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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 14:13

 

 

Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful - Many a time is a smile forced upon the face, when the heart is in deep distress. And it is a hard task to put on the face of mirth, when a man has a heavy heart.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Sorrow of some kind either mingles itself with outward joy, or follows hard upon it.


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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-14.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 14:13

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

On a life of dissipation and pleasure

We have much reason to beware lest a rash and unwary pursuit of pleasure defeat its end, lest the attempt to carry pleasure too far tend, in the issue, to sink us into misery. It would be unjust to infer, from the serious admonition of Scripture, that religion is an enemy to all mirth and gaiety. It circumscribes our enjoyment, indeed, within the bounds of temperance; but as far as the sacred limit permits, it gives free scope to the gratifications of life. It even heightens their relish to a virtuous man. The text is applicable only to that set of men to whom temperance is no restraint. A mediocrity of enjoyment only is allowed man for his portion on earth. Whatever a man’s rank or station may be, there are certain duties required of him, there are serious cares which must employ his mind.

1. The obvious consequences of a life of pleasure and dissipation to health, fortune, and character. To each of these it is an enemy, precisely in the same degree to which it is carried. A temporary satisfaction is admitted. But no sensual pleasure, except what is regulated by temperance, can be lasting.

2. The ruin which a life of pleasure and dissipation brings upon the moral state and character of men, as well as on their external condition. As the love of pleasure gains ground, with what insidious steps does it advance towards the abolition of all virtuous principles! Without the assistance of reflection and of serious thought, virtue cannot long subsist in the human mind. But to reflection and serious thought the men of dissipation are strangers. Men become assimilated to the manners of their loose associates; and, without perceiving it themselves, their whole character by degrees is changed. From a character originally stamped only with giddiness and levity shoots forth a character compounded of dishonesty, injustice, oppression, and cruelty.

3. The disquieting sensations which are apt to intrude upon the men of pleasure, even in the midst of their enjoyments. Often a show of mirth is put on to cover some secret disquiet. At the bottom of the hearts of most men, even amidst an irregular life, there lies a secret feeling of propriety, a sense of right and wrong in conduct. Though conscience be not strong enough to guide, it still has strength to dart a sting. Can that be reckoned sincere joy which is liable to be interrupted and mingled with so many sensations of the most disagreeable nature?

4. How unsuitable a life of dissipation and pleasure is to the condition of man in this world, and how injurious to the interests of society. Amid the sorrows that surround us, and in view of the brevity of life, should we be pursuing giddy amusement and perpetual pleasure? Such persons scatter poison in society around them. They are corrupting the public manners by the life they live. They create discontent and indignation in the poorer classes of men, who see them indulging in wastefulness and thoughtless profusion, when they and their families are not able to earn their bread. To serve God, to attend to the serious cares of life, and to discharge faithfully the duties of our station, ought to be the first concern of every man who wishes to be wise and happy. Amusement and pleasure are the relaxation, not the business, of life. (Hugh Blair, D.D.)

Sorrow amid laughter

A description of Mr. Opie Read, the American humorist, reveals heart-sorrow where the reader has seen nothing but mirth. “Sometimes,” says the writer, “his work is marked by the deepest pathos. He had lost two of his children, to whom he was devotedly attached, and these melancholy events made very marked impressions on the man and his work. ‘When one of my babies died,’ said he, in talking of the matter to me, ‘I was working for a magazine, and I was required to do just so much work every day. I was compelled to do it--it was my only means of support. During that awful time I would frequently rock the cradle of my dying babe for hours at the time. With one hand I rocked that cradle of death, and with the other I was writing stuff to make people laugh. I sobbed and wept, and watched that angel and wrote that stuff, and I felt every minute as if my heart would burst. And yet some people think this funny business is all sunshine. Sometimes even now I see articles floating around that I wrote while under the shadow of death, and occasionally some editor will preface these very things with some such remark as, “The genial and sunny-souled Opie Read says so and so,”--yes, about these same things that I penned when my babe was dying and my heart was bursting.’” (J. F. B. Tinling.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 14:13". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-14.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; And the end of mirth is heaviness."

