James - 5:11

11 Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the Lord in the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of James 5:11.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
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.
Behold, we account them blessed who have endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is merciful and compassionate.
Behold, we call them blessed who have endured. Ye have heard of the endurance of Job, and seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is full of tender compassion and pitiful.
lo, we call happy those who are enduring; the endurance of Job ye heard of, and the end of the Lord ye have seen, that very compassionate is the Lord, and pitying.
Remember that we call those blessed who endured what they did. You have also heard of Job's patient endurance, and have seen the issue of the Lord's dealings with him - how full of tenderness and pity the Lord is.
We say that those men who have gone through pain are happy: you have the story of Job and the troubles through which he went and have seen that the Lord was full of pity and mercy in the end.
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.
We count those who displayed such endurance blessed! You have heard, too, of Job's endurance, and have seen what the Lord's purpose was, for 'the Lord is full of pity and compassion.'
Ecce beatos esse ducimus eos qui sustinent: patientiam Job audistis, et finem Domini vidistis, quod multum sit misericors et commiserans.

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

The patience of Job. Having spoken generally of the prophets, he now refers to an example remarkable above others; for no one, as far as we can learn from histories, has ever been overwhelmed with troubles so hard and so various as Job; and yet he emerged from so deep a gulf. Whosoever, then, will imitate his patience, will no doubt find God's hand, which at length delivered him, to be the same. We see for what end his history has been written. God suffered not his servant Job to sink, because he patiently endured his afflictions. Then he will disappoint the patience of no one. If, however, it be asked, Why does the Apostle so much commend the patience of Job, as he had displayed many signs of impatience, being carried away by a hasty spirit? To this I reply, that though he sometimes failed through the infirmity of the flesh, or murmured within himself, yet he ever surrendered himself to God, and was ever willing to be restrained and ruled by him. Though, then, his patience was somewhat deficient, it is yet deservedly commended. The end of the Lord. By these words he intimates that afflictions ought ever to be estimated by their end. For at first God seems to be far away, and Satan in the meantime revels in the confusion; the flesh suggests to us that we are forsaken of God and lost. We ought, then, to extend our view farther, for near and around us there appears no light. Moreover, he has called it the end of the Lord, because it is his work to give a prosperous issue to adversities. If we do our duty in bearing evils obediently, he will by no means be wanting in performing his part. Hope directs us only to the end; God will then shew himself very merciful, how ever rigid and severe he may seem to be while afflicting us. [1]


1 - "The end of the Lord" seems a singular expression; but telos, properly the end, means also the issue, the upshot, the termination, the conclusion. It is genitive of the efficient cause, "the end (or issue) given by the Lord." See Job 42:12. According to Griesbach there are three MSS which have eleos, "mercy;" which would be very suitable, -- "and ye have seen the mercy of the Lord, that the Lord is very full of pity, and compassionate." But the authority is not sufficient.

Behold, we count them happy which endure - The word rendered "we count them happy" (μακαρίζομεν makarizomen,) occurs only here and in Luke 1:48, where it is rendered "shall call me blessed." The word μακάριος 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," (τέλος 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; 1-Corinthians 15:24; Luke 21:9; Hebrews 7:3;
(b) An event, issue, or result, Matthew 26:58; Romans 6:21; 2-Corinthians 11:18;
(c) The final purpose, that to which all the parts tend, and in which they terminate, 1-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.

We count them happy which endure - According to that saying of our blessed Lord, Blessed are ye when men shall persecute and revile you - for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11, Matthew 5:12, etc.
Ye have heard of the patience of Job - Stripped of all his worldly possessions, deprived at a stroke of all his children, tortured in body with sore disease, tempted by the devil, harassed by his wife, and calumniated by his friends, he nevertheless held fast his integrity, resigned himself to the Divine dispensations, and charged not God foolishly.
And have seen the end of the Lord - The issue to which God brought all his afflictions and trials, giving him children, increasing his property, lengthening out his life, and multiplying to him every kind of spiritual and secular good. This was God's end with respect to him; but the devil's end was to drive him to despair, and to cause him to blaspheme his Maker. This mention of Job shows him to have been a real person; for a fictitious person would not have been produced as an example of any virtue so highly important as that of patience and perseverance. The end of the Lord is a Hebraism for the issue to which God brings any thing or business.
The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy - Instead of πολυσπλαγχνος, which we translate very pitiful, and which might be rendered of much sympathy, from πολυς, much, and σπλαγχνον, a bowel, (because any thing that affects us with commiseration causes us to feel an indescribable emotion of the bowels), several MSS. have πολυευσπλαγχνος, from παλυς, much, ευ, easily, and σπλαγχνον, a bowel, a word not easy to be translated; but it signifies one whose commiseration is easily excited, and whose commiseration is great or abundant.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the (e) end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
(e) What end the Lord gave.

