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

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Fri Dec 31 02:04:30 EST 2004

Hi b-hebrew,

Proverbs 5:16 (KJB)
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 

>HH: The NKJV has:
>16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets?
>This is a significant change, since the KJV had this verse as a declarative, not an interrogative sentence. The NKJV made interpretive changes only where they felt it was absolutely necessary to do so.

Having read from some who have compared the NKJV and the KJB it seems there are large numbers of changes that were far from felt to be "absolutely necessary", in fact many that might be considered as downright arbitrary and capricious.  Personally, I don't really reference the NKJV but if were significant I think I could check it out and rather quickly post a fair number of such examples.  (If OT for this forum it could probably be done on whichversion).

Meanwhile, there has been plenty posted here that doesn't match any "absolutely necessary" view.

Thread review:

Maurice mentioned the "HOTTP = Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 
       which cordially allows both possibilities, 
Yigal gave a short voice for the declarative,
George gave the Genesius reference, allowing but not insisting on the interrogatory 
Harold gave arguments for the interrogatory, and analyzed detail thereof.
Karl gave a rather unusual suggestion  (which I am taking the liberty of considering a bit afield). 
    Notable basic quote - "There is no grammatical indication that this is a question."
Peter weighed in with Karl's suggestion
Bryan also, with the significant 
  "leaving the MT as is and wrestling with whether Pro 5:16 is a question or a hope."

One reason I will bypass Karl's suggestion is that I consider the Masoretic vowels as part of the Received Text, not arbitrary or guesswork.

Now let's continue <whew>,

While much as been addressed, originally there were some points that really were not addressed, 

Original question posts

Which I will re-phrase here.

A) Numerous Hebraic commentators, as mentioned by John Gill, see the verse 16 and 18 as 
    related to children/descendents or disciples.  Afaik, these men were not slow to see 
    sexual themes, yet they saw a different type of parallelism here, with waters being used
    in two different way. This seems to be fundamental to making comfortable the interpretation
    of the declarative  and yet nobody commented on these ideas.

B) Accepting "A" then seems to lead to a very nice parallelism of verses 15 and 16 
     to 17 and 18, which would eliminate any supposed difficulties in the text. 
     (Which magnifies the importance of the reasonableness of "A")
     Am I the only one who sees or is concerned with such parallelism ?

Thanks to all for your help on this thread and the Isaiah 9:6 one as well, 
as the secular calendar year draws to a close.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

(additional version references courtesy of Harold)
>HH: The NAB has:
>How may your water sources be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?
>HH: The RSV and NRSV have:
>16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?
>HH: The New Century Version turned the rhetorical question into a simple negative, showing that they interpreted the original as a question:
>16 Don't pour your water in the streets; don't give your love to just any woman.
>HH: The Contemporary English Version did the same thing:
>And don't be like a stream from which just any woman may take a drink.
>HH: And the Message implies the same rhetorical question turned into a positive statement:
>16 It's true. Otherwise, you may one day come home and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.
>HH: I am quite confident of the meaning.
>                                        Yours,
>                                        Harold Holmyard  

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