Structure of Song 3:6-11

The second half of Song of Songs 3 is arranged in a chiasm, centering on the gibborim who are expert in war: A. What is coming?, v 6 B. Traveling coach of Solomon, v 7a C. mighty men, vv 7b-8 Ca.mighty men of the mighty men Cb. grasp sword Cc. expert in war Cb’. sword at side Ca’. . . . . Continue Reading »

Sacrifice of Solomon

Who is this coming from the wilderness? It’s traveling couch, born by sixty burly men. And it’s described as a sacrifice. It “comes up” from the wilderness ( ‘alah ). It is surrounded by pillars of smoke and is itself “smoked” ( mequtteret , from qatar , . . . . Continue Reading »

Structure in Song of Songs 3

Song of Songs 3:1-4 is a highly repetitive passage, but it does have a logic and unity to it. The structure appears to be: A. On my bed: seeking the one whom my soul loves, v 1a B. Sought but did not find, v 1b C. I arose and surveyed the city ( ‘asovvah ba’iyr ) for the one whom my . . . . Continue Reading »

Black and beautiful

Giffiths speaks of the “complex admixture of regret and lament for unworthiness . . . and delight in lovability” that marks human love, and adds: “The presence of the one without the other makes it impossible to receive the offer of love and therefore impossible to be a beloved. . . . . Continue Reading »

Between Memory and Desire

Some profound meditations about sex, time, life, the universe and everything from Paul Griffiths’s Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) : The first six verses of the Song “point the hearer first to what everyone knows about [human love and sexual desire], which is . . . . Continue Reading »

Aroused love

Explaining the adjuration of Song of Songs 2:7 (repeated in slightly different form in 8:4), Cheryl Exum ( Song of Songs (Old Testament Library) ) helpfully points to the connection with the theme verses of the Song, 8:6-7: these are the only places “where love is spoken of in the abstract . . . . Continue Reading »

On the Shushan

The Bride of the Song declares that she is a “lily” (shushan), and her lover agrees (Song of Songs 2:1-2). The word is used eight times in the Song (2:1, 2, 16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2), sometimes for the Bride, sometimes for her lips, sometimes for her breasts. Not surprisingly, . . . . Continue Reading »

Gift of fragrance

I have commented before on the aural parallel between “fragrance” and “spirit” in Hebrew ( reach , ruach ). The theological import of that parallel is enhanced by the Song’s use of reach as the object of the verb “give” (Song of Songs 1:12; 2:13; 7:13). . . . . Continue Reading »

Solomon’s bower

The NASB translates Song of Songs 1:16c as “our couch is luxuriant.” that is an unfortunate translation, because the word translated as “luxuriant” is actually “green” ( ra’anan ). The NASB translation suggests plush cushions and linen or silk sheets. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Creative love

There are few agreements among scholars about the structure of the Song of Songs, but many commentators recognize that the opening section is 1:2-2:7, a series of seven alternating speeches between teh beloved and the lover. Seven! That makes one curious if there is a more-than-numerological . . . . Continue Reading »