Proverbs 14:30
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
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(30) A sound hearti.e., one in healthy condition, of which the passions and emotions are under control.

Proverbs 14:30. A sound heart — Free from envy, and such like inordinate passions, which are commonly called the diseases of the soul, even in heathen, as well as in the sacred writers. Or, as others render לב מרפא, a healing heart, mild, merciful, and kind to others, which is opposed to envy; is the life of the flesh — Procures and maintains the health and vigour of the whole body; but envy the rottenness of the bones — It wasteth the spirits, or consumeth even the strongest and most inward parts of the body.

14:18. Sin is the shame of sinners; but wisdom is the honour of the wise. 19. Even bad men acknowledge the excellency of God's people. 20. Friendship in the world is governed by self-interest. It is good to have God our Friend; he will not desert us. 21. To despise a man for his employment or appearance is a sin. 22. How wisely those consult their own interest, who not only do good, but devise it! 23. Labour of the head, or of the hand, will turn to some good account. But if men's religion runs all out in talk and noise, they will come to nothing. 24. The riches of men of wisdom and piety enlarge their usefulness. 25. An upright man will venture the displeasure of the greatest, to bring truth to light. 26,27. Those who fear the Lord so as to obey and serve him, have a strong ground of confidence, and will be preserved. Let us seek to this Fountain of life, that we may escape the snares of death. 28. Let all that wish well to the kingdom of Christ, do what they can, that many may be added to his church. 29. A mild, patient man is one that learns of Christ, who is Wisdom itself. Unbridled passion is folly made known. 30. An upright, contented, and benevolent mind, tends to health. 31. To oppress the poor is to reproach our Creator. 32. The wicked man has his soul forced from him; he dies in his sins, under the guilt and power of them. But godly men, though they have pain and some dread of death, have the blessed hope, which God, who cannot lie, has given them. 33. Wisdom possesses the heart, and thus regulates the affections and tempers. 34. Piety and holiness always promote industry, sobriety, and honesty. 35. The great King who reigns over heaven and earth, will reward faithful servants who honour his gospel by the proper discharge of the duties of their stations: he despises not the services of the lowest.Sound heart - literally, "heart of health," that in which all emotions and appetites are in a healthy equilibrium. The contrast with this is the envy which eats, like a consuming disease, into the very bones and marrow of a man's moral life. 30. A sound heart—both literally and figuratively, a source of health; in the latter sense, opposed to the known effect of evil passions on health. A sound heart; free from envy and such-like inordinate passions, which are commonly called the diseases of the soul, not only in sacred, but even in heathen writers. Or, as others render it, a healing heart; mild, and merciful, and kind to others, which is opposed to envy.

Is the life of the flesh; procureth and maintaineth the health and rigour of the whole body. But envy the rottenness of the bones; it wasteth the spirits, and consumeth even the strongest and most inward parts of the body.

A sound heart is the life of the flesh,.... A heart made so by the grace of God, in which are sound principles of truth, righteousness, and holiness; these preserve from sin, and so from many diseases; whereby the life of the flesh or body is kept safe and sound, or that is kept in health and vigour; or a "quiet heart" (h); a heart free from wrath, anger, and envy, and such like passions and perturbations; this contributes much to the health of the body, and the comfort of life: or a "healing heart", or "spirit" (i); that is humane, kind, and friendly; that pities and heals the distresses of others, and makes up differences between persons at variance: such an one is "the life of fleshes" (k), as in the original text; or of men, of the same flesh and blood; the life of others, as well as of his own flesh; such an one contributes to the comfortable living of others as well as of himself;

but envy the rottenness of the bones; a man that envies the happiness and prosperity of others, this preys upon his own spirits, and not only wastes his flesh, but weakens and consumes the stronger parts of his body, the bones; it is as a "moth" within him, as the Arabic version: the Targum is,

"as rottenness in wood, so is envy in the bones;''

hence Ovid (l) calls it "livor edax", and so Martial (m).

(h) "cor leve", Baynus; "cor lene", Mercerus; "cor lenitatis", Gejerus, so Ben Melech. (i) "Animus sanans", Junius & Tremellius, so the Tigurine version; "sanator", Gussetius, p. 800. (k) "vitae carnium", Montanus; "vita carnium", V. L. Pagninus, Michaelis. (l) Amorum, l. 1. Eleg. 15. v. 1. & de Remed. Amor. l. 1. in fine. (m) Epigr. l. 11. Ephesians 21.

