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Proverbs 5:16-18

Context

5:16 Should your springs be dispersed 1  outside,

your streams of water in the wide plazas?

5:17 Let them be for yourself 2  alone,

and not for strangers with you. 3 

5:18 May your fountain be blessed, 4 

and may you rejoice 5  in your young wife 6 

1 tn The verb means “to be scattered; to be dispersed”; here the imperfect takes a deliberative nuance in a rhetorical question.

2 tn The ל (lamed) preposition denotes possession: “for you” = “yours.” The term לְבַדֶּךָ (lÿvadekha) is appositional, underscoring the possession as exclusive.

3 sn The point is that what is private is not to be shared with strangers; it belongs in the home and in the marriage. The water from that cistern is not to be channeled to strangers or to the public.

4 sn The positive instruction is now given: Find pleasure in a fulfilling marriage. The “fountain” is another in the series of implied comparisons with the sexual pleasure that must be fulfilled at home. That it should be blessed (the passive participle of בָּרַךְ, barakh) indicates that sexual delight is God-given; having it blessed would mean that it would be endowed with fruitfulness, that it would fulfill all that God intended it to do.

5 tn The form is a Qal imperative with a vav (ו) of sequence; after the jussive of the first half this colon could be given an equivalent translation or logically subordinated.

6 tn Or “in the wife you married when you were young” (cf. NCV, CEV); Heb “in the wife of your youth” (so NIV, NLT). The genitive functions as an attributive adjective: “young wife” or “youthful wife.” Another possibility is that it refers to the age in which a man married his wife: “the wife you married in your youth.”



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