James 1:11
For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
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(11) For the sun is no sooner risen . . .—Translate, the sun arose with the burning heat, and dried up the grass; and the flower thereof fell away, and the grace of its fashion perished. The grace, the loveliness, the delicacy of its form and feature—literally, of its face—withered and died away. Often must the Apostle have seen such an effect of the fiery-Eastern sun, scorching with its pitiless glare the rich verdure of the wilderness; and in his ear, perchance, was the cry of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:6-8):—

“All flesh is grass:

And all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

The grass withereth;

The flower fadeth;

Because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it:

—Surely the people is grass.

The grass withereth;

The flower fadeth;

But the Word of our God shall stand for ever.”

So also (or, thus) shall the rich man fade away (or, wither) in his ways.—Not the rich brother, observe, is to fade thus, though his wealth will so pass away. The warning is rather (as in Mark 10:24) “for them that trust in riches.” Even “the mammon of unrighteousness,” well used, will make for us “friends that may receive us into everlasting habitations” (Luke 16:9). And he who, out of the possessions wherewith God has blessed him, “deviseth liberal things, by liberal things shall stand” (Isaiah 32:8). There seems, moreover, looking closely at the text, a special fitness in its exact words: for they mean that the rich shall perish in their journeyings for the sake of gain; and to no people could the rebuke apply more sharply than to the Jews, the lenders unto “many nations” (Deuteronomy 15:6), the merchants and bankers of the world. Nor can “the sword of the Spirit,” unsheathed from this Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), be without an edge for those of us in these latter times who err in the former ways.

1:1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat - Isaiah Isa 40:7 employs the word "wind," referring to a burning wind that dries up the flowers. It is probable that the apostle also refers not so much to the sun itself, as to the hot and fiery wind called the simoom, which often rises with the sun, and which consumes the green herbage of the fields. So Rosenmuller and Bloomfield interpret it.

It withereth the grass - Isaiah 40:7. It withereth the stalk, or that which, when dried, produces hay or fodder - the word here used being commonly employed in the latter sense. The meaning is, that the effect of the hot wind is to wither the stalk or spire which supports the flower, and when that is dried up, the flower itself falls. This idea will give increased beauty and appropriateness to the figure - that man himself is blasted and withered, and then that all the external splendor which encircled him falls to the ground, like a flower whose support is gone.

And the grace of the fashion of it perisheth - Its beauty disappears.

So shall the rich man fade away in his ways - That is, his splendor, and all on which he prideth himself, shall vanish. The phrase "in his ways," according to Rosenmuller, refers to his counsels, his plans, his purposes; and the meaning is, that the rich man, with all by which he is known, shall vanish. A man's "ways," that is, his mode of life, or those things by which he appears before the world, may have somewhat the same relation to him which the flower has to the stalk on which it grows, and by which it is sustained. The idea of James seems to be, that as it was indisputable that the rich man must soon disappear, with all that he had of pomp and splendor in the view of the world, it was well for him to be reminded of it by every change of condition; and that he should therefore rejoice in the providential dispensation by which his property would be taken away, and by which the reality of his religion would be tested. We should rejoice in anything by which it can be shown whether we are prepared for heaven or not.

11. Taken from Isa 40:6-8.

heat—rather, "the hot wind" from the (east or) south, which scorches vegetation (Lu 12:55). The "burning heat" of the sun is not at its rising, but rather at noon; whereas the scorching Kadim wind is often at sunrise (Jon 4:8) [Middleton, The Doctrine of the Greek Article]. Mt 20:12 uses the Greek word for "heat." Isa 40:7, "bloweth upon it," seems to answer to "the hot wind" here.

grace of the fashion—that is of the external appearance.

in his ways—referring to the burdensome extent of the rich man's devices [Bengel]. Compare "his ways," that is, his course of life, Jas 1:8.

With a burning heat; or, the scorching east wind, which in those countries was wont to rise with the sun, Jonah 4:8.

So also shall the rich man fade away; either shall is here put for may, the future tense for the potential mood; and then the apostle doth not so much declare what always certainly stall be, as what easily may be, and frequently is, the prosperity of rich men not being always of so short continuance. Or, shall may be taken properly, as we read it; and then his is a general proposition, showing the mutable nature and short continuance of rich men and their riches, whose longest life is but short, and death, when it comes, strips them of their enjoyments: and though this frailty be common to all, yet he speaks of the rich especially, because they are so apt to hear themselves high upon their wealth, and put confidence in it, 1 Timothy 6:17.

