James 1:14

New Testament

12 Happy is the one who endures testing because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. 18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Genesis Rabbah 22


'And Ad-nai paid heed to Hevel and his offering' (Gen. 4:4) - He was pacified because of him. 'And to Kayin and his offering He did not pay heed' - He was not pacified because of him. 'And Kayin was very angry, and his face fell' (Gen. 4:5) - his face became dark/repulsive/like fire. 'And Ad-nai said to Kayin: why are you so angry, and why is your face fallen? (Gen. 4:7) is it not that, when you do good, you rise up [se'et] ? [this is] blessing, just as you say 'and Aharon lift [vayisa'] up his hands to the people and blessed them' (Lev. 9:22). 'And if you don't do good, lift' [this is] curse, as it is written 'and cause them to carry [lift on shoulders] the iniquity of guilt' (Lev. 22:16). Another interpretation: if you do good I forgive all your sins, and if not, the sin of that same man is heaped to excess. Rabbi Berachia in the name of Rabbi Shime'on the son of Ami said: Of David, a maskil, happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is pardoned.' (Ps. 22:1) - Happy is the person who is higher/greater from his sin, and whose sin is not higher/greater than him,as it says 'sin crouches at the door'. It is not written here 'she crouches' [chatat is feminine] but 'he crouches' - in the beginning the sin is weak like a lady, and after it strengthens as a male. Said rabbi Akiva: in the beginning it looks like a thread of a spider, and at the end it becomes like the rope of a boat, since it is written: 'Oy to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and as the ropes of a cart, sin' (Isaiah 5:18). Said Rabbi Itzchak: at first it makes itself a guest, and later becomes the master of the house, since it is written: '[And there came a traveler to the rich man] and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man' - here is the guest - 'that had come to him, but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that had come to him. '(II Sam. 12:4) - this is the master of the house.

 Notes and References

"... James 1:14–15 go on to place the blame for temptation and the resulting sin squarely on each individual being “attracted” and subsequently caught by the enticing bait offered by his or her own “evil desire.” In using the term “evil desire,” James probably depends on rabbinic theology, which developed the concept of “evil impulse” as part of the makeup of every human being. Left unchecked, this evil impulse leads people into sin (see 3 below). James proceeds to describe the process of sin in terms of conception and birth. The evil impulse penetrates the womb and fosters a child, who is publicly identified as sin, and this leads to conviction for adultery and the punishment of death. The onus of sin lies with each individual, not on God or even on the devil, who is carefully ignored in all this ..."

Martin, Ralph P. Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments (pp. 1656-1658) InterVarsity Press, 1997

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