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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 13:19

 

 

Desire realized is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The desire accomplished - See on Proverbs 13:12; (note).


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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The connection is somewhat obscure. Either, “Satisfied desire is pleasant, therefore it is an abomination to fools to depart from the evil on which their minds are set;” or, “Sweet is the satisfaction of desire, yet the wicked will not depart from the evil which makes that satisfaction impossible.”


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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-13.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 13:19

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.

Soul pleasure and soul pain

I. Soul pleasure. What is it?

1. An accomplished desire. Desire is the spring power of our activities. Locke defines it “as the uneasiness which a man feels within him on the absence of anything whose present enjoyment carries the delight with it.” The desires of the soul, which are very varied, are very significant of our destiny. “Our desires,” says Goethe, “are the presentiments of the faculties which lie within us, the precursors of those things which we are capable of performing. That which we would be and that which we desire present themselves to our imagination, about us and in the future. We prove our aspiration after an object which we already secretly possess. It is thus that an intense anticipation transforms a real possibility into an imaginary reality. When such a tendency is decided in us, at each stage of our development a portion of our primitive desire accomplishes itself under favourable circumstances by direct means, and in unfavourable circumstances by some more circuitous route, from which, however, we never fail to reach the straight road again.” Indeed, pleasure consists in the gratification of desires.

2. The quality and permanency of the pleasure must ever depend on the object of the desire. If the thing desired is immoral, its attainment will be “sweet to the soul” for a little while, but afterwards it will become bitter as wormwood and gall. The triumph of truth, the progress of virtue, the diffusion of happiness, the honour of God, these are objects of desire that should give a holy and everlasting sweetness to the soul. God Himself should be the grand object of desire. “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.”

II. Soul pain. “It is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.”

1. There is soul pain in being connected with evil. Conscience is always tormenting the sinner; from its nature it can never be reconciled to an alliance with evil.

2. There is soul pain in the dissolution of that connection. There is a fierce conflict, a tremendous battle in the effort. (Homilist.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 13:19". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul; But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil."

Our comment, above, on Proverbs 13:12, is also applicable here.

Jamieson's comment here was that, "Self denial, which fools will not endure, is essential to success."[29]


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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 13:19". "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

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,.... Whether the desire be after riches and honour, after wisdom and knowledge; or after the best things, the knowledge of God, and communion with him; an interest in Christ, and the blessings of his grace, as pardon, righteousness, &c. and a right and title to eternal glory and happiness, and the enjoyment of that: and how sweet are these things the soul desires, when they are possessed! see Proverbs 13:12; such are "the desires of the godly", as the Septuagint render the word;

but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil; they cannot bear the thoughts of parting with their lusts; they are so delightful to them, not knowing anything of the sweetness of the things before mentioned; and which they can never enjoy without departing from sin, to which they are exceedingly averse.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "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

Self-denial, which fools will not endure, is essential to success.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "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

Two pairs of proverbs regarding fools and wise men, ranged together by catchwords.

19 Quickened desire is sweet to the soul,

And it is an abomination to fools to avoid evil.

A synthetic distich, the first line of which, viewed by itself, is only a feebler expression of that which is said in Proverbs 13:12, for תּאוה נהיה is essentially of the same meaning as תאוה באה , not the desire that has just arisen and is not yet appeased (Umbreit, Hitzig, Zöckler), which when expressed by a part . of the same verb would be הוה (= אשׁר היתה ), but the desire that is appeased (Jerome, Luther, also Venet . ἔφεσις γενομένη , i.e. , after Kimchi: in the fulfilling of past desire; on the contrary, the Syr., Targ. render the phrase נאוה of becoming desire). The Niph . נהיה denotes not the passing into a state of being, but the being carried out into historical reality, e.g. , Ezekiel 21:12; Ezekiel 39:8, where it is connected with באה ; it is always the expression of the completed fact to which there is a looking back, e.g. , Judges 20:3; and this sense of the Niph . stands so fast, that it even means to be done, finished (brought to an end), to be out, to be done with anything, e.g. , Daniel 2:1.

(Note: We have said, p. 156, that a Niph . in which the peculiar causative meaning of the Hiph . would be rendered passively is without example; we must here with נהיה add, that the Niph . of intransitive verbs denotes the entrance into the condition expressed by the Kal , and may certainly be regarded, according to our way of thinking, as passive of the Hiphil (Gesen. §51, 2). But the old language shows no ההוה to which נהיה (Arab. âinhaway , in Mutenebbi) stood as passive; in the Arab. also the seventh form, rightly regarded, is always formed from the first, vid ., Fleischer's Beiträge , u.s.w., in the Sitzungs-Bericht. d. Sächs. Gesellschaft d. Wiss . 1863, p. 172f.)

