Proverbs 15:13

13 A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart [produces] a broken spirit.[a]

Proverbs 15:13 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 15:13

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance
Or, a "joyful heart" F3; that is joyful in the God of its salvation; that rejoices in Christ Jesus; is filled with joy and peace through believing in him, in his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; that has a comfortable view of his justification by his righteousness, of peace and pardon by his blood, of the atonement of his sins by his sacrifice; to whom he has said, "be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee", ( Matthew 9:2 ) ; who has peace in him, though tribulation in the world: as such a man's heart must be made glad, this will make his countenance cheerful, or cause him to lift up his head with joy; as it is in natural things, so it is in spiritual ones; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken;
a man is dejected, his spirits sink, and it is seen in his countenance: there is a great sympathy between the body and mind, the one is much affected by the other; when the heart is full of sorrow, the animal spirits are low, the nerves are loosened, the whole frame, of nature is enfeebled, and the body emaciated; this is often the case through outward troubles {d}: physicians say F5 that grief weakens the strength, and destroys the spirits, more than labour does. "The sorrow of the world worketh death", ( 2 Corinthians 7:10 ) ; and sometimes, through spiritual troubles, a sense of sin and guilt of it, a legal sorrow, which produces a legal contrition of spirit; and such "a wounded spirit who can bear?" ( Proverbs 18:14 ) . This is the effect of a mere work of the law upon the conscience; and stands opposed to the spiritual joy, and the effects of it, the Gospel brings.


F3 (xmv bl) "cor gaudens", V. L. Baynus.
F4 "Frangit fortia corda dolor", Tibullus, l. 3. Eleg. 2. v. 6.
F5 Fernel. Method. Medendi, l. 7. c. 9. p. 54.

Proverbs 15:13 In-Context

11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord - how much more, human hearts.
12 A mocker doesn't love one who corrects him; he will not consult the wise.
13 A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart [produces] a broken spirit.
14 A discerning mind seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
15 All the days of the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Pr 14:30; 15:30; 17:22; 18:14
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