Behold, we count them happy which endure - The word rendered "we count them happy" ( ́ makarizomen ,) occurs only here and in Luke 1:48, where it is rendered "shall call me blessed." The word ́ makarios (blessed, or happy,) however, occurs often. See Matthew 5:3-11; Matthew 11:6; Matthew 13:6, et soepe . The sense here is, we speak of their patience with commendation. They have done what they ought to do, and their name is honored and blessed.
Ye have heard of the patience of Job - As one of the most illustrious instances of patient sufferers. See Job 1:21. The book of Job was written, among other reasons, to show that true religion would bear any form of trial to which it could be subjected. See Job 1:9-11; Job 2:5-6.
And have seen the end of the Lord - That is, the end or design which the Lord had in the trials of Job, or the result to which he brought the case at last - to wit, that he showed himself to be very merciful to the poor sufferer; that he met him with the expressions of his approbation for the manner in which he bore his trials; and that he doubled his former possessions, and restored him to more than his former happiness and honor. See Job 13. Augustine, Luther, Wetstein, and others, understand this as referring to the death of the Lord Jesus, and as meaning that they had seen the manner in which he suffered death, as an example for us. But, though this might strike many as the true interpretation, yet the objections to it are insuperable.
(1) It does not accord with the proper meaning of the word "end," ( ́ telos ). That word is in no instance applied to "death," nor does it properly express death. It properly denotes an end, term, termination, completion; and is used in the following senses: -
(a) To denote the end, the termination, or the last of anything, Mark 3:26; I Corinthians 15:24; Luke 21:9; Hebrews 7:3;
(b) An event, issue, or result, Matthew 26:58; Romans 6:21; II Corinthians 11:18;
(c) The final purpose, that to which all the parts tend, and in which they terminate, I Timothy 1:5;
(d) Tax, custom, or tribute - what is paid for public ends or purposes, Matthew 17:25; Romans 13:7.
(2) This interpretation, referring it to the death of the Saviour, would not accord with the remark of the apostle in the close of the verse, "that the Lord is very merciful." That is, what he says was "seen," or this was what was particularly illustrated in the ease referred to. Yet this was not particularly seen in the death of the Lord Jesus. He was indeed most patient and submissive in his death, and it is true that he showed mercy to the penitent malefactor; but this was not the particular and most prominent trait which he evinced in his death. Besides, if it had been, that would not have been the thing to which the apostle would have referred here. His object was to recommend patience under trials, not mercy shown to others; and this he does by showing:
(a) That Job was an eminent instance of it, and,
(b) That the result was such as to encourage us to be patient.
The end or the result of the divine dealings in his case was, that the Lord was "very pitiful and of tender mercy;" and we may hope that it will be so in our case, and should therefore be encouraged to be patient under our trials.
That the Lord is very pitiful - As he showed deep compassion in the case of Job, we have equal reason to suppose that he will in our own.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing James 5:11:
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