"Like many other Proverbs in our English version, this one cannot be taken as universally true. The first clause is often rendered, and perhaps should be, "Even in laughter the heart may sorrowful."[13] "There are two kinds of laughter and mirth. There is an innocent and proper mirth; and there is an guilty and sinful mirth."[14] There is also sometimes a heavy and disconsolate heart that disguises its sorrow by a show of joy and laughter.


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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 14:13". "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

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful,.... As Belshazzar's was in the midst of his feast and jollity, when he saw the writing on the wall; so sin may stare a man in the face, and guilt load his conscience and fill him with sorrow, amidst his merriment; a man may put on a merry countenance, and feign a laugh, when his heart is very sorrowful; and oftentimes this sorrow comes by sinful laughter, by mocking at sin and jesting at religion;

and the end of that mirth is heaviness: sometimes in this life a sinner mourns at last, and mourns for his wicked mirth, or that he has made himself so merry with religious persons and things, and oftentimes when it is too late; so the end of that mirth the fool in the Gospel promised himself was heaviness, when his soul was required of him; this was the case of the rich man who had his good things here, and his evil things hereafter.


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-14.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; h and the end of that mirth [is] heaviness.

(h) He shows the allurement to sin, that it seems sweet, but the end of it is destruction.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-14.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The preceding sentiment illustrated by the disappointments of a wicked or untimely joy.


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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 14:13". "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

13 Even in the midst of laughter the heart experiences sadness;

And to it, joy, the end is sorrow.

Every human heart carries the feeling of disquiet and of separation from its true home, and of the nothingness, the transitoriness of all that is earthly; and in addition to this, there is many a secret sorrow in every one which grows out of his own corporeal and spiritual life, and from his relation to other men; and this sorrow, which is from infancy onward the lot of the human heart, and which more and more depends and diversifies itself in the course of life, makes itself perceptible even in the midst of laughter, in spite of the mirth and merriment, without being able to be suppressed or expelled from the soul, returning always the more intensely, the more violently we may have for a time kept it under and sunk it in unconsciousness. Euchel cites here the words of the poet, according to which 13a is literally true:

“No, man is not made for joy;

Why weep his eyes when in heart he laughs?”

(Note: “ Nein, der Mensch ist zur Freude nicht gemacht, Darum weint sein Aug' wenn er herzlich lacht .”)

From the fact that sorrow is the fundamental condition of humanity, and forms the background of laughter, it follows, 13b, that in general it is not good for man to give himself up to joy, viz., sensual (worldly), for to it, joy, the end (the issue) is sorrow. That is true also of the final end, which according to that saying, μακάριοι οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν ὅτι γελάσετε , changes laughter into weeping, and weeping into laughter. The correction אחרית השּׂמחה (Hitzig) presses upon the Mishle style an article in such cases rejected, and removes a form of expression of the Hebr. syntaxis ornata , which here, as at Isaiah 17:6, is easily obviated, but which is warranted by a multitude of other examples, vid ., at Proverbs 13:4 (also Proverbs 5:22), and cf. Philippi's Status Const . p. 14f., who regards the second word, as here שׂמהה , after the Arab., as accus. But in cases like שׂנאי שׁקר , although not in cases such as Ezra 2:62, the accus. rendering is tenable, and the Arab. does not at all demand it.

(Note: Regarding the supplying ( ibdâl ) of a foregoing genitive or accus. pronoun of the third person by a definite or indefinite following, in the same case as the substantive, Samachscharî speaks in the Mufassal , p. 94ff., where, as examples, are found: raeituhu Zeidan , I have seen him, the Zeid; marartu bihi Zeidin , I have gone over with him, the Zeid; saraftu wugûhahâ awwalihâ , in the flight I smote the heads of the same, their front rank. Vid ., regarding this anticipation of the definite idea by an indefinite, with explanations of it, Fleischer's Makkarî, Additions et Corrections , p. xl. col. 2, and Dieterici's Mutanabbi , p. 341, l. 13.)

