Song of Songs 8

 

מִי יִתֶּנְךָ כְּאָח לִי יֹונֵק שְׁדֵי אִמִּי אֶמְצָאֲךָ בַחוּץ אֶשָּׁקְךָ גַּם לֹא־יָבוּזוּ לִי׃   8:1

Song 8:1   Who might have appointed You as my Brother,

                              suckling the breasts of my mother?

                      I could find You outside, I could kiss You.

                              Indeed, they would not despise me.

I see this verse as that of the voice of Israel.  She is lamenting the fact that she cannot find the Lord at times, and the

watchmen (who are they? The priests?) have despised her.  She continues her reverie in the next verse too.

אֶנְהָגֲךָ אֲבִיאֲךָ אֶל־בֵּית אִמִּי תְּלַמְּדֵנִי אַשְׁקְךָ מִיַּיִן הָרֶקַח מֵעֲסִיס רִמֹּנִי׃   8:2

Song 8:2   I would guide You,

                              bring You to the house of my mother.

                    You would instruct me, I would give You drink from wine

                              spiced by the juice of my pomegranate.

שְׂמֹאלֹו תַּחַת רֹאשִׁי וִימִינֹו תְּחַבְּקֵנִי׃   8:3

Song 8:3   His left “hand” is under my head

                              so His right “hand” can embrace me.

Now she is back with her Lover again.

הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם מַה־תָּעִירוּ וּמַה־תְּעֹרְרוּ אֶת־הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ׃   8:4

Song 8:4   I urge you, daughters of Jerusalem,

                              how could you stir up

                    and how could you awaken that love until He is pleased?

A repetition of the odd grammar identified before in Song 2:7, which is here shown for the fourth time in this book.

מִי זֹאת עֹלָה מִן־הַמִּדְבָּר מִתְרַפֶּקֶת עַל־דּוֹדָהּ תַּחַת הַתַּפּוּחַ עוֹרַרְתִּיךָ שָׁמָּה חִבְּלַתְךָ אִמֶּךָ שָׁמָּהֹ   8:5

 חִבְּלָה יְלָדַתְךָ׃

Song 8:5   Who is this coming up from the wilderness

                              leaning upon her Beloved?

                      I roused you under the apple tree;

                              there your mother brought you forth;

                      there she travailed, brought you forth.

I believe the first two lines of this verse are the voice of the nations.  The last three are the voice of the Lord.

שִׂימֵנִי כַחוֹתָם עַל־לִבֶּךָ כַּחוֹתָם עַל־זְרוֹעֶךָ כִּי־עַזָּה כַמָּוֶת אַהֲבָה קָשָׁה כִשְׁאוֹל קִנְאָה רְשָׁפֶיהָ    8:6

רִשְׁפֵּי אֵשׁ שַׁלְהֶבֶתְיָה׃

Song 8:6   Set Me as a seal upon your heart,

                              as a signet upon your arm.

                     For love is as strong as death,

                              jealousy as cruel as the netherworld.

                      Its flames are sparks of fire -- the Lord's flame!

Does this sound like an echo of the commandment in Deut. 11:18 to bind these words upon your heart and hand?

מַיִם רַבִּים לֹא יוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת אֶת־הָאַהֲבָה וּנְהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּהָ אִם־יִתֵּן אִישׁ אֶת־כָּל־הוֹן בֵּיתוֹ   8:7

בָּאַהֲבָה בּוֹז יָבוּזוּ לוֹ׃

Song 8:7   Excessive water could not manage to quench that love,

                              or rivers wash it away.

                     If a man would give all the wealth of his house in such love,

                              they would hold his to be utterly insignificant.

Insignificant, as compared to the love of the Lord for Israel, that is.

אָחוֹת לָנוּ קְטַנָּה וְשָׁדַיִם אֵין לָהּ מַה־נַּעֲשֶׂה לַאֲחֹתֵנוּ בַּיּוֹם שֶׁיְּדֻבַּר־בָּהּ׃   8:8

Song 8:8   Ours is a sister so small that she has no breasts.

                              What can we do for our sister in the day that one speaks for her?

Now here I believe the voice of the nations is interjected, speaking of little Israel, and how she may be spoken for.

אִם־חוֹמָה הִיא נִבְנֶה עָלֶיהָ טִירַת כָּסֶף וְאִם־דֶּלֶת הִיא נָצוּר עָלֶיהָ לוּחַ אָרֶז׃   8:9

Song 8:9   If she were a wall, we would build a silver embattlement on her,

                              or were she a door, we would secure a cedar slab over her.

אֲנִי חוֹמָה וְשָׁדַי כַּמִּגְדָּלוֹת אָז הָיִיתִי בְעֵינָיו כְּמוֹצְאֵת שָׁלוֹם׃   8:10

Song 8:10   I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers.

                              Then in His “eyes” I am as having found peace.

And Israel responds, in protest.

כֶּרֶם הָיָה לִשְׁלֹמֹה בְּבַעַל הָמוֹן נָתַן אֶת־הַכֶּרֶם לַנֹּטְרִים אִישׁ יָבִא בְּפִרְיוֹ אֶלֶף כָּסֶף׃   8:11

Song 8:11   There is a vineyard for Solomon in Baal-hamon.

                              He has given the vineyard to keepers;

                       each may bring with his fruit one thousand pieces of silver.

In this verse and the next, I believe we have the voice of the Lord again for the last time in this book.

כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי לְפָנָי הָאֶלֶף לְךָ שְׁלֹמֹה וּמָאתַיִם לְנֹטְרִים אֶת־פִּרְיֹו׃   8:12

Song 8:12   My vineyard that is Mine is before Me,

                              the thousand is yours, Solomon,

                        and two hundred for those guarding its fruit.

הַיֹּושֶׁבֶת בַּגַּנִּים חֲבֵרִים מַקְשִׁיבִים לְקֹולֵךְ הַשְׁמִיעִינִי׃   8:13

Song 8:13   Dweller of gardens!

                              Companions who are attentive to Your voice!

                       Summon me!

This is the voice of Israel again calling to the Lord and to others who love the Lord.  She calls to the Lord one final time to summon her.  In the next and final verse, she calls Him to come to her at last.

בְּרַח דּוֹדִי וּדְמֵה־לְךָ לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים עַל הָרֵי בְשָׂמִים׃   8:14

Song 8:14   Hasten, my Beloved, and make Yourself as a gazelle

                              or as a young hart of the stags over the mountains of spices.

 

 

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