A project of the Bible in Its Traditions Research Program AISBL
Directed by the École Biblique et Archéologique in Jerusalem
To support us, click here
11 Indeed we count those blessed who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you saw the end of YHWH-that He is compassionate and He is merciful.
11 Behold, we call them blessed that endured: ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful.
11 Consider that we beatify those who have endured. You have heard of the patient suffering of Job. And you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is merciful and compassionate.
11b see : Byz | TR Nes: you saw
3:4f,5:4,7,9,11 Look Call for Attention James uses the verb idou (V = ecce) several times throughout the work to call special attention to what follows.
7–12 Divisio Textus In → the heading for this section is, "Concerning patience Catena(makrothumia) and perseverance (hupomonê) during suffering, and concerning the truth" ( 1844, 8:34).
11c compassionate is he and merciful God’s Merciful Nature A standard characterization of God in the Qur'an is "most gracious, most merciful" (Arabic: rahman and rahim); the phrase opens every chapter (sura) in the Qur'an with the exception of one. See also Vocabulary 5:11c and Biblical Intertextuality 5:11c.
11b the end of the Lord Genitive of Agency In the immediate context, the phrase to telos Kuriou is most likely a type of genitive of origin or source: the final result caused by the Lord.
1:3f,5:11 perseverance Courageous Patience James uses two word families to describe the virtue of patience: the noun hupomonê with the cognate verb hupomenô (used in Jas 1:3–4,12; 5:11) and makrothumeô / makrothumia (Vocabulary Jas 5:7-8,10).
Hupomonê is closely connected with testing (peirasmos): the testing of one's faith produces perseverance (hupomonê, Jas 1:4); the blessed person perseveres (hupomenô) through trial until he reaches his eschatological reward (Jas 1:12; 5:11). Job is held out as an example of hupomonê (Jas 5:11). See also Biblical Intertextuality 1:3.
The virtue of hupomonê is regularly discussed in conjunction with the virtue of courage (andreia) in the writing of Aristotle and the Stoics (Ancient Texts 1:3).
10–20 Use in Lectionary →BL : Special and General Feasts: Prophets; 1 of 3 reading options.
11b perseverance of Job Character of Job In the Islamic tradition, Job is considered a prophet. His perseverance figures prominently. The Qur'an parallels James in connecting Job's perseverance with God's mercy, "And (remember) Job, when he cried to his Lord, 'Truly distress has seized me, but thou art the most merciful of those that are merciful'" (→Qur’an 21.83). After recounting Job's affliction and eventual reward (cf. Jb 42), God says, "Truly We found him full of patience and constancy" (→Qur’an 38:44; cf. 38:41-44). See also Biblical Intertextuality 5:11b; Peritestamental Literature 5:11b; Christian Tradition 5:11b.
11c compassionate Hapax Legomenon James' term polusplagchnos is unattested in G or Greek literature before James. It is a hapax legomenon, but its meaning is not difficult to deduce. It is composed of polus, "much, great," and the noun splagchna, "innards," understood as the seat of passions, particularly compassion. Here James is not directly dependent on G, for there we encounter a similar word pair oiktirmôn and polueleos (Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15 (85:15); Ps 103:8 (102:8); Jl 2:13; Jon 4:2).
The Shepherd of Hermas uses the adjective and cognate noun frequently to describe the Lord (→Herm. Vis. 1.3.2 "the Lord's compassion has granted you and your household mercy"; 2.2.8; →Sim. 5.7.4). See also Biblical Intertextuality 5:11c and Islam 5:11c.
11a Look, we call blessed those who persevere Echo James echoes his earlier statement, "Blessed is the man who perseveres through trials" (Jas 1:12). In that passage, James specifies that the blessedness of those who persevere consists in their receiving their eschatological reward: the crown of life.
