|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:15-23 Lawful marriage is a means God has appointed to keep from these destructive vices. But we are not properly united, except as we attend to God's word, seeking his direction and blessing, and acting with affection. Ever remember, that though secret sins may escape the eyes of our fellow-creatures, yet a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, who not only sees, but ponders all his goings. Those who are so foolish as to choose the way of sin, are justly left of God to themselves, to go on in the way to destruction.
Verse 16. - Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. The figurative language is still continued, and under the terms "fountains" and "rivers of waters," are to be understood children, the legitimate issue of lawful marriage. So Aben Ezra and the majority of modern commentators, Schultens, Doderlein, Holden, Muenscher, Noyes, Wardlaw, etc. The meaning appears to be, "Let thy marriage be blessed with many children, who may go forth abroad for the public good." Other interpretations have been adopted. Thus:
(1) Delitzsch takes the words fountans and "rivers of waters" as used figuratively for the procreative power, and renders, "Shall thy streams flow abroad, and water brooks in the streets?" and interprets, "Let generative power act freely and unrestrainedly within the marriage relation."
(2) Schultens and Dathe, followed by Holden, regard the verse as expressing a conclusion on the preceding, "Then shall thy springs be dispersed abroad, even rivers of waters in the streets." The objection to this is that it necessitates the insertion of the copulative vau (ו) before the verb, yaphutzu, "be dispersed."
(3) Zockler and Hitzig read the verse interrogatively, "Shall thy streams flow abroad as water brooks in the streets?" on the analogy of Proverbs 6:30 and Psalm 56:7.
(4) The reading of the LXX., adopted by Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, places a negative before the verb, Μὴ ὑπερεκχείσθω, i.e. "Let not thy waters flow beyond thy fountain;" i.e. "confine thyself to thy wife." Fountains. The Hebrew ma'yanim, plural of mayan, derived from ayin ("a fountain") with the formative men, is rather a stream or rill - water flowing on the surface of the ground. It is used, however, of a fountain itself in Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:2. Rivers of waters (Hebrew, pal'gey-mayim); rather, water courses, or water brooks (cf. Job 38:25). The peleg represents the various streams into which the mayan, "fountain," divides itself at its source or in its course. We find the same expression, pal'gey-mayim, used of tears in Psalm 119:136; Lamentations 3:48. It occurs again in our book in Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of waters (pal'gey mayim)." On "abroad" (Hebrew, khutz), and "in the streets" (r'khovoth), see Proverbs 1:20.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad,.... Or "shall abound", as the Targum; that is, streams of water from fountains; which Aben Ezra interprets of a multitude of children, namely, that are lawfully begotten: the "fountains" are the man and his wife in lawful marriage; the streams are their offspring lawfully procreated by them; which may be said to be "dispersed abroad", when being grown up they are disposed of in marriage in other families, and so become fountains to others, and public blessings;
and rivers of waters in the streets; meaning a numerous posterity as before; and such as a man is not ashamed publicly to own, whereas he is ashamed of such as are unlawfully begotten; but these are to his honour in the streets, and for public good; and particularly to those to whom they are given in marriage; see Isaiah 48:1. Jarchi interprets this of multiplying disciples, and of teaching them the law publicly, and of getting a name thereby; but it might be interpreted much better of spreading the doctrines of the Gospel, and of the public ministry and profession of that, for the good of others.
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