In the old Hebr. this solutio of the st. constr . belongs to the elegances of the language; it is the precursor of the vulgar post-bibl. אחרייהּ שׂל־שׂמחה . That the Hebr. may also retain a gen. where more or fewer parts of a sentence intervene between it and its governing word, is shown by such examples as Isaiah 48:9; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 61:7.

(Note: These examples moreover do not exceed that which is possible in the Arab., vid ., regarding this omission of the mudâf , where this is supplied from the preceding before a genitive, Samachscharî's Mufassal , p. 34, l. 8-13. Perhaps לחמך , Obadiah 1:7, of thy bread = the (men) of thy bread, is an example of the same thing.)


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-14.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

This shows the vanity of carnal mirth, and proves what Solomon said of laughter, that it is mad; for, 1. There is sadness under it. Sometimes when sinners are under convictions, or some great trouble, they dissemble their grief by a forced mirth, and put a good face on it, because they will not seem to yield: they cry not when he binds them. Nay, when men really are merry, yet at the same time there is some alloy or other to their mirth, something that casts a damp upon it, which all their gaiety cannot keep from their heart. Their consciences tell them they have no reason to be merry (Hosea 9:1); they cannot but see the vanity of it. Spiritual joy is seated in the soul; the joy of the hypocrite is but from the teeth outward. See John 16:22; 2 Corinthians 6:10. 2. There is worse after it: The end of that mirth is heaviness. It is soon over, like the crackling of thorns under a pot; and, if the conscience be awake, all sinful and profane mirth will be reflected upon with bitterness; if not, the heaviness will be so much the greater when for all these things God shall bring the sinner into judgment. The sorrows of the saints will end in everlasting joys (Psalm 126:5), but the laughter of fools will end in endless weeping and wailing.


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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. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

In laughter — The outward signs of joy are often mixed with real sorrow.


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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
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth [is] heaviness.

Ver. 13. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful.] Nulla est sincera voluptas. Labor est etiam ipsa voluptas. Of carnal pleasures a man may break his neck before his fast. "All this avails me nothing," said Haman. Omnia fui, et nihil profuit, said that emperor. "Vanity of vanity, all is vanity," said Solomon; and not vanity only, but "vexation of spirit." Nothing in themselves, and yet full of power and activity to inflict vengeance and vexation upon the spirit of a man; so that even in laughter the heart is sorrowful. Some kind of frothy and flashy mirth wicked men may have; such as may wet the mouth, but not warm the heart; smooth the brow, but not fill the breast. It is but ‘a cold armful,’ (a) as Lycophron saith of an evil wife. As they repent in the face, [Matthew 6:16] so they rejoice in the face, not in the heart. [2 Corinthians 5:12] Rident et ringuntur. They laugh and snare. There is a snare or a cord in the sin of the wicked - that is, to strangle their joy with; but the righteous sing and are merry; [Proverbs 29:6] others may revel, they only must rejoice. [Hosea 9:1]

And the end of that mirth is heaviness.] They dance to the timbrel and harp, but suddenly they turn into hell; [Job 21:12-13] and so their merry dance ends in a miserable downfall. "Woe be to you that laugh now." [Luke 6:25] Those merry Greeks, that are so afraid of sadness that they banish all seriousness, shall one day wring for it. Adonijah’s guests had soon enough of their good cheer and jollity; so had Belshazzar and his combibones optimi. Thou mad fool, what doest thou [Ecclesiastes 2:1-26] saith Solomon to the mirth monger, that holds it the only happiness to ‘laugh and be fat’; knowest thou not yet there will be bitterness in the end? Principium dulce est, sed finis amoris amarus. The candle of the wicked shall be put out in a vexing snuff. Their mirth - as comets - blazeth much, but ends in a pestilent vapour; as lightning, it soon vanisheth, leaveth a greater darkness behind it, and is attended with the renting and roaring thunder of God’s wrath.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-14.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 13. Even In laughter the heart is sorrowful, that is, a person may hide a deep sorrow under a superficial joyousness; and the end of that mirth is heaviness, for trouble will invariably cut short such outward manifestations of joy and bring sorrow in the end.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-14.html. 1921-23.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 785

