Song of Songs 4
|Song of Songs 4|
A page of Rashi's interpretation of the megillot (the left page is about the Song of Songs)
|Book||Song of Songs|
|Christian Bible part||Old Testament|
|Order in the Christian part||22|
Song of Songs 4 (abbreviated as Song 4) is the fourth chapter of the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. 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. 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. This chapter contains the man's descriptive poem of the woman's body and the invitation to be together which is accepted by the woman.
Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text, which includes the Codex Leningradensis (1008).[a] Some fragments containing parts of this chapter were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls: 4Q106 (4QCanta; 30 BCE-30 CE; extant verses 1–7), and 4Q107 (4QCantb; 30 BCE-30 CE; extant verses 1–3, 8-11, 14–16).
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).
Modern English Version (MEV) groups this chapter into:
Male: First descriptive poem and call to come along (4:1-8)
The beginning (verse 1a) and the end (verse 8a) of this part contain repeated lines that 'frame an address of endearment': "my darling/[my] bride." Verses 1-7 contain the man's waṣf or descriptive poem of his female lover from head to breast, using imagery of flora and fauna, with a few of 'fortifications and military weapons'. Verses 2 and 5 begin and end this imagery with comparisons with animals, such as sheep and fawns, whereas verses 6-8 focus on the desire of the male speaker to visit "the mountain of myrrh" and to be joined there by his partner, expressing his desire in terms of a sensual pursuit with his lover's body as a mountain on which he finds perfumes. Verse 7 concludes with a summary statement of the woman's perfection and invitation to his bride to 'come away from the impregnable heights and to join him'. This waṣf and the later ones (5:10-16; 6:4-10; 7:1-9) theologically demonstrate the heart of the Song that values the body as not evil but good even worthy of praise, and respects the body with an appreciative focus (rather than lurid). Hess notes that this reflects 'the fundamental value of God's creation as good and the human body as a key part of that creation, whether at the beginning (Genesis 1:26-28) or redeemed in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:42, 44)'. While verse 7a is in parallel with verse 1a forming an inclusio as well as a sense of closure to this part of the poem, verse 7b follows the positive assertion of the woman's beauty with a more negative assertion that "she has no blemish or defect" (mûm; referring to physical imperfection; cf. the use in the sacrificial ritual, Leviticus 22:20-21, 25: Deuteronomy 17:1), which is similar to the reference to Absalom (2 Samuel 14:25) or Daniel and his three friends in the court of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:4).
- Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
- "Tower of David": the actual tower is unknown.
- "Bucklers": small shields. The image of the shields and bucklers describe the necklace around the neck of the woman.
- Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
This verse depicts the danger and the woman's inaccessibility (cf. Song 2:14). The man is asking his bride not to go with him to Lebanon but to come with him from Lebanon, which is a 'figurative allusion to the general unapproachableness' of the woman. Verse 8b contains two parallel expressions that frame the central expression "from Hermon":
- from the peak of Amana,
- from the peak of Senir,
- from Hermon,
- from the dens of lions
- from the mountain lairs of leopards.
A similar structure in verse 7 forms together the twin centers of "my darling" and "from Mount Hermon", which beautifully summarize the concern of the man for access to his bride.
- "Lebanon": located north of Israel in modern-day Lebanon and Syria; Amana, Shenir (or Senir) and Hermon are the names of individual peaks in the Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges.
- "Spouse" or "bride" together with "sister" (Song 4:9-10, 12; 5:1) are terms of affection.
Male: A walk in the garden (4:9-15)
- Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
- "Saffron, calamus, cinnamon" and "aloes" are spices from India.
Female: Invitation to her garden (4:16)
The Vulgate version of the fourth chapter ends on "... et fluant aromata illius." (transl. "... that its spices may flow out.") The next phrase, "Veniat dilectus meus ..." (transl. Let my beloved come ...) opens the fifth chapter in the Vulgate version, while most other versions and translations open that chapter with the man's response ("I have come into my garden")
- Halley 1965, p. 278.
- Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
- Brenner 2007, p. 429.
- Brenner 2007, p. 431.
- Würthwein 1995, pp. 36-37.
- P. W. Skehan (2003), "BIBLE (TEXTS)", New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2 (2nd ed.), Gale, pp. 355–362
- Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010). The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Textual Variants. Brill. pp. 741–744. ISBN 9789004181830. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Dead sea scrolls - Song of Songs.
- 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.
- Würthwein 1995, pp. 73-74.
- Hess 2005, p. 125.
- Hess 2005, p. 127.
- Longman 2001, p. 148.
- Song 4:4 KJV
- Coogan 2007, p. 963 Hebrew Bible.
- Note [a] on Song 4:4 in NKJV
- Song 4:8 KJV
- Bergant 2001, p. 51.
- Hess 2005, p. 126.
- Song 4:14 KJV
- Coogan 2007, p. 964 Hebrew Bible.
- CANTICUM CANTICORUM 4 at Vatican website.
- Song of Solomon 4:16a World English
- CANTICUM CANTICORUM 5 at Vatican website.
- Song of Solomon 4:16b World English
- Song of Solomon 5:1 World English
- Bergant, Dianne (2001). Cotter, David W.; Walsh, Jerome T.; Franke, Chris (eds.). The Songs of Songs. Berit Olam (The Everlasting Covenant): Studies In Hebrew Narrative And Poetry. Liturgical Press. ISBN 9780814650691.
- Brenner, Athalya (2007). "21. The Song of Solomon". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 429–433. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Coogan, Michael David (2007). Coogan, Michael David; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann; Perkins, Pheme (eds.). The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Issue 48 (Augmented 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195288810.
- Exum, J. Cheryl (2005). Songs of Songs: A Commentary. Old Testament library (reprint ed.). Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664221904.
- Halley, Henry H. (1965). Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary (24th (revised) ed.). Zondervan Publishing House. ISBN 0-310-25720-4.
- Hess, Richard S. (2005). Songs of Songs. Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Series. Baker Academic. ISBN 9780801027123.
- Longman, Tremper (2001). Songs of Songs. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Volume 26. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802825438.
- Jewish translations:
- Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Chapter 4 (Judaica Press) translation [with Rashi's commentary] at Chabad.org
- Christian translations:
- Online Bible at GospelHall.org (ESV, KJV, Darby, American Standard Version, Bible in Basic English)
- Song of Solomon Chapter 4 King James Version
- Song of Solomon public domain audiobook at LibriVox Various versions