Translations of James 5:3 From Different Versions

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Alexander2

Senior Member
Russian
The following are translations of James 5:3 from 7 modern Greek Bible versions. Can someone please translate the highlighted sentence from each version into the English language?

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  • Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    1. "You have amassed riches for the last days (days of your punishment)."
    2. "You have hoarded for the last days."
    3. "You have hoarded for the last days."
    4. "You have gathered material treasures during the last days of judgment, during which you are to be punished."
    5. "And as judgment draws near, you are gathering treasures."
    6. "You have gathered treasures for your last days!"
    7. "You have amassed treasures, but unto your condemnation during those great days of judgment."
    The original reads, of course, ὡς πῦρ ἐθησαυρίσατε ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, literally "like fire you have hoarded in last days". But all the translations you quote interpret the words "like fire" as being part of the previous sentence ("will consume your flesh like fire"). Both readings make sense; the ancients did not use punctuation!
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you for the translations. The original ancient Greek text gives the idea that “the last days” had already commenced by the time when James wrote his letter, because it states that the rich had stored up treasures “in” the last days: “ἐθησαυρίσατε ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις.”

    Is there a reason why some modern Greek Bible versions do not render the preposition “ἐν” as “in” and give the idea that the last days were still in the future?
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Translation #1 puts the word για=for in parentheses, indicating that it does not appear in the original. But you are right; I was myself surprised that James used the word εν, which definitely means 'in' (not even 'into', which ought to be εις).
    Perhaps translations #1, 2, 3, and 6 use the word για=for precisely so as not to emphasize that, along with most if not all early Christians, James thought the end of the world was near at hand -- which may be true in God's eyes, before whom one thousand years are as one day, but was certainly wrong from a human perspective. James' days were not the last days, and those who amassed riches then did so for their heirs, even if this didn't help their souls. Of course, James was head of the Church of Jerusalem, and for many of his sheep those were the last days, albeit in a secular sense: Jerusalem was destroyed and many of its inhabitants massacred in 70 AD!
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It is noteworthy that a lot of Bible scholars say in their books that the last days mentioned at Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 18; 1 John 2:18; James 5:3 began in the first century and have continued down to the present for about 2,000 years. This idea is not acceptable to some religious people, which explains why they try to reinterpret passages like James 5:3 which give the idea that the last days were already in progress in the first century and have continued to the present.
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    "ως πυρ" belongs to the previous sentence.

    The original Greek doesn't say "For the last days" but "in the last days" (εν εσχάταις ημέραις). This is not necessarilly eschatological, but it may refer to everyone's personal judment day, i.e. after his death.
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "ως πυρ" belongs to the previous sentence.

    The original Greek doesn't say "For the last days" but "in the last days" (εν εσχάταις ημέραις). This is not necessarilly eschatological, but it may refer to everyone's personal judment day, i.e. after his death.
    A lot of English translations render the words “ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις” as “in the last days” at James 5:3:

    English Standard Version: “Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.”

    New International Version: “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.”

    International Standard Version: “Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be used as evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasures in these last days.”

    American Standard Version: “Your gold and your silver are rusted; and their rust shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye have laid up your treasure in the last days.”

    New American Standard Bible: “Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!”

    Contemporary English Version: “Your money has rusted, and the rust will be evidence against you, as it burns your body like fire. Yet you keep on storing up wealth in these last days.”

    Young’s Literal Translation: “Your gold and silver have rotted, and the rust of them for a testimony shall be to you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye made treasure in the last days!”

    The Bible in Living English: “Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a testimony to you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have been hoarding in the last days.”

    English Revised Version: “Your gold and your silver are rusted; and their rust shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye have laid up your treasure in the last days.”

    New English Translation: “Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have hoarded treasure!”

    Holman Christian Standard Bible: “Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days.”

    Common English Bible: “Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you. It will eat your flesh like fire. Consider the treasure you have hoarded in the last days.”

    World English Bible: “Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days.”
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Yes. Actually the gr. original doesn't say "in THE last days" but "in last days". I 'm not an expert but I would understand it as an idiomatic expression, meaning "in days (that may be) last", or "in days that are as if they were last". Most probably doesn't refer to a particular fixed "last day". In a sense, anybody may die soon, which practically means the end of his/her chances to accept Jesus, or repend etc.
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes. Actually the gr. original doesn't say "in THE last days" but "in last days". I 'm not an expert but I would understand it as an idiomatic expression, meaning "in days (that may be) last", or "in days that are as if they were last". Most probably doesn't refer to a particular fixed "last day". In a sense, anybody may die soon, which practically means the end of his/her chances to accept Jesus, or repend etc.
    There is no definite article in the following passages also:

    2 Timothy 3:1: “Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε, ὅτι ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί·”

    1 John 2:18: “Παιδία, ἐσχάτη ὥρα ἐστίν, καὶ καθὼς ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἀντίχριστος ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἀντίχριστοι πολλοὶ γεγόνασιν, ὅθεν γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐσχάτη ὥρα ἐστίν.”

    Jude 18: “ὅτι ἔλεγον ὑμῖν ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτου χρόνου ἔσονται ἐμπαῖκται κατὰ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι τῶν ἀσεβειῶν.”

    Yet these verses speak of the fixed period of time which began in the first century and which is generally known as “the last days.” Therefore, James 5:3 may be similarly speaking of the same period of time.
     
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