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.
5. Translate, "Ye have luxuriated … and wantoned." The former expresses luxurious effeminacy; the latter, wantonness and prodigality. Their luxury was at the expense of the defrauded poor (Jas 5:4).
on the earth—The same earth which has been the scene of your wantonness, shall be the scene of the judgment coming on you: instead of earthly delights ye shall have punishments.
nourished … hearts—that is glutted your bodies like beasts to the full extent of your hearts' desire; ye live to eat, not eat to live.
as in a day of slaughter—The oldest authorities omit "as." Ye are like beasts which eat to their hearts' content on the very day of their approaching slaughter, unconscious it is near. The phrase answers to "the last days," Jas 5:3, which favors Alford's translation there, "in," not "for."