Song of Songs 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Song of Songs 3
Arthur Szyk (1894-1951). Visual History of Nations, Israel (1948), New Canaan, CT.jpg
Four thousand years of Jewish history come to life in Arthur Szyk's Visual History of Israel, completed in 1948, depicting, among others, King Solomon (top right), shown holding a copy of 'Song of Songs'.
BookSong of Songs
Christian Bible partOld Testament
Order in the Christian part22

Song of Songs 3 (abbreviated as Song 3) is the third chapter of the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.[1][2] This book is one of the Five Megillot, a collection of short books, together with Book of Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther, within the Ketuvim, the third and the last part of the Hebrew Bible.[3] Jewish tradition views Solomon as the author of this book, and this attribution influences the acceptance of this book as a canonical text, although this is at present largely disputed.[3] This chapter contains a female song about her search for her lover at night and the poem describing King Solomon's procession.[4]


The original text is written in Hebrew language. This chapter is divided into 11 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text, which includes the Aleppo Codex (10th century),[a] and Codex Leningradensis (1008).[6] Some fragments containing parts of this chapter were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls: 4Q106 (4QCanta; 30 BCE-30 CE; extant verses 3-5, 7-11), 4Q107 (4QCantb; 30 BCE-30 CE; extant verses 1–2, 5, 9-11), and 4Q108 (4QCantc; 30 BCE-30 CE; extant verses 7-8).[7][8][9]

There is also a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint, made in the last few centuries BCE. Extant ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint version include Codex Vaticanus (B; B; 4th century), Codex Sinaiticus (S; BHK: S; 4th century), and Codex Alexandrinus (A; A; 5th century).[10]


New King James Version (NKJV) groups this chapter into:

Female: Search and seizure (3:1-5)[edit]

The first part of this chapter is a tightly constructed song by the female protagonist describing how she looks for her lover at night (or in a dream) in the city streets, until she finds him and brings him into her mother's house.[11] The setting of this poem progresses from the woman's bed (verse 1) to the public areas of the city (verses 2-4b) and finally to the privacy of her mother's bedroom (verses 4c-5).[12] It closes with the second appeal to the 'daughters of Jerusalem'.[11]

Verse 1[edit]

On my bed by night I sought him
whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not.[13]

Verse 5[edit]

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.[16]

The names of God are apparently substituted with similar sounding phrases depicting 'female gazelles' (צְבָא֔וֹת, tseḇā’ōṯ) for [God of] hosts (צבאות tseḇā’ōṯ), and 'does of the field'/'wild does/female deer' (אילות השדה, ’ay-lōṯ ha-śā-ḏeh) for God Almighty (אל שדי, ’êl shaddai).[18]

Male: Marriage scene (3:6-11)[edit]

This section starts a poetic exposition of love and marriage which form the core of the book (Song 3:6-5:1).[19] Hess applies these six verses to the man,[20] whereas Fox prefers the daughter of Jerusalem as the speakers,[21] and the New King James Version assigns them to "the Shulamite" (= the woman).[22]

Solomon is the focus of this section, as his name is mentioned three times (verses 7, 9 and 11), and the suffix 'his' (-o) refers to him once in verse 7, another in verse 9 and four times in the second part of verse 11.[23] The last word of this part is 'his heart' (libbo), referring directly to the essential aspect of King Solomon and the most relevant to the whole love poem.[23] The mention of Solomon's mother in verse 11 is in line with the focus on mothers in the book, both the woman's (1:6; 3:4; 6:9; 8:1, 2) and the man's (8:5).[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Since 1947 the current text of Aleppo Codex is missing Song of Songs 3:11, after the word ציון ("Zion"), to the end.[5]


  1. ^ Halley 1965, p. 278.
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ a b Brenner 2007, p. 429.
  4. ^ Brenner 2007, pp. 430-431.
  5. ^ P. W. Skehan (2003), "BIBLE (TEXTS)", New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2 (2nd ed.), Gale, pp. 355–362
  6. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 36-37.
  7. ^ Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010). The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Textual Variants. Brill. pp. 740–742. ISBN 9789004181830. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  8. ^ Dead sea scrolls - Song of Songs.
  9. ^ Fitzmyer, Joseph A. (2008). A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 42. ISBN 9780802862419. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 73-74.
  11. ^ a b Brenner 2007, p. 430.
  12. ^ Longman 2001, p. 127.
  13. ^ Song 3:1 MEV
  14. ^ Hebrew Text Analysis: Song of Solomon 3:1. Biblehub
  15. ^ a b Coogan 2007, p. 962 Hebrew Bible.
  16. ^ Song 3:5 NKJV
  17. ^ Note [a] on Song 3:5 in NKJV
  18. ^ Bergant 2001, p. 26.
  19. ^ Hess 2005, p. 36.
  20. ^ Hess 2005, p. 116.
  21. ^ Fox, Song, p. 119, apud Hess 2005, p.116
  22. ^ Song 3:6 NKJV
  23. ^ a b Hess, 2005 & p. 116.
  24. ^ Exum 2005, p. 141.


External links[edit]