Song of Songs 2:8-13

Song of Songs 2:8-13
Ordinary A32


The voice of my beloved!A
    Look,B he comes,C
leapingD upon the mountains,E
    boundingF over the hills.

Notes on verse 8

A “beloved” = dod. Root may mean to boil. This word means, love, lover, or uncle (as one who is close). Usually it means loved one and sometimes betrothed. This word shares a root with the name David.
B “look” = hinneh. This is lo! Behold! It is surprise or suddenness or drawing attention to something.
C “comes” = bo. This is come in, go in, enter, advance. It can be used for attack, entering worship, and having sex.
D “leaping” = dalag. 5x in OT – 2x to leap over a wall, 2x for leaping like a deer, 1x for leaping over the threshold. Can mean climbing, leap, or spring over.
E “mountains” = har. Refers to mountains, hills, and hill country. Can be used figuratively.
F “bounding” = qaphats. 7x in OT. This word means to close, draw together, contract. It can refer to shutting a hand or shutting your mouth, closing up compassion, the contraction of death. It is “bounding” in the sense of a body contracting repeatedly so as to leap.

9 My beloved is like a gazelleG
    or a youngH stag.I

Notes on verse 9a

G “gazelle” = tsbiy. Root means to swell or swell up. This word connotes beauty, honor, glory, pleasantness. It can refer to a silver or golden decoration, a gazelle as a beautiful thing, or splendor as something conspicuous.
H “young” = opher. 5x in OT – all in Song of Songs. May be from a root that means dust, ashes, ground, powder, rubbish. This word is a fawn since it is rusty, i.e. dirt colored. A stag, young hart, young doe.
I “stag” = ayyal. 11x in OT. Root means body, belly, mighty, strength. Properly, to twist, which implies being strong and powerful. This word is hart or deer. Used figuratively for a thing that leaps, is looking for pasture, or longs for water.

Look,J there he stands
    behind our wall,K
gazing inL at the windows,M
    lookingN through the lattice.O

Notes on verse 9b

J “look” = hinneh. Same as “look” in v8.
K “wall” = kothel. 1x in OT. Root means to compact. Refers specifically to the wall of a house.
L “gazing in” = shagach. 3x in OT – God watches all the inhabitants of earth (Ps 33:14), the beloved gazes in at the windows (Cant 2:9), those who see the king of Babylon will stare at him and ponder over him – is this the man who made the earth tremble? (Isa 14:16.) This word is to look narrowly, to glance sharply at.
M “windows” = challon. Root means to bore, pierce, hollow, transfix. It implies to wound or dissolve, break one’s word. Figuratively, a heart pierced within oneself. Also, to pollute, defile, or profane. This is a window as pierce through the wall.
N “looking” = tsuwts. 9x in OT. Properly, to twinkle, i.e. to glance. By analogy, this means to blossom and hence figuratively to flourish. So, blossom, shine, sparkle. Secondarily this word can mean gazing or peeping.
O “lattice” = charakkim. 1x in OT. Root means to braid, entangle, or snare. Properly, it refers to a net and, by analogy, a lattice.

10 My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise,P my love,Q my fair one,R
    and come away;
11 for nowS the winterT is past,
    the rain is over and gone.

Notes on verses 10-11

P “arise” = qum. A wide variety of sense of rise, stand, stand up, accomplish, build, establish, make good. Can be to rise up after lying down, sleeping, being sick, or kneeling. Could be to rise up from one status or condition to another. Could be to arise in hostility or to become powerful or to act. It could be to stand figuratively, to set up a law.
Q “love” = rayah. 10x in OT – 9x in Song of Songs. From raah (to associate/keep company with). This is companion, darling, love, friend.
R “fair one” = yapheh. Root means to be fair or beautiful, to decorate or make oneself beautiful. May properly mean to brighten and thus implies beauty. This word is beautiful literally or figuratively: handsome, sleek, appropriate, godly, pleasant, well, fitting.
S “now” = hinneh. Same as “look” in v8.
T “winter” = sethav. 1x in OT. Of foreign origin – root may mean to hide. So, the winter as the dark season.

12 The flowersU appear on the earth;V
    the time of singingW has come,
and the voice of the turtledoveX
    is heard in our land.

Notes on verse 12

U “flowers” = nitstsan. 1x in OT. Root means to shine, sparkle, flash, glare – be bright-colored. Related to a word for hawk as one with flashing speed. This is blossom or flower.
V “earth” = erets. This is earth, land, country, or field. Could be local ground, the land of the country, or the whole earth.
W “singing” = zamir. 7x in OT. Root means to trim or prune. Hence, to make music as striking with the fingers. This word can be a song or a psalm – a song accompanied by instruments.
X “turtledove” = tor. 14x in OT. Root may be to seek, spy out, explore, meander – to trade or spy on. This is a dove or a term of endearment. It is also used as a metaphor for the poor.

13 The fig tree puts forthY its figs,Z
    and the vinesAA are in blossom;BB
    they give forth fragrance.CC

Arise,DD my love, my fair one,
    and come away.

Notes on verse 13

Y “puts forth” = chanat. 5x in OT – 4x of embalming Joseph, 1x of ripening. This word means to spice, make spicy – so it implies embalming with spices or ripening. The parallel word in Arabic also means to become mature, prepare for burial.
Z “figs” = paggah. 1x in OT. Used for an early or unripe fig.
AA “vines” = gephen. From word meaning bend, hence a vine as a thing that entwines. Especially refers to grapevines.
BB “blossom” = semadar. 3x in OT – all in Song of Songs. This is the blossom of the grapevine, a tender grape.
CC “fragrance” = eyach. From ruach (accept, smell, touch; to smell or figuratively to perceive, anticipate, enjoy; an odor as if blown); from root meaning to blow or breathe. Related to ruach – wind, breath, spirit. This word is smell, savor, scent, ointments. Figuratively used of influence as well as the pleasing odor of sacrifices for God.
DD “arise” = qum + lak. Literally “rise up and go.”

Image credit: “Song of Solomon – ‘Arise my love…and come away…'” by Claudio Pastro at the Virgin’s Monastery in Petropolis, Brazil.

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