New American Standard Bible
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
King James Bible
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Darby Bible Translation
Elias was a man of like passions to us, and he prayed with prayer that it should not rain; and it did not rain upon the earth three years and six months;
World English Bible
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months.
Young's Literal Translation
Elijah was a man like affected as we, and with prayer he did pray -- not to rain, and it did not rain upon the land three years and six months;
James 5:17 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Was a man subject to like passions as we are - This does not mean that Elijah was passionate in the sense in which that word is now commonly used; that is, that he was excitable or irritable, or that he was the victim of the same corrupt passions and propensities to which other men are subject; but that he was like affected; that he was capable of suffering the same things, or being affected in the same manner. In other words, he was a mere man, subject to the same weaknesses and infirmities as other men. Compare the notes at Acts 14:15. The apostle is illustrating the efficacy of prayer. In doing this, he refers to an undoubted case where prayer had such efficacy. But to this it might be objected that Elijah was a distinguished prophet, and that it was reasonable to suppose that his prayer would be heard. It might be said that his example could not be adduced to prove that the prayers of those who were not favored with such advantages would be heard; and especially that it could not be argued from his case that the prayers of the ignorant, and of the weak, and of children and of servants, would be answered. To meet this, the apostle says that he was a mere man, with the same natural propensities and infirmities as other men, and that therefore his case is one which should encourage all to pray. It was an instance of the efficacy of prayer, and not an illustration of the power of a prophet.
And he prayed earnestly - Greek, "He prayed with prayer" - a Hebraism, to denote that he prayed earnestly. Compare Luke 22:15. This manner of speaking is common in Hebrew. Compare 1 Samuel 26:25; Psalm 118:18; Lamentations 1:2. The reference here is undoubtedly to 1 Kings 17:1. In that place, however, it is not said that Elijah prayed, but that he said, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these three years, but according to my word." Either James interprets this as a prayer, because it could be accomplished only by prayer, or he states what had been banded down by tradition as the way in which the miracle was effected. There can be no reasonable doubt that prayer was employed in the case, for even the miracles of the Saviour were accomplished in connection with prayer, John 11:41-42.
That it might not rain - Not to gratify any private resentment of his, but as a punishment on the land for the idolatry which prevailed in the time of Ahab. Famine was one of the principal methods by which God punished his people for their sins.
And it rained not on the earth - On the land of Palestine, for so the word earth is frequently understood in the Bible. See the notes at Luke 2:1. There is no reason to suppose that the famine extended beyond the country that was subject to Ahab.
By the space - For the time.
LibraryAgainst Rash and Vain Swearing.
"But above all things, my brethren, swear not." St. James v. 12. Among other precepts of good life (directing the practice of virtue and abstinence from sin) St. James doth insert this about swearing, couched in expression denoting his great earnestness, and apt to excite our special attention. Therein he doth not mean universally to interdict the use of oaths, for that in some cases is not only lawful, but very expedient, yea, needful, and required from us as a duty; but that swearing which …
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow
Prayer for and with Each Other.
On the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.
1 Kings 17:1
Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."
1 Kings 18:1
Now it happened after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, "Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth."
"But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;
and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM.
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