THE VANITY OF CARNAL MIRTH

Proverbs 14:13. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

WE are apt to imagine, that whatever is sanctioned by the approbation and practice of the world at large, must be right: but we cannot have a more erroneous standard than popular opinion. This is sufficiently evident from the estimation in which mirth and laughter are generally held: they are supposed to constitute the chief happiness of man; whereas they are far from producing any solid happiness at all. To this mistake Solomon refers, in the words preceding the text; and in the text itself he confirms the truth of his own position.

We shall,

I. Demonstrate the vanity of carnal mirth—

We mean not to condemn all kinds and degrees of mirth: there certainly is a measure of it that is conducive to good, rather than to evil; “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance,” and “doeth good like a medicine.” But carnal mirth is distinct from cheerfulness of disposition; inasmuch as it argues a light frivolous state of mind, and indisposes us for serious and heavenly contemplations. Of this mirth we affirm, that it is,

1. Empty—

[Let us examine the mirth which we have at any time experienced; let us weigh it in a balance; let us compare it with that sobriety of mind which results from scenes of woe, and with that tenderness of spirit which is the offspring of sympathy and compassion; and we shall confess, with Solomon, that “it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting [Note: Ecclesiastes 7:1-3.]:” yea, the more we examine it, the more shall we be constrained, like him, to “say of laughter. It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it [Note: Ecclesiastes 2:1-2.]?” It may be justly called, “a filling of our belly with the east wind [Note: Job 15:2.].”]

2. Fictitious—

[The gaiety which is exhibited in worldly company is often assumed, for the purpose of concealing the real feelings of the heart. They who appear so delighted to see each other, have frequently no mutual affection: even the nearest relatives, who seem to participate each other’s joys, have so little real cordiality at home, that they can scarcely endure each other’s conversation; and would be heartily glad, if the knot which binds them together could be dissolved. Truly “in their laughter their heart is sorrowful;” their pride, their envy, their jealousy, their private piques, their domestic troubles, or their worldly cares, make them inwardly sigh, so that they can with difficulty prevent the discovery of the imposture which they are practising. The very emptiness of their pleasure fills them often with disgust; and they are constrained to acknowledge, that “they are feeding on ashes, and that they have a lie in their right hand [Note: Isaiah 44:20.].”]

3. Transient—

[Suppose it to have been for more substantial than it has, yet how speedily has it vanished away! What trace of it remains? It is like a dream when one awaketh: in our dream we thought of satisfaction; but when we awoke, we found ourselves as unsatisfied as ever [Note: Isaiah 29:8.]. If we thought by repeated participation to protract the pleasure, we weakened the zest with which we had partaken of it; and thus diminished, rather than increased, the sum of our enjoyment.]

4. Delusive—

[We hoped that the ultimate effect of all our mirth would be an easy comfortable frame: but has it always been so? Has not the very reverse been often experienced by us? Has not “the end of our mirth been heaviness?” An excessive elevation of spirit is naturally calculated to produce depression. Besides, we cannot always shake off reflection: and the thought of having so foolishly wasted our time, instead of improving it in preparation for eternity, will sometimes produce very uneasy sensations. Such warnings as Solomon [Note: Ecclesiastes 11:9.], and our Lord [Note: Luke 6:25.], have given us, will frequently obtrude themselves upon us, and make us almost weary of life, while at the same time we are afraid of death: so justly is this mirth compared to “the crackling of thorns under a pot [Note: Ecclesiastes 7:6.];” the one, after an unprofitable blaze, terminating in smoke and darkness, the other, after a senseless noise, expiring in spleen and melancholy. In fact, there are no people more subject to lowness of spirits, than they who spend their time in vanity and dissipation.

