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THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES - Chapter 5 - Verse 7

Verse 7. Be patient therefore, brethren. That is, under such wrongs as the apostle had described in the previous verses. Those whom he addressed were doubtless suffering under those oppressions, and his object was to induce them to bear their wrongs without murmuring and without resistance. One of the methods of doing this was by showing them, in an address to their rich oppressors, that those who injured and wronged them would be suitably punished at the day of judgment, or that their cause was in the hands of God; and another method of doing it was by the direct inculcation of the duty of patience. See Barnes on "Mt 5:38"

and also through verse 45. The margin here is, be long patient, or suffer with long patience. The sense of the Greek is, "be long-suffering, or let not your patience be exhausted. Your courage, rigour, and forbearance is not to be short-lived, but is to be enduring. Let it continue as long as there is need of it, even to the coming of the Lord. Then you will be released from sufferings."

Unto the coming of the Lord. The coming of the Lord Jesus—either to remove you by death, or to destroy the city of Jerusalem and bring to an end the Jewish institutions, or to judge the world and receive his people to himself. The "coming of the Lord" in any way was an event which Christians were taught to expect, and which would be connected with their deliverance from troubles. As the time of his appearing was not revealed, it was not improper to refer to that as an event that might possibly be near; and as the removal of Christians by death is denoted by the phrase "the coming of the Lord"—that is, his coming to each one of us—it was not improper to speak of death in that view. On the general subject of the expectations entertained among the early Christians of the second advent of the Saviour, see Barnes on "1 Co 15:51"

and also see Barnes on "2 Th 2:2-3".

 

Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth. The farmer waits patiently for the grain to grow. It requires time to mature the crop, and he does not become impatient. The idea seems to be, that we should wait for things to develop themselves in their proper season, and should not be impatient before that season arrives. In due time we may expect the harvest to be ripened. We cannot hasten it. We cannot control the rain, the sun, the seasons; and the farmer therefore patiently waits until in the regular course of events he has a harvest. So we cannot control and hasten the events which are in God's own keeping; and we should patiently wait for the developments of his will, and the arrangements of his providence, by which we may obtain what we desire.

And hath long patience for it. That is, his patience is not exhausted. It extends through the whole time in which, by the Divine arrangements, he may expect a harvest.

Until he receive the early and latter rain. In the climate of Palestine there are two rainy seasons, on which the harvest essentially depends—the autumnal and the spring rains—called here and elsewhere in the Scriptures the early and the latter rains. See De 11:14; Job 29:23; Jer 5:24.

The autumnal or early rains of Scripture, usually commence in the latter half of October or the beginning of November; not suddenly, but by degrees, which gives opportunity for the husbandman to sow his fields of wheat and barley. The rains come mostly from the west or south-west, continuing for two or three days at a time, and failing especially during the nights. The wind then chops round to the north or east, and several days of fine weather succeed. During the months of November and December the rains continue to fall heavily; afterwards they return only at longer intervals, and are less heavy; but at no period during the winter do they entirely cease to occur. Snow often falls in Jerusalem, in January and February, to the depth of a foot or more, but it does not last long. Rain continues to fall more or less through the month of March, but it is rare after that period. At the present time there are not any particular periods of rain, or successions of showers, which might be regarded as distinct rainy seasons. The whole period from October to March now constitutes only one continued rainy season, without any regularly intervening time of prolonged fair weather. Unless, therefore, there has been some change in the climate since the times of the New Testament, the early and the latter rains for which the husbandman waited with longing, seem rather to have implied the first showers of autumn, which revived the parched and thirsty earth, and prepared it for the seed; and the latter showers of spring, which continued to refresh and forward the ripening crops and the vernal products of the fields. In ordinary seasons, from the cessation of the showers in spring until their commencement in October or November, rain never falls, and the sky is usually serene.—Robinson's Biblical Researches, vol. ii., pp. 96-100.

{+} "Be patient" or, "Be long patient; or Suffer with long patience" {a} "early and latter rain" De 11:14

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