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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 14:10

 

 

The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The heart knoweth his own bitterness - נפשו מרת morrath naphsho, "The bitterness of its soul." Under spiritual sorrow, the heart feels, the soul feels; all the animal nature feels and suffers. But when the peace of God is spoken to the troubled soul, the joy is indescribable; the whole man partakes of it. And a stranger to these religious feelings, to the travail of the soul, and to the witness of the Spirit, does not intermeddle with them; he does not understand them: indeed they may be even foolishness to him, because they are spiritually discerned.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A striking expression of the ultimate solitude of each man‘s soul at all times, and not merely at the hour of death. Something there is in every sorrow, and in every joy, which no one else can share. Beyond that range it is well to remember that there is a Divine Sympathy, uniting perfect knowledge and perfect love.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-14.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 14:10

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

Man unknown to man

You cannot completely know your fellow-man. Every man is, in a measure, self-contained. Alone are we born, one by one; alone do we die, one by one. It is not surprising that we must be, in a measure, unknown to others, since we do not even fully know ourselves. There are points of individuality in each man which render him distinct from every other. Men in their highest and deepest conditions are remarkably secretive. The extreme heights and depths lie in darkness. Learn, then, that we may not judge our brethren as though we understood them, and were competent to give a verdict upon them. If we desire to show sympathy to our brethren, let us not dream that this is an easy task. Study the art of sympathy. We all need sympathy, and there is but One who can fully give it to us.

I. The heart knows a bitterness peculiar to itself. This is true in a natural, common, and moral sense. Concerning any man this is true. The shoe pinches on every foot, and that foot alone knows where the pinch is felt. Do not intrude into the hidden sorrows of any. Most solemnly this is true concerning the godless man and concerning the awakened man. When the Holy Spirit begins to convince the man of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, then “the heart knoweth its own bitterness.” And concerning the backslider. And concerning the tried believer. But the singularity of his suffering is the dream of the sufferer. Others have seen affliction too. Know thy sorrow well. And remember that the cure for bitterness of heart is to take it to your Lord at once.

II. The heart knows a sweetness which is all its own.

1. The joy of pardoned sin.

2. The bliss of vanquished evil.

3. The joy of perfect reconciliation with God.

4. The joy of accepted service.

5. The joy of answered prayer.

6. The joy of peace in the time of trouble.

7. The joy of communion with God. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

On the joy and the bitterness of the heart

The sources of the joy or bitterness of the heart are two.

1. A man’s own mind of temper--a man’s personal character. Every man is more connected with himself than with any external object. He is constantly a companion to himself in his own thoughts; and what he meets with there must, of all things, contribute most to his happiness or his disquiet. A good conscience, and good temper, prepare, even in the midst of poverty, a continual feast. How sadly the scene is reversed if a man’s temper, instead of calmness and self-enjoyment, shall yield him nothing but disquiet and painful agitation. The wounds which the spirit suffers are owing chiefly to three causes: to folly, to passion, or to guilt. The external misfortunes of life, disappointments, poverty, and sickness are nothing in comparison of those inward distresses of mind occasioned by folly, by passion, and by guilt.

2. The connection in which a man stands with some of his fellow-creatures--a man’s social feelings. Such causes of sorrow or joy are of an external nature. Having connected us in society by many ties, it is the decree of the Creator that these ties should prove, both during their subsistence and in their dissolution, causes of pleasure or pain immediately, and often deeply affecting the human heart. The most material circumstances of trouble or felicity, next to the state of our own mind and temper, are the sensations and affections which arise from the connections we have from others.

The practical improvement to which this doctrine leads:

1. Let it serve to moderate our passion for riches and high situations in the world. It is well known that the eager pursuit of these is the chief incentive to the crimes that fill the world. Then contemplate these things with an impartial eye.

2. Let these observations correct our mistakes, and check our complaints, concerning a supposed promiscuous distribution of happiness in this world. The charge of injustice brought against Providence rests entirely on this ground, that the happiness and misery of men may be estimated by the degree of their external prosperity. This is the delusion under which the multitude have always laboured, but which a just consideration of the invisible springs of happiness that affect the heart is sufficient to correct. Judge not of the real condition of men from what floats merely on the surface of their state.