What will be “the end of their mirth” when they come into the eternal world, is inexpressibly awful to consider. Fearful indeed will be the contrast between the festivities of their present, and the wailings of their eternal state [Note: Amos 6:1-6.]! Would to God that man would learn this from a parable [Note: Luke 16:19; Luke 16:24-25.]! but, if they will not, they must realize it in their own experience.]

That we may not appear as if we would deprive you of all happiness, we shall—

II. Shew how we may attain more solid mirth—

There is evidently a contrast intended in the text: for when it is said that “the end of that mirth is heaviness,” it is implied, that there is another species of mirth that shall end in a very different manner.

The Gospel is a source of mirth to all who embrace it—

[The Gospel is called “glad tidings of great joy to all people.” It proclaims salvation to a ruined world; nor can it fail of creating the liveliest emotions of joy wherever it is received [Note: Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 65:18 and Jeremiah 31:4. with Acts 8:8; Acts 8:39.] — — —]

And the mirth resulting from it, is the very reverse of carnal mirth—

[It is solid.—Behold the change wrought in the first converts! see them turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God! see them enjoying peace with God and in their own consciences! see them filled with love to each other, and with admiring and adoring thoughts of their beloved Saviour! Can we wonder that they ate their bread with gladness and singleness of heart, blessing and praising God? Yet precisely the same grounds of joy has every one that truly believes in Christ [Note: Jeremiah 31:11-14.]. The Prodigal fancied that he was in the road to joy, when he was wasting his substance in riotous living: but he never tasted real happiness till he returned to his father’s house: then “he began to eat, and drink, and be merry.”

It is permanent.—It will consist with trials and tribulations; yea, it will even arise out of them [Note: Romans 5:3. James 1:2.]: we may be “sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:10.].” And, as it is not interrupted by the occurrences of life, so neither will it be terminated by death: it will then be augmented a thousand-fold: and continue without interruption to all eternity — — —]

Address—

1. The young and gay—

[Follow your career of pleasure as long as you will, you will be constrained to say at last, with Solomon, not only that it was all “vanity,” but also “vexation of spirit.” Yet think not, that in dissuading you from these lying vanities, we would deprive you of all happiness: we wish only that you should exchange that which is empty and delusive, for that which will afford you present and eternal satisfaction [Note: Isaiah 55:2.]. Even your past experience may suffice to shew you, that “in the fulness of your sufficiency you have been in straits [Note: Job 20:22.]:” try now what the service and enjoyment of God can do for you; and you shall find that religion’s “ways are indeed ways of pleasantness and peace.”]

2. Those who profess godliness—

[In avoiding carnal mirth, you must be careful not to give occasion to the world to represent religion as sour and morose. There is a cheerfulness which recommends religion, and which it is both your duty and privilege to maintain. Yet, on the other hand, beware of levity. Live nigh to God, and you will easily find the proper medium. “God has certainly given you all things richly to enjoy [Note: 1 Timothy 6:17.]:” yet it is in himself alone, and in the light of his countenance, that you must seek your happiness. There you are sure to find it [Note: Psalms 4:6-7.]; and while you find it in him, you will shine as lights in a dark world, and recommend the Gospel to all around you.]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/proverbs-14.html. 1832.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Proverbs

HOLLOW LAUGHTER, SOLID JOY

Proverbs 14:13. - John 15:11.

