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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 13:12

 

 

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick - When once a good is discovered, want of it felt, strong desire for the possession excited, and the promise of attainment made on grounds unsuspected, so that the reality of the thing and the certainity of the promise are manifest, hope posts forward to realize the blessing. Delay in the gratification pains the mind; the increase of the delay prostrates and sickens the heart; and if delay sickens the heart, ultimate disappointment kills it. But when the thing desired, hoped for, and expected comes, it is a tree of life, חיים עץ ets chaiyim, "the tree of lives;" it comforts and invigorates both body and soul. To the tree of lives, in the midst of the gardens of paradise, how frequent are the allusions in the writings of Solomon, and in other parts of the Holy Scriptures! What deep, and perhaps yet unknown, mysteries were in this tree!


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

When the desire cometh - The desire comes, it is a tree of life: i. e., the object of our desires is attained. Compare Proverbs 3:18.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-13.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Hope deferred

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, whether the person hoping, or the thing hoped for, be good or evil. The second member of the text is a dividing word. “Tree of life” belongs only to the hope of the holy. Many, after waiting long, and expecting eagerly, discover, when at last they reach their object, that it is a withered branch and not a living tree. There is no peace to the wicked. They are always either desiring or possessing; but to desire and to possess a perishable portion are only two different kinds of misery to men. If the desire is pure, the attainment of it is a tree of life; it is living, satisfying, enduring. It has a living root in the ground and satisfying fruit upon the branches. Where a hungering for righteousness secretly rises in a human heart the blessing is already sure, but it is not enjoyed yet. The hungerer “shall be filled,” but in the meantime his only experience is an uneasy sensation of want. In God’s good time that desire will be satisfied. That longing soul will taste and see that the Lord is gracious. (W. Arnot, D. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 13:12". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Delay in the accomplishment of some much-desired goal occasions sinking of the spirits and despondence; but, when the object of longing is obtained, it is a tree of life."[21] The mention here of "the tree of life" and in Proverbs 13:14 of "the fountain of life" supports the view that it is the longing for heaven which is the long-delayed joy of the godly person. This being true, we find a very important emphasis in Proverbs 13:13 upon the Word of God by which heaven is to be received by the faithful.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,.... That is, the object hoped for; if it is not enjoyed so soon as expected, at least if it is delayed any length of time, the mind becomes uneasy, the heart sinks and fails, and the man is dispirited and ready to despond, and give up all hope of enjoying the desired blessing; whether it be deliverance from any evil, or the possession of any good;

but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life; when that which is hoped and wished for, and has been long expected and desired, comes; when there is an accomplishment of men's wishes, it is as grateful to him as the tree of life was in Eden's garden; it gives him an unspeakable pleasure and delight. This may be applied to many things in a spiritual way, as to the first coming of Christ; and some have thought this is greatly regarded and chiefly intended; this was the object of the hope of Old Testament saints; and it was hoped for on a good foundation, on the promise of God, which was frequently repeated, enlarged, and confirmed; yet this promised and hoped for blessing was deferred a long time; from the first promise of it to its accomplishment were four thousand years; though not deferred longer than the appointed time, yet longer than the saints expected, and which sometimes made their hearts sick; they became weak and feeble, fearful and dispirited, lest it should never come to pass, which occasioned fresh promises and assurances to them; see Isaiah 35:3, Malachi 3:1; but when "the desire" came, Christ the desired object; and who is desirable for the excellencies of his person, his mediatorial qualifications, the work of redemption and salvation he came about, and the blessings he brought with him; and who is the "desire of all nations" that was to come, Haggai 2:7; it was exceeding joyful and delightful to all that expected him, and were looking for redemption in Israel, or Christ; "the coming desire"F9תאוה באה "desiderium venieus", V. L. Pagninus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. , as it may be rendered, is "a tree of life", or "lives", the author of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; see Proverbs 3:18. It may be applied also to the spiritual presence of Christ, and communion with him; this is what believers, being sometimes without, hope and wait for; and sometimes it is deferred a long time, at least they think it so, which makes them very uneasy, and even sick of love, as the church was, Song of Solomon 5:8; but when what they so earnestly desire is granted them, it is as if they were in Eden's garden, or rather in the paradise above, plucking the fruit of the tree of life: likewise it may be applied to eternal glory and happiness; this is the object of hope in the present state; it is sometimes impatiently expected and desired, and the language of the soul is, "Why is his chariot so long in coming?", "come, Lord Jesus, come quickly", Judges 5:28; and when this desired happiness is enjoyed, how sweet will it be! and the sweeter for having been so much longed and wished for; and when the saints will be in the paradise of God, and eat of the tree of life in the midst of it, and never hunger more.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

desire cometh — is realized.

a tree of life — or, “cause of happiness.”