11b perseverance of Job Biblical Portrait of Job The figure of Job as a model of patient endurance is seen primarily in the prose introduction (ch. 1-2) and ending (ch. 42). For example:
By contrast, in the verse dialogue with his friends, which comprises the main portion of the book, Job often complains that the Lord is treating him unfairly (e.g., Jb 7:11-16; 10:18; 23:2). Elsewhere Job is remembered as the paradigmatic righteous man (Ez 14:14). James apparently presumes that his readers will be familiar with other traditions (e.g., as reflected in →T. Job) that emphasize Job's patience and perseverance. See also Peritestamental Literature 5:11b ; Christian Tradition 5:11b; Islam 5:11b.
11c merciful God’s Merciful Nature James uses the term oiktirmôn to describe the Lord, evoking a rich background of references to the merciful Lord, as in the following examples.
7–11 Theme of Patience
Jas 5:7-11 focuses on various aspects of patience (using two words to express the idea: makrothumeô / makrothumia and hupomenô / hupomonê). James' admonitions address two main aspects of patience:
Verse 9a, with its admonition to not speak badly of fellow believers, fits awkwardly within the thematic flow of Jas 5:7-11, leading some commentators to conclude that it originally was an independent saying. The other verses in Jas 5:7-11 focus on patience, while v. 9 echoes James' earlier admonitions that community members not speak badly about one another (see especially Jas 4:11, and earlier admonitions on the dangers of improper speech in Jas 1:19,26, and especially Jas 3:1-12). With its further connection with the theme of judgment ("so that you are not judged"), however, the verse does fit into a further theme of the Jas 5:7-11 passage: eschatological judgment.
The implicit logic seems to be the following: complaining against one's fellow believer is equivalent to judging him. If one judges another person, then one in turn brings judgment on oneself. This judging, in any case, is illicit, since there is only one legitimate judge: Jesus Christ.
By placing this admonition here, James may imply that community members should patiently bear suffering caused by fellow community members, rather than complain against them.
11b the end of the Lord Purpose The meaning of this lapidary phrase (telos Kuriou; V: finis Domini) is ambiguous. The title Kurios may refer either to God the Father or to Jesus. Telos can have two basic meanings in this context:
The phrase is clearly set in parallel to James' reference to Job: "you have heard of the perseverance of Job" and "you have seen the telos Kuriou." The reference, then, is most likely to the Lord's final purpose or result, referring to Job's perseverance. In other words, the reference is to Job's vindication at the end of the book when Job's wealth and family are restored. A prominent interpretive trend, current in James' time, however, understands Job's final vindication as receiving eternal life. References to the resurrection are already apparent: G-Job and →T. Job frequently refer to Job's heavenly reward.
This eschatological interpretation is supported by James' calling those who have persevered "blessed"—a clear reference to Jas 1:12 which speaks of the eschatological crown to be won by those who persevere through their trials.
11c Because compassionate is the Lord and merciful Explanatory Hoti Clause The conjunction hoti introduces an explanatory or causal phrase: the Lord brought about a blessed final result for Job, because the Lord is exceedinly compassionate and merciful.
11b perseverance of Job Portrait of Job The Testament of Job (1st c. BC – 1st c. AD) shows remarkable parallels with James' portrait of Job.
Its central focus is the virtue of hupomonê:
One sees this interpretive tradition already in G-Jb 42:17, which adds to the account of Job's death the comment, "It is written that he will rise again with those the Lord raises up." Christians read other passages as references to the resurrection: Jb 14:14, "For if a man dies, shall he live again?"; G-Jb 19:26, "may my skin rise up" (cited in →1 Clem. 26.3 as a proof of the resurrection). See also Biblical Intertextuality 5:11b; Christian Tradition 5:11b and Islam 5:11b.
9–12 Use in Lectionary →RML : Friday, Week 7, Year 2.
11b end of the Lord Interpretation of Telos Kuriou ("end of the Lord") The tradition offers a variety of interpretations (several commentatators offer more than one).
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.