James 5:3
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!

King James Bible
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

Darby Bible Translation
Your gold and silver is eaten away, and their canker shall be for a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye have heaped up treasure in the last days.

World English Bible
Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days.

Young's Literal Translation
your gold and silver have rotted, and the rust of them for a testimony shall be to you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye made treasure in the last days!

James 5:3 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Your gold and silver is cankered - That is, that you have heaped together, by injustice and fraud, a large amount, and have kept it from those to whom it is due, James 5:4, until it has become corroded. The word rendered is "cankered" (κατίωται katiōtai,) does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It properly means "to cause to rust; to rust out" (Passow); "to be corroded with rust" (Robinson); to be spotted with rust. It is true that gold and silver do not properly rust, or become oxidized, and that they will not be corroded like iron and steel; but by being kept long in a damp place they will contract a dark color, resembling rust in appearance. This seems to be the idea in the mind of the apostle. He speaks of gold and silver as they appear after having been long laid up without use; and undoubtedly the word which he uses here is one which would to an ancient have expressed that idea, as well as the mere literal idea of the rusting or oxidizing of metals. There is no reason to suppose that the word was then used in the strict chemical sense of rusting, for there is no reason to suppose that the nature of oxidization was then fully understood.

And the rust of them - Another word is used here - ἰὸς ios. This properly denotes something sent out or emitted, (from ἕημι hēmi), and is applied to a missile weapon, as an arrow; to poison, as emitted from the tooth of a serpent; and to rust, as it seems to be emitted from metals. The word refers to the dark discoloration which appears on gold and silver, when they have remained long without use.

Shall be a witness against you - That is, the rust or discoloration shall bear testimony against you that the money is not used as it should be, either in paying those to whom it is due, or in doing good to others. Among the ancients, the gold and silver which anyone possessed was laid up in some secret and safe place. Compare the notes at Isaiah 45:3. There were no banks then in which money might be deposited; there were few ways of investing money so as to produce regular interest; there were no corporations to employ money in joint operations; and it was not very common to invest money in the purchase of real estate, and stocks and mortgages were little known.

And shall eat your flesh as it were fire - This cannot be taken literally. It must mean that the effect would be as if it should corrode or consume their very flesh; that is, the fact of their laying up treasures would be followed by painful consequences. The thought is very striking, and the language in which it is conveyed is singularly bold and energetic. The effect of thus heaping up treasure will be as corroding as fire in the flesh. The reference is to the punishment which God would bring on them for their avarice and in-justice - effects that will come on all now for the same offences.

Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days - The day of judgment; the closing scenes of this world. You have been heaping up treasure; but it will be treasure of a different kind from what you have supposed. It is treasure not laid up for ostentation, or luxury, or use in future life, but treasure the true worth of which will be seen at the judgment-day. So Paul speaks of "treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God," Romans 2:5. There are many who suppose they are accumulating property that may be of use to them, or that may secure them the reputation of possessing great wealth, who are in fact accumulating a most fearful treasure against the day of final retribution. Every man who is rich should examine himself closely to see whether there is anything in the manner in which he has gained his property, or in which he now holds it, that will expose him to the wrath of God in the last day. That on which he so much prides himself may yet bring down on him the vengeance of heaven; and in the day of judgment he may curse his own madness and folly in wasting his probation in efforts to amass property.

James 5:3 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Against 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

Conversion
Our text has in it, first of all, a principle involved--that of instrumentality.--"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death." Secondly, here is a general fact stated:--"He who converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." And thirdly, there is a particular application of this fact made. "Brethren, if any
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

Prayer for and with Each Other.
"Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."--James v. 16. Let our last article touch once more the key of love wherein the article preceding that of prayer was set. To speak of the Spirit's work in our prayers, omitting the intercession of the saints, betrays a lack of understanding concerning the Spirit of all grace. Prayer for others is quite different from prayer for ourselves. The latter
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

On the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.
To this rite of anointing the sick our theologians have made two additions well worthy of themselves. One is, that they call it a sacrament; the other, that they make it extreme, so that it cannot be administered except to those who are in extreme peril of life. Perhaps--as they are keen dialecticians--they have so made it in relation to the first unction of baptism, and the two following ones of confirmation and orders. They have this, it is true, to throw in my teeth, that, on the authority of
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

James 5:2
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