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

The figures of paradise in Proverbs 13:12 and Proverbs 13:14 require us to take along with them the intermediate verse (Proverbs 13:13).

12 Deferred waiting maketh the heart sick,

And a tree of life is a wish accomplished.

Singularly the lxx Κρείσσων ἐναρχόμενος βοηθῶν καρδίᾳ , followed by the Syr. (which the Targ. Transcribes):

(Note: That the Targum of the Proverbs is a Jewish elaboration of the Peshito text, vid ., Nöldeke in Merx' Archiv , Bd. ii. pp. 246-49.)

Better is he who begins to help than he who remains in hesitating expectation, by which תחלת is doubled, and is derived once from הוחיל , to wait, and the second time from החל , to begin. If the lxx, with its imitators, deteriorates to such a degree proverbs so clear, beautiful, and inviolable, what may one expect from it in the case of those not easily understood! משּׁך signifies also, Isaiah 18:2, to be widely extended (cf. Arab. meshaḳ ), here in the sense of time, as נמשׁך , to prolong, Isaiah 13:22, and post-bibl. משׁך הזּמן , the course of time. Regarding תּוחלת , vid ., at Proverbs 10:28, where as Proverbs 11:27 תּקות , here תּאוה , as also Psalms 78:29 of the object of the wish, and with בוא in the sense of being fulfilled (cf. Joshua 21:43), as there with הביא in the sense of accomplishing or performing. Extended waiting makes the heart sick, causes heart-woe ( מחלה , part. fem . Hiph . of חלה , to be slack, feeble, sick; R. חל , to loosen, to make loose); on the contrary, a wish that has been fulfilled is a tree of life (cf. p. 23), of a quickening and strengthening influence, like that tree of paradise which was destined to renew and extend the life of man.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-13.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Note, 1. Nothing is more grievous than the disappointment of a raised expectation, though not in the thing itself by a denial, yet in the time of it by a delay: Hope deferred makes the heart sick and languishing, fretful and peevish; but hope quite dashed kills the heart, and the more high the expectation was raised the more cutting is the frustration of it. It is therefore our wisdom not to promise ourselves any great matters from the creature, not to feed ourselves with any vain hopes from this world, lest we lay up matter for our own vexation; and what we do hope for let us prepare to be disappointed in, that, if it should prove so, it may prove the easier; and let us not be hasty. 2. Nothing is more grateful than to enjoy that, at last, which we have long wished and waited for: When the desire does come it puts men into a sort of paradise, a garden of pleasure, for it is a tree of life. It will aggravate the eternal misery of the wicked that their hopes will be frustrated; and it will make the happiness of heaven the more welcome to the saints that it is what they have earnestly longed for as the crown of their hopes.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The delay of what is anxiously hoped for, is very painful to the mind; obtaining it is very pleasant. But spiritual blessings are chiefly intended.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Hope deferred — Delays in obtaining what a man passionately desires.

The desire — The good desired.

A tree of life — It is satisfactory, and reviving.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life.

Ver. 12. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.] Hope’s hours are full of eternity; and how many see we lie languishing at hope’s hospital, as he at the pool of Bethesda! Spes interrenis incerti nomen boni spes in divinis nomen est certissimi [Hebrews 11:1] Hope unfailable [Romans 5:5] is founded upon faith unfeigned. [1 Timothy 1:5]

But when the desire cometh.] As come it will to those that wait patiently upon God; for waiting is but hope and trust lengthened. Deo confisi, nunquam confusi. "The vision is but for an appointed time; therefore wait," [Habakkuk 2:3] you shall be well paid for your patience. We are apt to antedate the promises, and to set God a time, as they [Jeremiah 8:20] looked for salvation at summer at furthest. We are short breathed, short spirited. But as God seldom comes at our time, so he never fails at his own; and then he is most sweet, because most seasonable.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-13.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 12. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, since the unfulfilled longing is too great a strain for a person; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life, giving new vigor and strength, renewing a person's youth.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-13.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Hope deferred; delays in obtaining that good which a man passionately desireth and hopeth for.

The desire; the good desired and expected; acts being oft put for the objects,

It is a tree of life; it is most sweet, and satisfactory, and reviving.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12. Hope deferred — That is, the object of the hope.

Maketh the heart sick — Or, maketh a sick heart, because of the disappointments.

