Summary: The Need for Patience. Given the oppressions mentioned in vv. 3-6, James encourages Christians to be patient until the coming of the Lord, and he cites the farmer, the prophets, and Job.

Text: James 5:7-11 (NIV)

7Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.


The Need for Patience. Given the oppressions mentioned in vv. 3-6, James encourages Christians to be patient until the coming of the Lord, and he cites the farmer, the prophets, and Job. “Patience” or “long-suffering” is mentioned four times and “steadfastness” (“endurance”) twice in this section. The first expresses patience in respect of persons and the second in respect of things. James shared with the other NT writers the conviction that the coming of the Lord was near (Lk. 21:31 [4]; I Th. 4:13-18).

The apostle exhorts these who were suffering under these wrongs to exercise patience, James 5:7-11. He encourages them with the hope that the Lord would come; he refers them to the example of the farmer, who waits long for the fruit of the earth; he cautions them against indulging in hard feelings and thoughts against others more prosperous than they were; he refers them, as examples of patience, to the prophets, to the case of Job, and to the Lord Jesus himself.



BE PATIENT, THEN, BROTHERS, and SISTERS, under wrongs like the apostle described in the previous verses. Those whom he addressed were undoubtedly suffering under those oppressions, and his object was to encourage 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. Another method of doing it was by the direct implanting of the duty of patience. Compare the notes at Matthew 5:38-41, Matthew 5:43-45. The meaning 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, vigor, and patience is not to be short-lived, but is to be permanent. Let it continue if there is need of it, even to the coming of the Lord. Then you will be released from sufferings.”

UNTIL THE LORD’S COMING. - The coming of the Lord Jesus - either to remove you by death, or to destroy the city of Jerusalem and end the Jewish institutions, or to judge the world and receive his people to himself. The “coming of the Lord” by any means was an event that Christians were taught to expect, and which would relate to their deliverance from troubles. Since the time of his appearing was not revealed, it was not improper to refer to that as an event that might 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 way. On the general subject of the expectations entertained among the early Christians of the second advent of the Saviour, see 1 Corinthians 15:51[5] note; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 note.

“THE AUTUMN AND SPRING RAINS” are also known as the early and late rains. The first germinates the seed; the second matures it. A few of the best MSS omit “rain,” and it has been thought that “fruit” (which is found in a few good MSS) should be repeated, but OT parallels (e.g., Deut. 11:14 [1]; Jer. 5:24; Zech. 10:1) favor the common rendering. The words naturally recall our Lord’s comparison of the consummation of the age to a harvest (Mat. 13:39) [2], and Joel’s prophesy of the former and latter rains after God’s judgment upon His enemies (2:23). Still, it is unsafe to make a simple illustration the basis of prophetical interpretation.

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 [3] before that season arrives. In time we may expect the harvest to be ripened. We cannot hasten it. We cannot control the rain, the sun, the season; 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.

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