In his ways; either in his journeyings and travels for his riches, or rather in his counsels, purposes, actions, Psalm 146:4.

For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat,.... As it is about the middle of the day, when it shines in its full strength, and its heat is very great and scorching, especially in the summer season, and in hot climates:

but it withereth the grass; strikes it with heat, causes it to shrivel, and dries it up;

and the flower thereof falleth; drops off from it to the ground:

and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth; its form and colour, its glory and beauty, which were pleasant to the eye, are lost, and no more to be recovered. This shows, that earthly riches, like the flower of the field, have an outward show and glory in them, which attract the mind, and fix an attention to them for a while; they are gay and glittering, and look lovely, are pleasant to behold, and desirable to enjoy; but when the sun of persecution, or any other outward calamity arises, they are quickly destroyed, and are no more.

So also shall the rich man fade away in his ways; riches are uncertain things now, they often make themselves wings and flee away; they are things that are not, that are not solid and substantial they are a vain show; they sometimes fade away in a man's lifetime, before he dies; and he fades away, and comes to decay, amidst all the ways and means, designs and schemes, he forms and pursues, and all the actions and business he does; and if not, when he fades away, and dies amidst all his riches, his glory does not descend after him, but falls off from him, as the flower of the field before the heat of the sun.

For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his {k} ways.

(k) Whatever he purposes in his mind or does.

Jam 1:11. A further expansion of the image. The aorists ἀνέτειλε, ἐξήρανε, etc., do not precisely stand for the present (Grotius, Piscator, Hottinger, and others), but represent the occurrence in a concrete manner as a fact which has taken place, by which the description gains in vividness (comp. Isaiah 40:7), which is still more vividly portrayed by the simple succession of finite verbs. See Winer, p. 248 [E. T. 346, 347] and p. 417 [E. T. 590]; A. Buttmann, p. 175. It is only confusing to convert ἀνέτειλεἐξήρανε into ἀνατείλας or ἐὰν ἀνατέλλῃἐξήρανε.

By the word καύσων is often in the LXX. (comp. besides Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12, Hosea 13:15 : Jeremiah 18:17; Jonah 4:8; where ἄνεμος or πνεῦμα is added, particularly Job 27:21; Hosea 12:1) meant the hot east wind (קָדִים), which, blowing over the steppes of Arabia, is very dry and scorching to vegetation (see Winer’s Reallexicon: word, Wind); here, however, as in Isaiah 49:10 (שָׁדָב closely united with שֶׁמֶשׁ), Sir 18:16 (comp. also Sir 43:3, where it is said of the sun: καὶ ἐναντίον καύματος αὐτοῦ τίς ὑποστήσεται), Matthew 20:12, Luke 12:55, it has the meaning “heat, burning” (against Grotius, Pott, Hottinger, Kern, Schneckenburger, Winer, Wahl, Lange, Bouman, and others), as the parching effect is attributed not to the καύσων as something different from the sun, but to the sun itself.[59] It is arbitrary to explain it as if it were written: ἨΓΈΡΘΗ ΓΆΡ, ἍΜΑ Τᾷ ἈΝΑΤΕῖΛΑΙ ΤῸΝ ἭΛΙΟΝ, Ὁ ΚΑΎΣΩΝ; as Gebser says: “the burning wind rising with the sun is the image.” Laurentius incorrectly understands by the sun “Christ,” and by the rising of the sun “the day of the Lord;” thus the whole is an image of the judgment destroying the rich, yet so that the individual parts are to be retained in their appropriate meaning.[60]

ΚΑῚ ἘΞΉΡΑΝΕ Κ.Τ.Λ.] The same expressions in Isaiah 40:7.

ἘΚΠΊΠΤΕΙΝ, i.e. not simply the withering (Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 28:4, LXX.), but the actual falling off of the flower, is a consequence of the blighting of the plant.

ἡ εὐπρέπεια] the opposite of ἈΠΡΈΠΕΙΑ is used in the classics chiefly of external appearance; in the N. T. it is an ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ.

