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You have lived on the earth in luxury and in sensual indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (James 5:5)
You have lived on the earth in luxury. The rich are particularly addicted to their wealth as the value of their worth, which provides them with a lifestyle that few people share. (Cf. Luke 12:19; 16:19) The word translated luxury, (τρυφάω truphaō) occurs only here in the New Testament. It means to live in pleasure, to be or become characterized by an excess of action and immoderate indulgence of bodily appetites, revel, lead a life of self-indulgence. These wealthy ones live for the moment, immediate gratification, all about the enjoyment. They lived a life of ease and privileged circumstances on the backs of the labors of others. They are spoiled, pandered, and pampered in the pleasures of Satan’s fallen world and seek what is pleasing to the ear and the eye. All the while, those who provide for this lifestyle of wealth are groaning under oppression. A life such as this is nowhere tolerated in the Bible. Even if we remove the oppression and wronging of others, such an opulent, lavish, luxurious lifestyle is considered incompatible with the reasons God created man and gave him the earth. (See Luke 12:19-20) Not to negate what has just been said, but it is not biblically wrong to be wealthy or even filthy rich. It is the love of that money, the chasing after that money, and the abuses that can come with having so much wealth.
These wealthy ones have failed to treat their workers justly, let alone helping the downtrodden; rather, they have lived on the earth in luxury and in sensual indulgence. These were living sensual and indulgent lives, who had unnecessary excesses that evidenced no regard for those they had to take from to live such a life. The mindset of these ones was enveloped in the fleshly living as opposed to spiritual life. The apostle Paul also showed where such a lifestyle would lead when talking of widows, “she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.” A person with this mindset and who seeks his own self-gratification over and others will eventually lead to immorality as well. This is not just sexual but includes many things that are contrary to accepted moral principles. (See 2 Timothy 3:2-6) For example, one who is focused only on his sensual indulgences could commit acts of cruelty, persecution, and brutality to gain and retain riches to continue one’s luxurious lifestyle.
You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter, describes taking in enormous amounts of something with no regard, not even considering there will be a day of slaughter that awaits them. In ancient times, fatness was actually considered a positive quality because it was a sign of wealth, as it meant that the person had enough money to eat enough to be fat. When fattening a pig, we know that it will eat both meat and vegetables. It will consume anything, including bones, fish heads, and table scraps. Think of the parallel, the pig gorges himself not knowing that there is a day of slaughter at the end of all of his self-indulgence. One would think that the wealthy would have used the intelligence that made them rich to see that things were not going to end well, but they acted like senseless, oblivious animals. While they lived out this luxurious lifestyle, the day of slaughter (divine judgment) was watching, waiting and would soon condemn them for their evil ways.
A day of slaughter. Clinton E. Arnold writes, “The Greek of this phrase does not occur in the lxx, but the Hebrew equivalent is found as a reference to the Day of the Lord in Isaiah 30:25. It also occurs in a similar way in 1 Enoch 90:4. Almost certainly, then, James refers to the time of final judgment.” Keener observes, “The rich and their guests consumed much meat in a day of slaughter, i.e., at a feast (often at sheep-shearing or harvest; cf. 1 Sam 25:4, 36); once an animal was slaughtered, as much as possible was eaten at once, because the rest could be preserved only by drying and salting. Meat was generally unavailable to the poor except during public festivals. The picture here is of the rich being fattened like cattle for the day of their own slaughter (cf., e.g., Jer 12:3; Amos 4:1-3); similar imagery appears in parts of the early apocalyptic work *1 Enoch (94:7-11; 96:8; 99:6). As often in the Old Testament (e.g., Amos 6:4-7), the sin in verse 5 is not exploitation per se (as in v. 4) but a lavish lifestyle while others go hungry or in need.” (Keener 1993)
 Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Hebrews to Revelation., vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 113.