But when the desire cometh, etc. — That is, when the object of desire is gained. Then there is an exhilaration of spirit, of which the tree of life is a vivid emblem. Compare Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 10:28; Proverbs 11:30.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-13.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 13:12. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick — The delay of that which a man eagerly desires and expects is such an affliction, that it differs little from a lingering disease; but when the desire cometh — When the good desired and expected is obtained. It is a tree of life — That is, most sweet, satisfactory, and reviving to the soul.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Hope. Septuagint, "(the just shews mercy and lends) better is he who begins heartily to assist, than he who promises and leads to hope. For a bad (Grabe substitutes good) desire is a tree of life." --- Soul. Protestants, "maketh the heart sick." (Haydock) --- The pain increases in proportion to our eager desire. Calvin maintains, that the souls of the blessed are not yet in heaven, but hope: and of course he would establish a sort of purgatory for them. (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

deferred = protracted.

maketh . . . sick = enfeebleth. Illustrations: Abraham (Genesis 15:2, Genesis 15:3); David (Psalms 42:1-3); the Jews (Lamentations 4:17); the two disciples (Luke 24:17, Luke 24:21).

a tree of life. See Genesis 2:9.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but (when) the desire cometh, (it is) a tree of life - (Proverbs 3:18.) True wisdom admonishes us to set our hopes, not on the unsatisfying things of earth, but on that which, though our hope be exercised with long waiting, will not disappoint us in the end, but will be as "the tree of life" in the midst of the "Paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7; Habakkuk 2:3; Hebrews 10:37).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) A tree of life.—See above, on Proverbs 11:30.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Hope
Psalms 42:1-3; 69:3; 119:81-83; 143:7; Song of Solomon 5:8
when
19; Genesis 21:6,7; 46:30; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 17:15; 40:2,3; Luke 2:29,30; John 16:22
a tree
3:18; 11:30; Revelation 22:2

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-13.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . Latter clause, "a desire accomplished is a tree of life."

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

DEFERRED AND ACCOMPLISHED HOPE

I. Two things are necessary to constitute hope.

1. There is the desire for the real or supposed good. The man conceives there is in the distance that which he esteems a good, and he desires to possess it. No man desires what he deems is an evil. The fact that he desires it shows that he regards it as a good.

2. There is expectation. A man may desire a good thing without hoping for it because he may feel that it is impossible to have his desire fulfilled. He has no expectation of its accomplishment, consequently he has no hope. Hope includes some amount of expectation, some foundation for the hope. A man who knows that his disease is incurable may desire to recover his health, but as he has no reason to expect recovery he does not hope for it. Sometimes, also, hope is founded on the promise of some person who is presumed to be both able and willing to perform it.

II. The constant postponement of the attainment of the desired and expected good produces mental sickness. Sickness of body enfeebles its powers, so does sickness of soul. A man derives strength to work when he possesses hope of enjoying some good thing in the future. Hope is a kind of spiritual food, by feeding upon which a man renews his energy. But the constant postponement of its realisation renders the hope less and less strong, and has the same effect upon the mind as insufficient food has upon the body, it enfeebles its resolution and lessens its courage. If a hungry man finds each day that his portion of food grows less, he will soon be conscious of loss of flesh and strength, and if the process goes on for many months he will lose all power of action and probably his very life. The same thing takes place in a man's spirit when hope is indefinitely "deferred."

III. The accomplishment of the desire and expectation renews mental health and strength. "It is a tree of life." The fruit of the tree of life in Paradise was designed to lengthen man's life, to perpetuate his youth by constantly renewing his bodily vigour. It is said of the tree of life in the Paradise yet to come that "its leaves are for the healing of the nations" (Rev ). So the realisation of hope renews the life of the spirit, quickens all its powers, perpetuates its youth. And if the hope has been so long deferred as to induce "heart sickness," its "coming" brings healing with it. Bodily health is restored by the operation of something from without. It is not usually brought about by that which is within us, but by the coming to us of that which is without. A man desires something which he has not—something outside of himself—either a material or a spiritual good; and if he comes to possess it, it is to the soul what healing medicine is to the body. And as those who eat of the tree of life in the heavenly world are "children of the resurrection," and sons of undying youth, so realised hope makes the spirit conscious of new life, because it brings joy, and when a man is filled with joy he feels young, however many years he has lived. And renewed youth brings renewed activity. It lifts up the hands which hang down, and restores the feeble knees, and gives a man a new start in the race of life. Applying the words to the revelation of the New Testament, to the "hope of the Gospel" (Col 1:23), we remark—

1. That the Christian must be the subject of deferred hope. He must wait for the realisation of his desires and expectations. The "adoption of the body" (Rom ) must be waited for. A glorified body would be out of place in an unglorified world. This hope must be deferred until his Lord's expectations with regard to this world are fulfilled. The Son of God is waiting until the Father shall give the word that "time shall be no longer"—until the times of restitution of all things (Act 3:21). He is "at the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool" (Heb 10:13). When that expectation is fulfilled, the desire of the Christian with regard to his resurrection body will be fulfilled also. He must also wait until after death for perfect victory over sin and its consequence, for the full revelation of what it is to be one of the sons of God. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be." "When this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory'" (1Jn 3:2; 1Co 15:54).

