Proverbs 15:13 MEANING

Proverbs 15:13
(13) By sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.--See above on Proverbs 12:25.

Verse 13. - A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance. The face is the index of the condition of the mind.

"In the forehead and the eye
The lecture of the mind doth lie."
And, again, "A blithe heart makes a blooming visage" (comp. Ecelus. 13:25, etc.). Septuagint, "When the heart is glad, the face bloometh (θάλλει)." But by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken (Proverbs 12:25). Happiness is shown in the outward look, but sorrow has a deeper and more abiding influence; it touches the inner life, destroys the natural elasticity, creates despondency and despair (comp. Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 17:22). Corn. a Lapide quotes St. Gregory Nazianzen's definition -

"Laetitia quidnam? Mentis est diffusio.
Tristitia? Cordis morsus et turbatio."
Hitzig and others translate the second clause, "But in sorrow of heart is the breath oppressed." It is doubtful if the words can be so rendered, and certainly the parallelism is not improved thereby.

15:11. There is nothing that can be hid from the eyes of God, not even man's thoughts. 12. A scorner cannot bear to reflect seriously within his own heart. 13. A gloomy, impatient, unthankful spirit, springing from pride and undue attachment to worldly objects, renders a man uneasy to himself and others.A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance,.... Or, a "joyful heart" (c); that is joyful in the God of its salvation; that rejoices in Christ Jesus; is filled with joy and peace through believing in him, in his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; that has a comfortable view of his justification by his righteousness, of peace and pardon by his blood, of the atonement of his sins by his sacrifice; to whom he has said, "be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee", Matthew 9:2; who has peace in him, though tribulation in the world: as such a man's heart must be made glad, this will make his countenance cheerful, or cause him to lift up his head with joy; as it is in natural things, so it is in spiritual ones;

but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken; a man is dejected, his spirits sink, and it is seen in his countenance: there is a great sympathy between the body and mind, the one is much affected by the other; when the heart is full of sorrow, the animal spirits are low, the nerves are loosened, the whole frame, of nature is enfeebled, and the body emaciated; this is often the case through outward troubles (d): physicians say (e) that grief weakens the strength, and destroys the spirits, more than labour does. "The sorrow of the world worketh death", 2 Corinthians 7:10; and sometimes, through spiritual troubles, a sense of sin and guilt of it, a legal sorrow, which produces a legal contrition of spirit; and such "a wounded spirit who can bear?" Proverbs 18:14. This is the effect of a mere work of the law upon the conscience; and stands opposed to the spiritual joy, and the effects of it, the Gospel brings.

(c) "cor gaudens", V. L. Baynus. (d) "Frangit fortia corda dolor", Tibullus, l. 3. Eleg. 2. v. 6. (e) Fernel. Method. Medendi, l. 7. c. 9. p. 54.

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