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Question

What does it mean to rejoice in the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18)?

rejoice in the wife of your youth
Answer


In Proverbs 5:1–23, Solomon instructs the wise young man to avoid even a hint of promiscuity and to remain faithful to his wife always. Within the committed boundaries of marriage, God desires to bless sexual intimacy between a man and woman: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love” (Proverbs 5:18–19).

The same concept is developed in Song of Solomon 4:10–15, which celebrates the pleasure and joy of sexual love in its proper place: “Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine. . . . You are my private garden . . . a secluded spring, a hidden fountain . . . a well of fresh water streaming down from Lebanon’s mountains” (NLT). A fountain is a source of pleasure, refreshment, and sustenance. God intends for a man to be thrilled, invigorated, and deeply satisfied with the sensual affection of his own wife, and no other person.

In the original Hebrew, the word for “rejoice in” means “to feel happiness, joy, and delight.” God’s Word Translation renders the phrase as “enjoy the girl you married when you were young.” Ecclesiastes 9:9 informs readers that all the days of a long life with one spouse are meant to be enjoyed: “Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil” (NLT).

The primary purpose of wisdom literature is to teach the reader how to live a godly life that leads to success and avoids self-destruction. Few things can wreck a family, a marriage, and an entire life as tragically as sexual indiscretion and marital infidelity. Perhaps Solomon drew from personal experience, acknowledging the disastrous consequences his father David’s sexual sin with Bathsheba had on his own family.

God had several purposes in mind for creating human sexuality. Besides procreation (Genesis 9:7), sex is an intimate act designed to strengthen and sustain the emotional connection between a husband and wife (Genesis 2:24). Additionally, sex is a beautiful gift God has given to married couples for mutual pleasure and enjoyment.

The Bible teaches both husbands and wives to give their bodies wholly, regularly, and exclusively to their spouses for sexual fulfillment (1 Corinthians 7:3–4). All of a man’s sexual vigor is to be directed toward pleasing his wife, and all of a woman’s sexual desire is to be focused on gratifying her husband.

In Ephesians 5:21–33, Paul tells husbands and wives to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Mutual submission involves loving each other unselfishly and unconditionally as Christ loves the church. It also includes loving each other exclusively, never seeking sexual gratification anywhere else (Ephesians 5:22–33). In marriage, Christian couples have the potential to experience God’s original design for relational intimacy—to be emotionally open, spiritually connected, and physically free, naked, and unashamed (Genesis 2:18–25).

A wise man will enjoy the wife of his youth, avoiding every opportunity for sexual adventure except to take pleasure in the woman he committed to in covenant marriage. Scripture reveals that such a man discovers joy and satisfaction in his wife’s arms all the days of his life.

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What does it mean to rejoice in the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18)?
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This page last updated: September 15, 2022