2. That even the deferred hope of the Christian is a tree of life. It is an eater that yields meat. It bears fruit

(1) It gives birth to patience, and there is no grace that the human spirit needs more. According to apostolic teaching it is needful to "let patience have her perfect work," if the Christian is to be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (Jas ). It is the evidence of a great mind to be able to wait. The Eternal is a "God of patience" (Rom 15:5). He can wait, because He is infinitely great.

(2) It brings forth joy. Paul says, "We rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom ).

(3) It sanctifies the soul. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself (1Jn ).

(4) It gives sympathy with God in relation to unregenerate humanity. God defers the realisation of the Christian's hope, because He is not willing that any should perish (2Pe ). While we wait the Divine desire grows in us also, that "all should come to repentance."

ILLUSTRATION

Perhaps in all history there is not a more salient instance of hoping against hope deferred than that of Columbus. Years and years were wasted in irksome solicitation; years spent, not indeed in the drowsy and monotonous attendance of ante-chambers, but, as his foremost biographer narrates, amid scenes of peril and adventure, from the pursuit of which he was several times summoned to attend royal conferences and anon dismissed abruptly. "Whenever the court had an interval of leisure and repose (from the exigencies of the Moorish war), there would again be manifested a disposition to consider his proposal, but the hurry and tempest would again return, and the question be again swept away." … He came to look upon these indefinite postponements as a mere courtly mode of evading his importunity, and after the rebuff in the summer of 1490, he is said to have renounced all further confidence in vague promises, which had so often led to chagrin; and, giving up all hopes of countenance from the throne, he turned his back upon Seville, indignant at the thought of having been beguiled out of so many years of waning existence. But it is impossible not to admire the great constancy of purpose and loftiness of spirit displayed by Columbus ever since he had conceived the sublime idea of the discovery. When he applied again to the court after the surrender of Grenada, in 1492, more than eighteen years had elapsed since the announcement of the design, the greatest part of which had been consumed in applications to various sovereigns, poverty, neglect, ridicule, contumely, and the heart-sickness of hope deferred, all that hitherto had come of it. Five years later, when preparations were afoot for his third voyage, we read that, "so wearied and disheartened did he become by the impediments thrown in his way," that he thought of abandoning his discoveries altogether.—Jacox.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

In his analysis of "the immediate emotions," Dr. Thomas Brown adverts to that weariness of mind which one would so gladly exchange for weariness of body, and which he takes to be more difficult to bear with good humour than many profound griefs, because it involves the uneasiness of hope that is renewed every moment, to be every moment disappointed. He supposes a day's journey along one continuous avenue, where the uniformity of similar trees at similar distances is of itself most wearisome; but what we should feel with far more fretfulness would be the constant disappointment of our expectation, that the last tree that we beheld in the distance would be the last that should rise upon us; when "tree after tree, as if in mockery of our very patience itself, would still continue to present the same dismal continuity of line." Lord Bolingbroke, a professed expert in its power to weary and wear out, called suspense the only insupportable misfortune of life.—Jacox.

The rule, as expressed in the first clause, is universal, but in the second clause it is applied to a particular case.… The second member is a dividing word. The accomplishment of the desire is "a tree of life." This belongs only to the hope of the holy. Many, after waiting long and expecting eagerly, discover, when at last they reach their object, that it is a withered branch and not a living tree. When a human heart has been set on perishable things, after the sickness of deferred expectation comes the sorer sickness of satiated possession. If the world be made the portion of the immortal Spirit, to want it is one sickness, to have it is another. The one is a hungry mouth empty, the other is a hungry mouth filled with chaff. The clog of disappointed possession is a more nauseous sickness than the aching of disappointed desire. There is no peace to the wicked. They are always either desiring or possessing; but to desire and to possess a perishable portion are only two different kinds of misery to men. They are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest. You stand on the shore, and gaze on the restless waters. A wave is hastening on, struggling and panting, and making with all its might for the shore. It seems as if all it wanted was to reach the land. It reaches the land, and disappears in a hiss of discontent. Gathering its strength at a distance, it tries again, and again, with the same result. It is never satisfied, it never rests. In the constitution of the world, under the government of the Most Holy, when a soul's desire is set on unworthy objects, the accomplishment of the desire does not satisfy the soul. Arnot.

