Proverbs 15:13

13 1A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by 2sorrow of heart the spirit is 3crushed.

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 the hearts of the children of man!
12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.

Cross References 3

  • 1. [ver. 15; Proverbs 17:22]
  • 2. See Proverbs 12:25
  • 3. Proverbs 18:14
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.