3. Let us turn our attention to those internal sources of happiness or misery on which so much depends. What is amiss or disordered within, in consequence of folly, passion, or guilt, may be rectified by due care under the assistance of Divine grace.

4. Let us frequently look up to Him who made the human heart, and implore His assistance in the regulation and government of it. The employments of devotion themselves form one of the most powerful means of composing and tranquillising the heart. Devotion opens a sanctuary to which they whose hearts have been most deeply wounded can always fly. (Hugh Blair, D.D.)

The secret sorrows and joys of the heart known to God

Each man’s heart is to himself a solitude, into which he can retire and be alone, indulging his own thoughts without an associate and without a witness. There is a world within which must lie undiscovered by the acutest observer. And we could not make the discovery to others even if we would. It would not be possible to communicate to another all that is within us. It is one of the delights and benefits of friendship that it helps men, in a measure, to open their minds to one another. But this can only be done in part. Every one has his reserve. This is especially true respecting the sorrows and joys of religion. No Christian can find a spirit so perfectly kindred to his own as to be able to comprehend all the sources of his grief or of his gladness. In many a sorrow, and in many a joy, he must be solitary. He could not make a full revelation of himself if he would; he would not if he could. God hath so ordered it that no man can fully reveal to another the secrets of his soul. This truth is of the utmost importance when set beside the other truth, that God “knoweth us altogether.” Two practical lessons:

1. If God is thus near to us, nearer than the closest and most intimate friend can be, we ought to feel His nearness, and bear about with us the constant sense of it.

2. If our hearts are in a great measure shut out from our fellow-man, and open only to God, it is in His sympathy that we should seek our happiness. (G. Bellett.)

Cases of bitterness of heart

I. Of unrevealed and neglected sorrows, a large proportion arises from a strong, natural propensity to dejection and melancholy. As wounds which are occasioned by external violence are more conspicuous, but less dangerous, than the hidden disease which preys upon the vital parts. Some whose circumstances are prosperous are always in the glooms, their feeble mind spreads its malignant tincture over every surrounding prospect. Spectators form their opinions from exterior circumstances, hence they cannot give their sympathy where they cannot observe sufficient cause of misery. Were they ever so much disposed to give it this miserable man would have none of their comfort.

II. There is a class of men who might succeed better in procuring the sympathy of the world could they but tell the cause of their sorrow. Disappointments in a long train have fallen upon the man’s head, and the manliness of his spirit is subdued, and he surrenders himself a willing subject to peevishness and despair. Ambition defeated may fret and chagrin the aspiring mind. Affection slighted gives a deep and incurable wound to the man of a feeling heart.

III. The man who secretly grieves for the treachery of a friend has even a more serious claim upon our sympathy. Such a man is sure to say, “My bitterness shall be known only to my own heart.”

IV. Domestic sources of disquetude. These, from motives of delicacy, are secreted from the notice and sympathy of the world.

V. Cases of persons who have changed their station in life, and cannot fit to their new conditions. As in imperfectly assorted marriages. What misery is experienced which must be kept in reserve.

VI. The man who carries grief in his bosom on account of conscious imperfection and inconsistency of character. He has often resolved upon reformation, made strenuous efforts against temptations, but has failed and relapsed again under the bondage of sin. This has occasioned miserable agitation and perplexity of soul. He mourns in secret that he is not such as his own resolutions prescribe, and the world around him believes him to be. To all earnest persons it is a matter of deep concern to find that a great proportion of secret sorrow falls to the share of those who are most useful, and deserve best from society. (T. Somerville, D.D.)

The heart’s hidden depths

Though men live in towns and cities, and in social gatherings, each man is a world to himself. He is as distinct, even from him who is in closest material or mental contact with him, as one orb of heaven is from another.

I. The heart has hidden depths of sorrow. There is bitterness in every heart.

1. There is the bitterness of disappointed love.

2. There is the bitterness of social bereavement--Rachels weeping for their lost children, and Davids for their Absaloms.

3. There is the bitterness of moral remorse. All this is hidden where it is the most deep.

The deepest sorrow in the human heart is hidden from others from three causes.