Aquinas noteth that hope in itself causeth joy, it is by accident that it causeth sorrow. Inasmuch as it is a present apprehension of good to come, it breedeth delight, but as it wanteth the presence of that good, it bringeth trouble. It is therefore the delay of hope that afflicteth. And indeed a lingering hope breedeth in the heart as it were a lingering consumption. It is a long child-bearing travail of a weak mind, for hope having conceived comfort is still in labour, until it be brought forth. So it is with the servants of God with respect to heaven. They having begun in hope their journey thitherward, it makes them even sick at heart to think how long it is until they can get there. Wherefore, St. Gregory saith, the punishments of the innocent are the desires of the righteous. For all having lost heaven by sin, even the just are punished with the deferred hope of recovering it.—Jermin.

Here is instruction—

I. To hope for nothing but that which is haveable, and may well be had, and whereof we are capable, and that doth belong unto us. For if protraction cause the heart to languish, what will frustration and disappointment? It is one of the threatenings against the wicked in Deuteronomy, that "their sons and their daughters shall be given unto another people, and their eyes should look for them until they fail, and there shall be no might in their hand" (Deu ). Now what is meant by this is that their expectation deceived should turn them to as much woe as if their eyes had lost their sight. And that was because that they, incurring the curse by their sinful behaviour, did yet presume of a restitution to happiness as though nothing had appertained to them but blessings.

II. Not to limit God or prescribe to Him in what space He shall fulfil His promise. It was a heathenish speech of the King of Israel's messenger, when he said, in blasphemous manner, that he neither would nor ought to attend on the Lord any longer (2Ki ). But we need not draw admonitions against this from the infidelity of the wicked, but from the infirmities of the godly, as Abraham and Sarah had much ado to believe that a child should be gotten and conceived of their body after their natural vigour was consumed, and therefore, Hagar was brought in to help the matter.

III. Not to depend on man, nor to repose our hope in flesh and blood. For thereby we shall not only be delayed of our help too long, but defeated of it altogether. For it is a righteous thing with God, that they who will deify creatures with confidence, should be deceived by creatures with confusion. The poor Israelites found and felt this (Lam ).

IV. Where we undertake to minister succour, not to grieve the hearts of them that are in affliction by lingering too long before we relieve them. God doth teach us to show beneficence timely and in due season (chap. Pro ). This was one testimony of a good conscience that comforted Job in his extremities, that "he had not held the poor from their desire nor caused the eyes of the widow to fail (Job 31:16).—Dod.

Hope's hours are full of eternity; and how many see we languishing at hope's hospital, as he at the pool of Bethesda! Hope unfailable (Rom ) is founded upon faith unfeigned. The desire will come to those who patiently wait on God; for waiting is but hope and trust lengthened. We are apt to antedate the promises and set God at a time as they (Jer 8:20) who looked for salvation in summer at furthest. We are short-breathed, short-spirited. But as God seldom comes at our time, so he never fails at His own, and then He is most sweet, because most seasonable.—Trapp.

The fourth verse has said that "the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing." This verse declares that longing, accompanied by procrastination, enfeebles the heart; but that a bold plunging after the good, and attaining it, is a "tree of life." This, dimly, is true in worldly affairs. A man who desires some worldly good and wavers, enfeebles his heart, but he who will dash boldly in strengthens it.… The least taste of arrived-at desire in the spiritual world, like the apples of Eden, breeds "life." The soul will go on after that eternally. Miller.

If Jacob serve the churl Laban seven years longer, if he think he shall have Rachel at the end of it, it will be but as seven days. Thus it is that the hope of better days sweeteneth the present sadness of any outward condition. There is no grief so heavy, but if a man tie heaven at the end of it, it will become light, but put them together, and the one will be swallowed up in the other.—Spencer.

The world dares say no more of its devices than Dum spiro spero (while I breathe, I hope); but the children of God can add by virtue of their living hope, Dum expiro spero (while I expire, I hope).—Leighton.

Hope is the hunger that makes our food acceptable; but hope deferred, like hunger prolonged, brings a kind of torture.… With the child of God "the patience of hope" issues in "the full assurance of hope." What was it to Abraham, when, after long deferred hope, the answer came? Laughter. What was it when the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, and they were like unto them that dream? What was it to old Simeon and the waiting remnant when "the desire of all nations" came? What to the disciples, when, at the manifestation of their risen Lord, their sickening hearts believed not for joy, and wondered?… But what will be the joy at the grand consummation of tope? (Rom ).—Bridges.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:12". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-13.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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