James 5:20

New Testament

16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest. 19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Pirkei Avot 5:18


18 Whoever causes the multitudes to be righteous, sin will not occur on his account; And whoever causes the multitudes to sin, they do not give him the ability to repent. Moses was righteous and caused the multitudes to be righteous, [therefore] the righteousness of the multitudes is hung on him, as it is said, “He executed the Lord’s righteousness and His decisions with Israel” (Deut. 33:21). Jeroboam, sinned and caused the multitudes to sin, [therefore] the sin of the multitudes is hung on him, as it is said, “For the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he caused Israel to sin thereby” (I Kings 15:30).

 Notes and References

"... The Pirke Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) is a tractate of the Mishnah, written in Hebrew, and attributed to Judah the Prince. Although dated circa 200 CE, it contains sayings from the earlier generations of pharisaic sages. It clearly continues the sort of wisdom encouraged (and perhaps even institutionalized) by Sirach (see 24:1-23; 51:23-30), with its ethos joining the study and observance of Torah. It is not difficult to locate among its sayings a large number of similarities to James ... Associates are to choose between two 'ways' of behavior (Avot 2:6), which can be expressed in terms of a contrast between the wise man and the clod (Avot 5:7). In addition to practicing the prescribed virtues oneself, this means avoiding evil neighbors (Avot 5:18 = James 4:4) and encouraging others to a life of rectitude (Avot 5:18 = James 5:20). The one who acts according to the commands of Torah is described as a 'friend of Cod' (Avot 6:1 = James 2:23; 4:4). These 'ways' of behavior, in tum, are explicitly attached to religious motivations that also resemble those in James. The observance of the law is taking on the yoke of the kingdom (Avot 3:5) and gives the one who observes it a sort of kingship ..."

Johnson, Luke Timothy The Letter of James: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (pp. 34-35) Doubleday, 1995

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