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James 4:2 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; ye have not, because ye ask not.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— You lust and do not have; [so] you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; [so] you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Ye lust and have not: ye kill and are full of envy, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war; ye have not because ye ask not.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Ye covet—and have not, ye commit murder, and are jealous—and cannot obtain,—ye fight and war. Ye have not—because ye do not really ask,
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— ye desire, and ye have not; ye murder, and are zealous, and are not able to attain; ye fight and war, and ye have not, because of your not asking;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— You covet, and have not: you kill and envy and cannot obtain. You contend and war, and you have not: because you ask not.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Ye lust, and haue not: yee kill, and desire to haue, and cannot obtaine: yee fight and warre, yet yee haue not, because ye aske not.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— You desire, and have not; you kill and are emulous, yet it cometh not into your hands; you strive and make wars, and nothing have because you do not ask;
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Ye covet, and possess not; and ye kill, and envy, and effect nothing: and ye fight and make attacks; and ye have not, because ye ask not.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Ye lust, 1937
{1937} Prime
ἐπιθυμέω
epithumeo
{ep-ee-thoo-meh'-o}
From G1909 and G2372; to set the heart upon, that is, long for (rightfully or otherwise).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
have 2192
{2192} Prime
ἔχω
echo
{ekh'-o}
A primary verb (including an alternate form σχέω [[scheo]], {skheh'-o}; used in certain tenses only); to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
not: 3756
{3756} Prime
οὐ
ou
{oo}
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
ye kill, 5407
{5407} Prime
φονεύω
phoneuo
{fon-yoo'-o}
From G5406; to be a murderer (of).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
desire to have, 2206
{2206} Prime
ζηλόω
zeloo
{dzay-lo'-o}
From G2205; to have warmth of feeling for or against.
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
cannot 3756
{3756} Prime
οὐ
ou
{oo}
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
1410
{1410} Prime
δύναμαι
dunamai
{doo'-nam-ahee}
Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.
z5736
<5736> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 618
obtain: 2013
{2013} Prime
ἐπιτυγχάνω
epitugchano
{ep-ee-toong-khan'-o}
From G1909 and G5177; to chance upon, that is, (by implication) attain.
z5629
<5629> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 454
ye fight 3164
{3164} Prime
μάχομαι
machomai
{makh'-om-ahee}
Middle voice of an apparently primary verb; to war, that is, (figuratively) to quarrel, dispute.
z5736
<5736> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 618
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
war, 4170
{4170} Prime
πολεμέω
polemeo
{pol-em-eh'-o}
From G4171; to be (engaged) in warfare, that is, to battle (literally or figuratively).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
yet 1161
{1161} Prime
δέ
de
{deh}
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
ye have 2192
{2192} Prime
ἔχω
echo
{ekh'-o}
A primary verb (including an alternate form σχέω [[scheo]], {skheh'-o}; used in certain tenses only); to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
not, 3756
{3756} Prime
οὐ
ou
{oo}
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
because y1223
[1223] Standard
διά
dia
{dee-ah'}
A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal or occasional). In composition it retains the same general import.
ye 5209
{5209} Prime
ὑμᾶς
humas
{hoo-mas'}
Accusative of G5210; you (as the object of a verb or preposition).
ask 154
{0154} Prime
αἰτέω
aiteo
{ahee-teh'-o}
Of uncertain derivation; to ask (in generally).
z5733
<5733> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle (See G5785)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 30
not. 3361
{3361} Prime
μή
me
{may}
A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

James 4:2

_ _ Ye lust — A different Greek word from that in James 4:1. “Ye desire”; literally, “ye set your mind (or heart) on” an object.

_ _ have not — The lust of desire does not ensure the actual possession. Hence “ye kill” (not as Margin, without any old authority, “envy”) to ensure possession. Not probably in the case of professing Christians of that day in a literal sense, but “kill and envy” (as the Greek for “desire to have” should be translated), that is, harass and oppress through envy [Drusius]. Compare Zechariah 11:5, “slay”; through envy, hate, and desire to get out of your way, and so are “murderers” in God’s eyes [Estius]. If literal murder [Alford] were meant, I do not think it would occur so early in the series; nor had Christians then as yet reached so open criminality. In the Spirit’s application of the passage to all ages, literal killing is included, flowing from the desire to possess so David and Ahab. There is a climax: “Ye desire,” the individual lust for an object; “ye kill and envy,” the feeling and action of individuals against individuals; “ye fight and war,” the action of many against many.

_ _ ye have not, because ye ask not — God promises to those who pray, not to those who fight. The petition of the lustful, murderous, and contentious is not recognized by God as prayer. If ye prayed, there would be no “wars and fightings.” Thus this last clause is an answer to the question, James 4:1, “Whence come wars and fightings?”

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on James 4:1-10.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

James 4:2

Ye kill — In your heart, for "he that hateth his brother is a murderer." Ye fight and war — That is, furiously strive and contend. Ye ask not — And no marvel; for a man full of evil desire, of envy or hatred, cannot pray.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

James 4:2

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

(2) He reprehends them by name, who are not ashamed to make God the minister and helper of their lusts and pleasures, in asking things which are either in themselves unlawful or being lawful, ask for them out of wicked motives and uses.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
lust:

James 5:1-5 Go to now, [ye] rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon [you]. ... Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Proverbs 1:19 So [are] the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; [which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
Ecclesiastes 4:8 There is one [alone], and [there is] not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet [is there] no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither [saith he], For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This [is] also vanity, yea, it [is] a sore travail.
Habakkuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, [he is] a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and [is] as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
1 Timothy 6:9-10 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. ... For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

kill:
or, envy

because:

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Isaiah 7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: ... For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Luke 11:9-13 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. ... If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
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Pv 1:19. Ec 4:8. Is 7:12. Hab 2:5. Mt 7:7. Lk 11:9. Jn 4:10; 16:24. 1Ti 6:9. Jm 1:5; 5:1.

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