Of Rags And Riches: The Benefits Of Hearing Jeremiah 9:23–24 Within James 1:9–11 -- By: H.H. Drake Williams, III

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 53:2 (NA 2002)
Article: Of Rags And Riches: The Benefits Of Hearing Jeremiah 9:23–24 Within James 1:9–11
Author: H.H. Drake Williams, III


Of Rags And Riches:
The Benefits Of Hearing Jeremiah 9:23–24 Within James 1:9–11

H.H. Drake Williams, III

Summary

James 1:9–11 encourages the poor and warns the rich about their perceived positions. Despite the apparent simplicity of the teaching, scholars have questioned the identity of the rich person, the nature of the boasting, and the relationship that this teaching has to the other teachings within James 1. Hearing a scriptural echo from Jeremiah 9:23–24 [LXX 9:22-23] within James 1:9–11 can contribute to this discussion. When the context of Jeremiah 9:23–24 and its early interpretations within Jewish literature are heard, they can help identify the rich person in James 1:9–11 as a Christian believer, specify the boasting as a heroic boast, and provide connections with this teaching and others within James 1.

I. Introduction

James 1:9–11 is the first of a number of passages dealing with issues of wealth and poverty within the epistle of James.1 In this passage James encourages the poor person that his position is much higher than he originally considered, and challenges the rich person that his position is much worse than he expected. Despite the apparent simplicity of this text, there are a number of questions that remain.

Firstly, scholars are not in agreement whether the rich person in James 1:9–11 is a Christian believer or not. Those who believe that the rich man is a Christian believer notice the parallelism between 1:9 and 1:10–11 and assume that the idea of brother is continued from 1:9 into 1:10–11. The structure of 1:9–10 suggests that the verb for

boasting in 1:9, καυχάομαι, would be understood as the verb of 1:10. These scholars also see that Christians with wealth are warned in other sections of James (e.g.

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