1. The insulating tendency of deep grief. Deep sorrow withdraws from society and seeks some Gethsemane of solitude.

2. The concealing instinct of deep grief. Men parade little sorrows, but conceal great ones. Deep sorrows are mute.

3. The incapacity of one soul to sound the depths of another. There is such a peculiarity in the constitution and circumstances of each soul that one can never fully understand another.

II. The heart has hidden depths of joy. “A stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” Though joy is less self-concealing than sorrow, yet it has depths unknown to any but its possessor and its God. The joy that rushed into Abraham’s heart when Isaac descended with him from the altar on Moriah; the joy of the father when he pressed his prodigal son to his bosom; the joy of the widow of Nain when her only son raised himself from the bier, and returned to gladden her lowly home; the joy of the broken-hearted woman when she heard Christ say, “Thy sins are all forgiven thee”; such joy has depths that no outward eye could penetrate. The joy of the true Christian is indeed a joy “unspeakable and full of glory.” This subject furnishes an argument--

1. For candour amongst men.

2. For piety towards God.

Though men know us not, God does. (Homilist.)

Bitterness of heart

While the Christian has no promise of exemption from the general sufferings of humanity, he has trials peculiar to the life of faith.

I. The nature of the Christian’s bitterness of heart. It is hazardous to represent the Christian life as a scene of constant sunshine and unaltered joy. This has occasioned much uneasiness and disappointment. The heart that is right with God has much anxiety, disquiet, and sorrow. These are dependent on disposition and temperament.

II. The sources of such inward sorrow and distress.

1. The secret consciousness of guilt.

2. The general infirmity of our intellectual and moral constitution. For instance, that depression of animal spirits to which some of the most regularly constituted minds are often most subject, and which no intellectual energy is at times able to dissipate or surmount.

3. Fears of shortcoming are sometimes the result of that increased spirituality of mind which marks the progress of the Divine life. Whatever be the attainments of the Christian, he has often hours of heaviness and alarm, and is troubled with distressing apprehensions respecting the safety of his state before God. This feeling must, of course, be greatly modified by the temper and circumstances of the believer, and in different individuals may arise from different causes. (John Johnston.)

The bitterness and joy of the heart

1. There is a bitterness and a joy of the heart which may be called more peculiarly its own, because it arises from the temper of the mind, which gives its own tone to circumstances and things in themselves indifferent. There is a marked contrast between the minds of different individuals. Every day is full of events which receive the character of good or evil from the mind of the individual related to them. Then, since so much depends on the cultivation of the mind and heart, let this be your chief concern.

2. The heart alone is conscious of its own feelings. Happiness and misery have no existence but in the conscious breast, and they are in a great measure confined to it. There are some sensations which the heart never attempts to express. There are some which it is our wish and endeavour to express. But how faint is the impression which we can convey to other minds of what is passing in our own. There is but one Being beside ourselves who knows our heart in the joys and sorrows of life. There is but one Being who can enter into our feelings amid the bitterness and joy of death. There is but one Being who can be all in all to our souls, in the changes and chances of this mortal life, and amid the unchanging glories of eternity: “Acquaint thyself with Him; and be at peace.” (George Cole.)

A private apartment of the mind

Each mind possesses m its interior mansions a solemn retired apartment peculiarly its own, into which none but himself and the Deity can enter. (John Foster.)

The heart’s refusal of the world’s interference in its bitterness and joy

“If you would seek for God,” said a pious man of old, “descend into your own heart.”

I. The imperfect estimate which we form of the real state of the world. One half the world knows not how the other half lives, and certainly one half has no idea of what the other half feels. All have their calamities and sorrows, so that no man has any real occasion for envying his brother. Our afflictions may be divided into those which we suffer from the cruelty of others, those which arise from our own guilt, and those with which Providence, in the general course of His dealings, visits all of us in our turn.

II. The sin of those who trifle with the feelings of an afflicted heart. Illustrate from the child who has brought distress on loving parents; the seducer of innocence; the slanderer and tale-bearer.

III. Those sorrows which arise from a sense of our state towards God. We live, it is true, in a world of much infidelity and sin, but there are many who have accepted the everlasting gospel as the power of God unto salvation. It must have opened on them a very awful view of the things of this life; and when conscience, awakening them to think upon their duty, points to that holy book from which we shall be judged, they can scarcely fail of looking on their life with terror and dismay.