Behold, we count them happy which endure,.... Affliction, with courage, constancy, and patience, and hold out to the end; for such shall be saved; theirs is the kingdom of heaven; they are happy now, and will be so hereafter: the Spirit of God, and of glory, now rests upon them; and it is an honour done them that they are counted worthy to suffer for Christ; and they will be glorified with him to all eternity; the consideration of which may serve to encourage and increase patience.
Ye have heard of the patience of Job; from the account which is given of him, and his patience, in the book that bears his name; how he behaved under every trial, which came one upon the back of another; as the plundering of his substance, the loss of his children, and of the health of his body; and yet in all this Job sinned not, nor murmured against God, nor charged him foolishly, and was a mirror of patience; and though he afterwards let fall some expressions of impatience, yet he was humbled for them, and brought to repentance: this shows, that as the Apostle James, so the Jews, to whom he writes, believed that there had been really such a man as Job; and that the book which bears his name is an authentic piece of holy Scripture, and contains a narrative of matters of fact; or otherwise this reference to him would have been impertinent. How long Job endured the chastenings of the Lord cannot be said. The Jews (y) say they continued on him twelve months, which they gather from Job 7:3.
And have seen the end of the Lord; that is, the happy end, or exodus, out of all his troubles; which the Lord gave "to him", as the Oriental versions add; for he gave him twice as much as he had before, and blessed his latter end more than his beginning, Job 42:10. Some understand this of the Lord Jesus Christ, both of his great patience in sufferings, in which he is an example to his people, and they would do well to look to, and consider him; and of the end of his sufferings, his glorious resurrection from the dead, and session at the right hand of God, where he is crowned with glory and honour; but the former sense is best:
that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy; as to Job, so to all his people; his paternal relation to them engages his pity towards them; nor does he willingly afflict them; and when he does, he sympathizes with them; he is afflicted with them, and in his pity redeems them; his heart moves towards them, and he earnestly remembers them, and works deliverance for them in his own time and way; and therefore it becomes them to be patient.
(y) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 3. p. 9.

count them happy-- (Matthew 5:10).
which endure--The oldest authorities read, "which have endured," which suits the sense better than English Version: "Those who in past days, like the prophets and Job, have endured trials." Such, not those who "have lived in pleasure and been wanton on the earth" (James 5:5), are "happy."
patience--rather, "endurance," answering to "endure": the Greek words similarly corresponding. Distinct from the Greek word for "patience" James 5:10. The same word ought to be translated, "endurance," James 1:3. He here reverts to the subject which he began with.
Job--This passage shows the history of him is concerning a real, not an imaginary person; otherwise his case could not be quoted as an example at all. Though he showed much of impatience, yet he always returned to this, that he committed himself wholly to God, and at last showed a perfect spirit of enduring submission.
and have seen--(with the eyes of your mind). ALFORD translates from the old and genuine reading, "see also," &c. The old reading is, however, capable of being translated as English Version.
the end of the Lord--the end which the Lord gave. If Job had much to "endure," remember also Job's happy "end." Hence, learn, though much tried, to "endure to the end."
that--ALFORD and others translate, "inasmuch as," "for."
pitiful . . . of tender mercy--The former refers to the "feeling"; the latter, to the act. His pity is shown in not laying on the patient endurer more trials than he is able to bear; His mercy, in His giving a happy "end" to the trials [BENGEL].

We count them happy that endured - That suffered patiently. The more they once suffered, the greater is their present happiness. Ye have seen the end of the Lord - The end which the Lord gave him.

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