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Proverbs 4:23

Context

4:23 Guard your heart with all vigilance, 1 

for from it are the sources 2  of life.

Proverbs 5:15

Context

5:15 Drink water from your own cistern

and running water from your own well. 3 

1 tn Heb “more than all guarding.” This idiom means “with all vigilance.” The construction uses the preposition מִן (min) to express “above; beyond,” the word “all” and the noun “prison; guard; act of guarding.” The latter is the use here (BDB 1038 s.v. מִשְׁמָר).

2 sn The word תּוֹצְאוֹת (totsot, from יָצָא, yatsa’) means “outgoings; extremities; sources.” It is used here for starting points, like a fountainhead, and so the translation “sources” works well.

3 sn Paul Kruger develops this section as an allegory consisting of a series of metaphors. He suggests that what is at issue is private versus common property. The images of the cistern, well, or fountain are used of a wife (e.g., Song 4:15) because she, like water, satisfies desires. Streams of water in the street would then mean sexual contact with a lewd woman. According to 7:12 she never stays home but is in the streets and is the property of many (P. Kruger, “Promiscuity and Marriage Fidelity? A Note on Prov 5:15-18,” JNSL 13 [1987]: 61-68).



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