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
30. sound] Or, tranquil, R.V. marg. (deriving the word from another root). See Proverbs 15:4 and comp. Ecclesiastes 10:4, where the same Heb. word is rendered, yielding, or gentleness, A.V. and R.V.

envy] Or, jealousy, R.V. marg. See for illustrations, Genesis 4:4-5; Genesis 37:4; 1 Samuel 18:8; Esther 5:13.

Verse 30. - A sound heart is the life of the flesh. The heart that is healthy, morally and physically, spreads its beneficent influence over the whole body in all its functions and relations; this is expressed by the word for "flesh" (besarim), being in the plural number, as the Vulgate renders, vita carnium, but the contrast is better developed by taking מרפא in its other signification of "calm," "gentle," "meek," as Ecclesiastes 10:4. Thus the Septuagint, "The man of gentle mind (πραυ'´θυμος) is the physician of the heart." The tranquil, well controlled heart gives health and vigor to the whole frame (see on Proverbs 15:4). But envy is the rottenness of the bones (Proverbs 12:4). Envy, like a canker, eats away a man's life and strength; it tells on his physical as well as his moral condition. We hays parallel expressions in classical authors. Thus Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:257 -

"Invidus alterius macrescit rebus opimis." Martial, 'Epigr.,' 5:28 -

"Rubiginosis cuncta dentibus rodit;
Hominem malignum forsan esse tu credas,
Ego esse miserum credo, cui placet nemo."
Bengal proverb, "In seeing another's wealth it is not good to have the eyes smart." Arabic. "Envy is a raging fever, and has no rest" (Lane). "O invidia," cries St. Jerome ('Epist.,' 45), "primum mordax tui." "When the foul sore of envy corrupts the vanquished heart," says St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 5:85). "the very exterior itself shows how forcibly the mind is urged by madness. For paleness seizes the complexion, the eyes are weighed down, the spirit is inflamed, while the limbs are chilled, there is frenzy in the heart, there is gnashing with the teeth, and while the growing bate is buried in the depths of the heart, the pent wound works into the conscience with a blind grief" Septuagint, "A sensitive heart (καρδία αἰσθητική) is a worm (σής) in the bones." A heart that feels too acutely and is easily affected by external circumstances, prepares for itself constant vexation and grief. Proverbs 14:3030 A quiet heart is the life of the body,

     But covetousness is rottenness in the bones.

Heart, soul, flesh, is the O.T. trichotomy, Psalm 84:3; Psalm 16:9; the heart is the innermost region of the life, where all the rays of the bodily and the soul-life concentrate, and whence they again unfold themselves. The state of the heart, i.e., of the central, spiritual, soul-inwardness of the man, exerts therefore on all sides a constraining influence on the bodily life, in the relation to the heart the surrounding life. Regarding לב מרפּא, vid., at Proverbs 12:18. Thus is styled the quiet heart, which in its symmetrical harmony is like a calm and clear water-mirror, neither interrupted by the affections, nor broken through or secretly stirred by passion. By the close connection in which the corporeal life of man stands to the moral-religious determination of his intellectual and mediately his soul-life - this threefold life is as that of one personality, essentially one - the body has in such quiet of spirit the best means of preserving the life which furthers the well-being, and co-operates to the calming of all its disquietude; on the contrary, passion, whether it rage or move itself in stillness, is like the disease in the bones (Proverbs 12:4), which works onward till it breaks asunder the framework of the body, and with it the life of the body. The plur. בּשׂרים occurs only here; Bttcher, 695, says that it denotes the whole body; but בּשׂר also does not denote the half, בשׂרים is the surrogate of an abstr.: the body, i.e., the bodily life in the totality of its functions, and in the entire manifoldness of its relations. Ewald translates bodies, but בשׂר signifies not the body, but its material, the animated matter; rather cf. the Arab. âbshâr, "corporeal, human nature," but which (leaving out of view that this plur. belongs to a later period of the language) has the parallelism against it. Regarding קנאה (jealousy, zeal, envy, anger) Schultens is right: affectus inflammans aestuque indignationis fervidus, from קנא, Arab. ḳanâ, to be high red.

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