Jonathan Robie wrote:
James 5:7 wrote:Μακροθυμήσατε οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἕως τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου.
I'm trying to understand what thought is continued with οὖν in James 5:7.
ATR wrote:Be patient therefore (μακροθυμησατε ουν). A direct corollary (ουν, therefore) from the coming judgment on the wicked rich (5:1-6).
But that seems unlikely, because verses 5:1-6 address οἱ πλούσιοι (the rich) and things that belong to them as ὑμῶν, verses 7 ff address the oppressed brethren as ὑμεῖς, which seems to introduce a new context, addressing a different audience.
Except for that pesky little οὖν. Which some translations even render "therefore". So ... what am I missing here? Does οὖν really have an inferential force in this verse? Or if not, what thought is it continuing, and what is its force?
Verses 1 to 6 are, as Jonathan notes, directed to οἱ πλούσιοι, who are told to weep ἐπὶ ταῖς ταλαιπωρίαις ὑμῶν ταῖς ἐπερχομέναις. The sense of the imminence of these coming miseries is stressed by ὁ ἰὸς αὐτῶν εἰς μαρτύριον ὑμῖν ἔσται καὶ φάγεται τὰς σάρκας ὑμῶν ὡς πῦρ. ἐθησαυρίσατε ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις (v3)․ The withheld pay which cries out, as well as the shouting of the harvesters, is also forward-looking, appealing to God to act in judgement against the oppressors (v4). Somewhat differently, and by implication rather than explicitly, the rich living luxuriously call forth a judgement which is felt to be imminent. The rich are told, ἐθρέψατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σφαγῆς. (v5)
When my daily reading took me through this passage a few weeks ago, I wondered if ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σφαγῆς implied that the rich have slaughtered innocents whom they have oppressed, or whether the slaughter is God's judgement upon the wicked, with the rich who are addressed unaware in their luxurious living that the time of judgement is upon them. Even if taken in the first sense, the implication would seem to be that the godless living of the rich calls for imminent judgement.
James then addresses his readers (v7): Μακροθυμήσατε οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἕως τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου. Since the παρουσία is imminent, you be patient. What is judgement for the rich is, by implication, deliverance for the ἀδελφοί, and it is close, so (οὖν) you - in contrast to the rich - just be patient, hold your nerve, not long now! Verse 8, μακροθυμήσατε καὶ ὑμεῖς, στηρίξατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν, ὅτι ἡ παρουσία τοῦ κυρίου ἤγγικεν would seem consonant with such an understanding.
This is probably pretty close to ATR, so maybe I've simply said that I find his explanation a little more convincing than does Jonathan.