Family joys Proverbs 5:15

A painter lays down a dark ground to lean his picture on, and thereby bring its beauty out. Such is the method adopted in this portion of the Word. The pure delights of the family are about to be represented in the sweetest colours that nature yields--wedded love mirrored in running waters; surely we have apples of gold in pictures of silver here. And in all the earlier part of the chapter the Spirit has stained the canvas deep with Satan’s dark antithesis to the holy appointment of God. The Lord condescends to bring His own institute forward in rivalry with the deceitful pleasures of sin. How beautiful and how true the imagery in which our lesson is unfolded! Pleasures such as God gives to His creatures, and such as His creatures, with advantage to all their interests can enjoy--pleasures that are consistent with holiness and heaven, are compared to a stream of pure running water. And specifically the joys of the family are ”running waters out of thine own well.” This well is not exposed to every passenger. It springs within, and has a fence around it. We should make much of the family and all that belongs to it. All its accessories are the Father’s gift, and He expects us to observe and value them. But because the stream is so pure, a small bulk of foreign matter will sensibly tinge it. The unguarded word, neglected thoughtfulnesses, or slovenly and careless ways. But careful abstinence from evil is only one, and that the lower, side of the case. There must be spontaneous outgoing activity in this matter, like the springing of flowers, and the leaping of a stream from the fountain. All the allusions to this relation in Scripture imply an ardent, joyful love. Husband and wife, if they are skilful to take advantage of their privileges, may, by sharing, somewhat diminish their cares, and fully double their joys. But we must take care lest the enjoyments of home become a snare. God is not pleased with indolence or selfishness. If the family is well ordered, ourselves will get the chief benefit, but we should let others share it. (W. Arnot, D. D.)