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James 4:9

    James 4:9 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Be troubled, with sorrow and weeping; let your laughing be turned to sorrow and your joy to grief.

    Webster's Revision

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    World English Bible

    Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    Definitions for James 4:9

    Let - To hinder or obstruct.

    Clarke's Commentary on James 4:9

    Be afflicted, and mourn - Without true and deep repentance ye cannot expect the mercy of God.

    Let your laughter be turned to mourning - It appears most evidently that many of those to whom St. James addressed this epistle had lived a very irregular and dissolute life. He had already spoken of their lust, and pleasures, and he had called them adulterers and adulteresses; and perhaps they were so in the grossest sense of the words. He speaks here of their laughter and their joy; and all the terms taken together show that a dissolute life is intended. What a strange view must he have of the nature of primitive Christianity, who can suppose that these words can possibly have been addressed to people professing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who were few in number, without wealth or consequence, and were persecuted and oppressed both by their brethren the Jews and by the Romans!

    Barnes' Notes on James 4:9

    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep - That is, evidently, on account of your sins. The sins to which the apostle refers are those which he had specified in the previous part of the chapter, and which he had spoken of as so evil in their nature, and so dangerous in their tendency. The word rendered "be afflicted" means, properly, to endure toil or hardship; then to endure affliction or distress; and here means, that they were to afflict themselves - that is, they were to feel distressed and sad on account of their transgressions. Compare Ezra 8:21. The other words in this clause are those which are expressive of deep grief or sorrow. The language here used shows that the apostle supposed that it was possible that those who had done wrong should voluntarily feel sorrow for it, and that, therefore, it was proper to call upon them to do it.

    (All who feel true sorrow for sin, do so voluntarily; but it is not intended by this assertion to insinuate that repentance is not the work of the Spirit. He operates on men without destroying their freedom, or doing violence to their will: "in the day of his power they are willing." Nor is it improper to call on men to do that for which they require the Spirit's aid. That aid is not withheld in the hour of need; and everywhere the Bible commands sinners to believe and repent.)

    Let your laughter be turned to mourning - It would seem that the persons referred to, instead of suitable sorrow and humiliation on account of sin, gave themselves to joyousness, mirth, and revelry. See a similar instance in Isaiah 22:12-13. It is often the case, that those for whom the deep sorrows of repentance would be peculiarly appropriate, give themselves to mirth and vanity. The apostle here says that such mirth did not become them. Sorrow, deep and unfeigned, was appropriate on account of their sins, and the sound of laughter and of revelry should be changed to notes of lamentation. To how many of the assemblies of the vain, the gay, and the dissipated, might the exhortation in this passage with propriety be now addressed!

    Your joy to heaviness - The word here rendered heaviness occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means dejection, sorrow. It is not gloom, melancholy, or moroseness, but it is sorrow on account of sin. God has so made us that we should feel sorrow when we are conscious that we have done wrong, and it is appropriate that we should do so.

    Wesley's Notes on James 4:9

    4:9 Be afflicted - For your past unfaithfulness to God.