I imagine the heart becomes even sicker when it fears that desire will never come to pass. Here is the verse in a few different translations with commentary. I enjoy the different shades of meaning which come from slightly different translations.
New International Version (©1984)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
New Living Translation (©2007)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
King James Bible
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life.
Hope that is deferred afflicteth the soul: desire when it cometh is a tree of life.
Darby Bible Translation
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but the desire that cometh to pass is a tree of life.
World English Bible
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
When the desire cometh - The desire comes, it is a tree of life: i. e., the object of our desires is attained. Compare Proverbs 3:18.
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick - When once a good is discovered, want of it felt, strong desire for the possession excited, and the promise of attainment made on grounds unsuspected, so that the reality of the thing and the certainity of the promise are manifest, hope posts forward to realize the blessing. Delay in the gratification pains the mind; the increase of the delay prostrates and sickens the heart; and if delay sickens the heart, ultimate disappointment kills it. But when the thing desired, hoped for, and expected comes, it is a tree of life, עץ חיים ets chaiyim, "the tree of lives;" it comforts and invigorates both body and soul. To the tree of lives, in the midst of the gardens of paradise, how frequent are the allusions in the writings of Solomon, and in other parts of the Holy Scriptures! What deep, and perhaps yet unknown, mysteries were in this tree!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,.... That is, the object hoped for; if it is not enjoyed so soon as expected, at least if it is delayed any length of time, the mind becomes uneasy, the heart sinks and fails, and the man is dispirited and ready to despond, and give up all hope of enjoying the desired blessing; whether it be deliverance from any evil, or the possession of any good;
but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life; when that which is hoped and wished for, and has been long expected and desired, comes; when there is an accomplishment of men's wishes, it is as grateful to him as the tree of life was in Eden's garden; it gives him an unspeakable pleasure and delight...
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