= פָּנִים, Psalm 104:30; comp. Luke 12:56; Matthew 16:3 : species externa. ΑὐΤΟῦ refers, not as the first ΑὐΤΟῦ, to ΤῸΝ ΧΌΡΤΟΝ, but ΤῸ ἌΝΘΟς, on which the emphasis rests (comp. Jam 1:10, de Wette, Wiesinger, Bouman).[61]

ΟὝΤΩ] thus quickly, thus entirely (Wiesinger); ΚΑΊ is not purely superfluous (Wiesinger), but, referring back to the image, heightens the comparison.

Ὁ ΠΛΟΎΣΙΟςΜΑΡΑΝΘΉΣΕΤΑΙ] It is to be observed that here also Ὁ ΠΛΟΎΣΙΟς and not Ὁ ΠΛΟῦΤΟς is the subject. ΜΑΡΑΊΝΕΣΘΑΙ, in the N. T. an ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ., is found in the LXX. as the translation of יָבֵשׁ, Job 15:30; in the same meaning in the Wisdom of Solomon Jam 2:8. The figurative expression is explained by what goes before.

ἘΝ ΤΑῖς ΠΟΡΕΊΑΙς ΑὙΤΟῦ] not “on his journeys” (Laurentius, Piscator, Herder), also not “on his journeyings of fortune” (Lange); but = ἘΝ ΤΑῖς ὍΔΟΙς ΑὐΤΟῦ, Jam 1:8 (comp. Proverbs 2:8, LXX.). The prominent idea is that the rich man, overtaken by judgment, perishes in the midst of his doings and pursuits, as the flower in the midst of its blossoming falleth a victim to the scorching heat of the sun. Luther’s translation: “in his possession,” is explained from the false reading ΠΟΡΊΑΙς. See critical notes.

[59] Neither the article before καύσωνι, nor the observation that “with the rising of the sun and the development of its heat the vegetation is not forthwith imperilled,” forms a valid reason against this explanation (against Lange).

[60] That “with the sun of a finished revelation was developing the hot wind of the law, which scorched the glory of Israel” (Lange), is a remark which is here the more inappropriate, as according to it the sun and the hot wind are indicated as two different powers opposed to each other.

[61] Lange, on the other hand, observes “that a fallen flower is still to lose its beauty” cannot be imagined; but is it then to be imagined that the grass when it is withered and the flower has fallen from it is still to lose its beauty?

Jam 1:11. ἀνέτειλεν: the “gnomic” aorist, i.e., expressive of what always happens; it gives a “more vivid statement of general truths, by employing a distinct case or several distinct cases in the past to represent (as it were) all possible cases, and implying that what has occurred is likely to occur again under similar circumstances” (Moulton, p. 135, quoting Goodwin); he adds, “the gnomic aorist … need not have been denied by Winer for Jam 1:11 and 1 Peter 1:24”. The R.V. gives the present, in accordance with the English idiom, but clearly the Greek way is the more exact; the same applies to Hebrew, though this particular verb does not occur in the corresponding passage in either the Septuagint or the Massoretic text; an example may, however, be seen in Nahum 3:17. ὁ ἥλιος ἀνέτειλεν, καὶ ἀφήλατο, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνω τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς (see R.V.).—σὺν τῷ καύσωνι: the east wind which came from the Syrian desert, it was a hot wind which parched the vegetation and blighted the foliage of the trees; the Hebrew name רוּחַ הַקָּדִים “the wind of the east,” or simply קָדִים, expresses the quarter whence it comes, the Greek καύσων, “burner,” describes its character, see Hosea 13:15; Ezekiel 17:10; it became especially dangerous when it developed into a storm, on account of its great violence, see Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 18:17; Ezekiel 27:26.—ἐξέπεσεν: the equivalent Hebrew word is נָבֶל, which like the cognate root in other Semitic languages, contains the idea of dying, cf. Isaiah 24:4; Isaiah 26:19.—εὐπρέπεια τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ: pleonastic; προσ. is used mostly in reference to persons, e.g., in Sir. it occurs twenty-eight times, and only in two instances to things other than persons, viz., Sir 38:8, καὶ εἰρήνη παρʼ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ἐπὶ προσώπου τῆς γῆς [Hebrew marg., however reads מפני אדם]. Sir 40:6ἀπὸ προσώπου πολέμου [Hebrew text, however, מפני רודף]. εὐπρέπεια does not occur elsewhere in the N.T.; see Sir 47:10, its only occurrence in that book.—ἐν ταῖς πορείαις αὐτοῦ: see above Jam 1:8.—μαρανθήσεται: only here in N.T.