A poet, who used to be more fashionable than he is now, pronounces ‘happiness’ to be our being’s end and aim. That is not true, except under great limitations and with many explanations. It may be regarded as God’s end, but it is ruinous to make it man’s aim. It is by no means the highest conception of the Gospel to say that it makes men happy, however true it may be. The highest is that it makes them good. I put these two texts together, not only because they bring out the contrast between the laughter which is hollow and fleeting and the joy which is perfect and perpetual, but also because they suggest to us the difference in kind and object between earthly and heavenly joys; which difference underlies the other between the boisterous laughter in which is no mirth and no continuance and the joy which is deep and abiding.

In the comparison which I desire to make between these two texts we must begin with that which is deepest, and consider-

I. The respective objects of earthly and heavenly joy.

Our Lord’s wonderful words suggest that they who accept His sayings, that they who have His word abiding in them, have in a very deep sense His joy implanted in their hearts, to brighten and elevate their joys as the sunshine flashes into silver the ripples of the lake. What then were the sources of the calm joys of ‘the Man of Sorrows’? Surely His was the perfect instance of ‘rejoicing in the Lord always’-an unbroken communion with the Father. The consciousness that the divine pleasure ever rested on Him, and that all His thoughts, emotions, purposes, and acts were in perfect harmony with the perfect will of the perfect God, filled His humanity up to the very brim with gladness which the world could not take away, and which remains for us for ever as a type to which all our gladness must be conformed if it is to be worthy of Him and of us. As one of the Psalmists says, God is to be ‘the gladness of our joy.’ It is in Him, gazed upon by the faith and love of an obedient spirit, sought after by aspiration and possessed inwardly in peaceful communion, confirmed by union with Him in the acts of daily obedience, that the true joy of every human life is to be realised. They who have drunk of this deep fountain of gladness will not express their joy in boisterous laughter, which is the hollower the louder it is, and the less lasting the more noisy, but will manifest itself ‘in the depth and not the tumult of the soul.’

Nor must we forget that ‘My joy’ co-existed with a profound experience of sorrow to which no human sorrow was ever like. Let us not forget that, while His joy filled His soul to the brim, He was ‘acquainted with grief’; and let us not wonder if the strange surface contradiction is repeated in ourselves. It is more Christlike to have inexpressibly deep joy with surface sorrow, than to have a shallow laughter masking a hurtful sorrow.

We have to set the sources of earthly gladness side by side with those of Christ’s joy to be aware of a contrast. His sprang from within, the world’s is drawn from without. His came from union with the Father, the world’s largely depends on ignoring God. His needed no supplies from the gratifications ministered by sense, and so independent of the presence or absence of such; the world’s need the constant contributions of outward good, and when these are cut off they droop and die. He who depends on outward circumstances for his joy is the slave of externals and the sport of time and chance.

II. The Christian’s joy is full, the world’s partial.

All human joys touch but part of our nature, the divine fills and satisfies all. In the former there is always some portion of us unsatisfied, like the deep pits on the moon’s surface into which no light shines, and which show black on the silver face. No human joys wait to still conscience, which sits at the banquet like the skeleton that Egyptian feasters set at their tables. The old story told of a magician’s palace blazing with lighted windows, but there was always one dark;-what shrouded figure sat behind it? Is there not always a surly ‘elder brother’ who will not come in however the musicians may pipe and the servants dance? Appetite may be satisfied, but what of conscience, and reason, and the higher aspirations of the soul? The laughter that echoes through the soul is the hollower the louder it is, and reverberates most through empty spaces.

But when Christ’s joy remains in us our joy will be full. Its flowing tide will rush into and placidly occupy all the else oozy shallows of our hearts, even into the narrowest crannies its penetrating waters will pass, and everywhere will bring a flashing surface that will reflect in our hearts the calm blue above. We need nothing else if we have Christ and His joy within us. If we have everything else, we need His joy within us, else ours will never be full.

