Tuesday, January 5, 2010

James also cries "woe to the rich!"

James 5 (New International Version) 1-5:

1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.

2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.

3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.*

* That could be translated as "day of feasting." I almost changed it, but I like the way James points out that when the rich feast, many are slaughtered. (There are those who argue that James was a vegetarian, but in this case, the feasting of the rich includes, I believe, the workers who die making things for the pleasures of the rich.)

The King James Version isn't as clear, but it kicks ass:

1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.