Proverbs 13:12

12 Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.

Proverbs 13:12 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick
That is, the object hoped for; if it is not enjoyed so soon as expected, at least if it is delayed any length of time, the mind becomes uneasy, the heart sinks and fails, and the man is dispirited and ready to despond, and give up all hope of enjoying the desired blessing; whether it be deliverance from any evil, or the possession of any good; but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life;
when that which is hoped and wished for, and has been long expected and desired, comes; when there is an accomplishment of men's wishes, it is as grateful to him as the tree of life was in Eden's garden; it gives him an unspeakable pleasure and delight. This may be applied to many things in a spiritual way, as to the first coming of Christ; and some have thought this is greatly regarded and chiefly intended; this was the object of the hope of Old Testament saints; and it was hoped for on a good foundation, on the promise of God, which was frequently repeated, enlarged, and confirmed; yet this promised and hoped for blessing was deferred a long time; from the first promise of it to its accomplishment were four thousand years; though not deferred longer than the appointed time, yet longer than the saints expected, and which sometimes made their hearts sick; they became weak and feeble, fearful and dispirited, lest it should never come to pass, which occasioned fresh promises and assurances to them; see ( Isaiah 35:3 Isaiah 35:4 ) ( Habakkuk 2:3 ) ( Malachi 3:1 ) ; but when "the desire" came, Christ the desired object; and who is desirable for the excellencies of his person, his mediatorial qualifications, the work of redemption and salvation he came about, and the blessings he brought with him; and who is the "desire of all nations" that was to come, ( Haggai 2:7 ) ; it was exceeding joyful and delightful to all that expected him, and were looking for redemption in Israel, or Christ; "the coming desire" F9, as it may be rendered, is "a tree of life", or "lives", the author of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; see ( Proverbs 3:18 ) . It may be applied also to the spiritual presence of Christ, and communion with him; this is what believers, being sometimes without, hope and wait for; and sometimes it is deferred a long time, at least they think it so, which makes them very uneasy, and even sick of love, as the church was, ( Song of Solomon 5:8 ) ; but when what they so earnestly desire is granted them, it is as if they were in Eden's garden, or rather in the paradise above, plucking the fruit of the tree of life: likewise it may be applied to eternal glory and happiness; this is the object of hope in the present state; it is sometimes impatiently expected and desired, and the language of the soul is, "Why is his chariot so long in coming?" , "come, Lord Jesus, come quickly", ( Judges 5:28 ) ( Revelation 22:20 ) ; and when this desired happiness is enjoyed, how sweet will it be! and the sweeter for having been so much longed and wished for; and when the saints will be in the paradise of God, and eat of the tree of life in the midst of it, and never hunger more.


F9 (hab hwat) "desiderium venieus", V. L. Pagninus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens.

Proverbs 13:12 In-Context

10 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord, but wise men and women listen to each other's counsel.
11 Easy come, easy go, but steady diligence pays off.
12 Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.
13 Ignore the Word and suffer; honor God's commands and grow rich.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, so, no more drinking from death-tainted wells!

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Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.