A wounded spirit who can bear? ( Proverbs 18:14 )


Our title verse is:-

A man’s spirit can sustain him during his illness, but who can bear a crushed spirit?
( Proverbs 18:14 )


As I was standing around waiting on the next public transportation, two young ladies came down and stood with me.

As they were talking about work, I asked them who do they work for, and they offered the federal government.

I prodded a bit, and they said the IRS.

They furthered that though the TV News came by, they can not say more.



Here are some commentaries:-

Ellicott’s Commentary

  1. The spirit of a man.–That is, one properly so called, who draws his strength from God, will “sustain his infirmity,” help him to bear up against trouble; “but a wounded spirit” ( not one crushed with the sense of sin, for that God will lift up, Isaiah 66:2; Psalm 51:17 ), which retires into itself and nurses its griefs, “who can bear” the wear of it?
    • Has not my hand made all these things,
      and so they came into being?”
      declares the Lord.
      “These are the ones I look on with favor:
      those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
      and who tremble at my word.
      ( Isaiah 66:2 )
    • My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
      a broken and contrite heart
      you, God, will not despise.
      ( Psalm 51:7 )


Pulpit Commentary

  1. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity. That high property or faculty of man called “spirit” enables the body to bear up against trouble and sickness (comp. Proverbs 17:22).
  2. The influence of the mind over the body, in a general sense, is here expressed. But taking “spirit” in the highest sense, in the trichotomy of human nature, we see an intimation that the grace of God, the supernatural infusion of his presence, is that which strengthens the man and makes him able to endure with patience.
  3. But a wounded (brokenspirit who can bear? The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit, when it is distressed and weakened; but when the spirit itself is broken, grieved, wearied, debilitated, it has no resource, no higher faculty to which it can appeal, and it must succumb beneath the pressure.
  4. Here is a lesson, too, concerning the treatment of others. We should be more careful not to wound a brother’s spirit than we are to refrain from doing a bodily injury; the latter may be healed by medical applications; the former is more severe in its effects, and is often irremediable.
  5. St. Gregory (‘Moral.,’ 5:78) has yet another version, “Who can dwell with a man whose spirit is ready to wrath?” adding, “For he that does not regulate his feelings by the reason that is proper to man, must need to live alone like a beast.”


Matthew Henry Commentary

  1. 18:4. The well-spring of wisdom in the heart of a believer continually supplies words of wisdom.
  2. 5. The merits of a cause must be looked to, not the person.
    • Showing partiality to the wicked is not good, nor is depriving the innocent of justice. ( Proverbs 18:5 )
  3. 6,7. What mischief bad men do to themselves by their ungoverned tongues!
  4. 8. How base is those that sow contention! and what fatal effects may be expected from small beginnings of jealousy!
  5. 9. Omissions of duty, and in duty, are fatal to the soul, as well as commissions of sin.
  6. 10,11. The Divine power, made known in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, forms a strong tower for the believer, who relies on the Lord. How deceitful the defence of the rich man, who has his portion and treasure in this world! It is a strong city and a high wall only in his own conceit; for it will fail when most in need. They will be exposed to the just wrath of that Judge whom they despised as a Saviour.
  7. 12. After the heart has been lifted up with pride, a fall comes. But honor shall be the reward of humility.
  8. 13. Eagerness, with self-conceit, will expose to shame.
  9. 14. Firmness of mind supports under many pains and trials. But when the conscience is tortured with remorse, no human fortitude can bear the misery; what then will hell be?
  10. 15. We must get knowledge, not only into our heads but into our hearts.
    • The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
      ( Proverbs 18:16 )
  11. 16. Blessed be the Lord, who makes us welcome to come to his throne, without money and without price. May his gifts make room for him in our souls.
    • A man’s gift opens doors for him, and brings him before great men.…
      ( Proverbs 18:16 )

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