IV. The sorrow arising from the ordinary visitations of providence. But our religion carries consolation with its sorrows. This comes from the belief in the Omniscience of God; in the grace of God; in the promise of remission of sins; in the assurance of a general resurrection. (G. Mathew, M.A.)

On the secret bitterness of the heart

Nothing is to be estimated by its effects upon common eyes and common ears.

1. Among the mental dispositions which prevail with the sufferer to smother his secret pangs and bitternesses from public inspection, the first is pride, whether of a pardonable or an improper description. Timidity is not less solicitous than pride to wrap up its griefs from general observation. Prudence and a sense of duty exert a similar influence.

2. When the circumstances of a sufferer are outward and visible, his perception of his calamity may be far more acute than the common observer surmises. And the heart of a man may be wrung with an unusual bitterness in consequence of its unusually delicate sense of religious and moral obligation.

Practical improvements:

1. The survey delivers a lecture on resignation and contentment and disproves the notion that there is actually any large inequality in the Divine distribution of good and evil among mankind.

2. The subject suggests an instructive lesson of mutual sympathy and kindness in all the varieties of outward condition. There never has breathed yet one individual in the full enjoyment of pure, unalloyed happiness.

3. Take care that the common and unavoidable uneasiness shall not be aggravated by that self-dissatisfaction which arises from wilful disobedience.

4. Remember that we are passing on to a fairer and more faultless condition of being, where the souls of the pious and penitent shall have their capacity for enjoyment filled up to the brim. (J. Grant, M.A.)

The believer’s sorrows and joys

I. The believer’s sorrows. There are sorrows common to believers and to unbelievers. There are some peculiar to the renewed man. Those are the most alive to sin who are most free from sin. A strong sense of sin is one of the characteristics of the real man of God. Believers are also at times unable to receive the promises. When comfort is offered they cannot avail themselves of it. Sometimes there is great spiritual depression under a sense of the withdrawal of God’s favour. But there is nothing more dangerous than to leave the soul in this state of bitterness of heart.

II. The believer’s joys. What is it in which he finds joy?

1. From the joyful sound of the everlasting gospel.

2. The joy of pardoning grace applied to the soul.

3. The fulness of Divine grace.

4. Communion with God. (H. M. Villiers, M.A.)

The inward unapproachable life

We know each other’s appearance, but there for the most part our mutual knowledge ceases. It is possible to live on terms of even close intimacy with a person for many years, and yet to find, by some chance uplifting of a curtain in his life, that he cherished feelings which you never even suspected, suffered pains of which you had seen no trace, or enjoyed pleasures which never came to any outward expression. The bitterness which surges in our brother’s heart would probably be unintelligible to us if he revealed it, but he will not reveal it, he cannot. And yet we all hunger for sympathy. No human being needs to be misunderstood, or to suffer under the sense of misunderstanding. Let him turn at once to God. If he cannot tell his bitterness to his fellows, he can tell it to God. No human being need imagine that he is unappreciated; his fellow-men may not want him, but God does. No human being need be without a sharer of his joy. And that is a great consideration, for joy unshared quickly dies, and is from the beginning haunted by a vague sense of a shadow that is falling upon it. In the heart of the Eternal dwells eternal joy. All loveliness, all sweetness, all goodness, all truth, are the objects of His happy contemplation; therefore every really joyful heart has an immediate sympathiser in God, and prayer is quite as much the means by which we share our gladness as the vehicle by which we convey our sorrows to the Divine heart. (R. F. Horton, D.D.)


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 14:10". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-14.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"The heart knoweth its own bitterness; And a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy."

There is here revealed a strange and terrible secret of human life. "The most sorrowful of all our experiences, and the most inward of all our joys, we must possess altogether alone. There is no such thing as a perfect fellowship among mortals. No human fellowship can give salvation, but only the fellowship with God, whose love and wisdom are capable of shining into that most secret sanctuary of human personality. Every human being is a little world to self alone, a world which only God sees and understands."[12] "Who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is within him"? (1 Corinthians 2:11).