The sentence, that fulfilled desire does good to the soul, appears commonplace (Hitzig); but it is comprehensive enough on the ground of Heb 11 to cheer even a dying person, and conceals the ethically significant truth that the blessedness of vision is measured by the degree of the longing of faith. But the application of the clause in its pairing with 19b acquires another aspect. On this account, because the desire of the soul is pleasant in its fulfilment, fools abhor the renouncing of evil, for their desire is directed to that which is morally worthless and blameworthy, and the endeavour, which they closely and constantly adhere to, is to reach the attainment of this desire. This subordinate proposition of the conclusion is unexpressed. The pairing of the two lines of the proverb may have been occasioned by the resemblance in sound of תועבת and תּאוה . סוּר is n. actionis , like Proverbs 16:17, cf. 6. Besides, it in to be observed that the proverb speaks of fools and not of the godless. Folly is that which causes that men do not break free from evil, for it is the deceit of sinful lust which binds them fast thereto.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-13.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

This shows the folly of those that refuse instruction, for they might be happy and will not. 1. They might be happy. There are in man strong desires of happiness; God has provided for the accomplishment of those desires, and that would be sweet to the soul, whereas the pleasures of sense are grateful only to the carnal appetite. The desire of good men towards the favour of God and spiritual blessings brings that which is sweet to their souls; we know those that can say so by experience, Psalm 4:6, Psalm 4:7. 2. Yet they will not be happy; for it is an abomination to them to depart from evil, which is necessary to their being happy. Never let those expect any thing truly sweet to their souls that will not be persuaded to leave their sins, but that roll them under their tongues as a sweet morsel.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "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

There are in man strong desires after happiness; but never let those expect any thing truly sweet to their souls, who will not be persuaded to leave their sins.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

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

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Sweet — Whatsoever men earnestly desire, the enjoyment of it is sweet to them; therefore sinners rejoice in the satisfaction of their sinful lusts, and abhor all restraint of them.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but [it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Ver. 19. The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.] Tota vita boni Christiani sanctum desiderium est, saith Augustine: The whole life of a good Christian is one holy desire; he even spends and exhales himself in continual sallies, as it were, and expressions of strongest affection to God, whom he hath chosen, and with whom he hath much sweet intercourse. He cannot be at rest without some comings in from him every day. And then, Oh the joys, the joys, the inconceivable joys! as she once cried out (a) ‘Oh that joy! O my God, when shall I be with thee?’ (b) These were the dying words of the young Lord Harrington. He was in heaven aforehand, as having let out his holy soul into God, the fountain of all good.

But it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.] To be pulled from their vain delights, though never so sinful, never so destructive. Esau, for a mess of pottage, sold his birthright; Cardinal Burbon would not part with his part in Paris for a part in paradise. Theotimus, in Ambrose, being told that intemperance would be the loss of his eyesight, cried out, Vale lumen amicum. He would rather lose his sight than his sin; so doth many a man his soul. The panther loves man’s dung, they say, so much, that if it is hanged a height from him, he will leap up, and never stop till he hath burst himself in pieces to get it; and this is the way they get that creature. Like policy uses Satan, by base lusts, to draw many to hell. It was a speech of Gregory Nyssen, He that doth but hear of hell, is without any further labour or study taken off from sinful pleasures. Men’s hearts are grown harder today.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-13.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 19. The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, if it is fulfilled and appeased, the resulting gratification is most pleasant; but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil, because they desire only the morally objectionable and refuse to consider anything else.


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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-13.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 13:19. The desire accomplished is sweet An honest desire is sweet to the soul, but to depart from evil is hateful to fools. Houbigant.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-13.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul; the satisfaction of a man’s desires by the enjoyment of the things desired is very acceptable to him; which may be taken either,

1. Of the desire of fools, which may be understood out of the next clause. So the sense of the verse is, It is sweet to sinners to indulge and satisfy their desires, which are wholly carnal and sinful, and for that reason they love sin, and hate the thoughts of leaving it, because their desires are wholly and fully set upon it. Or,

2. Of good desires, or of the desires of wise and good men, as the LXX., and Chaldee, and Syriac, and Arabic interpreters understand it, by the opposition of

fools in the next clause. So the sense may be this. The desires of good men are set upon what is good, and they rejoice when they attain to it, and are grieved when they fall short of it; but the desires of the wicked are set upon sin, and it is a pleasure to them to commit it, and an abomination to them to be hindered from it. Or rather,

3. Of desires in general. Whatsoever men do earnestly desire, the enjoyment of it is very sweet and grateful to them; and therefore sinners rejoice in the pursuit and satisfaction of their sinful lusts, and abhor all restraint and mortification of them. For this is certain and confessed, that many things are understood in these short proverbial speeches which are not expressed.

