“Your spring water is for you and you only, not to be passed around among strangers. Bless your fresh-flowing fountain! Enjoy the wife you married as a young man! Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose— don’t ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted! Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore? for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?” Proverbs 5:17-20 MSG
King Solomon uses a fountain in this passage and in the book Song of Solomon when he refers to a woman’s sexuality. The first part of this passage paints a picture of sex in marriage. As a husband to Nancy, our sexual relationship is designed to be exclusive between the two of us. I am her warrior. I am there to protect her from harm and from others. It’s a role that I cherish. King Solomon takes a no holds barred approach as he counsels men to enjoy our own wife’s beauty. She is as lovely as an angel and as beautiful as a rose, and delight in our own wife is a life-long gift that we should never take for granted.
Most scholars feel Solomon wrote this passage when he was middle aged. He wrote Song of Solomon as a young man, and that is reflected in his descriptions of pursuing his future wife and then embracing their sexual relationship in marriage. Here in Proverbs, Solomon seems to be passing on some of the wisdom he has gained over the years. It’s a 50-word textbook on sex in marriage. Solomon probably had more opportunities to talk to, learn from and understand women than any man who ever lived: Over the course of his life he had 300 wives and 900 concubines. That is a lot of women! Yet, in this passage, he shares his heart – one wife to be cherished for a lifetime.
The last part of this verse affirms the truth that men can make stupid, impulsive decisions sexually that make a train wreck out of Solomon’s wise counsel. Men apparently have traded the enduring intimacies of marriage for illicit sex for thousands of years. Which raises the question I ask every time I hear about a man having an affair. Why? Why would anyone trade sex as God designed it for sex the enemy throws in front of us? I think it’s because we believe the lies of the enemy who tells us that this illicit sex will be more fun, more fulfilling, more exciting and any of the myriad of “more” lies that he throws at us. The bottom line is that it isn’t. No one is or ever has been designed to fulfill your sexual desires and needs like your wife. God designed her perfectly for you. Period.
So what do we do with this verse? First we all have to admit that we have vulnerabilities. If we don’t admit that, we let our guard down and we become a target with a flashing neon light on it. Second, we take any sexual option but our wife off the table forever! Finally, we write these 50 words from King Solomon on our hearts, and ask God’s help to live it out every day. Not only will you avoid the train wreck but you will be flying high with the angel God gave to you in marriage.
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