Do not speak evil against others (Jas 4:11)

“Brothers!

Do not speak evil

Against one another!

Whoever speaks evil

Against a brother

Or judges his brother,

Speaks evil

Against the law

And judges

The law.

But if you judge

The law

You are not a doer

Of the law

But a judge.”

Μὴ καταλαλεῖτε ἀλλήλων, ἀδελφοί. ὁ καταλαλῶν ἀδελφοῦ ἢ κρίνων τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καταλαλεῖ νόμου καὶ κρίνει νόμον· εἰ δὲ νόμον κρίνεις, οὐκ εἶ ποιητὴς νόμου ἀλλὰ κριτής.

James said, “Brothers (ἀδελφοί)!  Do not speak evil (Μὴ καταλαλεῖτε) against one another (ἀλλήλων)!  Whoever speaks evil (ὁ καταλαλῶν) against a brother (ἀδελφοῦ) or judges (ἢ κρίνων) his brother (τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ), speaks evil (καταλαλεῖ) against the law (νόμου) and judges (καὶ κρίνει) the law (νόμον).  But if (εἰ δὲ) you judge (κρίνεις) the law (νόμον) you are not a doer (οὐκ εἶ ποιητὴς) of the law (νόμου) but a judge (ἀλλὰ κριτής).”  James had a criticism for his brotherly readers.  They were not to speak evil against each other.  Anyone who spoke evil of his brother was speaking evil against the law.  Anyone who judged his brother was judging the law, not observing the law.  Thus, if you were judging the Torah law you were not a doer of the Torah law.  If you were speaking evil against someone, you were denying divine justice and the law of God itself.  There was a correlation between how you treated your brother and how you treated the law of God itself.  Do you speak evil of your brother?

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