Proverbs 27:7

7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Proverbs 27:7 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 27:7

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb
Or "tramples upon" it {a}, as the word signifies, and most versions render it, expressive of contempt and abhorrence; and suits will the situation of the honeycomb, which was usually in trees and rocks in Palestine: and so might drop from thence, and be trampled upon by passengers; and especially such as are here described, whose appetites have been sated with dainties, and their stomachs heave at the most delicious food. Jarchi interprets this of one that has no desire after the doctrines of the law; and so the senses of it are not esteemed by him; whereas he that has a desire for it, even the things which come to him with bitterness and labour are sweet to him. But it may be better applied to a self-sufficient man, that is full of himself: of his own wisdom and knowledge in divine things; of his strength, and the power of his free will; of his purity, holiness, goodness, and righteousness; who loathes the Gospel, comparable to the honeycomb for its sweetness; see ( Proverbs 16:24 ) ; it being disagreeable to his taste, and as insipid as the white of an egg to him; and as being against him, which makes him out an arrant fool, blows a blast on all his goodness and goodliness, strips the creature of his righteousness, and excludes boasting;

but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet;
that is in want of provision, has an appetite for it; anything, though ever so mean and disrelishing to others, is sweet to such an one; as was barley bread to Artaxerxes king of Persia, and country bread made of bran to Ptolemy Lagus king of Egypt, when in great distress for food F2: Seneca says {c}, hunger will make bad bread fine food. And so is the Gospel, and every doctrine of it, to a sensible sinner; that is in want, and knows its wants, and has desires after spiritual things created in it; hungers and thirsts after the word and ordinances; after Christ, the bread of life; after the blessings of grace in him; particularly after the pardon of sin, and justifying righteousness and salvation by him; and after more knowledge of him, and communion with him. Now, though, here is nothing bitter in the Gospel, properly speaking, as in the law; yet, that which is bitter to others, and had been bitter to the above persons, is now sweet, and which are disagreeable to the flesh; as the denial of sinful, civil, and righteous self, which the Gospel teaches; and even that which is the most contemptible to men; as the preaching of the cross, or the doctrine of salvation by a crucified Christ; the doctrines of electing grace, imputed righteousness, the satisfaction of Christ How sweet are these to the taste of a hungry soul! and even though they are attended with bitter afflictions, the reproaches, revilings, and persecutions of men; as the paschal lamb, a type of Christ, was eaten with bitter herbs. This may also be applied to the hearing of the word; where and when there is plenty of means, men grow weary of the word, sick of it, and surfeit upon it and loath it; or, however, are very curious and nice, and cannot take up with plain preaching, but must have something suited to their palate, dressed up in a very elegant manner: but when the word of the Lord is precious or rare, and where there are few opportunities of hearing it, sensible souls, that have spiritual appetites, are glad of it; and it is sweet unto them, though not so nicely dressed and though brought to them in a homely manner.


F1 (owbt) "calcabit", Pagninus, Montanus; "caleat", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Gejerus; "conculcat", Cocceius; "proculcat", Michaelis, Schultens.
F2 "Jejunus stomachus raro vulgaria temnit", Horat. Sermon. l. 2. Sat. 2.
F3 Epist. 123.

Proverbs 27:7 In-Context

5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.