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11 For the sun arose with burning heat and withered the grass, and its flower fell off, and its beautiful appearance perished. So the rich man also shall fade away in his pursuits.
11 For the sun ariseth with the scorching wind, and withereth the grass: and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his goings.
11 For as the sun rises with its burning heat and causes the grass to wither, and the flower to fall and its beauty to perish: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
11c wither away NT Hapax Legomenon The Greek verb, marainô, "to die out, fade, disappear, wither" is a hapax in the whole NT. The verb does occur in G. It is an appropriate choice in James' context, as it refers to plants withering in G (cf. Jb 15:30—a passage applied metaphorically to God's judgment on the wicked; or Ws 2:8).
9ff humble brother...rich one Identity of Poor and Rich: Liberationist Perspective
11d pursuits Literal or Metaphorical Journeys The Greek poreia has a range of meanings from the literal, "journey," to the metaphorical, "way of life." This metaphorical sense parallels the thought in Jas 1:8: the double-minded man is unstable "in all his ways" (Comparison of Versions 1:11d).
11a the sun rose …and dried…fell…was destroyed: Gnomic Aorists The verbs in this verse are gnomic aorists. That is, although they are aorist in form—which normally indicates a single complete action, usually in the past—they are understood to express a general truth (→ §1931). Thus, they are usually translated in the present tense. This technique may also communicate the sense, as 1920→ notes, of "the certainty and suddenness of the event" (i.e., the humbling of the rich man; 597). Notes
9ff boast in his exaltation Social Status of Rich and Poor James reverses the actual social statuses of contemporary Greco-Roman society. In that society, the rich bore high favor and corresponding privileges, while the humble and poor received no such special attention or were actively despised: the word tapeinos connotes anything insignificant, poor, or lowly, and even moral inferiority (Ancient Cultures 2:1–4; Ancient Cultures 4:4a). See "Social status of rich and poor in Greco-Roman society" in →James: Rich and Poor.
11d pursuits "In His Ways” or “With His Riches” → ad loc. ( Comm. Iac. , 286; , 389) agrees with → (390) in preferring the reading Annot. Ep. Iac.poriais ("in his riches" or "with his riches") over the reading poreiais ("in his ways"). Their suggested emendation was based on achieving a better sense of the passage's meaning, not on manuscript evidence.
11c the beauty of its face Semiticism James' hê euprepeia tou prosôpou appears to be a Semiticism. The pleonastic prosôpon imitates the Hebrew panîm, which can also mean "surface"; see for example Gn 2:6; Prv 24:31 or Ps 104:30. S employs an explanatory translation: šûprā’ dᵉḥēzwê, "beauty of its appearance" (cf. the Hebrew cognate, ḥāzôn, "vision").
11c the beauty of its appearance is destroyed Biblical Parallels The temporary nature of beauty is a frequent theme in the Bible, cf. Na 1:4: "the bloom of Lebanon withers." James may be making a direct allusion to Ps 103:15 or Jb 14:1–2. Likewise, James' remarks call to mind Jesus' teaching that the wildflowers, though they are clothed more splendidly than Solomon today, are "thrown into the oven tomorrow" (Mt 6:28-30; Lk 12:27-28).
1–12 Divisio Textus
See also →James: Medieval Divisio Textus.
9ff Various Interpretations
Reading this passage in the context of Jas 1:2–4 discussion on enduring trials, interpretative tradition often understands the referent of James' "the humble brother" as anyone who suffers hardships:
Some commentators make more specific applications
9ff The Poor and the Rich James introduces here a central theme of the letter: the relationship between the rich and poor (→James: Rich and Poor).
Some scholars believe that Jas 1:9–11—with its reflection on the humble and the rich—was originally an independent unit, arguing that it has little or no connection with the previous and following sections of James.
The precise relationship between this pericope (Jas 1:9–11) and other passages in James is debated, although it is clear that for James there is a close connection between the person who endures trials (Jas 1:2–4), the person who is not double-minded (Jas 1:5–8), and the "humble" (tapeinos) person (Literary Devices 1:9–10).
1:1–5:20 James Depictions of the Author Depictions of James, the author of the epistle, in paintings, statues, manuscript illustrations, engravings, woodcuts, and embroidery on liturgical vestments are particularly prominent in the Middle Ages. A common consensus of the artists is that the author of the epistle is James the Just, leader of the Jerusalem church; he is typically further identified with James, son of Alphaeus, one of Jesus' Twelve (Mk 3:18), and "James the Less" (Mk 15:40). The iconography of James draws particularly on accounts of James recorded in → 23 and Hist. eccl.→ 2, who in turn draw on accounts from Clement of Alexandria and Hegesipus. See also Vir. ill.→James: Introduction.
