Do not give your strength 1 to women, nor your ways 2 to that which ruins 3 kings.
do not spend your strength on women, your vigour on those who ruin kings.
Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings.
do not spend your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.
Do not give your strength to women, or your ways to that which is the destruction of kings.
Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.
Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
not thy strength
nor thy ways
to that which destroyeth
|NET © [draft] ITL|
, nor your ways
to that which ruins
|NET © Notes||
1 sn The word translated “strength” refers to physical powers here, i.e., “vigor” (so NAB) or “stamina.” It is therefore a metonymy of cause; the effect would be what spending this strength meant – sexual involvement with women. It would be easy for a king to spend his energy enjoying women, but that would be unwise.
2 sn The word “ways” may in general refer to the heart’s affection for or attention to, or it may more specifically refer to sexual intercourse. While in the book of Proverbs the term is an idiom for the course of life, in this context it must refer to the energy spent in this activity.
3 tn The construction uses Qal infinitive construct לַמְחוֹת (lamkhot, “to wipe out; to blot out; to destroy”). The construction is somewhat strange, and so some interpreters suggest changing it to מֹחוֹת (mokhot, “destroyers of kings”); cf. BDB 562 s.v. מָחָה Qal.3. Commentators note that the form is close to an Aramaic word that means “concubine,” and an Arabic word that is an indelicate description for women.