think the poor have no protector, that the Lord of the whole hosts in heaven and earth is the guardian and avenger of the latter. He is identical with the "coming Lord" Jesus (Jas 5:7).5:1-6 Public troubles are most grievous to those who live in pleasure, and are secure and sensual, though all ranks suffer deeply at such times. All idolized treasures will soon perish, except as they will rise up in judgment against their possessors. Take heed of defrauding and oppressing; and avoid the very appearance of it. God does not forbid us to use lawful pleasures; but to live in pleasure, especially sinful pleasure, is a provoking sin. Is it no harm for people to unfit themselves for minding the concerns of their souls, by indulging bodily appetites? The just may be condemned and killed; but when such suffer by oppressors, this is marked by God. Above all their other crimes, the Jews had condemned and crucified that Just One who had come among them, even Jesus Christ the righteous.
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