III. The heavenly joys are perpetual, the earthly joys transient.

Many of our earthly joys die in the very act of being enjoyed. Those which depend on the gratification of some appetite expire in fruition, and at each recurrence are less and less complete. The influence of habit works in two ways to rob all such joys of their power to minister to us-it increases the appetite and decreases the power of the object to satisfy. Some are followed by swift revulsion and remorse; all soon become stale; some are followed by quick remorse; some are necessarily left behind as we go on in life. To the old man the pleasures of youth are but like children’s toys long since outgrown and left behind. All are at the mercy of externals. Those which we have not left we have to leave. The saddest lives are those of pleasure-seekers, and the saddest deaths are those of the men who sought for joy where it was not to be found, and sought for their gratification in a world which leaves them, and which they have to leave.

There is a realm where abide ‘fullness of joy and pleasures for ever more.’ Surely they order their lives most wisely who look for their joys to nothing that earth holds, and have taken for their own the ancient vow: ‘Though the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine. . .. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.’ If ‘My joy’ abides in us in its calm and changeless depth, our joy will be ‘full’ whatever our circumstances may be; and we shall hear at last the welcome: ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’


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Bibliography
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/proverbs-14.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The outward signs of joy are commonly mixed with or end in real and hearty sorrow. The design of the proverb is to declare the vanity of all worldly joys and comforts, and to teach men moderation in them, and to persuade us to seek for more solid and durable joys.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". 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

13. Sorrowful — That is, may be so.

And the end of that mirth — The expression is the same as in the preceding verse, where it is rendered, the end thereof. There is in the original an artistic arrangement of the words difficult to imitate, but very expressive; like, and the end of that gladness, sadness. The idea appears to be, that they are so close together that it is difficult to mention them apart, or to separate in expression the antecedent and consequent, “so swift trod sorrow on the heels of joy.” — Pollok. Comp. Proverbs 14:10; Ecclesiastes 2:2; Ecclesiastes 7:6.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "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 14:13. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful — Do not think that every one that laughs is happy, or that profuse and immoderate joy is true pleasure, for the outward signs of it are often mixed with, or end in, real sadness: nay, such is the vanity of this present life, that there is no joy without a mixture of sorrow, which often immediately follows upon it.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Laughter. Septuagint, "with his counsels," enjoying the content of a good conscience, and a heavenly reward; while the wicked, with all his self-approbation, shall be punished.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

is: i.e. may be. Illustrations: Nabal (1 Samuel 25:36, 1 Samuel 25:37); Solomon (Ecclesiastes 2:2); Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1-6, Daniel 5:30); Israelites (Amos 6:3-7); Babylon (Revelation 18:7, Revelation 18:8).


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "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

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful - (cf. Proverbs 14:10.) The Hebrew for "is sorrowful" [ yik


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "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

(13) Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful.—By this God would teach us that nothing can satisfy the soul of man but Himself, and so would urge us to seek Him, who is the only true object of our desires. (Comp. Psalms 36:8.)


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
5:4; Ecclesiastes 2:2,10,11; 7:5,6; 11:9; Luke 16:25; James 4:9; Revelation 18:7,8

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-14.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . The heart is sorrowful, or "will be" (perchance).

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

TRUE AND FALSE MIRTH

This proverb, as it stands in our English version, cannot be taken as universally true. The first clause is rendered by some translators—"Even in laughter the heart may be sorrowful" (see Critical Notes), and experience and Bible teaching both necessitate our giving a limitation to the second clause also.

I. Whether mirth will end in heaviness depends upon its character—therefore upon the character of the man who is mirthful. There is an innocent and right mirth, there is an ill-timed, guilty mirth. The end of lawful mirth is not heaviness. It is good for the body. A physician is glad to see his patient mirthful. He knows that it will act most beneficially, and assist his recovery to health. A mirthful man will not suffer so much physical injury from the wear and tear of life as one who is always sombre and melancholy. Lawful mirth is good for the mind. It is the unbending of the bow which breaks if it is kept always at its extreme tension. A man who is naturally mirthful—who is ever disposed to see men and things in their brightest colours, must be a creature of hope, and hope has power to surround those who possess her with a paradise of their own creation, which is very independent of outward circumstances. Natural, wholesome mirth will make a man much stronger to do and to bear all the duties and trials of life. But natural, lawful mirth is only proper to godly men. Christians are the only people in the world who have reason to be glad. All those who are worthy of the name ought to be able, amidst all the saddening influences of life, to hold fast such a confidence in God as shall leave room for the play even of mirth. But the man who is in a state of alienation from God has no reason to be mirthful, his mirth must be either feigned or the result of a thoughtless disregard of his own relations to God and eternity. The "end" of such mirth must be "heaviness."

