New American Standard Bible
Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.
King James Bible
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Darby Bible Translation
Be wretched, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
World English Bible
Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom.
Young's Literal Translation
be exceeding afflicted, and mourn, and weep, let your laughter to mourning be turned, and the joy to heaviness;
James 4:9 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep - That is, evidently, on account of your sins. The sins to which the apostle refers are those which he had specified in the previous part of the chapter, and which he had spoken of as so evil in their nature, and so dangerous in their tendency. The word rendered "be afflicted" means, properly, to endure toil or hardship; then to endure affliction or distress; and here means, that they were to afflict themselves - that is, they were to feel distressed and sad on account of their transgressions. Compare Ezra 8:21. The other words in this clause are those which are expressive of deep grief or sorrow. The language here used shows that the apostle supposed that it was possible that those who had done wrong should voluntarily feel sorrow for it, and that, therefore, it was proper to call upon them to do it.
(All who feel true sorrow for sin, do so voluntarily; but it is not intended by this assertion to insinuate that repentance is not the work of the Spirit. He operates on men without destroying their freedom, or doing violence to their will: "in the day of his power they are willing." Nor is it improper to call on men to do that for which they require the Spirit's aid. That aid is not withheld in the hour of need; and everywhere the Bible commands sinners to believe and repent.)
Let your laughter be turned to mourning - It would seem that the persons referred to, instead of suitable sorrow and humiliation on account of sin, gave themselves to joyousness, mirth, and revelry. See a similar instance in Isaiah 22:12-13. It is often the case, that those for whom the deep sorrows of repentance would be peculiarly appropriate, give themselves to mirth and vanity. The apostle here says that such mirth did not become them. Sorrow, deep and unfeigned, was appropriate on account of their sins, and the sound of laughter and of revelry should be changed to notes of lamentation. To how many of the assemblies of the vain, the gay, and the dissipated, might the exhortation in this passage with propriety be now addressed!
Your joy to heaviness - The word here rendered heaviness occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means dejection, sorrow. It is not gloom, melancholy, or moroseness, but it is sorrow on account of sin. God has so made us that we should feel sorrow when we are conscious that we have done wrong, and it is appropriate that we should do so.
LibraryDecember 19. "God Giveth Grace unto the Humble" (James iv. 6).
"God giveth grace unto the humble" (James iv. 6). One of the marks of highest worth is deep lowliness. The shallow nature, conscious of its weakness and insufficiency, is always trying to advertise itself and make sure of its being appreciated. The strong nature, conscious of its strength, is willing to wait and let its work be made manifest in due time. Indeed, the truest natures are so free from all self-consciousness and self-consideration that their object is not to be appreciated, understood …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
God's Will About the Future
Whether Every Sin Includes an Action?
Whether the Reason Can be Overcome by a Passion, against Its Knowledge?
Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.
Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.
They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons."
"Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
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