Song of Songs Chapter 2  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Song of Songs 2
Sos 2:1

“rose of Sharon, a lily” As with many plants, animals, rocks, etc., in the Hebrew text, the exact identity of these plants is unknown. We follow the traditional translation.

Sos 2:2

“a lily among the bramble” The lover magnifies the good thoughts the beloved has about herself. She calls herself a lily, he calls her a lily among the thorny bramble.

“darling.” See commentary on Song 1:9.

“young women.” The Hebrew is “daughters,” but that translation would give the English reader the wrong impression here; the point is that they were young, unmarried women.

Sos 2:3

“his shadow.” More literally, but less easily understood by Western readers, “his shade.” In the biblical word shade or shadow represented protection. The woman felt protected and relaxed when she was with her lover.

“his fruit was sweet to my taste.” An unspecific but obviously sexual reference. Perhaps to kissing and foreplay.

Sos 2:4

“house of wine.” While it is true that a banquet hall was sometimes called a “house of wine” because of the wine that was enjoyed there, that is likely not the emphasis here. The association between wine and sexual pleasure is well-known and made in both the Old and New Testaments (Hab. 2:15; Rom. 13:13; Rev. 17:2). The couple would drink wine and make love.

“his banner toward me.” We agree with Garrett and House (Word Biblical Commentary) that the Hebrew word degel (#01714) has its normal meaning of “banner,” and portrays the sense of an army or military unit under a commander and which carried a banner. The woman has not been “conquered” yet (and portrays herself in another place as a “walled city” (Song 8:10). The king, her lover, brings her to the house of wine, but does not force himself upon her but instead approaches her lovingly.

Sos 2:5

“faint from love.” The condition often known as “lovesick,” when a person is physically and emotionally drained and weak due to excessive desire and preoccupation with the love for another.

Sos 2:6(top)
Sos 2:7

until it so desires.” We agree with Duane Garrett and Paul House (Word Biblical Commentary; The New American Commentary), that this phrase is in the context refers to not awakening the intense feelings of love or experimenting with sex until the proper time (cp. NLT: “until the time is right;” HCSB: “until the appropriate time”). God holds the marriage and proper sexual behavior in very high regard, which is why the adjuration not to prematurely awaken love occurs three times in the Song of Solomon (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4).

Sos 2:8(top)
Sos 2:9(top)
Sos 2:10

“darling.” See commentary on Song 1:9.

Sos 2:11

“winter is past.” In this context, it seems that the “winter” refers to the whole rainy season, including both the former (fall) and latter (spring) rains. If that is the case, then the rains are over for the year and the earth will begin to heat up in earnest, but it is not unreasonably hot yet, late spring is upon them, it would be about mid to late April. On the other hand, it may be that he is referring to the cold rains of winter before the latter rain in March and April, when the air is heating up and the flowers are appearing. If that is the case, there would still be rain expected through April, but it would not be the cold rain of winter. [For more on the former and latter rainy seasons, see commentary on James 5:7].

Sos 2:12(top)
Sos 2:13

“darling.” See commentary on Song 1:9.

Sos 2:14

in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places of the mountainside.” The Beloved seems to be playfully hiding from her Lover (or she seems somehow inaccessible to him), and he is expressing his desire to see her and hear her voice.

Sos 2:15(top)
Sos 2:16

grazes among the lilies.” The same phrase occurs in Song 6:3. This is a sexual metaphor, and the Beloved is speaking of her Lover enjoying the bodily pleasures of his beloved. In this verse he is grazing among the lilies, in the next verse he is the gazelle or young stag on her cleft hills. Throughout the Song of Solomon, the “lilies” are connected with the body (Song 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). While it is true that the Hebrew word translated “grazes” can mean “pastures his flock” (cp. ASV; CJB; NASB) that meaning does not seem likely here. She is focused on the singular attention he gives her.

Sos 2:17

“day awakes.” This is an idiom; the literal Hebrew is “until the day breathes.” This idiom has been interpreted by scholars in two opposing ways: one is that it refers to the coming of night when the evening breezes arise and the shadows of day flee (ASV; NAB; NASB); the other is that it refers to the dawning of the day when the day “wakes up” and starts to breathe, and the shadows and darkness of night disappear (HCSB; KJV; NET; NIV; NLT). Some versions avoid the controversy by keeping more literal and saying something such as, “until the day breathes” (ESV), but that is not helpful to the reader even though it preserves the idiom. We contend that in Solomon’s day the reader knew what the idiom meant in this context: the dawn, at which point the lover would leave his beloved and attend to his daily business.

We ordinarily associate breathing, as the ancients did, with coming to life, and it seems most natural that the beloved wanted her lover to spend the night with her, not the daytime, and as the dawn broke the earth would come to life and the day began to breathe. Also, although some commentators associate the lengthening of the shadows in the evening as them “fleeing away,” that seems most unnatural because they don’t really flee, they become more and more intense and dark until the world is consumed in darkness; and why would the lover leave then? It seems he would stay longer, into the night, not leave just as it was getting dark. It is well expressed in Scripture that when the dawn breaks and the sun rises higher and higher in the sky, the shadows flee and the world becomes light, while in the dark of night people stumble and get into trouble.

“cleft mountains.” The sexual imagery in Song of Solomon makes the interpretation of this verse quite clear. “The phrase הָרֵי בָתֶר [har bether] fairly conspicuously refers to the split between a woman’s two breasts” (Duane Garrett, Paul House, Word Biblical Commentary).


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