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Proverbs 5:19-20

Context

5:19 a loving doe, 1  a graceful deer;

may her breasts satisfy you at all times,

may you be captivated 2  by her love always.

5:20 But why should you be captivated, 3  my son, by an adulteress,

and embrace the bosom of a different woman? 4 

1 tn The construct expression “a doe of loves” is an attributive genitive, describing the doe with the word “loves.” The plural noun may be an abstract plural of intensification (but this noun only occurs in the plural). The same construction follows with a “deer of grace” – a graceful deer.

sn The imagery for intimate love in marriage is now employed to stress the beauty of sexual fulfillment as it was intended. The doe and deer, both implied comparisons, exhibit the grace and love of the wife.

2 sn The verb שָׁגָה (shagah) means “to swerve; to meander; to reel” as in drunkenness; it signifies a staggering gait expressing the ecstatic joy of a captivated lover. It may also mean “to be always intoxicated with her love” (cf. NRSV).

3 tn In the interrogative clause the imperfect has a deliberative nuance.

4 tn Heb “foreigner” (so ASV, NASB), but this does not mean that the woman is non-Israelite. This term describes a woman who is outside the moral boundaries of the covenant community – she is another man’s wife, but since she acts with moral abandonment she is called “foreign.”



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