13 You must not oppress your neighbor or commit robbery against your neighbor. You must not withhold the wages of the hired laborer overnight until morning. 14 You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. You must fear your God; I am the Lord. 15 “‘You must not deal unjustly in judgment: You must neither show partiality to the poor nor honor the rich. You must judge your fellow citizen fairly. 16 You must not go about as a slanderer among your people. You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the Lord. 17 You must not hate your brother in your heart. You must surely reprove your fellow citizen so that you do not incur sin on account of him.
1 My brothers and sisters, do not show prejudice if you possess faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. 2 For if someone comes into your assembly wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person enters in filthy clothes, 3 do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor”? 4 If so, have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?
Notes and References
"... Recognizing the poor (and the rich) as made in God's image ought to prohibit slanderous communications between brothers and sisters in the messianic community. To anticipate what comes at 2:8-9, the partiality James denounces in 2:1-4 contradicts the second half of the Jesus Creed (Mark 12:28-32), the command to love neighbor as self, which comes from Leviticus 19:18, which also prohibits prejudice against the poor: "You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:15) ..."
McKnight, Scot The Letter of James (p. 189) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011