All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)All the days of the afflicted are evil.—Another caution against over-anxiety. The “afflicted” here evidently means, not one who has to bear great misfortunes, but one who makes the worst of everything, to whom the “clouds return after the rain” (Ecclesiastes 12:2); while one who is “of a merry heart” does just the contrary.Matthew 6:34.
evil—sad, contrasted with the cheerfulness of a feast.Of the afflicted; of the troubled in mind or heart, as this general expression may very fitly be restrained from the following clause.
Are evil; tedious and uncomfortable; he takes no content in any time or thing.
Of a merry heart, Heb. of a good heart, i.e. composed, and quiet, and contented.
Hath a continual feast; hath constant satisfaction and delight in all conditions, yea, even in affliction. Genesis 47:9; because they had been filled up with affliction and trouble of one sort or another. Or, "all the days of the poor" (f); either in purse, who want many of the good things of life; or in knowledge, as Gersom and Aben Ezra observe;
but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast; a heart that has "the kingdom of God" in it, which lies "not in meat and drink, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost", Romans 14:17, which has the love of God shed abroad in it by the Spirit, where Christ dwells by faith; and that lives by faith on him, and on the provisions of his grace; all this is a constant continual feast to a gracious soul, made joyful hereby.All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 15. - All the days of the afflicted are evil. "The days of the poor are evil," says the Talmud ('Dukes,' 73); but in our verse the contrasted clause restricts the sense of "the afflicted" to mental, not material, evil. The Vulgate pauperis gives a wrong impression. The persons intended are such as take a gloomy view of things, who are always in low spirits, and cannot rise superior to present circumstances. These never have a happy moment; they are always taking anxious thought (Matthew 6:25), and forecasting evil. The LXX., reading עיני for עני, translates, "At all times the eyes of the evil expect evil." But he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. The cheerful man's condition is a banquet unceasingly, a fixed state of joy and contentment. Septuagint, "But the righteous are at peace always;" Vulgate, "A secure mind is like a perpetual feast." "For," says St. Gregory ('Moral,' 12:44), "the mere repose of security is like the continuance of refreshment. Whereas, on the other hand, the evil mind is always set in pains and labours, since it is either contriving mischiefs that it may bring down, or fearing lest these be brought down upon it by others." Our own proverb says, "A contented mind is a continual feast."
An abomination to Jahve is the way of the godless;
But He loveth him who searcheth after righteousness.
The manner and rule of life is called the way. מרדּף is the heightening of רדף, Proverbs 21:21, and can be used independently in bonam, as well as in malam partem (Proverbs 11:19, cf. Proverbs 13:21). Regarding the form יאהב, vid., Fleischer in Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitsch. xv. 382.
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