Copyright Statement
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 14:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The heart knoweth his own bitterness,.... Or "the bitterness of his soul"F12מרת נפשו "amaritudine animae suae", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. , the distress of his conscience, the anguish of his mind; the heart of man only knows the whole of it; something of it may be known to others by his looks, his words, and gestures, but not all of it; see 1 Corinthians 2:10; bitterness of soul often arises from outward troubles, pains, and diseases of body, losses, crosses, and disappointments, 1 Samuel 1:10. Sometimes it is upon spiritual accounts; but this is not the case of every heart; men may be in the gall of bitterness, and have no bitterness of soul on account of it; the sensualist and voluptuous worldling feels nothing of it, nor the hardened and hardhearted sinner; only such who are awakened and convinced by the Spirit of God; to these, as sin is a bitter thing in itself, it is so to their taste; it makes hitter work for repentance in them; it brings trembling and astonishment on them; fills them with shame and confusion of face, causes self-loathing and abhorrence, and severe reflections upon themselves; seeing sin in its own colours, they are cut to the heart and killed with it; they are pressed down with the guilt of sin, and the load of it; and, having no views of pardon, are in that distress and bitterness of soul which no tongue can express nor heart conceive but what has felt the same;

and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy; or "mingle himself with it"F13לא יתערב "non immiscet se", Michaelis, so Tigurine version; "non miscebit sese", Baynus; "non intermiscet se", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. ; he does not share in it or partake of it; this is more especially true of spiritual joy, which, as it is unspeakable to the man that possesses it, it passes the understanding of a natural man; he can form no true idea of it: spiritual joy is what a sensible sinner partakes of upon the Gospel, the joyful sound of salvation, reaching his ears and his heart, at the revelation of Christ in him and to him, as a Saviour; when an application of pardoning grace is made to his soul, and he has a view of the complete righteousness of Christ, and his interest in it, and can see all his sins expiated and stoned for by his sacrifice; when he is favoured with a sight of the fulness of grace in Christ, and of the spiritual and eternal salvation he has wrought out for him; and likewise when he is indulged with a visit from him, and enjoys communion with him; and when he has a glimpse of eternal glory, and a well grounded hope of right unto it, and meetness for it: now a stranger, one that is a stranger to God and godliness, to Christ and the way of salvation by him, to the Spirit and his work of grace upon the heart, to the Gospel and the doctrines of it, to his own heart and the plague of it, to the saints and communion with them; knows nothing at all of the above joy, nor can he interrupt it, nor take it away.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-14.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The heart knoweth its own g bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy.

(g) As a man's conscience is witness to his own grief, so another cannot feel the joy and comfort which a man feels in himself.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-14.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Each one best knows his own sorrows or joys.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 14:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Four proverbs of joy and sorrow in the present and the future:

10 The heart knoweth the trouble of its soul,

And no stranger can intermeddle with its joy.

The accentuation לב יודע seems to point out יודע as an adjective (Löwenstein: a feeling heart), after 1 Kings 3:9, or genit. (of a feeling heart); but Cod. 1294 and the Jemen Cod., and others, as well as the editions of Jablonsky and Michaelis, have לב with Rebia , so that this is by itself to be taken as the subject (cf. the accentuation Proverbs 15:5 and under at 16a). מרּת has the ר with Dagesh , and consequently the short Kametz ( Michlol 63b), like שׁרּך Proverbs 3:8, cf. כּרתה , Judges 6:28, and on the contrary כרּת , Ezekiel 16:4; it is the fem. of mōr = morr , from מרר , adstringere, amarum esse . Regarding לב , in contradistinction to נפשׁ , vid ., Psychol . p. 251. “All that is meant by the Hellenic and Hellenistic νοῦς, λόγος, συνείδησις, θυμός , is comprehended in καρδία , and all by which the בשׂר and נפשׁ are affected comes in לב into the light of consciousness.”