II. Laughter is not always an index of feeling. There is doubtless much that passes for mirth among the ungodly that is merely a blind to conceal intentions or feelings deeply hidden in the soul. The seducer laughs at the fears and misgivings of his victim, but his laugh is not the laugh of the light-hearted, God-fearing man. Its very ring tells any unprejudiced hearer that there is a flaw somewhere, and it is only assumed to enable him to effect his purpose. In such laughter there may not be present actual sorrow, but there is an entire absence of gladness of heart. But laughter often veils the deepest and most heartfelt misery. The poor drunkard will laugh at the debauchery of the past night while he feels a bitter consciousness of his degradation. Many a man laughs with his gay companions, and all the while sees a dread future rising up before him which he trembles to meet. The character of him who laughs will afford the best clue by which to determine whether or not the laughter is the outcome of genuine mirth.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

Already the wise king was beginning to experience what he more fully states in Ecc ; Ecc 7:6. Men's very pleasures turn into their opposites.—Fausset.

Not of its own nature, of course; for a proverb has already said that there is a "joy" which is not our foe. Not this is always the case; but there is such a case. Because the wicked get nothing really but their "ways" (Pro ).—Miller.

The sun doth not ever shine: there is a time of setting. No day of jollity is without its evening of conclusion, if no cloud of disturbance prevent it with an overcasting. First God complains, men sing, dance, and are jovial and neglectful; at last man shall complain, and "God shall laugh at their calamity." Why should God be conjured to receive that spirit dying which would not receive God's Spirit living?—T. Adams.

As soon might true joy be found in hell as in the carnal heart. As soon might the tempest-tossed ocean be at rest as the sinner's conscience (Isa ). He may feast in his prison, or dance in his chains.… But if he has found a diversion from present trouble, has he found a cover from everlasting misery? It is far easier to drown conviction than to escape damnation.… But the end of that mirth implies another with a different end. Contrast the prodigal's mirth in the far country with his return to his father's house when "they began to be merry."—Bridges.

Every human heart carries the feeling of disquiet and of separation from its true home, and of the nothingness, transitoriness of all that is earthly; and in addition to this, there is many a secret sorrow in everyone which grows out of his own corporeal and spiritual life, and from his relation to other men; and this sorrow, which from infancy onward is the lot of the human heart, and which more and more deepens and diversifies itself in the course of life, makes itself perceptible even in the midst of laughter, in spite of the mirth and merriment, without being able to be suppressed or expelled from the soul, returning always the more intensely, the more violently we may for a time have kept it under, and sunk it in unconsciousness. From the fact that sorrow is the fundamental condition of humanity, and forms the back-ground of laughter, it follows that it is not good for man to give himself up to joy, viz., sensual (worldly), for to it the issue is sorrow.—Delitzsch.

There are two sorts of joys—the joy natural and the joy spiritual; the joy of vanity and the joy of verity; a joy in the creature and a joy in the Creator; a joy in a mutable thing and a joy in a matter immutable. The spiritual joys are the joys of the palace. The natural joys are the joys of prisoners. These are to worldlings that are without God seeming joys, because they know no better. They cannot get Penelope, they will be suitors to her maidens.… The godly are like the ant, they are first weary, then merry; but the ungodly are like the grasshopper, first they sing and then they sorrow.—Bishop Abernethy, 1630.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:13". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-14.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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