1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
4 Behold, the hire of the laboureres who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and hte cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in the day of the slaughter.6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
The 'just' are the defenseless people, probably poor laborers. The poor who could not pay their debts were thrown in prison or forced to sell all their possessions, and at times, even sell their family members into slavery, With no opportunity to work off their debts, the poor people often died of starvation. God called this murder. Hoarding money, exploiting employees, and living self-indulgently will not escape God's notice.
James proclaims the worthlessness of riches, not the worthlessness of the rich. Today's money will be worthless when Christ returns, so we should spend our time accumulating treasures that will be worthwhile in God's eternal Kingdom. Money itself is not the problem; Christian leaders need money to live and support their families; missionaries need money to help them spread the Gospel; churches need money to do their work effectively. it is the love of money that leads to evil (1 Timothy 6:`10). This is a warning to all Christians who are tempted to adopt worldly standards rather than God's standards (Romans 12:1-2) and an encouragement to all those who are oppressed by the rich. Also read Matthew 6:19-21 to see what Jesus says about the riches.
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal;
20 But lay up yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth currupt, and where theieves do not break through nor steal;
Laying up treasures in heaven is not limited to tithing but is accomplished by all acts of obedience to God.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.