The first half of the proverb is clear: the heart, and only it, i.e. , the man in the centre of his individuality, knows what brings bitterness to his soul, i.e. , what troubles him in the sphere of his natural life and of the nearest life-circle surrounding him. It thus treats of life experiences which are of too complex a nature to be capable of being fully represented to others, and, as we are wont to say, of so delicate a nature that we shrink from uncovering them and making them known to others, and which on this account must be kept shut up in our own hearts, because no man is so near to us, or has so fully gained our confidence, that we have the desire and the courage to pour out our hearts to him from their very depths. Yet the saying, “Every one knows where the shoe pinches him” (1 Kings 8:38), stands nearer to this proverb; here this expression receives a psychological, yet a sharper and a deeper expression, for the knowledge of that which grieves the soul is attributed to the heart, in which, as the innermost of the soul-corporeal life, it reflects itself and becomes the matter-of-fact of the reflex consciousness in which it must shut itself up, but also for the most part without external expression. If we now interpret לא־יתערב as prohibitive, then this would stand (with this exception, that in this case אל instead of לא is to be expected) in opposition, certainly not intended, to the exhortation, Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice,” and to the saying, “Distributed joy is doubled joy, distributed sorrow is half sorrow;” and an admonition to leave man alone with his joy, instead of urging him to distribute it, does not run parallel with 10a. Therefore we interpret the fut. as potentialis . As there is a soul-sorrow of the man whose experience is merely a matter of the heart, so there is also a soul-joy with which no other ( vid ., regarding זר , p. 135, and cf. here particularly Job 19:27) intermeddleth ( ההערב בּ like Psalms 106:35), in which no other can intermeddle, because his experience, as e.g. , of blessed spiritual affection or of benevolent feeling, is purely of a personal nature, and admits of no participation (cf. on ἔκρυψε , Matthew 13:44), and thus of no communication to others. Elster well observes: “By this thought, that the innermost feelings of a man are never fully imparted to another man, never perfectly cover themselves with the feelings of another, yea, cannot at all be fully understood by another, the worth and the significance of each separate human personality is made conspicuous, not one of which is the example of a species, but each has its own peculiarity, which no one of countless individuals possesses. At the same time the proverb has the significance, that it shows the impossibility of a perfect fellowship among men, because one never wholly understands another. Thereby it is indicated that no human fellowship can give true salvation, but only the fellowship with God, whose love and wisdom are capable of shining through the most secret sanctuary of human personality.” Thus also Dächsel (but he interprets 10b admonitorily): “Each man is a little world in himself, which God only fully sees through and understands. His sorrow appertaining to his innermost life, and his joy, another is never able fully to transfer to himself. Yea, the most sorrowful of all experiences, the most inward of all joys, we possess altogether alone, without any to participate with us.”


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-14.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

This agrees with 1 Corinthians 2:11, What man knows the things of a man, and the changes of his temper, save the spirit of a man? 1. Every man feels most from his own burden, especially that which is a burden upon the spirits, for that is commonly concealed and the sufferer keeps it to himself. We must not censure the griefs of others, for we know not what they feel; their stroke perhaps is heavier than their groaning. 2. Many enjoy a secret pleasure, especially in divine consolations, which others are not aware of, much less are sharers in; and, as the sorrows of a penitent, so the joys of a believer are such as a stranger does not intermeddle with and therefore is no competent judge of.


Copyright Statement
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. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

We do not know what stings of conscience, or consuming passions, torment the prosperous sinner. Nor does the world know the peace of mind a serious Christian enjoys, even in poverty and sickness.


Copyright Statement
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 14:10". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

Bitterness — The inward griefs and joys of mens hearts, are not known to any but a man's self.


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

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 14:10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

Ver. 10. The heart knoweth his own bitterness] None can conceive the terrors and torments of a heart that lies under the sense of sin and fear of wrath. A little water in a leaden vessel is heavy. Some can bear in their grief better than others; but all that are under this affliction have their back burden. Job’s "stroke was heavier than his groaning," [Job 23:2] and yet his complaint was bitter too. Some holy men, as Mr Leaver, have desired to see their sin in the most ugly colours, and God hath heard them. But yet his hand was so heavy upon them that they went always mourning to their graves, and thought it fitter to leave it to God’s wisdom to mingle the portion of sorrow than to be their own choosers. (a)

