[b-hebrew] Proverbs 5:16 - a declaration or a question ?

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Sun Dec 26 19:02:54 EST 2004

On Sun, 26 Dec 2004 17:33:20 -0500 Schmuel <schmuel at escape.com> writes:
> Hi b-hebrew,
>      I have a question about determining whether a verse is a 
> declaration, or a question.
> Proverbs 5:16 (KJB)
> Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the 
> streets. 
>     In some modern translations, this is switched to a question, as 
> it is believed to fit the 
> context better.  (However, John Gill and some others explain the 
> verse as being a 
> reference to children, descendents, which would leave it as a 
> declarative sentence.
> In fact, Gill quotes both the Targum and Ibn Ezra as fitting this 
> understanding.)
>     Independent of the contextual issues, are their clues in the 
> Hebrew grammar or 
> construction that would indicate which way this verse is mentioned ? 
>  Or is it purely
> a contextual issue ?
> Shalom,
> Steven Avery
> Queens, NY

YfPW.CW. Ma(:Y:NoTeYKf XW.CfH B.R:XoBoWT P.aL:G"Y_MfYiM 

In the Word Biblical Commentary, vol 22 on Proverbs Roland Murphy notes

"The text does not have the sign for the question, but neither is it
necessary (cf. GKC §150a). As a question, the verse leads nicely into the
emphatic v 17 "

Note the sequence in his translation here (emphasis added)

15     Drink water from *** your own *** cistern, 
          running water from *** your own *** well. 
     16     Should your springs be scattered abroad, 
          and streams of water in the squares??? 
     17     Let them be *** yours alone, ***
          and not shared with strangers! 

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