Several prominent features of these portrayals may be noted:
The following images are noteworthy:
James holds a club.
James, who resembles his brother Jesus, is second from his left. This full-scale copy was the main source for the— unfortunate—twenty-year restoration of the original (1978–1998). It includes several lost details such as Christ's feet, the transparent glass decanters on the table, and the floral motifs of the tapestries that decorate the room's interior. It was first mentioned in 1626 by the author Bartolomeo Sanese as hanging in the Certosa di Pavia, a monastery near Pavia, Italy, but it is unlikely that it was intended for this location. At some point, the upper third of the picture was cut off, and the width was reduced. Giampietrino is thought to have worked closely with Leonardo when he was in Milan. A very fine, full-size copy of this painting, before it was cut down, is installed at Tongerlo Abbey in Westerlo, near Antwerp, Belgium.
The side and central panels describe a a great hall with blue grey walls and three-colored tiles. In the side panels are depicted the half sisters of Virgin Mary, called after their fathers Mary Cleophas (left) and Mary Salome (right) together with their husbands.
Left panel: St. Mary Cleophas and Alphaeus (with the features of Friedrich the Wise with their two sons, the Apostles St. James the Less (at her breast) and Joseph Justus, called St. Barnabas, as annunciator of the Gospel of Matthew depicted with a book.
Central panel: Joseph, who seems to seems to sleep, the Virgin, dressed in blue with yellow lining, Anna and the Christ Child on her knee, who is stretching out his hand towards an apple given to him by Virgin Mary. Anna's three husbands following → are shown in the background in the matroneum: on the left Joachim, who is attracted by the holy women in front of him and whose relation is also shown by the corresponding blue and yellow color of his dress, Cleophas (with the physiognomy and chain of Emperor Maximilian I and Salomas, with the physiognomy of Sixtus Oelhafen von Schöllenbach, secretary of Friedrich III, Maximilian I and Karl V), who are talking to each other. There is an architectural structure by a great stone bench in the foreground of the central panel with two marble columns on the sides, over which is strectched a cloth of gold. On the right column is a tablet with date and signature: [LVCAS CHRONVS FACIEBAT ANNO 1509. The parapet of the matroneum is decorated by a sculptured frieze with dancing putti holding six escutcheons with the six fields of Electorate of Saxony. In the hall are shown the 17 members of the Holy Kinship. In the central panel are shown two more children of Mary Cleophas and Alpheus, the Apostles Simon, patron saint of weavers, dyers, tanners and saddlers and Jude, who went on mission and suffered their martyrdom together and therefore are regularly depicted together. Leg. aur.
Right panel: St. Mary Salome and Zebedee (with the features of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, and his brother Herzog Johann der Beständige). St. Mary Salome, dressed in gold with dark red lining, is combing her son Saint James the Greater and while Saint John the Evangelist is hiding in her dress.
James is shown holding a Bible, symbolizing his status as a scriptural writer, in one hand. James is depicted in the Mannerist style with elongated form and without any of the traditional iconographic symbols
The risen Jesus appears to James and breaks bread with him (based on an account recorded in → 2, said to be drawn from the Gospel according to the Hebrews). Vir. ill.
James holds a book and club.
James, resembling Jesus, prayers on his knees with outstretched arms. It perhaps reflects Hegesippus' statement that James spent so much time in prayer that his knees were as hard as a camel's.
The inscription bearing the name of the saint has disappeared, but the iconography—facial features and beard shape —suggest that the icon is of James. Byzantine art places him among the founding fathers of the Church. As the creator of the first liturgy containing memorial services and the author of the message, which speaks of the healing power of prayer (Jas 5:14-16), he was also worshipped in ancient times as a healer. In Novgorod, James is prayed for the end of the epidemics. In sacred iconography, the representations of James of Jerusalem alone are very rare. We know the icons of Novgorod in which he is represented with other saints: Nicholas the Thaumaturgist, James the brother of God, Ignatius the bearer of God, end of the 15th c.; James the brother of God, Cosmas and Damian, 2nd quarter of the 16th c. The icon comes from the best workshops in Moscow or Novgorod.
11d pursuits Literal or Metaphorical? V translates the Greek poreia as a literal journey (iter); S in a more metaphorical manner (hwpk’: "behavior, manner of life"). Poreia can have both meanings, but James' meaning is likely more metaphorical: it corresponds to the ending of the related passage in Jas 1:5–8, "in all of his ways" (hodois).