And the stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.] None but such as are of the "family of faith" [Galatians 6:10] can conceive the surpassing sweetness of spiritual joy. The cock on the dunghill knows not the worth of this jewel. It is joy "unspeakable"; [1 Peter 1:8] such as none feel but those that stir up sighs "unutterable." [Romans 8:26] It is joy "unspeakable, and full of glory," a hansel of heaven, a foretaste of eternal life. It is the peace that "passeth all understanding"; [Philippians 4:7] they that have it understand not the full of it, nor can relate the one-half of it. Paul said somewhat to the point, when he said, "I do over abound exceedingly (b) with joy," but words are too weak to utter it. Father Latimer said somewhat, when he said it was the ‘deserts of the feast of a good conscience.’ But sermo non valet exprimere, experimento opus est. (c) It is a thing fitter to be believed, than possible to be discoursed. Tell a man never so long what a sweet thing honey is, he can never believe you so well as if he himself tastes it. Those that never yet "tasted how good the Lord is," [Psalms 34:8] are far from intermeddling with the just man’s joy. ‘The world wonders,’ saith Mr Philpot, martyr, ‘how we can be so merry in such extreme misery; but our God is omnipotent, who turns misery into felicity. Believe me, there is no such joy in the world as the people of Christ have under the cross. I speak it by experience.’ (d) Another holy martyr, Richard Collier, after his condemnation sang a psalm; wherefore the priests and the officers railed at him, saying, He was out of his wits. (e)


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-14.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 10. The heart knoweth his own bitterness, it is best acquainted with its own trouble and resents interference; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy, for no outsider is able fully to enter into the feelings of the heart. This saying does not conflict with Rom_12:15, but is directed against officious intrusion and an unsympathetic prying into the affairs of one's neighbors.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-14.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 14:10. The heart knoweth his own bitterness "Nobody can know what another suffers, so well as the sufferer himself; and he alone is privy to the greatness of that joy which springs from the happy conclusion of his sufferings." Houbigant renders the verse, He who divulges the trouble of his soul, shall not have another to partake of his joy: i.e. "He who cannot keep to himself his own afflictions, but is continually teizing others with the relation of them, will so weary every one out, as to render them perfectly indifferent to his good or ill fortune."


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-14.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 783

MAN’S EXPERIENCE KNOWN TO HIMSELF ALONE

Proverbs 14:10. The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

THE inward experience of men, any further than it is discovered by acts or other outward signs, must of necessity be known to themselves alone. St. Paul puts the question to us, “Who knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:11.]?” Whether a man be filled with sorrow or joy, he alone can be sensible of the measure and extent of his own feelings.

The assertions in my text will be found true,

I. In reference to the concerns of this world—

[Great are the troubles of many, as arising from their own unhappy tempers — — — from their connexions in life — — — or from circumstances of embarrassment in their affairs — — — And who but themselves can fully appreciate their sorrows? — — — On the other hand, the comforts of many are considerable, as flowing from the exercise of benevolence and love — — — from the endearments of domestic life — — — and from that success in their affairs which enables them to supply with ease the wants of themselves and families — — — And of the satisfaction which they feel, a stranger would form a very inadequate conception — — —]

II. In reference to the concerns of the soul—

[In matters relating to the soul, the feelings are still more acute. None but the person feeling it can tell “the bitterness” which is occasioned by a sense of sin, with all its aggravations — — — by the prospect of death and judgment, whilst the soul is unprepared to meet its God — — — and by temptations to despondency, and perhaps to suicide itself — — — Job’s friends could not at all appreciate his sorrows, as depicted by himself [Note: Job 6:2-4] — — — Nor can any, but the man whose “heart is thus broken,” conceive fully what “a broken and contrite spirit is” — — —

On the other hand, there are in the heart of a true Christian “joys, with which a stranger intermeddleth not.” The peace that is experienced by him, when God speaks peace to his soul, “passeth all understanding [Note: Philippians 4:7.]” — — — And “the joys” with which he is transported, in the views of his Redeemer’s glory, in the experience of God’s love shed abroad in his heart, and in the earnest and foretaste of his eternal inheritance, “are unspeakable and glorified [Note: 1 Peter 1:8. See also Romans 8:15-16 and Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 3:18-19.]” — — — These joys are, “the white stone, with a new name written on it, which no man can read, saving he who has received it [Note: Revelation 2:17.]” — — — Michal could not understand the exercises of David’s mind [Note: 2 Samuel 6:16; 2 Samuel 6:20-22.] — — — Nor can any one fully estimate the blessedness of a soul, when thus admitted to close communion with its God — — —]

