Drink from your wife’s breasts 7 days a week, 365 days a year: more Prov 5:19 evidence

From Edmee Kingsmill:

“Among recent commentators, none expatiates more enthusiastically than Bruce K. Waltke who translates the … verses as follows:

18. May your wellspring be blessed,
and get pleasure from the wife of your youth.
19. [May she be] a lovingmaking doe, a graceful mountain goat;
May her breasts drench you at all times;
and with her caresses may you always be intoxicated.

In the second line, ‘get pleasure from’ is suggested by [Brown-Driver-Briggs] though, as we shall see, BDB should invariably be regarded with suspicion when it proposes a sexual interpretation for a word not otherwise used with sexual connotation. … ‘Drench’ is not incorrect for rāwâ, but in conjunction with breasts — understood in an erotic sense not in a sense of nourishment — boggles the imagination…

A closer look at the verbs in relation to ‘her breasts’ indicate what we will see in the next chapter on ‘Breast imagery’, namely, that ‘breasts’ in the Bible function at their primary level of providing nourishment. Thus the word translated ‘fill’ (rāwâ) means, ‘be saturated, drink one’s fill’, while in the last line sāgâ, translated ‘intoxicated’ means firstly ‘go astray, err’, and secondarily ‘swerve, reel or roll with drunkenness’, from which is derived the idea of being intoxicated. In contrast, the next word, tāmîd, denotes order, continuity, regular repetition, ritual, a ‘continual burnt-offering’ (Num. 28: 3 and 6). The juxtaposition of sāgâ and tāmîd might be understood as analogous to Philo’s oxymoron, ‘sober drunkeness’. The verse is, in any case, remarkable for the sense of tempered ecstasy it conveys, usually obscured by the translations and even more so by the assumptions of the commentators, for which BDB’s ‘sexually’, against Prov. 5: 19 under rāwâ, provides authority to streak off on the wrong interpretative track.”1


Interesting. As a believer in Christ who holds fast to the authority and inerrancy of God’s word, I would likewise suggest Edmee Kingsmill’s work should invariably be regarded with suspicion. She seems to allegorize the erotic parts of Scripture and ascribe too much credibility to non-inspired books like the Wisdom of Solomon and the book of Sirach. For instance, just a few lines preceding the point I began quoting her above, she states “‘the wife of your youth’ is understood quite literally in spite of it being a recognizable wisdom phrase (eg Sir. 15: 2 and Wisd. 8: 2).”

The main takeaway is that Kingsmill is now the second person we’ve seen who seems very skeptical about Couples Nursing, yet even she agrees that the word in Proverbs 5:19 really means ‘drench’. Not ‘satisfy’ or ‘fill with delight.’ When ANR skeptics, scripturally liberal scholars and those who caution against sexualized interpretations agree that the word is ‘drench,’ that tells you a lot about what God intended when He wrote the fifth chapter of Proverbs.

1. Google Books preview of Edmee Kingsmill’s The Song of Songs and the Eros of God: A Study in Biblical Intertextuality, 54-55

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