Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, whether the person hoping, or the thing hoped for, be good or evil. The second member of the text is a dividing word. "Tree of life" belongs only to the hope of the holy. Many, after waiting long, and expecting eagerly, discover, when at last they reach their object, that it is a withered branch and not a living tree. There is no peace to the wicked. They are always either desiring or possessing; but to desire and to possess a perishable portion are only two different kinds of misery to men. If the desire is pure, the attainment of it is a tree of life; it is living, satisfying, enduring. It has a living root in the ground and satisfying fruit upon the branches. Where a hungering for righteousness secretly rises in a human heart the blessing is already sure, but it is not enjoyed yet. The hungerer "shall be filled," but in the meantime his only experience is an uneasy sensation of want. In God's good time that desire will be satisfied. That longing soul will taste and see that the Lord is gracious.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.