Learn from hence—

[Contentment—(the very persons whom you envy, are perhaps even envying you — — —) charity—(we can see the outward act only, and can little tell what passes in the hearts of men, whether in a way of humiliation or desire — — —) and earnestness in the ways of God;—that you may attain the deepest measures of contrition, with the sublimest experience of joy. The lower we lay our foundation, the higher we may hope our superstructure shall be raised — — —]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/proverbs-14.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The sense of the verse is this, The inward griefs and joys of men’s hearts, though sometimes they may be guessed at by outward signs, yet are not certainly known to any but a man’s self. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:11. The scope of the parable may be to keep men from murmuring under their own troubles, or envying other men’s happiness.

A stranger, any other person without or besides a man’s self, doth not intermeddle with his joy; doth not partake of it, nor understand it.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-14.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. The heart knoweth his own bitterness — Hebrew, the heart knows the bitterness of his soul; that is, the bitterness of itself, or its own bitterness. Nephesh is often used in default of a reflexive pronoun. Comp. Proverbs 12:23. When our version was made the neuter singular pronoun its had not come into use. We now say its instead of his. The sentiment of the proverb is, that every one knows his own experiences, whether of sorrow or of joy, better than it is possible for another to know them.

Intermeddle — Intermix or become familiar with, understand thoroughly. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:13. The proverb teaches the perfect individuality of each soul. Something there is in every sorrow, in every joy, that no one else can share. But there is a divine sympathizer, uniting perfect knowledge with perfect love. — Speaker’s Commentary.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-14.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 14:10. The heart knoweth its own bitterness — The inward griefs and joys of men’s hearts, though sometimes they may be partly manifested by outward signs, yet are not certainly and fully known to any but the persons themselves who are the subjects of them; or, as Bishop Patrick paraphrases the verse, “Nobody can know what another suffers so well as the sufferer himself; and he alone is privy to the greatness of that joy which springs from the happy conclusion of his sufferings.” The scope of the proverb may be, to keep men from murmuring under their own troubles, or envying other men’s happiness.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Stranger. Such cannot well comfort the afflicted. A man is alone acquainted with the affections of his own heart. Septuagint, "he mixeth not insult" (Symmachus) "with strangers."


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

his own bitterness = the bitterness of his soul (Hebrew. nephesh. App-13). Illustrations: Hannah (1 Samuel 1:8-13); Joab (2 Samuel 19:5-7); the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:27); Haman (Esther 5:13); Job (Job 3); Herod (Mark 6:16).

a stranger = an apostate. Hebrew. zur. See note on Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 5:3.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

The heart knoweth his own bitterness (Hebrew, the bitterness of his soul); and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy - (cf. Proverbs 14:13) None can enter so fully into our bitterness or our joy as ourselves (1 Corinthians 2:11). Eli could not enter into the "bitterness of soul" of Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10; 1 Samuel 1:13; 1 Samuel 1:16): nor Gehazi into that of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:27). Michal, though the wife of David's bosom was "a stranger" to his "joy" when "he danced before the Lord with all his might," at the bringing up of the ark to Zion (cf. 1 Samuel 18:13; 1 Samuel 18:20, with 2 Samuel 6:12-16). This proverb teaches the individuality of each soul in its innermost being, so that none except He who searcheth the hearts can with thorough sympathy enter into our joys and our sorrows.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) The heart knoweth his own bitterness . . .—None Can perfectly sympathise with the sorrows or joys of others, except the ideal Son of Man, who came to “bear our griefs and carry our sorrows” (comp. Hebrews 4:15), yet could join in the marriage feast at Cana.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
heart
15:13; 18:14; 1 Samuel 1:10; 2 Kings 4:27; Job 6:2-4; 7:11; 9:18; 10:1; Ezekiel 3:14; Mark 14:33,34; John 12:27
his, etc
Heb. the bitterness of his soul.
Genesis 42:21
and
Psalms 25:14; John 14:18,23; Philippians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:8; Revelation 2:17

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-14.html.

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