The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 50:10; Judges 14:17. This verse indicates that a life of enjoyment, does not mean the abandonment of ourselves to pleasures, but the thankful and sober use of the beautiful things which God gives us.
laughter—reckless mirth (Ec 2:2).
by the sadness … better—(Ps 126:5, 6; 2Co 4:17; Heb 12:10, 11). Maurer translates: "In sadness of countenance there is (may be) a good (cheerful) heart." So Hebrew, for "good," equivalent to "cheerful" (Ec 11:9); but the parallel clause supports English Version.The heart of the wise is in the house of morning, even when their bodies are absent. They are constantly, or very frequently, meditating upon sad and serious firings, such as death and judgment, the vanity of this life, and the reality and eternity of the next, because they know that these thoughts, though they be not grateful to the sensual part, yet they are absolutely necessary, and highly profitable, and most comfortable in the end, which every wise man most regards.
The heart of fools is in the house of mirth; their minds and affections are wholly set upon feasting and jollity, because, like fools and brutish creatures, they regard only their present delight, and mind not how dearly they must pay for them.
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth; where jovial company is, merry songs are sung, and the cup or glass passes briskly round, and all is gay and brilliant: here the fool desires to be oftener than he is, and when he cannot; which shows the folly of his mind, what a vain taste he has, and how thoughtless he is of a future state, and of his eternal welfare.The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. The heart of the wise] This follows as the natural sequel. Like goes to like. The impulse of the fool takes him to that which promises enjoyment; that of the wise leads him to that which has the promise of a higher wisdom and therefore of a more lasting gain.Verse 4. - The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning. This is the natural conclusion from what was said in vers. 2, 3. The man who recognizes the serious side of life, and knows where to learn lessons of high moral meaning, will be found conversant with scenes of sorrow and suffering, and reflecting upon them. But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. The fool, who thinks of nothing but present enjoyment, and how to make life pass pleasantly, turns away from mournful scenes, and goes only there where he may drown care and be thoughtless and merry. Ecclesiastes 1:10; for the expression here does not refer to the sphere of that which is done, but of the predetermination. Accordingly, אדם ... ונו is also to be understood. Against the accents, inconsistently periodizing and losing sight of the comprehensiveness of אדם ... אשׁר, Hitzig renders: "and it is known that, if one is a man, he cannot contend," etc., which is impossible for this reason, that אדם הוא cannot be a conditional clause enclosed within the sentence יוכל ... אשׁר. Obviously ונודע, which in the sense of constat would be a useless waste of words, stands parallel to שׁמו נקרא, and signifies known, viz., previously known, as passive of ידע, in the sense of Zechariah 14:7; cf. Psalm 139:1. Bullock rightly compares Acts 15:18. After ידע, asher, like ki, which is more common, may signify "that," Ecclesiastes 8:12; Ezekiel 20:26; but neither "that he is a man" (Knobel, Vaih., Luzz., Hengst., Ginsb.), nor "that he is the man" (Ewald, Elst., Zckler), affords a consistent meaning. As mah after yada' means quid, so asher after it may mean quod equals that which (cf. Daniel 8:19, although it does not at all stand in need of proof); and id quod homo est (we cannot render הוּא without the expression of a definite conception of time) is intended to mean that the whole being of a man, whether of this one or that one, at all times and on all sides, is previously known; cf. to this pregnant substantival sentence, Ecclesiastes 12:13. Against this formation of his nature and of his fate by a higher hand, man cannot utter a word.
is not inadmissible, for the stronger than man is מנּהּ ... מרי. Also התקיף might in any case be read: with one who overcomes him, has and manifests the ascendency over him. There is indeed no Hiph. הת .hpiH found in the language of the Bible (Herzf. and Frst compare הג, Psalm 12:5); but in the Targ., אתקף is common; and in the school-language of the Talm., הת is used of the raising of weighty objections, e.g., Kamma 71a. The verb, however, especially in the perf., is in the passage before us less appropriate. In לא־יוּכל lie together the ideas of physical (cf. Genesis 43:32; Deuteronomy 12:17; Deuteronomy 16:5, etc.) and moral inability.
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