I decided to dig into the Word this morning and started looking at the usage of the phrase "many waters" - which shows up dozens of times throughout the Bible. While reviewing its usage, I ran into this verse; it is as follows:
The first part is clear enough - love is functionally indomitable. And we fallible creatures CRAVE things that will last.Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
The second part, however, provides an odd counterpoint - in brief, someone who is willing to give everything for love will be seen as contemptible.
I thought, perhaps, the word-usage here would help. Perhaps the word used for "love" in the first clause was different than in the second.
But nope - they're both apparently H160; however, it's a slippery word - potentially meaning the abstraction of love, the object of love, and even God's love for His people.
Perhaps it is a judgment on the man who is willing to sacrifice everything (even himself) for his love; this would be akin to not counting the cost.
However, grammatically this doesn't seem to follow; because of the colon, I suppose the second clause is supposed to exemplify the first.
Then perhaps a "man giving all of the substance of his house" is the attempt of a man to "drown" love ... maybe to effectually buy her affection?
This would suggest that he already has his love and he's trying to satisfy her by giving her everything - and she isn't satisfied.
1. I do not believe I have quite nailed this verse; there seems to be much, much more here.
2. Paying for affection will result in being held in contempt (this is the most obvious interpretation, to me at least)
3. Giving up literally everything for someone will ALSO result in being held in contempt.