11. For the sun is no sooner risen … but it withereth] Better, for the sun arose and withered. The Greek has nothing that answers to “no sooner,” and the verbs are throughout in the past tense as in a narrative. It is as though St James were using the form not of a similitude, but of a parable, apparently not without a reminiscence of some features of the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:6) and of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:30).

with a burning heat] Better, with the scorching heat, probably the Simoom, or hot wind that blows from the desert in the early morning, as in Luke 12:55. The whole description comes, as above, from Isaiah 40:6. Comp. also Jonah 4:8.

falleth … perisheth] Better, as continuing the narrative, fell—perished.

fade away] Better, perhaps, as expressing the force of the Greek passive, be blighted. The Greek verb is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but meets us in the Wisd. of Song of Solomon 2:8, in a passage which may well have been present to the mind of the writer. An adjective derived from it is found in the “crown that fadeth not away,” literally, the amaranthine crown, of 1 Peter 5:4. See also 1 Peter 1:4. The idea of the “fading” of earthly riches, the “unfading” character of heavenly, was another thought common to the two writers.

the grace of the fashion of it] Better, the goodliness of its form, literally, of its face. The first substantive is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.

in his ways] Literally, in his goings or journeyings, as in Luke 13:22, perhaps with a special reference to the restlessness in trading which shewed itself in the money-making Jews of Palestine. “Going” and “getting” (poreuomai and emporeuomai) made up the sum total of their ideal of life. Comp. chap. James 4:13. A various reading gives “in his gettings” here, as a possible meaning, but the balance of evidence is in favour of “goings.”

Jam 1:11. Ἀνέτειλεἀπώλετο, the sun is risenit perisheth) Here are four circumstances (turning points): the first is the cause of the second, the third of the fourth.—καύσωνι) the mid-day “heat” and parching wind, which follows the “rising” of the sun. A gradation.—ἡ εὐπρέπεια, the comeliness) which is in the flower.—πορείαις, his goings) In other places εὐπορία, “abundance of resources” [success in one’s ways or goings], is attributed to the rich; but the apostle uses the simple word, and that too in the plural number, on account of the burdensome greatness (extent) of his undertakings. Πορεία, a journey, from πορεύομαι, “I go,” as βασιλεία from βασιλεύω. I attribute no weight to the reading πορίαις.[8]—μαρανθήσεται, shall fade away) in death.

[8] It was necessary to bring forward this reading in the Appar. p. 728, because Mill speaks obscurely respecting some Manuscripts which have this reading, and is silent respecting Estius quoting Gaignæus.

A reads πορίαις. But the weight of authorities is for πορείαις; Vulg. itineribus—E.

Verse 11. - Ἀνέτειλε . ἐξήρανε ἐξέπεσε... ἀπώλετο. Observe the aorists here and in ver. 24. The illustration or case mentioned by way of example is taken as an actual fact, and the apostle falls into the tone of narration (see Wirier, 'Grammar of New Testament Greek,' § 40:5, 6. 1). Render, For the sun arose with the scorching wind, and withered the grass; and the flower thereof fell away, and the grace of the fashion of it perished. Καύσων may refer to

(1) the heat of the sun, or

(2) more probably, the hot Samum wind, the קָדִים of the Old Testament (Job 27:21; Ezekiel 17:10, etc.). James 1:11For the sun is no sooner risen, etc. (ἀνέτειλεν γὰρ ὁ ἥλιος)

By the use of the aorist tense James graphically throws his illustration into the narrative form: "For the sun arose - and withered," etc.

With a burning heat (τῷ καύσωνι)

Rev., with the scorching wind. The article denotes something familiar; and the reference may be to the scorching east-wind (Job 1:19, Sept.; Ezekiel 17:10), which withers vegetation. Some of the best authorities, however, prefer the rendering of the A. V.

Falleth (ἐξέπεσεν)

Aorist tense. Lit., fell off.

The grace of the fashion (εὐπρέπεια τοῦ προσώπου)

Lit., the beauty of its face or appearance. Εὐπρέπεια only here in New Testament.

Fade away (μαρανθήσεται)

See on 1 Peter 1:4.

Ways (πορείαις)

Rev., goings. Only here and Luke 13:22. His goings to and fro in acquiring riches.

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