Proverbs 5:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 5:17, NIV: Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers.

Proverbs 5:17, ESV: Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.

Proverbs 5:17, KJV: Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

Proverbs 5:17, NASB: Let them be yours alone, And not for strangers with you.

Proverbs 5:17, NLT: You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.

Proverbs 5:17, CSB: They should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers.

What does Proverbs 5:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The prior verse used the imagery of springs and water. That might have continued the metaphor of sexuality as water: something to be managed carefully and enjoyed when it comes from the proper source. Alternatively, it might have implied the risks of unintended pregnancy brought on by adultery. In that vein, this warning is Solomon's plea to let one's children be for them alone, and not for strangers.

In Old Testament times children would help their father defend against marauders and those who filed a false claim against him. Children were a rich heritage. If a man and woman adhere to a monogamous marriage, no one will question whether the children are legitimately his. This is one reason why virginity was such a crucial concept in ancient culture—it was among the only sure ways to know that the child was legitimate, and not the result of an adulterous relationship.

Psalm 127 describes the beautiful relationship between parents and their children. The children are a heritage from the Lord and his reward (Psalm 127:3). They are like arrows in the hand of a warrior (Psalm 127:4). Further, they defend their father's honor when he speaks with his enemies in the gate—the place of conducting business and settling disputes (Psalm 127:5). Scripture does not require parenthood for all people, but it does describe children as a blessing.