But; or, and, as this particle properly signifies; or, therefore, as it is frequently used.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". 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

19. Desire accomplished is sweet — In this is implied that the desire is itself for good, consequently its accomplishment brings pleasure; fools so adhere to evil as to be incapable of good desires, and therefore fail to obtain that which is sweet to the soul. Comp. Proverbs 13:12; also Psalms 145:19.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-13.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Even though it is pleasant to hope for something better and then see it happen, a fool will not do so because he would rather continue practicing evil. Fools characteristically do not hope for higher things. They only want to continue in evil.

"In spite of the sweetness of good desires accomplished, fools will not forsake evil to attain it." [Note: T. T. Perowne, The Proverbs , p103.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-13.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 13:19. The desire accomplished is sweet — Whatsoever men earnestly desire the enjoyment of, it is sweet to them; therefore sinners rejoice in the satisfaction of their sinful lusts, and abhor all restraint of them.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

That is. Septuagint, "of the pious, but the works of the impious are far from knowledge." (Haydock)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

fools. Hebrew. kesil. See note on Proverbs 1:7. But some codices, with Septuagint and Syriac, read "lawless".

evil. Hebrew. ra"a", App-44.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "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

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but (it is) abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Compare Proverbs 13:12, "When the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." A canon of interpretation in Proverbs is, In antithetical clauses an opposite member is often suppressed in one clause, and has to be supplied from the opposition of the other member in the corresponding clause (Gataker). Thus, here, the desire of the wise or good being accomplished by their departing from evil is sweet to their soul; but as it is abomination to fools to depart from evil, their desire being not accomplished is not sweet, nay, it "maketh the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12). Compare Psalms 145:19, "The Lord will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him." As the wise desire the possession of the true good, and by departing from evil attain to it, so that it is "sweet to the soul;" so fools desire the possession of what is good and "sweet to the soul:" but as they will not de depart from evil, they fail in attaining to what is "sweet to the soul," but shall have bitter and everlasting grief. Just as if there were two patients, both desiring health; the one avoiding forbidden foods, and using the prescribed dregs would recover health, to his joy; the other, disliking the remedies, and indulging his appetite, would fail to recover, and would die (Gejer). The reason why fools abominate to depart from evil is because evil is sweet to them, and they like to indulge their own passions and lusts.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "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

(19) But it is abomination to fools . . .—That is, though their clinging to evil prevents the attainment of such objects as are worth desiring. If the verse be interpreted “therefore it is abomination,” &c, the sense will be, “because the satisfaction of desire is pleasant, therefore fools will not give up anything, though evil, on which they have set their minds.”


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
The desire
12; 1 Kings 1:48; Psalms 21:1,2; Song of Solomon 3:4; 2 Timothy 4:7,8; Revelation 7:14-17
it is
29:27
depart
3:7; 16:6,17; Job 28:28; Psalms 34:14; 37:27; 2 Timothy 2:19

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-13.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . Literally "quickened desire," "a desire that has come to be." Zckler and Miller say this cannot be designed to express appeased desire," but Delitzsch renders it "satisfied desire," and Stuart agrees with him. The latter connects the second clause of the verse with the former, thus, "Yet it is an abomination for fools to depart from evil, therefore, they cannot be satisfied; while Delitzsch understands it to mean, "Because satisfied desire is sweet to the fool and his desires are evil, therefore he will not depart from evil."

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

In common with most commentators we regard the first clause of this verse as embodying the same thought as that expressed in the last clause of Pro . We will therefore consider the last clause only.

THE ABOMINATION OF THE FOOL

This verse pourtrays a man whose character is most unnatural.

Pro . He is unnatural because he belies his origin. What should we say if we saw the son of a king taking delight in the society and in the pastimes of the most degraded men? Or if we saw a man finding his enjoyment in herding with the beasts of the field? We should judge that they had lost all sense of their high origin. The sinner who is in love with evil gives the lie to the historic fact that God made man in His own image.

