15:13 A joyful heart 1 makes the face cheerful, 2
but by a painful heart the spirit is broken.
15:15 All the days 3 of the afflicted 4 are bad, 5
but one with 6 a cheerful heart has a continual feast. 7
15:23 A person has joy 8 in giving an appropriate answer, 9
and a word at the right time 10 – how good it is!
1 tn The contrast in this proverb is between the “joyful heart” (Heb “a heart of joy,” using an attributive genitive) and the “painful heart” (Heb “pain of the heart,” using a genitive of specification).
2 sn The verb יֵיטִב (yetiv) normally means “to make good,” but here “to make the face good,” that is, there is a healthy, favorable, uplifted expression. The antithesis is the pained heart that crushes the spirit. C. H. Toy observes that a broken spirit is expressed by a sad face, while a cheerful face shows a courageous spirit (Proverbs [ICC], 308).
3 sn The “days” represent what happens on those days (metonymy of subject).
4 tn The contrast is between the “afflicted” and the “good of heart” (a genitive of specification, “cheerful/healthy heart/spirit/attitude”).
sn The parallelism suggests that the afflicted is one afflicted within his spirit, for the proverb is promoting a healthy frame of mind.
5 tn Or “evil”; or “catastrophic.”
6 tn “one with” is supplied.
7 sn The image of a continual feast signifies the enjoyment of what life offers (cf. TEV “happy people…enjoy life”). The figure is a hypocatastasis; among its several implications are joy, fulfillment, abundance, pleasure.
8 tn Heb “joy to the man” or “the man has joy.”
9 tn Heb “in the answer of his mouth” (so ASV); NASB “in an apt answer.” The term “mouth” is a metonymy of cause for what he says. But because the parallelism is loosely synonymous, the answer given here must be equal to the good word spoken in season. So it is an answer that is proper or fitting.
10 tn Heb “in its season.” To say the right thing at the right time is useful; to say the right thing at the wrong time is counterproductive.