James 4:2

2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot* obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

James 4:2 Meaning and Commentary

James 4:2

Ye lust, and have not
The apostle proceeds to show the unsuccessfulness of many in their desires and pursuits after worldly things; some might be like the sluggard, whose soul desireth all good things, and yet he has nothing, ( Proverbs 13:4 ) because he does not make use of any means, even of such as are proper and necessary, and ought to be used:

ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain;
some, instead of kill, which seems not so agreeable, read envy; and then the sense is, they envy at the good and happiness of others, and covet after another's property, but cannot enjoy it; all such envy and covetousness are fruitless, as well as sinful:

ye fight and war, yet ye have not;
go to law one with another about each other's property; or rather, make a great stir and hustle to get the things of the world; rise early, and sit up late; strive who should get most, and quarrel about what is gotten, and seek to get all advantages of one another; and yet still have not, what at least is desired and strove for:

because ye ask not;
of God, whose blessing only makes rich: instead of all this worldly stir and bustle, and these strivings and quarrellings with one another, it would be much more advisable, and, in the issue, be found to turn to more account, to pray to God for a blessing on your endeavours; and to ask of him the good and necessary things of life, in submission to his will, and with thankfulness for what he has bestowed.

James 4:2 In-Context

1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

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