Verse 20

1. The absurdity here censured is singing songs to a heavy heart. Those that are in great sorrow are to be comforted by sympathizing with them, condoling with them, and concurring in their lamentation. If we take that method, the moving of our lips may assuage their grief (Job 16:5); but we take a wrong course with them if we think to relieve them by being merry with them, and endeavouring to make them merry; for it adds to their grief to see their friends so little concerned for them; it puts them upon ripping up the causes of their grief, and aggravating them, and makes them harden themselves in sorrow against the assaults of mirth. 2. The absurdities this is compared to are, taking away a garment from a man in cold weather, which makes him colder, and pouring vinegar upon nitre, which, like water upon lime, puts it into a ferment; so improper, so incongruous, is it to sing pleasant songs to one that is of a sorrowful spirit. Some read it in a contrary sense: As he that puts on a garment in cold weather warms the body, or as vinegar upon nitre dissolves it, so he that sings songs of comfort to a person in sorrow refreshes him and dispels his grief.