Pro . He is unnatural, because he burdens himself unnecessarily. In other matters men are not wont to carry heavier burdens than they are obliged. They do not generally desire an increase of their load. They are content with what is allotted to them. The burdens of life that must be borne are numerous and heavy enough for men to bear, yet this moral fool must weigh himself down with the evil that he need not bear—the evil consequences of evil deeds. He prefers to carry about with him the burden of his guilt, and all its accompanying evils. As we saw in Pro 13:15, his way is hard, yet he pursues it. In the face of God's expressed desire (Isa 55:7), that he should be rid of his burden, and although it weighs him to the earth "it is an abomination to the fool to depart from evil."

Pro . He is unnatural, because he is an unnecessary burden on the heart of humanity. He burdens the hearts of God's children. They sigh over him, because he is bad, and refuses to be better. They are weighed down with a sense of his present sad condition, and the retribution that awaits him. He is a burden to those who are less wicked than he, because he prevents their being better, and he adds to the burden of those who are as bad as himself, becauses he increases their guilt by yielding to their temptations.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

The sentence that fulfilled desire does good to the soul appears commonplace; but it is comprehensive enough on the ground of Hebrews 11 to cheer even a dying person, and conceals the ethically significant truth that the blessedness of vision is measured by the degree and the longing of faith. But its application in its pairing with the last clause of the verse gives it quite another aspect. On this account, because the desire of the soul is pleasant in its fulfilment, fools abhor the renouncing of evil, for their desire is directed to that which is morally blameworthy, and the endeavour, which they closely and constantly adhere to, is to reach the attainment of this design.—Delitzsch.

A canon of interpretation in Proverbs is, In antithetical clauses an opposite member is often suppressed in one clause and has to be supplied from, the opposition of the other member in the corresponding clause (Gataker.) Thus, here, the desire of the wise or good being accomplished by their departing from evil is sweet to their soul, but as it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil, their desire being not accomplished is not sweet, nay, "it maketh the heart sick" (Pro ). Cf. Psa 145:19 : "The Lord will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him." As the wise desire the possession of the true good, and by departing from evil attain to it, so that it is "sweet to the soul," so fools desire the possession of what is good and "sweet to the soul," but shall have bitter and everlasting grief. Just as if there were two patients, both desiring health; the one avoiding forbidden foods, and using the prescribed drugs, would recover health, to his joy; the other, disliking the remedies, and indulging his appetite, would fail to recover and would die (Gejer). The reason why fools abominate to depart from evil is because evil is sweet to them.—Fausset.

I give three interpretations of this verse.

1. Solomon has been thought to express the sentiment that the final attainment and enjoyment of a desired good abundantly compensates for all the self-denial and difficulty endured in waiting for it. This is a truth of practical importance, holding out as it does encouragement to perseverance. And it is a truth which holds with unfailing certainty, in regard to spiritual blessings. But the fool cannot be persuaded to deny himself the gratification of the passing moment, even for the sake of the best and highest blessings and hopes.

2. Some render, "It is sweet to the soul to enjoy what we love; therefore it is an abomination" etc. Here the reason or principle is assigned, from which it arises that fools will not depart from evil. Their enjoyment is in it. They feel that there are pleasures in sin. These pleasures they love. And, as these pleasures arise from sin, sin is what they like; sin is sweet, and they will indulge their present propensities, for the sake of the present pleasure they yield.

3. "Desire," subdued, restrained, or overcome "is sweet to the soul; but it is an abomination," etc. According to this translation the former clause expresses the inward satisfaction arising from the successful curbing and subjugation of any sinful desire—any evil propensity. This forms a fine and striking antithesis to the second clause. While the good man can hardly enjoy a greater satisfaction than is imparted by the exercise of self-control, and the overcoming of any powerful and imperative desire that has tempted and endangered his virtue; on the contrary, to the ungodly, the exercise of self-restraint is irksome, the denial of any sinful propensity is misery. They "draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart-rope." The character is portrayed with great spirit in the tenth Psalm.—Wardlaw.

A desire that has sprung up is sweet to the Soul. (See rendering in Critical Notes.) A sinner can get on comparatively well when a pious "desire" has been once enkindled. What is said of the lips of the strange woman dropping honey (chap. Pro ) is true also in this case. The soul is so near to the sinner that if there is anything sweet to it it is easy to follow it on. The soul once converted and conceiving its first desire will follow it afterward. And, therefore, the Psalmist begs us to "taste and see" (Psa 34:8), that we may have this first desire. But the unconverted man finds it loathsome to take the first step. His desires that have "come to be," are of another nature. How can a man will when unwilling? "It is the first step which costs."—Miller.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:19". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-13.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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